Teens may use this new skill to ruminate about what others are thinking of them.
In particular, peer approval has been shown to be highly rewarding to the teen brain, Johnson said, which may be why teens are more likely to take risks when other teens are around."Kids are really concerned with looking cool — but you don't need brain research to tell you that," she said.
But they are not good at using them yet, so they must experiment — and sometimes they use their parents as guinea pigs.
Many kids this age view conflict as a type of self-expression and may have trouble focusing on an abstract idea or understanding another's point of view.
Consider the following list a survival guide of sorts to raising your teens, or at least to understanding them a little better..
And just as a teen may go through an awkward growth spurt, new cognitive skills and competencies may come in leaps and stutters, said Sheryl Feinstein, author of Inside the Teenage Brain: Parenting a Work in Progress (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009.)Parents should understand that no matter how tall their son has sprouted or how grown-up their daughter dresses, "they are still in a developmental period that will affect the rest of their life," Johnson told Live Science.
Keep going to learn about how the brain develops (scroll up and click "Next")Scientists used to think only infants have an overabundance of neuronal connections, which are "pruned" into a more efficient arrangement over the first three years of life.
But brain imaging studies, such as one published in 1999 in Nature Neuroscience, have discovered that a second burst of neuronal sprouting happens right before puberty, peaking at about age 11 for girls and 12 for boys.
Due to the increase in brain matter, the teen brain becomes more interconnected and gains processing power, Johnson said.
Just as when dealing with the tantrums of toddlerhood, parents need to remember their teen's behavior is "not a personal affront," Johnson said.