Scientists find that girls really do mature more quickly than the boys
Mums have long advised their young daughters to ignore the antics of teenage boys because girls are far more sensible anyway.
Now there’s research to back up their theory – after a study found that the brain matures earlier in girls than in boys.
The Newcastle University researchers said this could help explain why teenage girls seem to grow up faster than their male classmates.
As we get older, parts of the brain become smaller as unnecessary connections between cells are pruned away, leaving a more streamlined and efficient processing machine.
The scientists used scans to peer deep inside the brains of 121 people aged between four and 40.
This showed that the pruning process began at around the age of ten for girls – but not until around 20 for men.
Explaining the brain’s streamlining process, researcher Dr Marcus Kaiser said: ‘This is part of the normal learning process. The brain as a whole is still expanding but it is losing connections.
‘It is like if you are at a party and everyone is talking and you can’t concentrate. But if some of the voices go, it is easier to hear.
‘It is similar in the brain. If some of the connections are not there, it is easier to do the work.’
The study, published in journal Cerebral Cortex, also showed that key, long-distance connections between brain regions are preserved.
Researcher Sol Lim said: ‘The loss of connectivity during brain development can actually help to improve brain function by reorganizing the network more efficiently.
‘Say instead of talking to many people at random, asking a couple of people who have lived in the area for a long time is the most efficient way to know your way.
‘In a similar way, reducing some projections in the brain helps to focus on essential information.’