The Adolescent Brain: Learning, Reasoning, and Decision Making
The period from adolescence through young adulthood is one of great promise and vulnerability. As teenagers approach maturity, they must develop and apply the skills and habits necessary to navigate adulthood and compete in an ever more technological and globalized world. But as parents and researchers have long known, there is a crucial dichotomy between adolescents' cognitive competence and their frequent inability to utilize that competence in everyday decision-making.
This volume brings together an interdisciplinary group of leading scientists to examine how the adolescent brain develops, and how this development impacts various aspects of reasoning and decision-making, from the use and function of memory and representation, to judgment, mathematical problem-solving, and the construction of meaning.
The contributors ask questions that seek to uncover the basic mechanisms underlying brain development in adolescence, such as:
- How do the concepts of proof and reasoning emerge?
- What is the relationship between cognitive and procedural understanding in problem-solving?
- How can researchers build assessments to capture and describe learning over time?
The Adolescent Brain raises questions relevant to young people's educational and health outcomes, as well as to neuroscience research.
Valerie F. Reyna
Introduction to The Adolescent Brain: Learning, Reasoning, and Decision Making
Valerie F. Reyna, Sandra B. Chapman, Michael R. Dougherty, and Jere Confrey
- Anatomic Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Developing Child and Adolescent Brain
Jay N. Giedd, Michael Stockman, Catherine Weddle, Maria Liverpool, Gregory L. Wallace, Nancy Raitano Lee, Francois Lalonde, and Rhoshel K. Lenroot
II. Memory, Meaning, and Representation
- Semantic and Associative Relations in Adolescents and Young Adults: Examining a Tenuous Dichotomy
Ken McRae, Saman Khalkhali, and Mary Hare
- Representation and Transfer of Abstract Mathematical Concepts in Adolescence and Young Adulthood
Jennifer A. Kaminski and Vladimir M. Sloutsky
- A Value of Concrete Learning Materials in Adolescence
Kristen P. Blair and Daniel L. Schwartz
- Higher-Order Strategic Gist Reasoning in Adolescence
Sandra B. Chapman, Jacquelyn F. Gamino, and Raksha Anand Mudar
III. Learning, Reasoning, and Problem Solving
- Better Measurement of Higher Cognitive Processes Through Learning Trajectories and Diagnostic Assessments in Mathematics: The Challenge in Adolescence
- Adolescent Reasoning in Mathematical and Nonmathematical Domains: Exploring the Paradox
Eric Knuth, Charles Kalish, Amy Ellis, Caroline Williams, and Mathew D. Felton
- Training the Adolescent Brain: Neural Plasticity and the Acquisition of Cognitive Abilities
Sharona M. Atkins, Michael F. Bunting, Donald J. Bolger, and Michael R. Dougherty
- Higher Cognition is Altered by Noncognitive Factors: How Affect Enhances and Disrupts Mathematics Performance in Adolescence and Young Adulthood
Mark H. Ashcraft and Nathan O. Rudig
IV. Judgment and Decision Making
- Risky Behavior in Adolescents: The Role of the Developing Brain
- Affective Motivators and Experience in Adolescents' Development of Health-Related Behavior Patterns
Sandra L. Schneider and Christine M. Caffray
- Judgment and Decision Making in Adolescence: Separating Intelligence From Rationality
Keith E. Stanovich, Richard F. West, and Maggie E. Toplak
- A Fuzzy Trace Theory of Adolescent Risk Taking: Beyond Self-Control and Sensation Seeking
Christina F. Chick and Valerie F. Reyna
- Paradoxes in the Adolescent Brain in Cognition, Emotion, and Rationality
Valerie F. Reyna and Michael R. Dougherty
About the Editors
Valerie F. Reyna, PhD, is codirector, Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research, and professor of human development, psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience (IMAGINE Program), at Cornell University.
Dr. Reyna is a developer of fuzzy trace theory, an influential model of memory and decision making that has been widely applied in law, medicine, and public health, as well as in neuroscience. A leader in using memory principles and mathematical models to explain judgment and decision making, she helped initiate what is now a burgeoning area of research on developmental differences in judgment and decision making.
Her recent work has focused on neuroeconomics; aging, neurocognitive impairment, and genetic risk factors (e.g., in Alzheimer's disease); rationality and risky decision making, particularly risk taking in adolescence; and neuroimaging models of framing and decision making. She has also extended fuzzy trace theory to risk perception, numeracy, and medical decision making by both physicians and patients.
She is the past president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and she currently serves on scientific panels of the National Academy of Sciences, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation. Dr. Reyna is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science, and four divisions of APA.
Sandra B. Chapman, PhD, is the founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, The University of Texas at Dallas.
Dr. Chapman's research as a cognitive neuroscientist, spanning 25 years, is devoted to better understanding how to maximize higher order reasoning, critical thinking, and innovation across the lifespan, and how to protect and heal cognitive brain function from brain injuries and diseases.
Dr. Chapman is actively involved in public policy to address brain health and to discover ways to maximize cognitive brain function from youth through adulthood. Her research reveals that the middle school years represent a pivotal window for developing reasoning skills. Her team has developed ways to measure and advance these skills to address the growing decline in teen reasoning capacity through administering evidenced-based cognitive training programs.
Dr. Chapman coined the term Brainomics© to represent the economics of brain power — our greatest economic asset and cost burden — developed at school and in the workplace, for better or worse. With more than 125 publications and 30 funded research grants, her research spans the age spectrum from studies that establish ways to advance teen reasoning to protocols that enhance cognitive brain function into late life.
Michael R. Dougherty, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology, Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, University of Maryland.
Dr. Dougherty's work focuses on the fundamental bases of judgment and decision making, cognitive plasticity, and the emergence of cognitive ability, and how these capacities interrelate. His research spans such topics as human factors, limitations of attention and working memory, memory search and retrieval, and hypothesis generation and probability judgment. This research involves an integrative approach that implements mathematical and computational modeling, behavioral experiments, and eye-tracking methodologies.
His recent work applies neuroimaging techniques to understanding cognitive adaptation and retraining, collaborating with members of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program. Dr. Dougherty also collaborates with researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language on projects related to improving language comprehension and cognitive ability.
He has received numerous scientific awards, including the Hillel Einhorn New Investigator Award from the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and the early investigator CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.
Jere Confrey, PhD, is the Joseph D. Moore Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education at North Carolina State University and a senior scholar at the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.
Dr. Confrey is building diagnostic assessments of rational number reasoning using a learning trajectories approach. She is a member of the Validation Committee for the Common Core State Standards, and was vice chairman of the Mathematics Sciences Education Board, National Academy of Sciences (1998–2004).
She chaired the National Research Council (NRC) Committee that produced On Evaluating Curricular Effectiveness, and she was a coauthor of the NRC's Scientific Research in Education. She was also a cofounder of the UTEACH Program at the University of Texas in Austin, the largest secondary teacher education program for mathematics and science teachers at a research university. She was the founder of the SummerMath program for young women at Mount Holyoke College and cofounder of SummerMath for Teachers Program.
She coauthored the software Function Probe, Graph N Glyphs and sets of interactive diagrams. She has served as vice-president of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education; chair of the Special Interest Group — Research in Mathematics Education; on the editorial boards of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, International Journal for Computers in Mathematics Learning, and Cognition and Instruction; and on the Research Committee of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Dr. Confrey has taught school at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels.