Adulthood begins at 30: scientists say our brains are not fully grown when we are in our twenties
- People are very susceptible to mental health problems in their 20s
- This can resolve around 30 years when the brain reaches full maturity
- There is no strict neurological definition of when a child becomes an adult
If the antics of twenties seem childish to you, stop worrying. Because we have really grown in our 30s.
Although at the age of 18 we are legally of legal age, the idea that this is the age of adulthood is "increasingly absurd," brain experts said yesterday.
The rocky path from adolescence varies, with some people making the transition faster than others.
New discoveries about how the brain is wired and reshaped during much of a person's life have important implications for society, neuroscientists say. At 18, the brain is still undergoing major changes.
Neuroscientists believe that the brain is still developing at the age of 18 and does not reach its full adult status up to about 30 years
Our ventures are a time when we are very sensitive to mental health disorders, which turns around around 30 years.
Professor Peter Jones, from Cambridge University, told a press conference in London: "having a definition of when we move from childhood to adulthood seems increasingly absurd. It is a much more transitional nuanced.
"I imagine that systems like the education system, the health system and the legal system make it convenient with definitions".
Speaking for an international meeting on neuroscience hosted by the Oxford Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Jones said: "I think the system is adapting to what is hidden in plain sight, that people don't like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.
"There is a childhood and therefore an adulthood. People are on a path, they are on a trajectory."
Young adults can suddenly enter the professional world after school or university, but their brains could take another ten years to reach full maturity
Professor Daniel Geschwind, of the University of California at Los Angeles, emphasized the degree of individual variability in brain development, stating that educational systems tend to erroneously focus on groups, not individuals.
Professor Geschwind added: "These are broader questions that go beyond science.
"There are individual trajectories … development takes place for decades. But this varies from individual to individual."
The meeting will discuss research on serious mental disorders. Schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions are known to arise from a complex interaction of genes and environment.
Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed in older adolescents. The risk of developing it decreases dramatically since the end of the 20's, a model designed to be linked to brain development.