Cognitive Markers of Adolescent Risk Taking: A Correlate of Drug Abuse in At-Risk Individuals

Rosemary Rosser, Sally Stevens, Bridget Ruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Behavioral traits associated with adolescent risk taking may be correlated with maturational events occurring in the brain. Adolescent brains are less developed than previously believed, particularly in prefrontal cortex, a region implicated in moderating behavior related to drug use. One indictor used to assess frontal lobe functioning is the Tower of Hanoi. The authors compared substance-involved adolescents with a control group of resilient youth on their Tower of Hanoi performance and detected significantly different error patterns across the two groups. Resilient youths made fewer moves and spent more time per move; their substance-involved counterparts made more moves and spent less time per move, a strategy that could be construed as impulsive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-96
Number of pages14
JournalThe Prison Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • adolescent substance abuse
  • frontal lobe functioning
  • impulsivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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