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At What Age Is The Brain Fully Developed?

It is widely debated as to which age the brain is considered “fully mature” or developed. In the past, many experts believed that the brain may have been done developing in the mid to late teens. Then along came some evidence to suggest that development may last until at least age 20. These days, a consensus of neuroscientists agree that brain development likely persists until at least the mid-20s – possibly until the 30s.

The fact that our brains aren’t developed until the mid 20s means that “legal adults” (those age 18+) are allowed to make adult decisions, without fully mature brains.  Someone who is 18 may make riskier decisions than someone in their mid-20s in part due to lack of experience, but primarily due to an underdeveloped brain.  All behaviors and experiences you endure until the age of 25 have potential to impact your developing brain.

At what age is the brain fully developed?

Although brain development is subject to significant individual variation, most experts suggest that the brain is fully developed by age 25. For some people, brain development may be complete prior to age 25, while for others it may end after age 25.  The mid-20s or “25” is just an average age given as checkpoint for when the brain has likely become mature.

It may seem logical that those aged 18 to 25 are completely mature, the brain still is maturing – specifically the area known as the “prefrontal cortex.” Changes occurring between ages 18 and 25 are essentially a continued process of brain development that started during puberty. When you’re 18, you’re roughly halfway through the entire stage of development. The prefrontal cortex doesn’t have nearly the functional capacity at age 18 as it does at 25.

This means that some people may have major struggles with impulsive decisions and planning behavior to reach a goal. The brain’s reward system tends to reach a high level of activation during puberty, then gradually drifts back to normal activation when a person reaches roughly the age of 25. Adults over the age of 25 tend to feel less sensitive to the influence of peer pressure and have a much easier time handling it.

How the brain changes during development

From early stages of adolescence into adulthood, the brain experiences major growth and pruning. Initial developments begin near the back of the cortex, and tend to finish in the frontal areas (e.g. prefrontal cortex). There are a couple key ways by which the brain changes during various stages of development including: myelination as well as synaptic pruning.

  1. Myelination: The nerve fibers in your brain are covered with a substance called “myelin.” This helps provide insulation so that neurons can effectively transmit signals. During developmental stages, the process of myelination promotes healthy brain functioning and allows for more complex functions.
  2. Synaptic pruning: This is a process by which brain synapses are selectively “pruned” or eliminated throughout brain development. The process of synaptic pruning tends to peak during teenage years, and wanes in later adolescence. It should be noted that the pruning occurs until the brain is fully developed (likely into the mid-20s). This allows for more efficient brain functioning.
  3. Increased connectivity: The connections between brain regions appear to be strengthened, thus making communication more efficient. The brain is able to transmit greater amounts of information between regions and becomes better at planning, dealing with emotions, and problem solving.
  4. Executive functions: A majority of the executive functions that we develop are via the prefrontal cortex. This allows us to help assess risk, think ahead, evaluate ourselves, set goals, and regulate our emotions. Although many of these functions are developed during teenage years, they are still under slight development and strengthened until our mid-20s.

What does the prefrontal cortex do?

There are a variety of functions for which the prefrontal cortex is responsible. Although significant development of the prefrontal region occurs during adolescence, experts argue that it continues until (at least) our mid 20s.

  • Attention: The ability to focus on one thing, while ignoring distractions is a function of our prefrontal cortex. Those with attentional deficits (e.g. ADHD) may have abnormalities within the prefrontal region. Similarly, those who abuse drugs and/or alcohol may end up with attention problems as the brain forms.
  • Complex planning: The prefrontal region is responsible for complex planning. Anytime you set a goal that requires some degree of planning, your prefrontal region is at work. Planning out tasks in your day, developing a business plan, etc. – this region is responsible. An underdeveloped prefrontal region means that your planning capabilities haven’t been solidified.
  • Decision making: We often struggle to make good decisions when we are teenagers, but as we enter our 20s, our decision making improves. This is due to the fact that our prefrontal cortex helps us think logically and make more calculated assessments of situations. Our brain weighs the risks and tells us whether a certain behavior or choice is a good idea vs. a bad one.
  • Impulse control: Struggling with impulsivity is often related to deficits in the prefrontal cortex. The ability to maintain self-discipline and avoid impulsive behaviors hasn’t reached its peak until the 20s. This means that if you struggle with impulsivity when you’re 18, it may get better as you continue to age.
  • Logical thinking: Justifying behaviors based off of emotions rather than logic is common among teens. When the prefrontal cortex fully develops, logical thinking simultaneously improves. This means you will be better at rationalizing and making smarter choices. It also means that your ability to write and solve math problems will improve.
  • Organized thinking: Organizing your thinking can be difficult when you’re a teen. A barrage of thoughts are typically influenced by hormones and you may have concentration difficulties. As you continue to age and your thoughts become more organized. The organization of your thoughts is a result of your prefrontal cortex.
  • Personality development: Your personality is directly expressed based off of your prefrontal cortex. Without proper stimulation, you may struggle with identity issues and developing a favorable personality. Since personality development continues throughout the 20s, you may want to consider how environmental inputs may affect who you are.
  • Risk management: The ability to assess risky situations and determine whether they will result in long-term benefit is a byproduct of your prefrontal cortex. Those who are poor at assessing risk may have underdeveloped prefrontal regions. The ability to turn down immediate gratification for long-term rewards is a result of this region.
  • Short-term memory: Your short-term memory function is influenced by the prefrontal cortex. When still in development, your short-term memory isn’t as good as it will be by the time you’re 25. As the brain continues to mature, your cognitive function and memorization capacity will improve.

