Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Research shows teen pleasure-seeking is organic in origin

See also

Higher levels of pleasure sensation in teens were related to higher levels of brain activity in the brain’s pleasure center in response to rewards by new research conducted by Emily Barkley-Levenson and Adriana Galván at the University of California Los Angeles that was published in the Jan. 13, 2014, edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers compared the responses of 19 adults and 22 adolescents to a reward involved in a gambling task. Each run of the gambling scenario involved the opportunity to win 50 percent of the time and to lose 50 percent of the time. Money was used as a reward because money means more to teens than it does to adults because teens have a lower ability to obtain money than adults.

Adolescents demonstrated much higher levels of nerve activity in the ventral striatum that adults did despite the resulting rewards being almost identical.

The researchers indicate that the organic development of the ventral striatum in adolescents has not achieved the number of neural connections that exist in adult brains. The researchers offer this physical explanation for the higher level of reaction in teens to a reward than the reaction of adults to the same reward.

The organic basis of reward seeking in teens could be extended to teen sexual indulgence, the use of alcohol and drugs, and the overuse of technology like cell phones and texting. Equivalent behaviors in adults may be the result of the same lack of organic neural development.



  • Mt. Everest avalanche
    Disaster strikes Mt. Everest as at least 12 people were killed in an avalanche
    Watch Video
  • Most Earthlike planet discovered
    The Kepler telescope has discovered the most Earthlike, possibly habitable planet yet
    Space News
  • Easter crosses create debate
    Easter crosses spark a debate of separation of church and state in Ohio
  • Chelsea Clinton is preggers
    Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child
  • Stanley Cup playoffs
    The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup is on, don't miss a minute of playoff action
  • Ukraine discussed amongst U.S., E.U., Russia
    The U.S., E.U. and Russia agree on ways to diffuse the tension in Ukraine
    Watch Video

Related Videos:

  • Purchase Your Pair of Google Glass Today
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518193403" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Camp Invention
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Stanford scientists Matthew Kanan and Christina Li have created an oxide-derived copper catalyst that converts carbon monoxide to ethanol.
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518178005" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!