18/01/2012 09:25 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Am I Bovvered? Scientists Find Out Why Teenagers Are So Moody

Moody teenager with parents Rex Features

Scientists have found a way to stop teenagers being moody and self-centred: stop them enjoying themselves!

Researchers found that the Kevins and Perrys who dominate our households with their dark moods and recklessness can't help themselves – because their brains function differently when they do something they enjoy.

More neurons get activated in adolescents' brains when they receive treats than those of adults, which means they "over-process" rewards and become vulnerable to addictive or impulsive behaviour.

The theory goes that this could explain why youngsters take more risks and tend to develop disorders like addiction, depression and schizophrenia compared with grown-ups.

The Pittsburgh University neuro scientists say their findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show adolescent and adult brains function differently during reward-motivated behaviour.

They trained lab rodents to poke their heads into a hole to receive a food pellet while electrical activity in areas of the brain was recorded.

Adolescent rats had a much stronger reaction in the part of the brain that controls action selection and habit formation.

What do you think?

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