Teenage Brains "Lack" Empathy

rockthecasbah

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
2,395
2
Moorestown, NJ
Link.

Apparently the author of this story lacks a brain since "underuse" doesn't constitute the term "lacking" altogether. :mad: As a sensitive teen, I take offense to this alegation by the author with such a blatantly wrong title. I truly feel guilty about so many things, even taking money from my parents and upsetting people.It is rather interesting though, especially the details of the different brain usage between teens and adults...
 

monke

macrumors 65816
May 30, 2005
1,438
2
I absolutely hate things such as this survey. They pick a 'selected' handful of people and write a 'general' conclusion about them. What does this mean to others that are outside of this handful? That they are now 'general' or 'lazy' or in this case 'lack empathy'. Sure maybe 75% of the teen population is could be 'lazy' or 'lack empathy' but that other 15% I could gaurantee doesn't. I read somewhere that no two people are the same. The author obviosly doesn't know this. C'mon, you're saying the every single person on this planet between the ages of 13 and 19 lack empathy. Get Real. Again it goes back to the handful of people the surveyed, or in this matter, simply 'guessed' and 'think' that 100% of the teenage population lacks empathy.
 

freebooter

macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2005
1,253
0
Daegu, South Korea
Seems to make sense. One can't over-generalize though. I know some very empathetic kids, and some brutally self-centered adults.

@rockthecasbah: lack means

1. to be without; have no.
and
2. to have not enough; need.

The latter is the way in which the author used the word.
 

CoMpX

macrumors 65816
Jun 29, 2005
1,242
0
New Jersey
I think the title is misguided, but he does make a point. It's possible that teenagers use less of certain parts of the brain than adults, but that doesn't mean all teens don;t feel guilt. That's just stupid to say we are "incapable" of feeling guilt.

By the way monke, check your math. You have 10% unaccounted for. :p
 

monke

macrumors 65816
May 30, 2005
1,438
2
CoMpX said:
By the way monke, check your math. You have 10% unaccounted for. :p
Thanks for that. To busy typing. Those 10% are the 'forgotten ones' if anyone asks. The ones that 'think different'. You see where I'm going :p
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,241
1
Washington D.C
rockthecasbah said:
Link.

Apparently the author of this story lacks a brain since "underuse" doesn't constitute the term "lacking" altogether. :mad: As a sensitive teen, I take offense to this alegation by the author with such a blatantly wrong title. I truly feel guilty about so many things, even taking money from my parents and upsetting people.It is rather interesting though, especially the details of the different brain usage between teens and adults...

Come on..its not a law, but more of, it often happens. Like that Tall study, were tall people are normal smarter then short people. Not always true, but its common
 

GFLPraxis

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
7,101
404
These are the same kind of people that make me pay high insurance rates because I'm a male teenager, despite the fact that I'm unpopular because I don't do the stupid things the other teens do- they look at statistics and overgeneralize.

Ugh.

I would consider this a true statement:
"The majority of teenagers have less empathy than adults". I certainly do not; but to be honest, I consider a lot of teenagers around me to be rude and obnoxious and lacking in respect and empathy (and general intelligence in many cases, I know some people that have lit themselves on fire trying to do stupid things). But generalizing this to say that all "teenage brains lack empathy"? That ticks me off.
 

Felldownthewell

macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2006
1,053
0
Portland
I find this irritating not because it generalizes about teens and stops just short of calling them shortsighted and stupid, but because it presents an excuse for teens to have no empathy. One of the very first lines is "If you ever sense teenagers are not taking your feelings into account, it's probably because they're just incapable of doing so." It is true that I have no scientific evidence to prove the study wrong, but in my experiance as a current teenager who sees more teens in one day than these scientists have seen since highschool, this report is just wrong. Of course there are teens lacking empathy, just as there are adults lacking it. There are adults far more shortsighted and lacking in empathy than most teens- I am willing to bet that there are more alcoholics, drug users, and gambling addicts who are over the age of 18.

I am not saying that teens are perfect or that no teens lack empathy (that notion is laughable). I am simply saying that this study generalizes far to much to be even remotely true.
 

Mr Skills

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2005
801
1
Just as with the "tall people = smarter" article (discussed in another thread) the problem here is poor reporting, not (necessarily) poor science.

The scientists are describing a general statistical trend that is interesting to them in mapping the development of the brain. The journalist is interpreting this as a specific, unchangeable relationship that can be used to judge individuals.

I don't think the journalist is being cynical - it's just not his/her area of expertise, and it's natural to interpret the study in a more exciting-sounding way. The real problem is that, for all the science schools teach, they don't teach what it actually *is* and how it works in a broad sense, and how to be critical of it.

.

.
 

kretzy

macrumors 604
Sep 11, 2004
7,923
0
Canberra, Australia
GFLPraxis said:
These are the same kind of people that make me pay high insurance rates because I'm a male teenager, despite the fact that I'm unpopular because I don't do the stupid things the other teens do- they look at statistics and overgeneralize.

Ugh.

