Introduction:
Until recently, it was thought that human brain development was all over by early childhood but research in the last decade has shown that the adolescent brain is still changing into early adulthood. This programme delves inside the teenage brain, hears from an expert and teaches some useful vocabulary along the way to stretch your own brain!

This week’s question

There have always been teenagers, but when was the word ‘teenager’ first used to refer to the 13 – 19 age group? Was it:

a) the 1920s
b) the 1930s
c) the 1950s

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

Vocabulary

adolescence
the period in someone’s life when they are developing from a child to an adult

papers
published scientific research

dogma
a set of beliefs that are strongly held and which are not challenged

prefrontal cortex
an important part of the brain involved in many complex mental actions like planning and personality

cognitive tasks
mental activities that we consciously have to think about like making plans and taking decisions

adolescent
the adjective to describe behaviour of someone who is in adolescence. Also, the noun for someone who is in adolescence

Do download a transcript and the audio, visit our website

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35 Comments

Nghĩa Hà

May 22, 2020

I can’t download the transcript :3 could sb give me it? Many thanks

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Dr Qaiser Khattak

May 22, 2020

I love you both,
How interestingly you both are 'feeding' our mind with new vocabulary.. 😍😍😍

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Pradeep Tudu

May 22, 2020

I'm in love with the British English… Thanks for all the videos…

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Mohamed Abdelaziz

May 22, 2020

That really was one of the useful materials about adolescence and adult's brain.

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jiang coco

May 22, 2020

really like bbc learning English.. helps me a lot in improving my English.. Thank you all

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Shivang Acharya

May 22, 2020

Wow thanks for the information bbc

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Kavita Sood

May 22, 2020

First thing with morning tea

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Xavier143 Menvin

May 22, 2020

Your Chanel helping to improve my English knowledge….. Thank you..

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L.K.S Trips

May 22, 2020

Thx

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Camila Rosa Kavanagh

May 22, 2020

my English is flying now guys thank you very much.

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Marisa Mazzoli

May 22, 2020

This is advanced English and so well spoken. I like BE.

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TRIBHUVAN KUMAR

May 22, 2020

definitely really really such a huge help full this BBC news learning everyday thank this company……I wish

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Changing the world

May 22, 2020

Thank you for your efforts sir and mam ❤️ ❤️ 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 🙏 🙏

Reply

Lina Al-fatlawi

May 22, 2020

Thank you very much, I really enjoy your videos because they are simple and enjoyable 😊❤️.

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Thảo Phương Trần

May 22, 2020

how can i have a full transcript?

Reply

Krishna Kumar

May 22, 2020

It would be very helpful if videos are made on job interviews, group discussion and public speech.
I like the way u explain.

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Krishna Kumar

May 22, 2020

BBC helping me a lot to improve my English. Thanks a lot.

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tha vongphom

May 22, 2020

transcripts pls

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Sehr Ahmed

May 22, 2020

My brain was too weak in that adolence period. This video is amazing really helpful

Reply

Mawee English

May 22, 2020

hopefully this video can improve my listening without seeing your faces guys 😁

Reply

Mawee English

May 22, 2020

mmm when I was teenager, I did love to bother someone, untill right now, but just a lil bit 😁

Reply

Thanh-Hai Nguyen

May 22, 2020

Yes another excuse to not make my homework thx 😋😂

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Toto540

May 22, 2020

6 minutes is my favorite content in this chanel. It helps me to improve my listening skills. Thanks a lot !

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মোঃ মনিরুজ্জামান

May 22, 2020

please provides subtitles along with these videoes

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Dũng Bạch Việt

May 22, 2020

A great material for learning english. Thank you so much BBC Learning English !

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Hoa lê thị mai

May 22, 2020

Good

Reply

tgchan

May 22, 2020

Thank you.

Reply

Salwa Al Hayek

May 22, 2020

Really thank you tooo much l listen it many times without reading you'r first baragraf of explaning and I will try to translat it by writing is that's good .. please advise me…I thankful

Reply

ergoktasenes

May 22, 2020

Transcript 

Note: This is not a word for word transcript 

Neil
Hello. This is 6 Minute English, I'm Neil.

Rob
And I'm Rob.

Neil
What do you remember of your teenage years?

Rob
Oh, I was a nightmare. I was rude to my parents, always stayed out late, never did my homework, hung out with the wrong people and made lots of bad decisions. How about you, Neil?

Neil
Well, much the same really. People always say that about teenagers, don’t they? That they go through a period where they are out of control and behave badly. But apparently, it’s not their fault. At least not directly.

Rob
So whose fault is it?

