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behavior | Why do young people take more risks than old people?

Teens are often at greater risk than other age groups. Where exactly does this come from? And how do you actually study something like that?

Researcher Anna van Duijvenvoorde from Leiden University explains how you can use experiments to find an answer to these questions. She says there could be several reasons for this. Research has already shown, for example: Teens have less difficulty in uncertain situations. For example: when the outcome of an action is not entirely clear beforehand.

Brain development also appears to play a role in risk taking. This must have something to do with the fact that the reward area is ‘finished’ faster than the areas of inhibition and control. Then there is of course the social aspect. Things like peer pressure, which can have a positive and negative effect on risky behavior.

What Van Duijvenvoorde also looks at is a mixture of risky behavior and law. On Friday 16th September you can do it while The brain and the law in Leiden We hear more about it. It will discuss, among other things, how brain development relates to changes in decision-making, risky behavior and social learning in the teenage years, on which Adolescent Criminal Law is (in part) based.

You can find more about Anna van Duijvenvoorde’s work on her site annavanduijvenvoorde.com or on the search platform changeleiden.nl.

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