Tag Archives: Impulse Control

Freaky Friday: Half A Brain

by Richard

It really is true, dudes. Your teenager really does have only half a brain. And guess who gets to be the other half? Not really a question there. It’s us. Wheeee!

I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating: young dudes and dudettes have brains. No, really. It’s true. The problem comes in that they’re not fully developed. For a long, long time.

This from a recent column by Lisa Duran, a retired high-school guidance counselor, and trauma and grief specialist.

Dr. Jeffery Georgi, a consulting associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine, gave a six-hour presentation as training for trauma and loss therapists at the Trauma and Loss in Children Institute’s national assembly in July. Dr. Georgi’s specialty is adolescent brain research — specifically, how the brain handles substance abuse and trauma.

Dr. Georgi and other researchers have shown that the brain has two periods of major neuron growth: the second trimester in utero and between the ages of 6 and 10.

However, during adolescence, the brain — which weighs 3 pounds and contains over 150 billion (yes, with a “b”) neurons — actually streamlines itself and weeds out excess. It is developing cleaner and more direct pathways, which make it a more efficient and effective working organ.

Dopamine, the brain’s neurotransmitter that is involved in pleasure-seeking behavior, and that Georgi calls the novelty-seeking neurotransmitter, is going wild during this time of pruning and rewiring. Which might go a long way toward explaining things like thinking it’s a good idea to jump off a roof holding only an umbrella. And, no, that’s not a cliché. It’s experience.

This means that adolescents are driven to seek novelty and activity and, yes, pleasure. But they also are driven to learn.

Many teachers and parents will argue vehemently with that last statement, but it’s true. Teenagers are driven to learn. Maybe not what we want them to learn, but they are driven to seek activity, novelty, pleasure and learning.

That really is true. The problem comes in when we realize that, left alone, they’re going to be learning killer new moves in that video game, or how to sneak a bong into their room. That is, they’ll be learning stuff we don’t want them to learn.

That’s why we, as parents, need to be there to guide them into learning useful things (like how much fun it is taking out the garbage), or at least things that won’t actively harm them. And we need to do that sort of thing for a long while.

Brain research also clearly shows that this marvelous organ grows and develops from the back to the front, and the front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, is where judgment, evaluation, decision-making, impulse control and a bunch of other great stuff that we consider “mature” is housed. This prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until the age of 25.

Yep, we got a long way to go. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Share on Facebook

Dude Review: The Incredible Hercules: The Mighty Thorcules

by Richard

I’m going to keep reviewing these until at least one of you drops by the comments section to let me know that you actually bought a collection of the best comic book being published today. And, no, that’s not damning with faint praise. I love The Incredible Hercules: The Mighty Thorcules. It pushes all my buttons. It’s got humor, mythology, humor, butt kicking and smart alekry up the wazzoo. In short, it’s incredible. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Oh, yeah. And this collection has the best sound effect ever committed to paper. Take a look.

Come on! How can you not love the purple nurple of the gods?

Let me explain. For reasons too complicated to go into right now, the Incredible Hercules has to pose as his rival, the Mighty Thor (hence the title) and, this being a superhero comic, the two get into a fight. Now, Thor isn’t used to fighting bare chested. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem. But, see, Hercules isn’t above fighting dirty to win and is willing to give out a purple nurple (notice the sound effect “nurp” is, in fact, purple).

Being a serialized comic book, this could be a bit confusing, if it weren’t for the fact that The Incredible Hercules has the most inventive and fun recap pages ever speeding people up to brought. Basically, Herc has to impersonate Thor to stop an invasion of Earth by some particularly dire elves. Things do not go as planned and Thor has to impersonate Herc to stop the whole thing. Once again, things do not go as planned.

Dude! That hurts just looking at it.

Thor, normally one of the most noble fair-fightingest of the Marvel universe takes well to playing the part of Hercules. Perhaps too well. And, of course, notice the sound effect which, if sounded out, will sound suspiciously like nut crack. Hmm. Wonder where they got the idea for that sound effect? (To get a better look at this and the next picture, make with the clicky to enlargen.) [What? That’s a word, right?]

In the series, Herc has been accompanied by a young genius named Amadeus Cho, the seventh-smartest person on the planet. And someone who has even worse impulse control than the notoriously scatterbrained Hercules. In alternating issues, this collection follows Cho as he tries to find out what really happened when his parents were killed.

He’s looking for the man who planted the bomb, not so much for revenge, but to find out if his sister is really alive and, if so, where she is. When Cho finally does find the mastermind behind his personal tragedy, he’s confronted by an aged, bitter and more than slightly insane version of himself and forced into a no-win, life-or-death situation. His solution to the dilemma is uniquely his own.

Because this is a comic book, I wanted to say a little bit about the art. Reilly Brown on the epic Thorcules arc is absolutely fantastic. I mean, you get the expressions you’ve been hoping for when someone describes the action. While Rodney Buchemi doesn’t quite reach those heights on the Amadeus Cho sections, it still does a nice job of telling the story.

In all, I’ll give this book five (5) dudes out of five. It’s, sorry again, incredible. Go out and buy it now. Read it and laugh.

Otherwise. . . Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be you.Let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

Or your underwear.

Share on Facebook