You're not an adult until you're 30, according to science

People are still developing their “adult” brain late into their thirties. [Photo: Getty]
People are still developing their “adult” brain late into their thirties. [Photo: Getty]

You don’t become an adult until you reach your thirties, according to research.

So if you’re twenty-something but still find yourself scratching your head about how to cook a roast chicken, or how many towels you should own, then go ahead and blame it on the fact that you’re not yet a fully-fledged adult.

According to the legal system in England and Wales, you’re an adult when you hit the age of 18.

However, the latest research from Cambridge University has found substantial developmental changes occur in the brain long after this time, continuing for the first “three decades” of life.

“What we’re really saying is that to have a definition of when you move from childhood to adulthood looks increasingly absurd,” Professor Peter Jones, from Cambridge University, told journalists at a press briefing in London.

Rather than becoming an adult at a certain age, Jones suggested the journey from childhood to adulthood is ” a much more nuanced transition that takes place over three decades.”

“There isn’t a childhood and then an adulthood. People are on a pathway, they’re on a trajectory.”

The speed of this trajectory “varies from individual to individual”, he added, and it is during this individual “trajectory” from childhood to adulthood that individuals experience behavioural changes.

It is also when you are at risk of developing conditions such as schizophrenia – which is typically diagnosed in late teenage years, while your risk of developing the mental disorder falls from the late twenties onwards.

Earlier this year, research found there are two different ages when your happiness peaks.

While the first – aged 16 – might have happened some time ago for you, the second “peak happiness” age is much later in life.

Additional reporting from Press Association.

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