Study Shows Worms Have Teenage Ambivalence, Too

La Jolla, CA (Scicasts) — Anyone who has allowed a child to “help” with a project quickly learns that kids, no matter how intelligent or eager, are less competent than adults. Teenagers are more capable — but, as every parent knows, teens can be erratic and unreliable. And it’s not just in humans; obvious differences in behaviour and ability between juveniles and adults are seen across the animal kingdom. Now, Salk Institute scientists studying roundworms suggest that, in both worms and humans, adolescent brains mature to stable adult brains by changing which brain cells they use to generate behaviour. Teen worm brains drive wishy-washy behaviour that allows them to stay flexible in an uncertain world, while adult worm brains drive efficient behaviour. The discovery provides insight into the underlying drivers…


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