Eighteen is just the beginning of maturity
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Eighteen is just the beginning of maturity

A study has found that the brain of an 18-year old is still in the process of reaching maturity.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 13:18 IST

If you think that at 18 you're an adult, then think again, for a new study has found that people may mature much later than traditionally thought.

Reseachers from Dartmouth College, in a study aimed at identifying how and when a person's brain reaches adulthood, have found that, anatomically, significant changes in brain structure continue after age 18.

As a part of the study, researchers compared the brains of nineteen 18-year-old Dartmouth students who had moved more than 100 miles to attend college to a control group of 17 older students, ranging in age from 25 to 35.

They found that significant changes take place in the brains of people even when they have reached the age of 18.

Abigail Baird, Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and co-author of the study, said that the changes were localized to regions of the brain known to integrate emotion and cognition, which are the areas that take information from our current body state and apply it for use in navigating the world.

"During the first year of college, especially at a residential college, students have many new experiences. They are faced with new cognitive, social, and emotional challenges. We thought it was important to document and learn from the changes taking place in their brains," she said.

According to Craig Bennett, the study had found that the brain of an 18-year old was still in the process of reaching maturity.

"The brain of an 18-year-old college freshman is still far from resembling the brain of someone in their mid-twenties. When do we reach adulthood? It might be much later than we traditionally think," he said.

The study will be published in the forthcoming issue of the journal Human Brain Mapping.

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 13:18 IST