Recent neuroimaging research has encouraged a fundamental shift in psychological thinking about cognitive development in adolescence. Challenging the existing view that early childhood was the most critical period for intellectually hard-wiring the brain, findings led researchers to speculate that early adolescence might be the more important use-it-or-lose-it period. Despite cautions from critics and some neuroscientists themselves, the new story seems to be following its predecessor in acquiring the status of hard fact. An eclectic sampling of texts examines possible implications of the penetration of this hypothesis into educational discourse. Elements of classism and adultism are identified, and considered with reference to contemporary understandings of adolescence as a period when lifelong habits and lifestyles are established.
Payne, M. A. (2010). “Use-It-or-Lose-It”? Interrogating an Educational Message from Teen Brain Research. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35(5). https://doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2010v35n5.6