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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:48 am 
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It has become practically common knowledge that Brain Science (tm) has found that the brain isn't fully mature until a person reaches their mid-twenties, specifically, the parts that deal with impulse control and long-term thinking. There are experiments showing that people in their teens and early twenties make more reckless decisions, especially when their peers are around. Car rental companies won't rent vehicles to people under 25. So knowing what we know now, should the age of majority be raised from 18 to 25?

As a corollary, if you somehow went back 300 years in time and studied the brains of young adults then, do you think they'd look any different? Because people back then started working in their childhoods, married in their teens and would have had several children by the age of 25. Do you think their brains actually matured faster due to these stresses, or were ancestors biologically still a bunch of immature reckless youthful yahoos?

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:19 am 
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I honestly think instead of coddling people we should start making them responsible for more at a younger age.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:52 am 
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Same. I bet if we push up the age of majority to 25, new brain studies will find that brains mature around 30.

I wouldn't bet a lot on that, but I would put money on it.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:03 am 
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Okay, pointing to a time period where really young marriage was indeed the norm, I bet the kids marrying young and having babies back in the middle ages and the renaissance were still reckless yahoos. I mean, if you read lit from that time period, you can feel the impulsivity of youth seeping from the page. The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, tons of the Arthur stories, Marie de France, some of Chaucer's tales, fairy tales that originated from that era - all have a pretty strong trope of the young being stupid, impulsive and lustful.

And then I think of statistics from the time period I've read re: baby deaths by accident, particularly pouring boiling water upon themselves. Accidental baby deaths are typically caused by the baby not being well-minded, and young parents are more likely to be more careless with their kids (statistically speaking).

So yeah, I think even though they were given adult responsibilities, it didn't keep those kids from still being in development. I just think that it shows that kids are more capable than we allow them to be in current times - we're turning that final push of development into a second-stage childhood. And frankly, I think in the U.S. we start that "oh, no, you aren't capable" crap pretty young. It's why, for instance, we don't let kids have steak knives or good scissors, though I've seen at least one study that showed that teaching a small child how to properly use sharp objects gives them a better sense of their danger and usefulness than banning them completely. We really aren't consistent in what we think children can and cannot do, and so have begun keeping them from doing anything.

Well, in certain socioeconomic circles, anyway.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:12 am 
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Kea wrote:
As a corollary, if you somehow went back 300 years in time and studied the brains of young adults then, do you think they'd look any different?


Not if it has a biological basis; 300 years isn't enough time for major biological changes. (Major societal changes, yes). I do think that a lot of our ancestors were a bunch of immature reckless youthful yahoos, and I do think that a brief perusal of history will support this assertion. Of course, those that lived to 25 or 30 would become less reckless, and better at long-term planning; many of them would have been revered as wise elders. Consider Proverbs 20 verse 29:

Quote:
We admire the strength of youth and respect the gray hair of age.


Of course, there is a social element in this as well. Most people will not learn to take responsibility until such time as they are expected to take responsibility; until such time as they are, in short, actually given responsibility. The brain needs more than just a biological basis to take responsibility; it needs a certain amount of experience in taking responsibility as well.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:30 pm 
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Sure, WW. I think that is partly due to kids popping up during the 'training' phases when the last thing you'd want is responsibility over a child. If we gave teens more responsibilities (but falling short of letting them have kids), I think the resulting 20-somethings would be substantially more self-controlled.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:18 pm 
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Kea wrote:
It has become practically common knowledge that Brain Science (tm) has found that the brain isn't fully mature until a person reaches their mid-twenties, specifically, the parts that deal with impulse control and long-term thinking. There are experiments showing that people in their teens and early twenties make more reckless decisions, especially when their peers are around. Car rental companies won't rent vehicles to people under 25. So knowing what we know now, should the age of majority be raised from 18 to 25?

My first thought is that it would definitely put a crimp in military recruitment.
Quote:
As a corollary, if you somehow went back 300 years in time and studied the brains of young adults then, do you think they'd look any different? Because people back then started working in their childhoods, married in their teens and would have had several children by the age of 25. Do you think their brains actually matured faster due to these stresses, or were ancestors biologically still a bunch of immature reckless youthful yahoos?

