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How friendship affects your brain - Shannon Odell

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If it seems like friendships formed in adolescence are particularly special, that's because they are. Childhood, adolescent, and adult friendships all manifest differently in part because the brain works in different ways at those stages of life. During adolescence, there are changes in the way you value, understand, and connect to friends. Shannon Odell explores the neuroscience of friendship.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Shannon Odell
  • Director Biljana Labovic
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer, Deidre Donovan
  • Storyboard Artist Wing Luo
  • Animation Supervisor Amarello Rodrigues
  • Lead Animator Murilo Jardim, Kaitlyn Carroll
  • Art Director Nuri Keli, Daria Filippova
  • Composer Weston Fonger, Jarrett Farkas
  • Sound Designer Weston Fonger
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Alexandra Zubak
  • Associate Producer Abdallah Ewis
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Shannon Odell, Alex Rosenthal
  • Expert Consultant Ilanit Gordon
Additional Resources for you to Explore
While we recognize that at a fundamental level friends are important, there is increasing scientific evidence and research about why they are necessary. Learn more about the importance of friends and how they relate to the brain and learning. Want to know more about how and why humans seem to sync up with each other when physically or emotionally close to one another? Check out this fascinating article

Theory of Mind, the ability to infer other people’s thoughts, desires, and beliefs, and understand that they can be different from your own, is essential to humans survival and success in the world. Learn more about Theory of Mind with this video. Related to this is the idea that humans, from a very young age, can see emotions in people’s faces. Find out more here

NPR wrote an article that summarized a study published in Child Development about how forming strong relationships in adolescence can have long-lasting positive effects well into our adult lives. 
And finally, for an absolutely fascinating talk about the inner workings of the adolescent brain, and the methods used to research them, watch this TEDTalk given by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore.

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Shannon Odell
  • Director Biljana Labovic
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer, Deidre Donovan
  • Storyboard Artist Wing Luo
  • Animation Supervisor Amarello Rodrigues
  • Lead Animator Murilo Jardim, Kaitlyn Carroll
  • Art Director Nuri Keli, Daria Filippova
  • Composer Weston Fonger, Jarrett Farkas
  • Sound Designer Weston Fonger
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Alexandra Zubak
  • Associate Producer Abdallah Ewis
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Shannon Odell, Alex Rosenthal
  • Expert Consultant Ilanit Gordon

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