Authors:Kornelia N. Balogh, Linda C. Mayes and Marc N. Potenza
Decision-making and risk-taking behavior undergo developmental changes during adolescence. Disadvantageous decision-making and increased risk-taking may lead to problematic behaviors such as substance use and abuse, pathological gambling and excessive internet use.
Based on MEDLINE searches, this article reviews the literature on decision-making and risk-taking and their relationships to addiction vulnerability in youth.
Decision-making and risk-taking behaviors involve brain areas that undergo developmental changes during puberty and young adulthood. Individual differences and peer pressure also relate importantly to decision-making and risk-taking.
Brain-based changes in emotional, motivational and cognitive processing may underlie risk-taking and decision-making propensities in adolescence, making this period a time of heightened vulnerability for engagement in addictive behaviors.