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?