Teens hardwired for risk taking behaviour

Nice little program on ABC last night ‘Whatever – the science of Teens’ which was all about how it is  scientifically proven that teens are chemically hardwired for risk taking behaviour. I used this argument as part of  my ICE APG paper back in 07. Some of the areas the program covered:

  • Teens avoid social risk at all costs, falling out with the tribe is always to be avoided
  • Maintaining their social reputation drives risk taking behaviour
  • They fear social isolation.
Teens are chemically hard wired to take risks

Teens are chemically hard wired to take risks

 When teens take physical risks, large amounts of the neuro chemical DOPAMINE are released from the brain. Dopamine is the feel good chemical and this fix gets them coming back for more. Drugs like ecstasy, Speed and particularly ICE releases masses amounts of dopamine, hence young people getting addicted on these drugs and also why many drug related comms strategies are based around ‘social isolation’ as this is the No.1 fear for teens.

So there is a chemical reason why a brand like Red Bull is one of the best youth brands in the world. They know that youth are hardwired for risk taking behaviour and seek social reward for this behaviour.  So being the brand leader in this space and inspiring youth with energy culture and risk taking behaviour (from moto x, x alps, freestyle skiing, surfing etc) they give youth a teen tribe to belong to, thereby delivering the ‘social reward’ of inclusion.


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