A Scientific Explanation For Why Teens Are So Darn Moody

Teen angst is not just a stereotype enforced by emo music videos and TV dramas. As anyone who’s ever been a teenager will tell you (hey, everyone), the rage is real. Pimples protrude, body odor happens and parents are truly terrible.

There’s actually a biological explanation for this adolescent moodiness. During puberty, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone are released in the body to foster sexual development. But these hormones also have another interesting effect: They cause teens to seek emotionally-charged experiences and also make run-of-the-mill experiences feel more intense.

This can result in dangerous consequences, like taking more risks (hello, speeding teenage drivers). But another side effect is like a special super power: Teenagers have a better ability to process and read facial expressions, which can help them understand their peers’ emotional experiences. In other words, adolescents are very in touch with feelings — both yours and their own.

You can learn more about why teens are the way they are in the AsapScience video above. It might help you better understand your kids when they’re acting seemingly irrational, and may you’ll even cut them a break.

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