Promoting Healthy Brain Development

If you are under the age of 25 and your brain is not yet fully developed, you may want to take advantage of this critical period. This means that you can effectively be a co-creator in how your brain decides to mold itself. Engaging in healthy behaviors and giving your brain optimal stimulation will help ensure healthy prefrontal cortex development.

  • Cognitive challenges: Giving your brain cognitively demanding or challenging tasks can help stimulate development. Examples of things that may boost brain function include: brain training games and applications (e.g. Lumosity), Dual N-back training, working memory training, writing, regurgitating and processing information, etc.  All activities that may help increase IQ may improve brain development.
  • Dietary intake: It is widely disputed as to what diet should be eaten during adolescence to ensure healthy brain development. It is recommended to eat plenty of vegetables, some fruits, proteins, fats, and the right carbohydrates. Avoiding artificial sweeteners and substances with high sugars may be beneficial as well.
  • Education: Proper education and/or learning can go a long way towards improving brain development. The more you learn before the age of 25, the more solidified that information will (likely) become. Getting a good education provides cognitive stimulation to the brain in a variety of ways.
  • Environmental enrichment: There are numerous studies showing the benefits of environmental enrichment on the brain. It appears as though living in an enriched environment such as: going to a great school, having positive social connections, access to healthy foods, trying new things, learning new skills, and having lots of resources can improve the brain’s development.
  • Exercise: Getting enough exercise has become highly underrated in a society focused on immediate gratification. The psychological benefits of exercise are very significant; blood flow improves, neurotransmitter levels get optimized, your emotions become more positive, and you can actually grow new brain cells.
  • Meditation: Not only is meditation a great activity for stress reduction, but there are studies demonstrating (that if you’re doing it properly) it can enhance development of your prefrontal cortex. This makes you more resilient to stress, improves your attention, and clarity of thinking. Consider taking up a meditation practice if you want to improve brain development.
  • Sleep optimization: Most people talk about pulling all-nighters like it’s an impressive feat. In reality, not getting enough sleep and/or poor sleep quality can detrimentally affect brain development. To ensure that your brain develops properly, give it enough time to recover and rejuvenate itself by getting adequate sleep.
  • Socialization: Positive social contacts and/or friends are what humans need in order to stimulate brain development. Staying involved in groups and social functions is a great way to stay connected and can reap benefits for the developmental outcome of your brain.
  • Stress reduction: A daily practice of stress reduction can go a long way towards reducing activity in anxious, stress-provoking brain centers and can enhance development of the prefrontal cortex. Brains that are under chronic stress may not develop as well as those that are allowed some down-time for relaxation.
  • Supplementation: Certain supplements may help strengthen development of the brain. These include things like fish oils (omega-3 fatty acids), antioxidants, etc. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of each supplement before taking it. Also realize that while supplementation can provide benefit, getting proper sleep and eating a healthy diet are more beneficial.

Detrimental influences upon brain development

Unfortunately many people are exposed to things that may have a detrimental impact on the development of their brain. These include negative social influences, substance abuse, and/or prolonged levels of high stress. Although some people will have more resilient brains than others as a result of genetics, it is recommended to minimize exposure to problematic stimuli and scenarios.

  • Alcohol abuse: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol to the point of abuse may have an impact on the developing brain. It is critical to avoid abusing alcohol while the brain is still developing as excess drinking can disrupt formation of the prefrontal cortex. Some reports have gone as far as to suggest alcohol damages the brains of teens.
  • Chronic stress: If you are constantly under duress and/or have severe anxiety, it is best to take steps to minimize it. Excessive amounts of stress have been documented as disrupting the architecture of the developing brain. Furthermore, high stress may inhibit our brain’s ability to mitigate stress in the future.
  • Drug abuse: It is recommended to avoid exposure to illicit drugs regardless of age, but especially in the critical years of development. Any illicit (or even non-illicit) drugs have potential to alter brain development. This could lead to poorer cognition later in life and impairments in the prefrontal cortex.
  • Poor diet: Shoveling down sugar-coated cereal and refined carbohydrates each day without getting sufficient protein, veggies, fats, and fruits may create problems. Diet plays an important role in brain function and can even influence whether someone develops a mental illness. A poor diet may also affect developing brains.
  • Relationship troubles: Being in abusive relationships also isn’t healthy for us. This encourages dependence and inhibits the ability to express ourselves. In order to ensure healthy brain development, it is necessary to make healthy, positive friends and establish non-toxic relationships.
  • Sleep problems: Those that fail to get an adequate amount of sleep (in terms of quality and quantity) may have underdeveloped brains. Sleep helps ward off stress and getting enough of it is known to help promote healthy brain development. If you have any severe sleep problems and/or aren’t getting enough sleep, it may inhibit optimal brain development.
  • Social isolation: Remaining isolated from society can have profound effects on personality, mood, and our ability to perform in social situations. Those that are isolated from social contact may experience suboptimal brain development. Establishing positive social contacts is key during this period.

