Coming of age: the emerging science of adolescence

It’s widely accepted that adolescents are misunderstood. Less well known is how far we still have to go to understand adolescence itself. One problem is that it is hard to characterize: the concept of puberty does not capture the decade or more of transformative physical, neural, cognitive and socio-emotional growth that a young person goes through. Another is that science, medicine and policy have often focused on childhood and adulthood as the most important phases of human development, glossing over the years in between.

Yet a better understanding of this phase of life is crucial for ensuring the well-being of a generation projected to be the largest in human history. In this collection, a collaboration between Nature, Nature Research journals and Scientific American, we explore the science of adolescence through multiple lenses, from neuroscience to policy and clinical medicine.

Image: Eric Nyquist