Peer pressure is a powerful influence on adolescent decision-making. What is it about the brains of teenagers that makes it so important to be liked, and to go along with the crowd?
Peer influence is one of the major factors driving what we think of as core teenage behaviours, such as risk-taking, participation in fandoms, and tribalism. But what is it about the structure of the brain and how it changes during this period of life that makes a teenager's peer group so important? And is peer pressure an exclusively negative process, encouraging risky and inauthentic behaviour?
Dr. Wouter van den Bos is the Director of the Connected Minds Lab in Amsterdam, where he studies how learning and decision-making are impacted by changes in the brain, particularly where someone's social environment meets the developmental processes happening in their body. Wouter joins us in The Garden to get under the skin of why teenagers care so much about what everybody else thinks.
The Teenage Brain