By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – According to a new study from McGill University, young teens have a hard time understanding what someone is feeling based on the tone of their voice.

They have no trouble deciphering an adult’s tone of voice but struggle when it comes to one another, especially when it involves tones that express anger, meanness, disgust, or happiness.

Researchers played 140 voice recordings to a group of teens ages 13 to 15 as well as a group of adults. While the adults were generally able to distinguish the different emotions, the young teens had more difficulty. This can lead to misunderstandings and social conflict in middle school.

The good news is, as a teen’s brain continues to develop and mature, these miscues typically improve.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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