Why Hippies Turn Yuppies at 25 OR Why Insurance becomes cheaper at 25: The Frontal Lobe


You can tell that I am fresh off a Malcolm Gladwell book, can’t you? That would be Outliers: The Story of Success.

The post title, unlike Gladwell’s in depth and long term research has to do with spending five minutes on wikipedia reading about the functions of the human brain’s frontal lobe and the quick opinions I made up (something’s working huh.)

I posted these lines on twitter (which sent it to facebook) and a friend of mine asked me to elaborate. I will tell you what I told him on facebook.

The frontal lobe of the brain matures at the age of 25. “The executive functions of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determinesimilarities and differences between things or events. ” from here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontal_lobe#Function

If you want to disrespect a risk taker: a risk taking creative artist, advertiser, marketer, sportsman, x-gamer, stunt man, fiance, someone getting a tattoo a teenager getting 56 face tattoos on her face, you could tell them “I am not in awe of your courage. I feel sorry for your immature frontal lobe.” But then if you happen to say it differently like this, “I am not in awe of your courage. You have an immature frontal lobe” I fear the connection pathways between your own frontal lobe and limbic system are damaged evinced by the lack of emotion in your statement.

You see how the engineering of the human brain, and a scientific understanding of it explains and cuts through the romantic and philosophical opinions we would have about human personality and behavior. It explains so much about creativity itself. This knowledge will also help me respect any seemingly risky yet bold, or impulsive yet inspiring and exciting decision I hear from 25+ people around me, including meself.

I completely relate with this revelation (to me) because I have witnessed my own transformation from a bit of a hippie in college to a little bit of a yuppie by the time I graduated grad school. I don’t even mind wearing suits now. Although, I am pretty sure it will, and hope my frontal lobe stops maturing at 90% so I am not rendered extremely risk averse and turn totally subservient to all of society’s standards.