Teenage brain development in boys vs. girls

Psychologist & Author JoAnn Deak, PhD, explains how a child's brain develops in adolescence and what the developmental differences are between teen boys and girls
Teenage Brain Development in Boys vs Girls
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Teenage brain development in boys vs. girls

One of my favorite conversations about brains is differences between child brains and adolescent. And within each category, like adolescents, are there differences between an adolescent boy brain and an adolescent girl brain? There are. Again, there are exceptions. Not everybody. But the pattern is that two major parts of the brain are showing differences in adolescents - boys and girls. One, the pre-frontal cortex. That's the seat of decision making and organization. Organization is at an all-time low in adolescent boy brains. They just fall apart and look like puppies. And part of it is we see that growth pattern in adolescent boys hits a plateau. In girls it hits into gear. So we see a real difference in organization, decision-making, and judgment. Girls are about 2 years ahead of boys. The other area has to do with the back of the head called the corpus callosum. It's the bridge between the two halves and it has to do with very complicated, often complicated language thinking. So girls get much better at writing essays and things, and boys - even if they're brilliant - don't do as well in writing their thoughts until a little bit later. So those are the two major differences that are coming out in the literature.

Psychologist & Author JoAnn Deak, PhD, explains how a child's brain develops in adolescence and what the developmental differences are between teen boys and girls


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JoAnn Deak, PhD

Psychologist & Author

JoAnn Deak, PhD, has spent more than 30 years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or ‘neurosculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identify formation and brain research.

Dr. Deak has been an advisor to Outward Bound, a past chair of the National Committee for Girls and Women in Independent Schools, on the advisory board for the Center on Research for Girls (Laurel School), for the Seattle Girls’ School, Bromley Brook School, the Red Oak School, Power Play and GOAL. She consults with organizations and schools across the United States. Most recently, she has worked internationally with schools, organizations, associations and parent groups in every continent (except Antarctica!) She has been awarded the Woman of Achievement Award by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, was given the first Female Educator of the Year Award by Orchard House School, and the Outstanding Partner for Girls Award from Clemson University. She has been named the Visiting Scholar in New Zealand, the Visiting Scholar for Montessori Children’s House and has been the Resident Scholar for the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs for the past five years.

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