Final thoughts: Brain Development Continues Throughout 20s

Neuroscientists largely agree that the human brain hasn’t fully developed until (at least) the mid-20s. Although the changes that the brain incurs after adolescence are not well-studied, increases in myelination and pruning of neural pathways are believed to occur. Additionally our personality as well as development of the prefrontal cortex is finalized well into our 20s.

Although you may consider yourself an adult at age 18, keep in mind that your brain still has a ways to develop. Your cognition, ability to assess risk, and think logically will continue to improve as you age. This is considerably different than neuroscience views of the past in which we thought the brain was done developing in the teenage years.

And despite the fact that brain development may be done by our 30s, it doesn’t mean that someone with a fully developed brain cannot change it. There is considerable evidence to suggest that we can still change our own brains with a process called “neuroplasticity.” Our brains are constantly adapting to our environment, experiences, and other inputs to which it is exposed.

  • Source: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v6/n3/full/nn1008.html
  • Source: http://www.jeffreyarnett.com/arnett2009theemergenceofmergingadulthood.pdf
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3621648/
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892678/

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62 thoughts on “At What Age Is The Brain Fully Developed?”

  1. So basically what this article is saying is that when your brain is “fully developed” at 25 – you’re pretty much set in your ways of who you are. That’s why teens need to be trained and have a good education – so they can be set in that way firmly when they hit adulthood.

  2. Insightful article. A “mature” brain is only as mature as the soul and heart steering it. When I composed my first music for video games were the notes immature? No, they were inspired and based on a lot of research.

    I think every age has its stage. Yes, in some ways we, as people, mature over time, but we also tend to deteriorate super strong emotions along the line… less spontaneity, more structure. But that’s absolutely not true for everyone.

    I, myself am someone with ADHD and my brain functions a bit differently from the “average brain”. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, I’m just saying it’s a different way of thinking and dealing with time, structure, creativity, spontaneity… even love and empathy are affected.

    I love science and I totally believe in it, I understand it’s hard to phrase a scientific publication, because it has to be stated in a way it’s portrait “generally true”.

    I understand the different points of view people have regarding this publication, because it’s very personal to read this (I think for everyone!), because yes, we somehow are our brain… we are what we develop ourselves to be over time and what we think of ourselves and the choices we made with the brain we have. We are memories of ourselves, but people tend to have a selective memory based on current needs.

    So much of our body is hormone driven, which also sets apart men and women. Fear, traumas, joys, successes, failures… etcetera, all form who we are and what we do and how we react to current-day situations.

    We’re *not* just a set of brains, we’re heartfelt, emotional, passionate, inspired, sexual and sensual beings. We can’t be defined as being our brain, only. As initially stated, our souls and the hearts steer us.

    This is my personal opinion. I hope no-one takes this as an offense, because it’s only meant to be a different light on a topic seemingly addressed as fact and I enjoy reading other people’s comments on this publication, dearly! :-)

    Peace, people!

    • Beautifully written and I hear your point of view. It’s not a case of mature or immature. And of course you can produce beautiful, soulful art at any age. You must know some younger people who are mature; and older people who act like kids!

      It’s just the way your brain processes information. Before the pre-frontal cortex activates (up to 25) you process info with your amygdala (emotional brain). Once your pre-frontal cortex develops (between 25-35) you have the option to shift into more powerful decision making.

      But this isn’t a given. Most people never consciously use (or train) this part of the brain. This is about connecting very deeply with your ‘Higher Self’ and making decisions from that place. It’s about turning inwards and finding the answers there.

      Some ‘olds souls’ begin this at a young age, but it gets even more powerful once the pre-frontal cortex is formed. It’s a beautiful thing that the brain matures step by step. From Joe Dispenza’s book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”:

      As children grow, the frequencies that predominate their brains progress from Delta to Theta to Alpha. … Delta between 0-2 yrs (same as deep sleep state for adults)… Theta between 5-6 (the realm of imagination)… Alpha between 5-8 (the analytical mind begins to form… Beta between 8-12… (processing sensory data and creating meaning between internal and external worlds).

      Our job in meditation is to get back to Delta!!! – the frequencies we had between 0-2, so that we can move deeper into the inner world of the subconscious mind, envision what we want to create AND bring that into the external world. When we come out of meditation, we can then use our pre-frontal cortex to make it happen.

      So, it’s all a very beautiful thing. I think you’ll LOVE this book.

