Your brain changes a lot between birth and adolescence. It grows in overall size, modifies the number of cells contained within, and transforms the degree of connectivity. In fact, scientists now think your brain continues maturing and fine-tuning itself well into your 20s. So, when is a human brain finally done developing? An adult brain differs from an adolescent brain in many ways. Between childhood and adulthood, the brain loses gray matter as excess neurons and synapses are pruned away.
December 22, report. The findings contradict current theories that the brain matures much earlier. Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a neuroscientist with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience 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 behavior , social awareness, for empathy and understanding and interacting with other people, and various personality traits. Blakemore said brain scans show the prefrontal cortex continues to change shape as people reach their 30s and up to their late 40s.
Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult. At what age does someone become an adult? Many might say that the 18th birthday marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. After all, that's the age at which people can typically join the military and become fully independent in the eyes of the law.
Longitudinal neuroimaging studies demonstrate that the adolescent brain continues to mature well into the 20s. This has prompted intense interest in linking neuromaturation to maturity of judgment. Public policy is struggling to keep up with burgeoning interest in cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging.