Adulthood begins at 25, May extend well into our 30s, says new research

Young girl  thinking of her idea

Interesting new research from the Pittsburgh School of Medicine suggests that people do not become adults until age 25. The adolescent desires of sensation-seeking and novelty in the brain increases as individuals leave home and fend for themselves, according to Beatriz Luna, a psychiatrist the Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Previously, such desires were thought to peak at 15, but new studies found that they extend far beyond this age. As a matter of fact, Prof Luna is still conducting research to discover how far into adulthood the brain changes continue, but it is possible they may extend into a person’s thirties.

According to the study, the evidence of hyper-activity in a part of the brain known as the striatum, which is stimulated by “rewards” and this continues until the mid-twenties. It is thought that the typical “adult responsibilities” of holding down a stable job, paying a mortgage and raising a family halt the effects on the brain.Prof Luna said that the age people crossed the threshold of adulthood was “probably closer to 25”. In teenagers the sensation-seeking part of the brain works together with the “planning centre”, or pre-frontal cortex, to drive curiosity and experimentation.

If this is the case, and conventional wisdom does seem to encourage young people to get a head start on their careers what exactly are the implications? By age 25 most university students have already graduated with an undergraduate degree. Some have already started post-graduate studies. Picking a major is one of the first things that young people do upon entrance to university – as a matter of fact even before. If the study holds to be true then this could have implications for the way in which “declare majors” in university and also choosing a career path early on. It is widely known that after significant milestones like starting a family, getting married peoples interest in a particular career path may change.

According to professor Luna, the longer you have to specialise the better. “Having the freedom to play a bit longer in life might be a good thing,” she added.

What do you think?



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