Our emotional intelligence grows as we grow, but our brain doesn’t fully mature our emotional intelligence until we reach adolescence.

According to new research, a mysterious group of neurons have surfaced in the amygdala (one of the emotion control centers in the brain), that rapidly mature once one hits puberty. These cells are some of the very last to mature within the brain (“Mood neurons mature,” 2019).

“During childhood and adolescence…the amygdala continues to expand by as many as two neurons, a late growth spurt that researchers believe is likely to play a key role in human emotional development, and which may go awry in neurodevelopment disorders.” (“Mood neurons mature,” 2019).

It’s been found that this rapidly expanding neural growth during adolescence isn’t present in children with autism or mood disorders, which could be key in explaining why these disorders have such a negative effect on emotional intelligence and processing (“Mood neurons mature,” 2019).

“From birth to age 13, the number of immature cells declines from approximately 90 percent to just under 70 percent, but by the end of adolescence, only about 20 percent of PL cells [which determine emotional intelligence] remain immature,” (“Mood neurons mature,” 2019).

These cells help the brain sculpt ones image of the world; as one reaches adolescence, they are often experiencing new environments and new social situations to continue to shape their perspective of the world (“Mood neurons mature,” 2019).

Reference: University of California – San Francisco. (2019, June 24). Mood neurons mature during adolescence: Late-maturing amygdala neurons may play role in emotional development, mood disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 14, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190624111530.htm

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