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Deborah Hazen's picture

Is it the similar architecture or the pruning?

I haven't thought this through entirely, but we can find stories based on observations of the brain's maturation process (imaging and measuring gray matter volume) and adolescent behavior. Adolescent's tend to engage in some anti-social/risky behavior ---add in another piece of the story that is accelerated pruning of synapses that begins in adolescence and continues until the early 20s with pruning in the frontal (executive function, attention and motor coordination) and temporal lobes (areas that integrate these functions) occurring last.

Now, follow my leap of logic to Amish communities in which rumspringa is practiced. At 16, all the rules change for these kids---they are encouraged to explore and experiment in the modern world and hopefully return voluntarily to the Amish world. The kids choose a range of forms of experimentation from clothing, alcohol, marijuana smoking, and varying levels of sexual activity according to reports. Some do return to Amish life, and some do not. Some remain in their "culture of birth" and some make their way in an entirely different culture. Maybe the conforming to a culture isn't about a similarity in the underlying architecture, but a similarity in the pruning of the architecture?

 

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