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Do we really need to worry about frontal lobe growth after the age of 25?

On TikTok, the #frontallobe hashtag has millions of views spreading the illusion that 25 is the age of maturity

Do we really need to worry about frontal lobe growth after the age of 25? On TikTok, the #frontallobe hashtag has millions of views spreading the illusion that 25 is the age of maturity

In the throes of post-holiday burnout did you call your boss a moron, in moments of extreme loneliness did you find yourself making out with your bff's partner, or did you go to work after making a straight thinking that a coffee and a packet of menthos would mask every possible hangover symptom? Don't worry, it's not your fault. That's according to TikTok and Gen Z, who on the Chinese social networking site have racked up the hashtag #frontallobe nearly 30 million views, convinced that, as if by magic, turning 25-that is, when the prefrontal cortex normally develops fully-will bring us better decision-making skills and, therefore, less trouble and personal messes. "POV: Turn 25 and see your frontal lobe fully developed" videos accompanied by expressions that move from uncertainty to full awareness multiply, leading a part of us to thus justify every possible misbehavior or immature behavior and others to wonder if there is a real scientific basis behind the theory or is it just yet another social "factoid."  

@gwen__brown “It’s really like the year of like just realizing stuff” - @kyliejenner #FlexEveryAngle #momsoftiktok #momtok #motherhood #frontallobe #consciousness #25 #therapy #healing #growth #gainingconsciousness #motherhoodjourney #parentsoftiktok #parents #cyclebreaker #fyp #foryou #foryoupage Love You So - The King Khan & BBQ Show
@wayl0r Drafting an email & suddenly realizing that advice you always ignore was true all along #kobeyear #year24 #adulting #fyf #neuroscience #frontallobe #neurology #brain #brainscience #24 Use this sound of your straight - Ali

What's the theory about?

Let's examine the theory first. The frontal lobes occupy the anterior portion of the cerebral hemisphere, which is divided into the prefrontal and motor cortices and is interconnected with other brain regions involved in motor activity, memory, governing social functions, cognition, language, problem-solving, emotion regulation and reinforcement, both positive and negative, that is, the behaviors we enact based on the rewards or punishments we receive. Each of these parts of the brain takes time to mature, which explains why young people tend to make more emotional and less rational decisions and demonstrate a greater propensity for risk-taking and instinct than more adult people. Thus, even though the volume of gray matter reaches its maximum size around age 10, its component neurons continue to change, creating connections between them that also change their activity. By adulthood, distant regions begin to act in concert, removing excess or unnecessary pathways to allow more efficient communication between specific areas of the brain needed for cognition. Neuroscience has emphasized how important this sort of rewiring that occurs in the prefrontal cortex is in, for example, multitasking and complex problem solving. Several researches, for example that of Jay N. Giedd, MD who used MRI to examine the volume of the brain of children and adolescents, have shown that the brain does not fully develop until the "early 20s," and since the sample taken by several studies recruited only subjects of up to 25 years of age, that became the age of reason. 

@thetattedphotog well damn #dating #datingin2022 #25 #turning25 original sound -
@iconic_spams "oh no I'm still the same idiot as before " (there is evidence suggesting your brain is still growing at 30+) #iconic_spams #frontallobe Oh Shit Oh Fuck - Belafonte Sensacional

True or not?

All this information, it came to Gen Z and the people of TikTok who, trivializing it to the max, took in a single, inaccurate message: the age of 25 is a turning point with seemingly magical properties. As soon as you turn them you become all of a sudden mature, stop screwing up and making bad decisions. It is the beginning of a new life. A better one. And it gets even better: now you can justify all your past mistakes like sleeping with your jerk ex or spending your rent budget on a Jacquemus Chiquito bag by blaming the fact that your frontal lobe was not yet fully developed. In short, the frontal lobe theory is being used as the "get out of jail free" card of Monopoly, an excuse to procrastinate adolescence, to reclaim the right to make mistakes, to laze around, to stay young and free from the social obligations of being an adult. So on TikTok the 25 are now the new 18. Many creators are absolutely convinced of this, prompting others, mostly pundits and scholars, to wonder why. The simplest answer is that because of the global pandemic many teens and 20-somethings have remained holed up in their bedrooms, with Zoom and social networks as their only interfaces with the rest of the world. They have remained "stuck," missing out on the formative, more or less happy and embarrassing experiences that are part of growing up, and the "magic wand" of turning 25 provides them with an opportunity to reclaim their lost time. Then again, the obsession with staying young, aesthetically, but also emotionally or behaviorally belongs to any generation. It's just that Gen Z can use COVID and science as exculpatory arguments, forgetting that maturity is an ongoing process that needs the experiences, actions, even mistakes and is not just a number of candles on the cake.