A biological reason for teen laziness?

Here’s a fascinating article I bumped into on Newsday that, while it doesn’t directly apply to us since our oldest is only 7 1/2, eventually will:

Biological Reason for Teen Laziness

If you’re a teenager, don’t read this. Federal scientists may have
discovered a biological excuse for laziness.

Studies conducted on adolescents and young adults show significant
differences between the two age groups in the brain region that governs
“drive,” the internal momentum to work for a reward.


The article continues:

This region, barely active in adolescence, apparently comes into its own in
the early 20s.

Scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism used
brain scans to test whether the developing teenage brain is any different
from the mature brain of an adult when faced with an opportunity to make money.

James Bjork and colleagues found that as adults worked to make money in a
research task, their brains experienced an increase in blood flow and
volume in the nucleus accumbens, a region deep in the middle of the brain.

“We actually see the anticipation for winning,” Bjork said.

In contrast, adolescents between ages 12 and 17 who performed the same
research task had half the blood flow and volume in this region, Bjork said.

“We have got to take seriously how big these developmental differences
are,” said Dr. Hans Breiter, director of motivation, emotion and
neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital. “This is a beautiful piece
of work.”

You can learn more, and read the entire article, at Newsday.com.

11 comments on “A biological reason for teen laziness?

  1. i am intrested in this subject alot,i had a stroke at the age of 19 im 22 now and i have gained 150lbs from being where i just dont feel like moving .how do i get off my rear, and get myself motvated ??? i have no serious side affects from the stroke.
    p.s. help

  2. Eighteen year olds can move out of their parents’ home and force their parents, by law, to pay for food, clothing, and housing.
    New York is the only State in the Union that requires parents to support young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. Parents have no rights over their children after the age of eighteen, but are required to pay for support. An eighteen year old can sue their parents in Family Court for support.
    All eighteen year olds should be put on notice of this law so that the Legislature wakes up and is forced to change this law. This is typical of New York’s permissive attitude that allows youth and adults to entitlements without obligation.

  3. Life brings you exactly what you need.
    I make no apologies for this and I know it may upset some of you and some of you may leave and that is fine, but if feels it needs to be said.
    I see so much blame in the world, so much anger and resentment aimed towards our children that it sickens me. So many of us are trying to mould our children to our expectations rather than allowing them to be who they are, medicating children that we cannot control and so on. I think we have forgotten the most important lesson yet – that our children come to teach us. Life brings us exactly what we need so that we can learn what we need to learn. One of my children is very sensitive and artistic. Now I can be very insensitive and I find her outbursts a real challenge, but I know she is here to teach me humility and respect for others. My smallest is angry and competitive and quite a challenge when she gets her head on. She is here to teach me co-operation and justice. This allows me to look at all they do in a different light and ask what my lesson is, so I don’t blame, I don’t try to fix. I just support them with their learning and in turn teach myself. So what do you think your child is here to teach you?

  4. Do procrastination and laziness go hand in hand? I am perplexed, as I have five children, 4 boys and 1 girl (16-1/2) now and the boys are all grown but in growing up they did not exhibit laziness nor procrastination, however, my daughter is totally the opposite. She procrastinates everything thing and literally is a pig. Her room is not just messy it is filthy. She doesn’t let me in her room and everytime we move, it is so bad that it literally depresses me. She always promises to never let it get this way again, but within just a few weeks, it becomes so messy and dirty that it takes her 2-3 days to clean it up. I am so frustrated all the time. She doesn’t clean up anything as she goes, she is like a child, everthing goes on the floor. I wanted to find out more about why people procrastinate and are lazy. I am completely different from her. I raised her to be different, so I thought, but she has almost always been this way. Does anyone have any ideas?

    • Hi Dianne, it has been 6 years since your post, could you solve your daughters problems? How is she? Did you get help; I would like to know what happened 6 years later, if you could write me a short response I would appreciate it; In case you didn’t find a solution, I might give you some advices.

      Bests,
      Sebastian Müller

  5. Sarah… It is lovely that your children are teaching you… what exactly are you teaching them? Are you supportive if they decide that drugs are the way to go? …What about if they decide to quit school and not get a job? I think you need to open your eyes and realise that there are some tough decisions to be made if you would like to keep your children alive, and if you would like that life to be meaningful to them (not you)!

  6. Teenagers are sooo lazy. Everything they do, from the time they wake up in the morning until they go to bed at night. Their laziness has resulted in sky- rocketing obesity rates among Australian teenagers. They spend up to 4 hours along watching the television and even mor time on the computer.
    Please help, i have an 18 year old boy and a 14 year olf girl, they are both overweight, lazy and sit on the computer and watch TV all day. I have tried everything you can think of to help them, but nothing seems to work.

  7. I haven’t found my 13yo or my 16yo to be lazy at all! My son gets up every morning around 6:30, does his chores, eats breakfast, goes for a bikeride and gets most of his lessons finished by 11AM. (We homeschool.) He has begun to take naps during the day. Maybe because we homeschool, he can rest and move about as his body requires rather than pushing himself so be still or stay awake according to others’ requirements…?? My daughter needs to be reminded in order to be kept on track, but she’s a very enthusiastic little thing and shows no hesitation about getting going on a task when her attention is brought toward it.

  8. i am a teenage girl , i dont believe of what they are saying is, about tenage laziness.Not all teenegers are desame ,it is not about the age.Yes i believe you that adult’s brain is different from us teenager because they are mature enaugh compared us,but talking about the lazyness? I disagree.Its not about the age it is about our personal behavior ,based on our experience ,lifestyle ,parental guidance and environment you grown.

  9. Teenagers differ from adults in the sense that their biological clocks are different. Teenagers need around 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night, whereas adults only need around 7. Also, daily life and the working day is build around adults and their sleeping habits. Because of a teenagers biological clock, they are tired all day and this could be seen as being “lazy” The time that they are most awake and at their peak is at night, which makes it hard for them to sleep. So it is a continuous circle, they wake up tired, feel exhausted all day, wake up more at night, cant sleep, resulting in them being tired the next morning. So maybe it isn’t being “lazy” that’s a problem but just the fact that teenagers cant control their biological clocks and cant help when they are feeling tired and just want to sleep or binge watch the television.

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