  3. My husband and I became very responsible and mature parents in our mid twenties (26). We now have 19 and 21 year old boys who are not children. They are adults. They act like young adults and we treat them as such. Please don’t let a few scientists and articles justify immature behaviour.

    Or worse yet, please treat young adults with the dignity and respect they deserve and that you would expect from them. Of course a 21 year old isn’t going to have the same level of experience in car or home ownership, or practical child rearing experience, as you do at 50 years old.

    But that lack of years of experience in no way takes away from their “adulthood”. I am not arguing with the science that says “still developing”, I simply think that still developing does not equal immature. There is no need to extend childhood well into one’s twenties.

    • The brain that’s not fully developed is like putting something in the oven while it’s still warming up and giving it the time based on the moment you put it in as opposed to the time the oven is fully hot.

      You’re making judgement with emotions instead of with facts. Because medically based evidence says you’re not using a fully formed prefrontal lobes. I say let kids be kids. They have a whole future ahead of them to be adults so why rush into expectations of them being “ adults” when they themselves don’t know that they want out of life yet (as expected at their age).

      There’s nothing wrong with a person under the age of 25 running on emotions rather than facts. That’s what’s normal which is why during the teen years they need supportive compassionate guidance.

      • It’s not a case of making decisions based on facts after 25, more so the ability to make more aligned decisions because you have access to your Higher Self. Here’s the rub, though, there’s no guarantee that people will actually do the personal work to shift to using their pre-frontal cortex.

        This takes intention and disciplined effort; it requires training! Most people – in my experienced – continue to process info with their amygdala their whole life. Just because your pre-frontal cortex is developed doesn’t mean you’re using it. Hence all the chaos in the world!

  4. I find it incredibly funny that y’all are all being insulted by science… they aren’t saying it to piss you off they are saying it to let it be known… Kids from 18 to 25 don’t know sh#t… I made a ton of stupid mistakes in my early 20’s that I wouldn’t make now.

    It is totally ok… I even joined the military… I won’t say it was a mistake cause it wasn’t, but I will say I wish I was older so I could do better and make better decisions while in the military.

  5. The incensed arguments presented by some here only serve to prove their lack of maturity.

    “Excuse me, I don’t intend to be rude. All I would like to say is, the statement about 22 year olds having “no business making life decisions, much less serving in the military” is very inconsiderate. “One half (50.3%) of Active Duty enlisted personnel are 25 years of age or younger.” The reason we are a free country is because of those brave young men and women. They give up a lot for us to be safe.”

    Yep, I agree. That’s why so many inductees are immediately promoted to the rank of general or admiral. It’s because of their maturity and sagacity.

  6. Hey everybody! I would like to add something positive, in view of the many negative comments. A few of the people commenting that were in the 18-25 range seemed to be insulted by the statements made in this article— offended at the possibility that they are not yet “mature.” This was my take on the article, my perspective as an 18 year old: Is not the prospect of improvement a good thing?

    If you feel that you are already mature at, say, 22 or whatever, shouldn’t you be excited that your brain will be more developed three years from now? I personally look forward to progressing toward a greater level of maturity in the next few years. It’s like a sunrise; it just gets prettier and prettier until full daylight. Rather than complain that it isn’t yet day, let us just appreciate the beauty.

    • The complainers are fulfilling what’s expected of them based on their ability with the age they’re at. Those running on an underdeveloped brain give out complaints without scientific logic. No one said you are incapable or immature etc.

      What was said was that the brain is not fully developed. If you’re in that age group duh! Of course you’re operating as what those people would operate on – emotions, attack, defensiveness, without regard to what was said. Feelings play a major role in this age group. Facts go out the window.

      No one said that you’re not mature at age 18-25. What’s a fact is that the brain is not fully developed. You can have experiences leading up to excellent decisions with mentors as in this age group you are experimenting and changing your mind quite a bit.

      You used the expression “ if you feel” – feel comes from feeling not from fact. This is a perfect example of what the scientist said.

  7. Too true, we really need to change the age of adulthood to 25. Adolescence goes from 11 to 25. I grew up a LOT between 18 and 25, when it comes to looking after myself, conflict management and boundaries. I changed, I learnt about risk management, planning, looking after myself, healthy relationships and otherwise. I honestly don’t think anybody should make serious decisions till they’re past that point.

  8. I am just giggling at all of you one article became a widespread match of knowledge and arguments :D I am 22 and I am just happy to enjoy reading this article :D Now everyone looks like a kid :D

    • Charlotte do you think you’re defying science and that your brain is fully developed? Do you have all your wisdom teeth as well? Don’t be in such a rush to be “ mature”. You have a whole future ahead of you for that. One day you’ll wish you were your age.

  9. Excuse me, but I’m calling B.S. While it seems logical that the human brain is not fully developed until the mid twenties because most people are making dumb and immature decisions up until that age and/or even later; isn’t it at least possible that maturity and brain development is greatly related to when an individual is forced to “grow up”? Fifty years ago it was unheard of to have your 30 year old children and their children living with their parents.

