Teen brains get a closer look in ‘Inside Out 2.’ Here is what we all can learn

Madeline Holcombe

There is so much going on inside a teenage brain that Disney’s Pixar subsidiary made a whole movie about it.

“Inside Out 2” follows the main character, Riley, as she turns 13 and experiences all the emotional changes that come with puberty: more sensitivity, awareness of her place in her social circle, and a lot of anxiety.

In early teen years, the brain is going through a remodeling, said Dr. Lisa Damour, a clinical psychologist in Ohio who consulted on the new animated film. Along with those renovations come new, nuanced emotions — embarrassment, envy, ennui and anxiety.

Adults can often bemoan the challenges of raising a teenager, but research has shown that if you expect the worst, you will get it, said Dr. Laurence Steinberg, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Temple University in Philadelphia. And having more positive expectations can predict a better relationship with your teen.

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