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Are adolescent equivalent mature to an adult in cognitive maturity

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2016 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,065 times Debate No: 94530
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




Hi foodiesoul i want to challenge you to my debate.In my position according to adolescent intellectual maturity,i doubt that they are as mature as adult,therefore i advocate for abolish all sexual age of consent because the law is abitary,discriminatory against gender and sexual orientation,and needless.Consent should based on absence of coercion and willingness of teenager.Many psychologist and scientific schloar has approved the empiral evidence that mid-adolescent around age14-16 are competent to make informed hypothetical medical decision,so if they are able to make informed decision on medicine then why they cannot make decision on sexual activity ?


I accept your debate, stephannoi.

As you may know, most teenagers go through a really long hormonal phase where they start to feel more moody, more hungry, and more horny.

Moody- Yes, there are plenty of moody adults but the truth is most teenagers go through a very moody phase because they don't really know to handle their emotions yet. As a teenager, your brain is still trying to process things and comprehend things. Because of this, many teenagers may feel like they're bipolar. However, this usually isn't a case of Bipolar Disorder. It's just a case of the brain not yet fully comprehending the many human emotions. This is why high schools are so full of drama. It's because the teenage brain is still learning how to process and analyze all the human emotions. It's better for the brain to do this at a very young age because once the teenager becomes an adult, they're expected to be more mature, intelligent, wise, and responsible. Although, not all adults are like this.

Hungry- Everyone loves food. But teenagers especially love food and this is because teenagers are still growing until age 16, age 18, or age 21 for late bloomers. In order to grow and become a little taller, you need to eat. If you starve yourself or resort to eating disorders, you will not grow very much as a teenager and your body will not function properly. Plus, you'll turn into a skeleton-like figure. The brain associates food with pleasure and satisfaction, which is why people sometimes have foodgasms. A foodgasm is when someone eats food and starts to make groaning or moaning noises similar to if it was actual sexual intercourse.

Horny- Both males and females go through a horny phase, especially as a teenager. Once someone goes from little kid to teenager, they're a little more aware of sex and so, their brain and their individual self start to develop a curiosity about sex and what it feels like. Everyone, both male and female, has thought about sex. The reason for this is because the brain starts to develop a cognitive curiosity of sex. A horny phase may lead to temporary/permanent perverted behaviors, frequent/infrequent masturbation, more digital interaction with pornographic websites and videos, sexual arousal around people or strangers who the person considers attractive, urge to grope certain people, wet dreams, a permanent/temporary stage of bi-curiousness, and more. In other words, teenagers have more time to "experiment" because they are just learning about sex and starting to understand and comprehend what exactly sex is.

Cognition is associated with thinking, learning, perceiving, and understanding and the teenage brain is still learning how to think, learn, and understand things properly without jumping to irrational, illogical, or impractical conclusions. This is why teenagers usually go through a long hormonal phase, depending on the individual and what level their brain is at.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for joining my debate challenge.

-It's true that MRI Scan reveals that our brain especially frontal lobe aren't fully developed until 25 but contrary to this,DR.Jean piaget,a swiss child psychologist,formulate his comprehensive theory that when a child reach formal operational stage,then they had approach fully moral and intelluctual maturity that are equivalent to young adults.

- Even the APA asserted ,,by middle adolescent (age 14-15) young people developed similar abilities to adults in reasoning about moral dilemmas,understanding social rules and laws and reasoning about interpersonal relationships and interpersonal relationship problems
By age 14 most adolescent have developed adult-like intellectual and social capacities including specific abilities outline in laws as necessary for understanding treatment alternatives considering risk and benefit and giving legally competent consent
-If children and adolescent are competent to make medical decision and stand on trial as an adult in criminal court,then why would you concure that they cannot consent to sex or have sexual relation ?
- This what i find it"s most illogical about criminal common law while the common law allow children to make decision outline on medical treatment and held criminal responsibility but the law don"t allow them to have sex ?
-If sex between adult and child is consensual and then why does it stirred the government,they didn't even have a right to invade in people privacy.


Yes, it's true that most teenagers develop social and intellectual abilities when they become like 14-15 but their brains are still developing as teenagers and don't stop developing until the early to mid-20s. Because of this, the teenage brain is still maturing and processing emotional capabilities and the various human emotions until it turns into a fully-matured adult brain.