    Nowadays that’s more often than not. People don’t actually have to start making adult decisions until much later in life now, so they don’t. Frankly, I’m tired of being told I’m a child based on my age. I’m 22 years old, I moved out of my parents home when I was 18. My parents were of the strict/abusive nature and I have been working and paying my own way since 16.

    I’m now a homeowner. I work and pay taxes just like anyone else. Just because you may have made immature decisions up until your mid twenties, does not mean that my brain is under developed. I was forced to grow up and do for myself at a much younger age than most; and you have the nerve to tell me that I’m not as much of an adult as you are.

    I think this study needs to do more than just look at when the average person starts acting like an adult, and start looking at what happens when you’re not allowed to mooch off your parents indefinitely. See if your study is different.

    • Everything you said is spoken as with your age group – feelings. No one said that you’re immature. You brought that up! What’s interesting is you have difficulty extracting facts from emotions. It’s because your brain is not running at its peak despite all you’ve accomplished.

      And this is not meant to put you down on the contrary – you have done a great job considering that. By the age of 25 you’ll look back and feel that some things you would have done differently and that’s okay. And you’ll also feel proud of yourself for the things you accomplished.

  10. Good grief. The adults are making snide remarks and then becoming outraged when the younger people are making an effort to defend themselves. You can’t very well say nasty things and then allude to people’s immaturity if they are, understandably, offended. In all seriousness, if you are tearing people down because of your own emotion and generalisations, you are the more immature one.

    • You have addressed emotion which puts you in that age group 18-25 bracket. Running on touchy touchy geeky feely is very much of what the scientist would expect. The scientist said that the brain is not fully developed before 25. That’s it.

      You can turn this into an offense but the fact is the fact. Your wisdom teeth come out way later than your baby teeth. Menopause comes within another age bracket. It’s life! Maturity is defined differently by everyone.

      Does having a child before 25 mean that you’re an adult? It is to some people. No one is discussing maturity.

  11. I am 14 but the thing is that some kids mature faster because that is what they have seen or they are forced to because of their situation. All this ranting from multiple people, one comment lasting 6 paragraphs, from some woman expressing her opinion. Am I the only one who seems to think that by replying to that comment and the ones after you are acting childish, take it from a kid you ARE. That just shows that not even 20, 30, 40, or even 50 year olds are completely mature. Can we stop this lone line of ranting at my comment and not go any further? Please and thank you.

  12. There are plenty of 22 year old people that make the same poor decisions that they would have made at 16 or 17 which would legally still make them a minor and at that age arguably still finishing puberty. I see many people haven’t responded well to the reference of a child, but many are much more that than being matured and taking full responsibility for their actions. The title of “Adult” IS awarded to early too often.

    • Liam the older one gets – to some extent, the better decisions they make. Because they are learning from their previews mistakes. It’s more likely that the challenges of a teenager would be piece of cake to figure out after they look back.

      They’ll laugh at themselves or they’ll regret certain things. One things for sure, everyone can use an older mentor in their life. If you’re blurred you want someone that can see to guide your way. Hopefully someone mature as well.

  13. Joseph D, Lottie, Tzipora, Sophie: I understand how complex it is to grasp the concept of development when it’s not as easily observed as physical growth which is very obvious. When the topic of someone’s cognitive ability reaching maturation is brought forward I feel it is an extremely overlooked topic, and one of concern. The answers on this are in front of your face, for easily proven examples:

    -What age group do insurance companies find to be the highest risk?

    -Why do many rental car companies require you to be 25 to rent, but any younger you get an “underage driver” fee while being at least 21?

    I’m now 30 and looking back through my mid 20’s I feel as though mentally I am more sound, although I stood 6’3″ 190 pounds at the age of 20 my thoughts weren’t that far off from my late teens on topics of social acceptance and critical thinking. I am much more confident in leading my life and not following the paths laid out for me with no compulsion to be validated which plagues this society.

  14. “22 year old children” is a very silly statement to make. You are not a child when you are in your 20s. You are a child when you are 12 and rely on your parents completely and have much to learn. The inability to do something such as planning or decision making as well as a 25 year old does not make you a child and that isn’t what this article said at all.

    • All depends on the environment folks were raised in. For some folks could be their 30 and maybe even 40 something years before brain develops fully regardless of academia level attainment.

      • The brain is not fully developed until your 25. You can argue all you want! It’s expected read the article again! No common sense and little ability to distinguish fact from emotions.

  15. How many people actually know that the front of their brain isn’t fully mature until their mid 20s? Thank you for sharing this! It’s very interesting. We should share this information in school’s on a daily basis! God Bless.

  16. This article is so true, at least on my example. I’ve lived my life in high stress environment. I’ve started new life 500 km away at 24. I’m 26 now and I’m killing it in every aspect of my life. For a second I even thought I have a brain cancer how different I’ve become. But I did work a lot on my behavior, thinking about what I don’t like and gradually changing it.