Couldn't we more easily compare them to the brains of teens from some third-world hellhole? In fact, I'd be surprised if a study like that hadn't been done already.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:58 pm 
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Thaklaar wrote:
Couldn't we more easily compare them to the brains of teens from some third-world hellhole? In fact, I'd be surprised if a study like that hadn't been done already.


Well, I honestly don't know, but I think it would take a lot of funding to bring sophisticated brain-imaging equipment into Third World hellholes, as you call them.


Thaklaar wrote:
My first thought is that it would definitely put a crimp in military recruitment.

Like it's a good idea to send reckless kids into wars with guns?

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:07 pm 
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Kea wrote:
Thaklaar wrote:
Couldn't we more easily compare them to the brains of teens from some third-world hellhole? In fact, I'd be surprised if a study like that hadn't been done already.


Well, I honestly don't know, but I think it would take a lot of funding to bring sophisticated brain-imaging equipment into Third World hellholes, as you call them.

Still cheaper than a time machine.

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Thaklaar wrote:
My first thought is that it would definitely put a crimp in military recruitment.

Like it's a good idea to send reckless kids into wars with guns?

Never said I thought it was a negative. I don't. However, I suspect those who could make this type of change would resist it strongly for - at least in part - this very reason.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:54 pm 
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Kea wrote:
Well, I honestly don't know, but I think it would take a lot of funding to bring sophisticated brain-imaging equipment into Third World hellholes, as you call them.


Get them fresh off the boat as they immigrate?

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:00 pm 
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Hey, if you want to compare and contrast how children are raised re: capable vs incapable, third world vs first world, I believe this is a relevant link.

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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 am 
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The academic study that your article was based on can be found here. It's fascinating to read the whole thing, especially the bits about childhood in the Matsigenka tribe in the Peruvian Amazon. Kids as young as three practise cutting straw with machetes! Six year-olds know how to cook meals for their families and do so without being asked. So how did they get that way? I think middle class people in rich countries would be freaked out by their child-rearing practices. A toddler rolls several feet into a ravine and his mom just yells at him for being careless. They tell kids stories about horrible fates befalling lazy children. Babies are discouraged from wriggling or crawling around - they're supposed to sit still and watch what the adults are doing. Disobedient children are dunked in hot water or rubbed with an itch-inducing plant. A middle-class rich nation parent would probably report you for child abuse if you attempted to do this to your kids, or at least assume that your kids would need years of therapy when they grew up.

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Get them fresh off the boat as they immigrate?

It's probably getting harder and harder to find immigrating teens who were raised as described above, since modernization and urbanization is getting harder and harder to escape even in the world's poorest countries. According to an account I read about teenage factory workers in Southern China, even they never had to help their parents with farm work, and most of them had not the slightest idea how to farm. They were supposed to do well in school so that they could get into university, and failing that, move to the city when they were old enough and start sending money home.

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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:49 pm 
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I wonder if that kind of 'capability' would even desirable for us. Universities are full of young adults who are much less responsible than those children. On the one hand, that's possible because of our high standards of living, but on the other, those standards owe a lot to the stuff those same type of people ultimately come up with. Letting people spend time playing and acting recklessly isn't always an inherently bad thing.

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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:08 pm 
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Personally, the thought that I will one day be legally responsible for the actions of a person with fully-functional sexual organs scares the ever-living crap out of me.

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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:14 pm 
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AlternateTorg wrote:
Personally, the thought that I will one day be legally responsible for the actions of a person with fully-functional sexual organs scares the ever-living crap out of me.


Yet another reason not to have kids. I'm adding this one to the list of why-nots I show my mother from time to time.

Kea, your point on how the children in the study were raised, along with Leo's post, is making me ponder.

Can we first decide what exactly a "capable adult" is supposed to know/be capable of before we decide if the age of majority should be raised?

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