If you have been told that you should act like the mature adult your age says you are, you should know that, according to neuroscientists, you can’t say you are an adult, at least not a completely developed one, before 30 years old.
In many countries from the world, even in the UK, when you reach the age of 18, you already are considered a mature adult. There is not a certain age that says “now you are an adult” because it depends from person to person, according to scientists who study the brain and nervous system.
If you are 18 years old, your brain is still going through changes as suggested by new research, and your behavior can be affected, becoming more likely to develop mental health disorders.
People are not adults until their 30s
Peter Jones, a professor from Cambridge University, said that there is no definition that describes the process of going from childhood to adulthood. The transition is much more nuanced, and it does not finish until you reach the age of 30. “I guess systems like the education system, the health system, and the legal system make it convenient for themselves by having definitions,” he said.
Along with your 18th birthday, there comes the right to buy alcohol, vote, get a mortgage and the way people treat you changes. For example, you get treated by the police just the way any other adult does. Experienced criminal judges, according to Professor Jones, can somehow make the difference between a hardened criminal that is in their late 30s and a 19-year-old defendant.
He thinks that the adaptation of the system happened to what is hiding right before our eyes, people not liking the idea of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. “There isn’t a childhood and then adulthood. People are on a pathway – they’re on a trajectory,” he said.