  17. I have seen many young people “mature” very rapidly when they become parents. The realization that they are “on” makes for big changes.

  18. Less can be more, Joseph. On the other hand, you can be relieved to know that you might outgrow that knee-jerk trigger, problem-with-perceived-authority that spawns long emotional rants in response to someone’s 3 sentence comment as you get older. Eat well, sleep well, and in a few years you may be less easily set off.

    This article was interesting, as I have seen (being old now) the very obvious changes in people from about 18 to mid-20s, greatly in the categories mentioned — impulsivity; planning; and especially in the ability to separate one’s emotional definition of self from nearly everything else, which I think I will attribute to the article’s comment on “response to peer pressure.”

    There is a great deal of ‘everything is threatening or insulting’ that is at the front during that era of many peoples’ lives that (blessedly) recedes back to a normal “it isn’t about you” status as they move toward 30.

  19. Brain development is not linear. Babies, toddlers, and children develop phenomenally quickly. Youth are still developing, but most of it is there. And maturity is not a binary “mature/not mature”. We develop maturity in a lot of different aspects (muscles, patience, tact, humor…) throughout our lives. There are some extremely petulant, immature adults (politicians, anyone?). Think of it like the frequency channels we see on our stereos.

    Some bars go high (loud), others not so much. Just make sure you answer children’s questions truthfully. If you don’t know, teach them how to find out. “Smart” people are simply curious people. As evidence, I have met some very clever people with significant mental disabilities.

    • You’re spot on Darrell. It’s really sad that all societies over the world doesn’t understand this and compartmentalize mentally disabled persons.

    • The scientist did not say maturity. They said the brain is not fully developed until 25. Nothing was brought up about what a person accomplished or not or how a person can do something or not. You can say how mature you are but you’re still without a fully developed brain until 25.

  20. Lisa, I think your comment is rather ignorant. If I wished to resemble you, I would say “I Know” your opinion is ignorant. However, I hope I never resemble you throughout the duration of my entire life. Contrary to your assumption, someone’s brain being fully developed does not indicate that all of their decision making is automatically correct. In fact, we need young minds to question the status quo. I am a 21 year old college student, and find your assumption that “I have no business making life decisions” offensive.

    A bigger detriment to society are those who claim themselves “experts” or assert that “they know better”. It was only a few decades ago that brain function was thought to be completely localized (certain areas concretely relating to specific functions without fluctuation) and now the concept of neuroplasticity is universally accepted. A few decades ago there was no such thing as plate tectonics and the center of the Earth was “without a doubt” molten lava.

    Now it is understood that the very center of the Earth is solid. Henry Ford viewed anyone who considered himself an “expert” as a detriment to his innovation, and would consequently fire them. He claimed his company had not one expert among them. According to Henry Ford, “As soon as a man believes himself an expert, a great many things become impossible”. So now here I am, amused at your expert attitude. How many things you must know, and how many things you must consider to be impossible.

    Progress is not guaranteed to move forward. The second we consider ourselves “experts” we stop moving forward. There have been civilizations throughout history that have deteriorated, and I do not believe it impossible for humanity as a whole to deteriorate. The Maya, had they continued their scientific progress, would likely have landed on the moon centuries before us. Despite the economic turmoil in which Greece currently finds itself, Ancient Greece had significant scientific, philosophic, and societal achievements which echo on to this very day.

    Now I can agree that the youth are not always prudent, but the way in which the brain prioritizes what’s “important” is entirely relative to the milieu and culture it is subject to. It is because you consider the subjection of young minds to TV, Media, and Advertising normal that you consider their “inability to make decisions” normal. You should also recognize that we are growing up in a different culture than the one you grew up in, and will consequently have differing values.

    A radical idea it would be to consider NOT basing our values on what is fed to us through a screen, a paper, or a single book in isolation of all others. It also seems to me that values seem to evolve for the better with the pass of each generation, or else we would still be burning “witches”. So what are you saying? Do you believe we should not be allowed to make decisions now? Perhaps we should all just become “another brick in the wall” (a reference I imagine you can relate to).

    You’re right(sarcasm), we should all be good children, sit still, and not question the shadows of this cave we live in (a reference to Socrates in case you didn’t catch it).

    • Woman posts 3 sentences…

      21 year-old child replies with six meandering, self-important paragraphs in an attempt to belittle her with his astounding intelligence and learnedness.

      Hasn’t yet learned that “brevity is the soul of wit”.

    • Funny, you mentioning witch burning. I don’t recall Lisa saying she was an expert. I believe it was you who brought up the term, then spent the subsequent paragraphs tearing down your own scarecrow.

      After reading an article regarding the lack of a developed brain in our youthful twenties, it’s nice to know that our imagination is beyond its years.

    • Ironically, Shakespeare (who is often credited for the appearance of “brevity is the soul of wit” in Hamlet, though it existed prior) was anything ‘but’ brief. And like much language (particularly English), there are multiple interpretations, and most would agree that ‘wit’ is a subjective interpretation, and two common words to place before ‘wit/witted’ are ‘dim’ and ‘dull’.

