The neurobiology of adolescence: changes in brain architecture, functional dynamics, and behavioral tendencies

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2011 Aug;35(8):1704-12. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.04.003. Epub 2011 Apr 15.


Adolescence is a period of increased behavioral and psychiatric vulnerabilities. It is also a time of dramatic structural and functional neurodevelopment. In recent years studies have examined the precise nature of these brain and behavioral changes, and several hypotheses link them together. In this review we discuss this research and recent electrophysiological data from behaving rats that demonstrate reduced neuronal coordination and processing efficiency in adolescents. A more comprehensive understanding of these processes will further our knowledge of adolescent behavioral vulnerabilities and the pathophysiology of mental illnesses that manifest during this period.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adolescent Development*
  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Critical Period, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Rats