crossposted from Wired:
Earlier this week, WBUR's Here and Now ran a a taped interview with me about "Beautiful Brains," my recent National Geographic article on teen brain and behavior. (You can listen to the interview here.) It's only six minutes long, but nicely edited to highlight, from a high-altitude evolutionary point of view, what distinguishes adolescence, when we peak in our pursuits of risk, novelty, and same-age peers even as our brains consolidate gains while remaining especially plastic. Not, as researcher Jay Giedd likes to say, a defective adult brain, but a nicely tuned teen brain. The show also squeezes in some Shakespeare, some fast driving, and a bit of Steve Jobs. Not bad for six minutes.
A couple of the write-ups about the show, however, carry headlines that make a mistake too often made about behavioral genetics:
I don't want to beat up too badly on these press releases; doubtless they were written quickly, and in any case the headlines are the worst of it. But perhaps because they were written quickly, they offer a teachable moment by embedding a common misconception. They mistake behaviors for traits.