      “A 21-year old child, self-important, belittle, astounding”. Predictable responses from those that insist that the only source of wisdom is time, and that time doesn’t officially begin until when? The answer, from ages 1-some undisclosed age in adulthood (usually when something your self righteous ass finally evidences itself as being somewhat valid, but don’t get cocky now, because they’re still the same number of years ahead of you), “when you’re older”.

      So typical of the great high sages to tell their understudies that they can not know anything independent of what the sage discloses, and as long as the great high lives, the distance from student to master will remain precisely the same. But let’s do speak of the self-important ‘child’ that dared to speak in defense against one more hysterical attempt at the preceding generation(s) to shift the burden of responsibility for (once again) inadequately cloning itself, using a combination of failed methods and new ones that exempted them, as well as any parent who can’t handle that their little half-clones might not be remarkable.

      Maybe it was the secondary material (choice of mating partner), certainly can’t have anyone thinking it’s you, so new rules. Everyone wins or nobody wins! And you can feel like such a good parent for protecting your attempt at immortality from the harsh judgmental world they will walk into, like a flurry of arrows with not much more than graduation attire and a diploma to defend themselves.

      Oh, yeah. And crippling uncertainty about who they are, suddenly finding themselves in more possession of a life that’s never felt like their own because in the great vehicle of existence, they’ve never spent enough time behind the wheel to gain a feel for driving, much less on such unpredictable terrain. Yeah. I totally see how it’s their fault.

      After all, when they were asking questions, or for a little time in the driver’s seat, you distinctly remember telling them they’d understand when they were an adult. So. Video games, phones with cameras, social media, celebrity gossip, marijuana, porno, no winners or losers, an extreme shortage of memorable consequences for infractions that are relatable to adulthood, internet, etc. All of these things were created by who?

      The world’s problems by who? Income to debt ratios? More hungry children in the country following the advent of smaller and supposedly healthier portions of food at school? This kid can’t sign his name on the back of a check, why? I guess it was the kids. Pretty impressive, really. Play it over and over again, so you can’t hear the question “Where did we go wrong!?”

      The answer in the back of the book isn’t going to change, no matter how many quick glances you take at it, and still insist your answer is correct. For those of you that believe in fairy tales, remember your God made man in his image, and then blamed man for his own inadequacy. The inadequacy of the infallible.

    • Read what you wrote and see if you fall within the characteristics of a person without a fully developed brain. See if you can challenge yourself against the scientists and base it on facts not emotional attacks. You be the judge.

  21. My how things would differ if the worldview of 22 year-old children were correct. They have no business trying to make life decisions, much less serving in the military. I could go on and on.

    • Does it make you feel less bitter and washed up to call all 22 year olds children? Everyone does not fall into a black and white box, from one 22 year old to one insecure woman. All you accomplished with your weak voice here was making yourself sound foolish and condescending. Very unattractive. Even a child could tell. Please do go on and on. If you do, leave the people who serve this country out of your mouth. Ungrateful and disrespectful.

        • Maybe you should leave Tzipora alone. It is unnecessary and incredibly unfeeling for Lisa to start something unilaterally about all 22 year olds. And I don’t see ANY peer reviewed medical journals or books on that list of references. I would check my facts if I were you. This doesn’t sound like anything I have ever read on the subject.

        • Exactly! Tzipora March demonstrated the impulsivity for all of us to notice. The narcissistic immaturity is quite telling.

      • Woa Tzipora! If you’re over 22, then what’s your excuse for being so rude and ignorant… you missed the whole point Lisa was making. She was not attacking the youth, she is against using them…

    • Way to make a blanket judgment, as though it were objective fact. Congratulations! You’re part of the problem. I am Generation X, as though that says anything about me, in the slightest. I have two sons. 22 and 16. Unlike most Boomers, and the next two decades of child bearers, I did not treat my children as though they could not know anything, or that their perceptions were inferior to those of adults.

      What, I hear so many ask, happened to these Millennial kids? They were told they could know nothing, adults always have the answers and don’t forget it, but you don’t learn to adult from a seminar or book. You learn through emotional growth and hands on experience. Examples, as well. Also, the children of the last 0-25 years or so have often been fed a constant stream of lies in adolescence that “everyone takes home a trophy”.

      Not downing a word of encouragement, or suggesting a different (sportsmanlike) strategy for achieving success, but if there’s nothing to achieve, what’s the point? (And no. I don’t agree with parents that yell at their kids for losing or failing at something, or make it about themselves). No. They were taught that there’s no score. Aww. Too bad the adult world doesn’t give a sh-t if you lose.

      Adult life doesn’t care that you showed up. Only whether or not you contribute to the game in a way that’s acknowledgeable. But no. You sad sack boomers, flower children, and even most GenXers told them they can’t know anything. Their emotions aren’t even valid. (“You don’t know the first thing about stress! You’re just a kid. I wish all I had to worry about was some kids making fun of me. You better respect me! I’m your parent, I deserve it”).