Neil
Our brains’, apparently. Teenagers’ brains are still developing in areas that control behaviour, which could mean that you can’t blame them for acting the way they do. Before we find out more, let’s have our question. There have always been teenagers, but when was the word ‘teenager’ first used to refer to the 13 – 19 age group? Was it:

a) the 1920s

b) the 1930s

c) the 1950s

Any ideas, Rob?

Rob

Well, I think it came along around the time of rock and roll, so that would have made it the 1950s. That’s my guess.

Neil
I'll have the answer later in the programme. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore from University College London specialises in the workings of the brain, particularly the teenage brain. Recently she was a guest on the BBC Radio programme, The Life Scientific. She explained that the understanding that the brain is still developing during the teenage years is quite new. When does she say the first research came out?

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
The first study showing that the human brain undergoes this very substantial and significant development throughout adolescence and into the twenties; the first papers were published in the late 90s. Before that, and for example when I was at university, the dogma in the text books was that the vast majority of brain development goes on in the first few years of life and nothing much changes after mid-childhood. That dogmais completely false.

Neil

So when did the research into the teenage brain come out?

Rob
Surprisingly, it wasn’t until the late 1990s. This was when she said that the first papers on this subject were published. Papers in this context means the results of scientific research which are published.

Neil
And she didn’t actually talk about teenagers, did she?

Rob
No, that’s right. She talked about the period of adolescence. This noun, adolescence, is the period when someone is developing from a child into an adult and it more or less is the same as the teenage years.

Neil
What I found interesting was that before the 1990s people believed something different about the way our brains develop.

Rob
Yes, Professor Blakemore said that the dogmahad been that our brains are mostly fully developed in early childhood, long before adolescence. Dogma is a word used to describe a strong belief that people are expected to accept as true.

Neil
So our brains are still developing much later than was originally thought. What does this tell us about teenage behaviour? Of particular interest is an important part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. Here is Professor Blakemore again. What excuse can she give for teenagers who don’t get their homework done in time?

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain right at the front, just behind the forehead and it’s involved in a whole range of very high-level cognitive tasks such as decision making and planning – we know that this region is undergoing very very large amounts of development during the adolescent years. And so in terms of the expectations that we place on teenagers to, for example, plan their homework, it might be too much given that we know that the region of the brain that critically involved in planning is not developed yet.

Neil
So the prefrontal cortex is important in cognitive tasks. What are those, Rob?

Rob
A cognitive task is one that requires conscious thinking and processing, such as making decisions and planning. It doesn’t happen automatically, you have to think about it. So in the adolescent years this part of the brain is not fully developed. Note the adjective form here of the noun we had earlier adolescence.

Neil
So this gives a good excuse for not doing your homework!

Rob
Ha, ha, I wish I’d known that. I used to say that I’d left my homework on the bus or that the dog had eaten it. Now I could say, "Sorry sir, my brain isn’t developed enough for the cognitive task of planning my homework".

Neil
Yes, I’m sure that would work! Before we wrap up, time to get the answer to this week’s question. I asked when was the word ‘teenager’ first used to refer to the 13 – 19 age group? Was it:

a) the 1920s

b) the 1930s

c) the 1950s

Rob, you said?

Rob
I guessed c) 1950s

Neil
The answer is actually b) the 1930s. Very well done if you knew that. Now a quick review of today’s vocabulary.

Rob
Adolescence is the noun for the period of change from child to adult and the adjective is adolescent – this same word is also the noun for someone who is in that teenage period.

Neil
So an adolescent might be responsible for adolescent behaviour in his or her adolescence.

Rob

Exactly.

Neil
Papers is the word for published scientific research.

Rob
Dogma is strongly held beliefs that are not challenged.

Neil
The prefrontal cortex is an important part of the brain which deals with cognitive tasks.

Rob
And cognitive tasks are mental processes that require active thought and consideration, such as planning and making decisions.

Neil
Well my decision making skills tell me that it’s time to finish.

Rob
Well, your skills are working well Neil. We may be going now but you don't need to – you can listen or watch us again and find lots more learning English materials on our social media platforms. You can also visit our website at bbclearningenglish.com.

Neil
See you soon, goodbye.


Rob

Bye!

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Tâm Nguyễn

May 22, 2020

I really like the woman's voice in this audio. Is her voice British's?

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bahadur mo78

May 22, 2020

Hi

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Rahi Shah

May 22, 2020

Excellent work it's a platform to learn English superb

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ladakh hiker

May 22, 2020

My prefrontal cortex is not developed well yet , it's because i don't understand what to do in life . I am not a teenager any more ,but still I feel something extremely blocked me to know how to make a decision in day to day life .
Any ideas?

Reply

Ueslei Rodrigues

May 22, 2020

Thanks for your videos, I need to improve my English.
I want to understand a little bit more

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أحلام الرشيد

May 22, 2020

What I like about your channel it's helpful to learn English and to increase my general info about life 👍

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