Researchers from Emory University in Atlanta looked into the links between brain development and risk-taking behaviour in a sample of 91 teenagers. They used a technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure the development of white matter in the teenagers' brains. White matter is the part of the brain that connects neurons to each other and it becomes denser and more organized as the brain matures. The study found that risk-taking was associated with more highly-developed white matter. It could be that engaging in risky behaviour and coping with tricky situations helps the brain to develop, or that those teenagers with more highly-developed brains are keener to engage in adult activities.
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