      Yeah. Like the kids asked to be born. And get stuck with an emotionally retarded overseer they have no choice about. Why? Because their emotional needs were probably not addressed as children, either. Instead of attempting to invalidate emotions (since adolescents, and almost every adult, for that matter has extreme difficulties handling overload) I acknowledged my kids’ feelings.

      I encourage and have, releasing emotions. Crying, even screaming (just not directed at an innocent bystander), and naturally, just talking about it. Or making oneself available when I and they are ready. Boundaries are still important. Emotionally stunted children make depressed, anxious, frustrated, even homicidal adults. I should know.

      Since my childhood woes were insignificant so often, (“just wait until you’re grown up” does nothing for an eight year old with a nervous disorder resulting from an adult stranger molesting them in a mall bathroom stall), I did not expect to be treated with concern that a stranger had done so. After all, can’t possibly be as bad as adulthood. Except to a child, it is that bad if it causes extreme anguish.

      Pet goldfish death, being bullied, etc. Suppression/repression is the highest contributing factor to illegal and prescription drug use, alcohol abuse, child mortality at the hands of parents, domestic violence, all that good sh-t that proves just ‘how emotionally superior’ adults are. Nah. But keep lying to yourselves. Personally, if every one of these ‘misled youths’ rose up and slaughtered their creators and indoctrinators for being perpetually lied to, emotionally castrated, and filled with textbook knowledge, but nothing applicable to living, itself.

      Love, relationships, empathy, competitiveness, appreciation for personal achievements that appeal to the child more than the parent. No. Most parents say to their children, this is how you will live your life. This is the life I saw fit to give you, and it is mine to dictate because you can’t know what you want for yourself.

      Magically, however, when the law says you’re legally an adult, then you better be ready to decide what college, or how long before I have grandkids, how to manage your money, blah blah blah. Because eighteen equals revelation! Participation trophies spare feelings and give a false sense of accomplishment, or just (as my youngest son said once “I don’t want to go to that awards ceremony, Mom.

      Everybody’s just getting the same award, just with different names on them. Nothing special about them”. He was 9 or 10. I hugged him hard, for that one) no sense of anything to work for. Also, I work with quite a few of these ‘kids’. Almost every single one takes pride in their work.

      Have perspectives on love that don’t sound so much like a prison sentence, but mutual respect and trust. Many do not wish to ever have children, and are very thorough in avoiding any possibility of pregnancy occurring, period. They cite the state of the world, their own childhoods, their possible emotional ineptitudes or lack of time versus a career, etc. as reasons.

      I think that’s rather responsible to be able to say “I may never be emotionally, financially, or whatever enough to be the type of parent a child deserves, so I choose not to reproduce”. I prefer that, to the irresponsibility of many of their parents, as well as generations before.

      • Funny…I looked up this article online because I have two homestay students living with me, both boys, one 19 and one 22. They are both much much MUCH younger mentally and emotionally and than I had expected. They need constant supervision, guidance and counseling.

        It actually reminds me of raising a toddler at that stage what you have to watch them every second as they careen around grabbing things and falling down and having tantrums when they don’t get what they want and you have to repeat things over and over for them to get it “A-pple. This is an a-pple.”

        The 19 year old seems more like a 13 year old girl in terms of intellectual and emotional development and seems to have almost no pre-frontal cortex abilities at all in terms of future planning, risk-assessment, self-assessment, emotional regulation and logical thinking. They are both university students so they have no apparent cognitive deficits or learning disorders and they come from normal middle class families.

        The 19 year old just told me it’s hard to sit in the room with company because we have “adult” conversations and he doesn’t understand anything we are saying. He’ll be 20 soon. I’m looking online to try to find out if maybe Millennials are being raised poorly and not being taught anything about the world so they are just very naive, or if this is biologically normal and boys are just really REALLY slow to mature.

        Either way it’s pretty disturbing to realize boys of this age are definitely NOT adults.

      • Thank you for sharing! There’s lots of truth to that. Then there’s lots of anger and sadness too. I come from a culture where there’s no boundaries of age. A son or daughter may live with their parents up to whatever age they want. It’s not age that decides but they decide when they want to leave the nest.

        Graduations are family and friends celebrating for the student graduating. It’s not like a prom but more like a family gathering which extends to friends. There is no age for drinking or smoking. People usually smoke and drink in their twenties if they want to. There’s no age for marriage.

        People choose to marry based on having the money to live on their own and being able to separate from their parents home. No age for gambling either. Children can’t gamble because they don’t have the money. Finances pretty much sets the tone.

        A hard earn salary is liberation. You get to choose where you live, what you eat, entertainment, etc when you control the money you make.

    • Excuse me, I don’t intend to be rude. All I would like to say is, the statement about 22 year olds having “no business making life decisions, much less serving in the military” is very inconsiderate. “One half (50.3%) of Active Duty enlisted personnel are 25 years of age or younger.” The reason we are a free country is because of those brave young men and women. They give up a lot for us to be safe.


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