Here’s the main take-away: when listening to Moms’ criticism, and for a period afterwards, the teens’ brains showed more activity in areas involved in negative emotions (no surprise there), but they actually showed reduced activity in regions involved in emotional control and in taking other people’s point of view. This suggests, the researchers said, that in response to maternal criticism: “youth shut down social processing [and] possibly do not think about their parents’ mental states.” They add: “… the decrement in brain activity in regions involved in mentalizing or perspective taking could help to explain the high frequency of maladaptive conflict resolution in parent-adolescent dyads.”

So one interpretation of this research is that when inter-generational civil war kicks off this Thanksgiving, bear in mind that your teenager’s brain cannot help but switch off when you start your nagging. Neuroscience says so, OK?