- Published: June 8, 2015
Dr. Silvia Bunge from UC Berkeley is analyzing the prefrontal cortex in teenagers’ actions. After looking specifically at skateboarders who perform tricks that they know are dangerous and outside their realm of skill, Bunge has deduced that even though kids know better they still act irrationally. The prefrontal cortex’s role is indisputably involved in decision-making, and it is shown that it grows considerably as an individual matures. Like any other organ, it can be “exercised” to “make it better.” When it comes to these daring adolescents though, Bunge’s experiments indicate that they cannot stop themselves from acting “because their prefrontal cortex cannot yet respond fast enough.” Other factors, such as socioeconomic background, are introduced, but the heart of the matter arises when these teenagers break the law. What kind of action should be done? Is jail always the best solution? Considering the fact that some kids develop faster than others, at what age do we draw the line? Is it right to just set the bar at 18 without considering all factors? More factors should be taken into account, and each and every delinquent should be treated on a case-by-case basis with particular attention to whether or not the violator is going to break the law again and his or her prefrontal cortex development. The point is: people mature, and if we incarcerate these individuals who cannot help their biological growth, we are essentially exiling an innocent member of society.
Freedman, Wayne. ABC 7 News. 17 October 2008. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/health&id=6456067