Of Mice and Men: Studies Show Puberty Might Make You Dumber

Puberty—the wonderful stage of cracked voices, clothes that are too tight, profound changes in “body composition,” and a healthy dose of out-of-whack hormones. Now add stupidity to the list. In an interesting new study conducted by the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center, mice who were in the middle of puberty took a significantly longer time to complete a complex task compared to other prepubescent and post-pubescent mice. Professor Sheryl Smith concluded that a specific hormone released during times of great stress (read: puberty) affects a region of the brain called the hippocampus, the “seat” of learning. Another equally interesting study conducted by a San Diego State psychologist with actual teenagers concluded the same thing: teens at the onset of puberty (about age 11 for girls and age 12 for boys) take more time to complete a simple matching game.

Nothing is said about the relationship between mice and men (and women too). Yet the conclusions are the same: we get dumber. Thankfully, the effect doesn’t last long. As soon as the long winding road of puberty ends, our hormones become their jolly, happy little selves again. Now if only this would excuse my pathetic grade in French. [via Time.com]

Photo via TLC.discovery.com