We define adolescence as the years between
childhood and adulthood. The exact age might depend on the country
— things like the age you can vote or drink — but it’s roughly defined as being from
age 10 to 19. But, a new study is suggesting that adolescence
should end as late as 24 to account for the full range of human development. WOOOOOO aww wait i’m still an adult. Compared to other animals, humans give birth
to pretty helpless babies. Newborn sea turtles can find the ocean on
their own and giraffe calves can walk unaided within hours of being born… Whereas, we can’t even hold our own heads
up for the first two months of life! Comparably, we can take years and years to
becoming fully-formed and functioning humans. Adolescence is defined as “the period following
the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult,”
and it’s commonly associated with our teenage years. But what if that’s all wrong? What if adolescence doesn’t end until our
mid-20s? Typically, at 18, our parents are no longer
responsible for us, we can vote, we can go out into the world and get jobs! But, that doesn’t mean we’re not still
growing and changing… For example: females develop more regular
menstrual cycles… and males could still see some growth in height! Some people don’t even develop their wisdom
teeth until their early 20s! And both males and females gain bone and have
slight increases in weight gain. Not to mention the human brain continues to
form and develop until our mid-20s, too. Meaning we reach maturity, in terms of judgment
and decision-making, at about 24 or 25. And let’s stick to that, because body changes
outside of adolescence are one thing, but brain development is another. The frontal lobes, the areas of the brain
responsible for planning, working memory, and impulse control are some of the last to
reach maturity. As a child grows, the brain makes more and
more neural connections. Gray matter volume peaks at about 11 or 12
years old, then the unused connections are pruned away, leaving behind an efficient brain
that’s more adept at making informed decisions and reacting to its environment. But there’s also research that shows the
teenage brain, under development, is more vulnerable to impulsive sexual, eating, and
sleep habits. In addition, the high rate of drunk driving
among teens has been linked to their underdeveloped prefrontal cortices and limbic systems. Teenage brains are, simply, works in progress. Whereas, most research seems to agree, development
is pretty much over by about 25. Thanks to societal changes in the West, the
transitional period between childhood and adulthood is taking up a greater portion of
our lives. We’re waiting longer to get married and
start families, and more people are attending college than did 50 years ago, extending their
school-age-years. So, maybe it IS time we changed how we define
“adolescence.” What do you think? You’re never too old for your first website,
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online and visit domain dot com. For more on the amazingness that is the brain,
here’s a video about how it powers your thoughts. Do you think we should reconsider the age
of adolescence? I mean, 30 years old works for hobbits … why
not us? Tell us in the comments, please subscribe
for more, and I’ll see you next time on Seeker.

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