Can the adolescent idealism, criticism, personal fable and imaginary audience cognitive distortions continue to affect people’s judgments and decision-making during the emerging adults period? Do the above cognitive distortions and immature behavior continue during early adulthood (20- 29 years)?
If any of these cognitive distortions lead to the establishment of permanent values and modes of perception, we might see adolescent idealism et. al. continue well into adulthood. Values are developed in adolescence, even those based on cognitive distortion, may persist, for better or for worse, as individuals mature into adulthood.
Anecdotally, we might see this as being the case especially with celebrated people who maintain a sense of potency and self-importance into adulthood that many others, not celebrities, might find childish and strange.
According to cognitive brain sciences, brain wave patterns in the maturing mind continue to change yearly, then almost yearly, until age 21. At 21, brain wave patterns stabilize and remain consistent until much later in life when they begin to change again. Consequent of this 21-year-old stabilization point, you might say that at 21, you have a "new" brain, as it has a new brain wave pattern. You might also say that, like with anything that is new, it takes a while to learn to think, perceive, judge, and reason within this "new" brain. It takes approximately four years (the length of a college course) to gain initial mastery with a new field or endeavor. Based on this science and the application of the ramifications of this science, I think it is reasonable to conclude that old patterns and weaknesses of immaturity will play a part in adapting over the early years to the new brain wave capacity 21-year-olds find themselves bestowed with.
I think that a good name for that age is adultolescence. This is the time that mother and dad are still supporting Junior because he just cannot decide what he really wants to do. Even more than that he still lives with them even when he is 29 years old. Why leave a good thing-- when the parents are paying the bills, Mom is washing the clothes and feeding him, and his only chore is to get up and go to his job.
In a 2010 poll, it was determined that 40% of 24-29 year old males still lived at home.
I sound biased, and I really am not. It certainly has to be an individual situation as to what happens in a person's life. On the other hand, sometimes, in today's world, when the going gets tough, the baby chickens do come home to roost.
When I married, I was 19 and the most immature, adolescent that ever lived. I had never lived away from home. I had gone to college in my home town. Boy, was I homesick, even with my dreamboat husband. However, I do believe that today's 20-29 year olds are less mature than we were in my day.
Today's adultolescents come from a different generation. They have been exposed to more things at an earlier age, they have been given more with less required (on a average), and they have many more opportunities then in past generations.
Cognitively, when I think of my father, who at seventy, could still recite hundreds lines of poetry that he learned in high school, I wonder about the different parts of the brain that we longer use. In addition, with more and more contraptions, these parts are going to be used less and less.
Another example how times have changed for the twenty somethings, children today can no longer write in cursive. One of the reasons that cursive and handwriting was at one point encouraged had to do with the connection between fine motor skiills and learning to read. Someone out there decided that it was unncessary and "pooh," it is becoming a lost art. I hope everyone knows what they are doing when they discourage rote memory and cursive writing.
Basically, in some ways, the 20s are hard but fun times. Most of the important decisions in a person's life comes in that period of time. Marriage, career, place to live, individualization--all are usually determined in that time. Hopefully, these adults will as the rest of us have...rise to the occasion.
I think it is certainly possible for the immaturity of adolescence to continue to affect us into our 20s. Hopefully, for most people, the immaturity wanes as we get much past 25 or so.
It is very easy for us to continue to be idealistic and naïve into our 20s. Many people are still in college when they are in their early 20s. This encourages idealism. Many people are not married and do not have children well into their 20s. This, too, allows people to avoid seeing the world in a more mature and adult way.
There is no magic event that occurs at age 20 that delivers us from immaturity.