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Speaker Professor Sarah Jayne Blakemore delivers Zoom presentation on the teenage brain

Speaker Professor Sarah Jayne Blakemore delivers Zoom presentation on the teenage brain

On Wednesday 19 May, parents at our Senior School were treated to an online talk and Q&A session by Professor Sarah Jayne Blakemore on the teenage brain.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is Professor of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK, and leader of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group. Her group's research focuses on the development of social cognition and decision making in the human adolescent brain, and adolescent mental health. Her group runs behavioural studies in schools and in the lab, as well as neuroimaging studies, with adolescents and adults. You can read more about the group and their research here.

Professor Blakemore is Chair of the Royal Society of Biology Education and Science Policy Committee. She is an editor at Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and on the advisory board of The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. Her distinguished research career and the prizes it has received is testament to the work she has undertaken in this field, and we are delighted she was able to give of her time to our community once more.

"I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the presentation by Professor Blakemore.

The Q&A at the end was particularly useful as its reassuring to know that you are not alone when negotiating the bumpy path with a teenage daughter!" Current parent

Our own students have taken part in her research in the past and indeed have gone on to work in the team which supports this work, so the school's relationship is both that of interested participants as well as recipients of the research outcomes-along with our parents who have benefitted from Professor Blakemore's talks in the past.

Her talk looked at how studies over the last 20 years have discovered how the teenage brain develops, the impact that the onset of mental health concerns have at this stage of development, risk-taking behaviours and the influence peers have on teenage behaviours. Her work on the need for peer validation or fear of rejection is very interesting when thinking about the relationships our students develop over time and the importance peers have during this stage of life. 

Understanding the changes which your daughter's brain is undergoing during this key stage in her development is the first step to being able to support her and we hope that this talk gave an initial insight into this fascinating field of study which has practical benefits for us all.