Brain is not fully mature until 30s and 40s

December 22, 2010 by Lin Edwards, Medical Xpress report
Brain diagram. Credit: dwp.gov.uk

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research from the UK shows the brain continues to develop after childhood and puberty, and is not fully developed until people are well into their 30s and 40s. The findings contradict current theories that the brain matures much earlier.

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a neuroscientist with the Institute of at University College London, said until around a decade ago many scientists had "pretty much assumed that the human brain stopped developing in early childhood," but recent research has found that many regions of the brain continue to develop for a long time afterwards.

The prefrontal cortex is the region at the front of the brain just behind the forehead, and is an area of the brain that undergoes the longest period of development. It is an important area of the brain for high cognitive functions such as planning and decision-making, and it is also a key area for , social awareness, for empathy and understanding and interacting with other people, and various . Prof. Blakemore said the prefrontal cortex “is the part of the brain that makes us human,” since there is such a strong link between this area of the brain and a person’s personality.

Prof. Blakemore said scans show the continues to change shape as people reach their 30s and up to their late 40s. She said the region begins to change in early childhood and then is reorganized in late adolescence but continues to change after that.

The research could explain why adults sometimes act like teenagers, sulking or having tantrums if they do not get their own way, and why some people remain socially uncomfortable until they are well out of their teens.

In earlier research Professor Blakemore studied the brains of teenagers in detail, as reported in PhysOrg.

Explore further: Teenagers cannot concentrate because their brains are undeveloped

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9 comments

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gwrede
1 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2010
Define mature.
SkiSci
5 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2010
^opting not to piss in the corner of a crowded bar because one is too lazy to walk to the bathroom
wealthychef
5 / 5 (8) Dec 22, 2010
@gwrede: "Mature" -- very clear cut definition for a scientist: no longer developing new attributes or changing significantly. It is not a moral or wishy-washy judgment. We often talk about people being "immature" when we don't like what they do. SkiSci's post gives a good example of this kind of "maturity." This is not the same thing.
Hemo_jr
5 / 5 (9) Dec 22, 2010
Shall we raise the voting age to 50?
Quantum_Conundrum
2.2 / 5 (5) Dec 22, 2010
Shall we raise the voting age to 50?


Oh that's nothing. Next, defense attorneys will be citing this as evidence of incompetency in murder and rape cases. "His brain isn't mature, see the research! He's not old enough to be put on trial."
Raveon
4.5 / 5 (6) Dec 22, 2010
some proof for what I said in another thread. There is no line where humanity begins, it is an ongoing process. It doesn't happen at conception.
blazingspark
4 / 5 (5) Dec 22, 2010
Shall we raise the voting age to 50?
Yup and watch republicans win by landslide in the next election. It's always the old codgers that are scared of change and new things.
mjesfahani
not rated yet Dec 24, 2010
Maybe at that age your MS will be gone if you have been affected in early age.
Uni
not rated yet Jan 04, 2011
"15. And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, "My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims."

16. Those are the ones from whom We will accept the best of what they did and overlook their misdeeds, [their being] among the companions of Paradise. [That is] the promise of truth which they had been promised."

(Quran, 46: 15-16)

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