Researchers at San Diego State University believe they have found the case of adolescent irritability and huffiness. Teenagers brain activity is so intense that they find it hard to process basic information, rendering the teenagers emotionally and socially inept. Previous research has found that at puberty, there is a sudden increase in the connectivity of nerves in the brain

The research found that when children enter puberty their ability to quickly recognize other people's emotions plummets and does not return to normal until they are around 18 years old.

Robert McGivern, the lead neuroscientist on the research said:
"During adolescence, social interactions become the dominant influence on our behavior. But at the time teenagers are being exposed to a greater variety of social situations, their brains are going through a temporary 'remodeling.' As a result, they can find emotional situations more confusing, leading to the petulant, huffy behavior for which adolescents are notorious."

"But this may only be true for Western cultures. Adolescents often play a less significant role in these societies, and many have priorities very different from their parents', leading to antagonism between them. This creates more opportunity for confusion. One would expect to observe a great deal more emotional turmoil in such kids."

(Journal reference: Brain and Cognition, Vol. 50, p 173)