A recent study conducted by the University of Oregon shows that weaker working memory causes teenagers to engage in unprotected sex. The findings could help medical experts come up with solutions to diminish teenagers’ impulses and to determine them to have protected sex.
Professors at the University of Oregon noticed that some students have weaker memory capacity than others. They were particularly interested in determining the influence that this brain characteristic could have on their activity or day to day lifestyles.
For that matter, researchers have gathered a study group of 360 adolescents, whom they have observed for a two-year period to determine their memory capacities. The respondents belonged to the age categories of 12 and 15 years and they were purposefully selected from different ethnic groups and social strata.
During the two-year interval, respondents were asked to carry out various activities meant to measure their intellectual abilities. Results have helped scientists better distinguish between working memory and latent memory. Based on their declarations, working memory refers to the brain activity that enables people to recollect information and to use it in a specific moment.
Results have shown that some teenagers have weaker working memory than others and this aspect is not influenced by social or racial factors. Adolescents with weaker working memory are also the ones who quickly surrender to impulses without taking into consideration the long term consequences of their deeds.
Taking into consideration the exercises that students have carried out during the two-year experiment, scientists have concluded that weaker working memory causes teenagers to engage in unprotected sex.
These respondents showed little to no interest in unwanted effects of their actions; the majority of them declared themselves willing to have unprotected sexual intercourses. They did not care about possible unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. They were particularly interested in satisfying their momentary sexual drive, scientists have concluded.
Dan Romer, research director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania has welcomed scientists’ recent findings. In his opinion, future efforts should be made to improve the working memory of teenagers through exercises and activities.
By helping kids overcome their impulses, researchers can help them improve their overall activity and also, prevent them from having unprotected sex. Further studies will have to be carried out in the future to determine the best methods to improve students’ working memory.
The results of the study will be published in the medical journal Child Development.
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