I would consider this a true statement:
"The majority of teenagers have less empathy than adults". I certainly do not; but to be honest, I consider a lot of teenagers around me to be rude and obnoxious and lacking in respect and empathy (and general intelligence in many cases, I know some people that have lit themselves on fire trying to do stupid things). But generalizing this to say that all "teenage brains lack empathy"? That ticks me off.
I honestly couldn't have said it better my self! It really irritates and angers me that people are so willing to generalise and think that because I'm male and in a certain age group I'm going to be some moronic dote. :mad:
 

rockthecasbah

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
2,395
2
Moorestown, NJ
zap2 said:
Come on..its not a law, but more of, it often happens. Like that Tall study, were tall people are normal smarter then short people. Not always true, but its common
Well it's the [deceptive] title of the article that is iritating to me, not actually the contents itself (and in the same way as Felldownthewell). Because of the mulitple meanings of "lack" (described above), it can be used to make it seem that it's just flagging all teens of not having the brain capacity to be empathetic.

As for the word lack, freebooter, yes it can be used that way and i was wrong to say that it cannot, but it is nevertheless a poor choice simply because the different connotation it can take. I understand that articles are made to be seen, but if you are alleging untrue information it doesn't fly.
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,241
1
Washington D.C
rockthecasbah said:
Well it's the [deceptive] title of the article that is iritating to me, not actually the contents itself (and in the same way as Felldownthewell). Because of the mulitple meanings of "lack" (described above), it can be used to make it seem that it's just flagging all teens of not having the brain capacity to be empathetic.
.

Take it with a gain of salt, they used the title to get people to read it...
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
21,897
8,064
CT
This all comes down to one simple factor, Parental upbringing. A lot of teens are bright and smart and thoughtful, Then you have the ones that don't have a mind of their own and let everyone else decide for them. And finally you have the mindless I don't care what I do kids that are immature and don't know any better and are just punks that will blame everyone else for there problems.
 

ZoomZoomZoom

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2005
767
0
They have to make generalizations. It would be a corny title if they said, "Over 50% of teens' brains lack empathy." They need to get more readers, bring home the bacon :p

Certainly there are teenagers that use their prefontal cortex more than adults, but scientifically, it seems as if the vast majority of them don't. Being a late-teen (almost not a teen anymore) myself, I notice this in peers, especially those that are younger, in the 13-15 year old range.
 
C

CompUser

Guest
To be honest I agree with him slightly. I wouldn't apply it to all teenagers but some of my friends and some people I know can be quite nasty. I myself feel guilty over little things.
 

thedude110

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2005
2,478
2
Bobdude161 said:
I really could care less.
ezekielrage_99 said:
And I care why :confused:
I think you're mistaking empathy for apathy. ;)

But really. I had no idea that human beings were myopic while trying to figure out who the hell they are ...
 

Killyp

macrumors 68040
Jun 14, 2006
3,860
5
I agree with Erik.

Most people in my school (UK private school) are VERY cruel. I have seen someone get stabbed for being crying during their parent's break up, with a group of 20 other people laughing.

That was a one off, but stuff like that happens on a much smaller scale many many times a day. They just don't feel any compassion for others...


I'm the opposite, if someone else gets upset around me, I also get upset. Mind you though I do have a depression problem so it's pretty irrelevant but you see what I mean, it just means that some people have their stereotypical view of teenagers reinforced...
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
9,368
119
Los Angeles
To all the teens who are taking great offense I think you need to step back and stop being so defensive. The study isn't calling anyone stupid or retarded. It's merely stating something that's pretty obvious if you think about it. A typical teenage brain is not as developed as a typical adult brain. Which makes total since because teenagers (biologically speaking) are not yet fully developed mentally or physically. This is no more slighting than saying a typical 13yr old is physically weaker than a typical 30yr old.

As an aside, after a certain age (I can't remember what) your brain actually starts to shrink, but it doesn't effect your mental capacity because your brain just uses less "brain power" to accomplish the same amount of work. So you could say a typical 50yr old has a more efficient brain than a typical 20yr old, but that's not a slight against 20-somethings. It's just a factual observation of a specific aspect of the human body as it ages. Just like this study.


Lethal
 

ZoomZoomZoom

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2005
767
0
LethalWolfe said:
To all the teens who are taking great offense I think you need to step back and stop being so defensive.
Agreed, along with your reasoning for it.

But also, you should know who you are. If you are empathetic, then so you are. And if not, then not. Also, how do you know your thirty-year-old selves? Maybe you have empathy now as a teen, and maybe you'll develop even more when you get older. And that's a good thing.
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,241
1
Washington D.C
LethalWolfe said:
Which makes total since because teenagers (biologically speaking) are not yet fully developed mentally or physically. This is no more slighting than saying a typical 13yr old is physically weaker than a typical 30yr old.

Yup, and it doesn't means its true all the time(just like the Teen's brain lacking empathy)...there are some 30 years olds who are very weak, and I'm sure a strong 13 years old could take down. Also I'm sure there are 30 year olds who have less empathy then some teenagers
 

benthewraith

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2006
3,082
80
Miami, FL
OMG...:eek:

Hey, MSNBC, I'm emo, read it with me, EMO!!!! Sure I'm not the pale kid that wears dark colors, but I'm still EMO!! As in preppy emo!!

I demand an apology.