As you may know, teenagers love rewards. There are plenty of adults who love rewards but mature adults tend to have a lower nucleus accumbens than teens, which is why many adults are usually not so materialistic.
In high school, you probably heard lots of teens in the classroom ask for snacks or stickers or parties as a reward for doing assignments. Now you know why. It's because the teenage brain associates rewards with praise, happiness, and satisfaction. A reward might seem like a "Good job" message for someone.

The teenage brain is perfectly capable of functioning like an adult's brain but the difference is that the teenage brain places huge emphasis on pleasure, emotion, satisfaction, and desire.

Pleasure- Pleasure is a loose term that tends to be used to describe male/female orgasm, masturbation, and sexual arousal but pleasure doesn't just have to do with sex. Pleasure is just joy that comes from doing something that feels good. The brain releases dopamine anytime you do something pleasurable and because of this, adults and especially teenagers may feel more addicted to pleasurable activities since they release a higher amount of dopamine for teenagers than they do adults. Hugging, eating, having sex, taking drugs or drinking alcohol, and even pooping are a few of the many things that can release dopamine. Some dangerous stunt-like activities such as climbing a mountain or riding a rollercoaster may also release dopamine. Dopamine is linked to the nucleus accumbens because people tend to feel good about themselves when they got rewards, thus releasing some dopamine.

Emotion- Both men and women are capable of having extremely intense emotions and high emotional abilities but teenagers tend to be more emotional than adults because like I said in Round 1, the teenage brain is still processing, analyzing, and comprehending the many human emotions and emotional capabilities. Because teenagers tend to be more moody and emotional than adults, teenagers may be more prone to mental disorders/illnesses than adults.

Satisfaction- Human beings and even other living organisms tend to want to do things that satisfy them and are beneficial to them. Teenagers especially love satisfactory activities because the teenage brain tends to release high amounts of pleasure and dopamine when teenagers engage in satisfactory activities. The basic satisfactory activities are sleeping, eating, pooping, and others but humans tend to add their own satisfactory activities to the basic and natural satisfactory activities.

Desire- Everyone has desires and usually, with intense therapy and practice, people are able to control their desires before they spiral out of control. However, teenagers have a harder time controlling their desires and this is because the teenage brain gets more pleasure out of risky activities and dangerous habits. Desires can turn into urges and those urges, if not controlled, can turn into actual habits that can get you into trouble. This is why law enforcement makes some fetishes and paraphilias such as pedophilia, crush fetish, and necrophilia illegal if acted upon, which means that the people can still have those dirty and disgusting fetishes and/or paraphilias, as long as they don't actually engage in any activities that have to do with those fetishes or paraphilias.

If a teenager and an adult have consensual sex, then it would technically be moral and okay but the thing is that pedophilic relationships can spiral out of control due to the fact that the teenage brain is attracted to risky activities that may be deemed as unsafe. Pedophilia can be unsafe because it can cause the teenager or the adult to increase their inability to bond with people their age and it can cause the teenager to only want to talk or form relationships with adults and the adult to only want to talk or form relationships with teenagers or little children. This is why pedophilia is illegal but only if acted upon.

Debate Round No. 2


-My argument comply to legitimate adult-child sex because it is a normal human sexual behavior which shouldn"t constitute as a sexual deviance just because society dissaproval ? Homosexual are use to be discriminated against their sexual orientation from middle age up until early 20 th century and even continue to criminalize in 50 countries around the world-10 countries reinstated death penalty.

- Teenage are different from prepubescent children in a way that they are more sexual mature,reproductive,and are able more to resist unwanted sexual advance.

- Regardless of the arbitrary sexual age limit whether we like it or not,they will have sex anyway so what"t is point of setting high upper age limit.Lowering age of consent or abolish would at least be benefical in reducing the number of criminalizing consenting under age teens ,teen pregnancy,and sexual transmitted disease. USA should revised the law and reform the age of consent.


The brain, as you may know, processes information. The subconscious processes every single bit of information and makes you sometimes do things without you being aware of it.

Some teenagers prefer to have sex with older men or older women that they consider attractive. Because of this, many teenagers form sexual relationships with adults. Like I said in the previous round, the problem with this is that it may make the teenager only want to form relationships with adults and not people who are in their age range. This is because the teenager may have consensual sex with this adult but feel more horny around other adults who they consider attractive. Adults can be affected by this sexual relationship too because the adult may feel more attracted to children than people in their age range. This may or may not lead to the adult raping children that refuse to have sex with them.

Prepubescent children are less able than teenagers to resist unwanted sexual advances because prepubescent children don't yet have the social and intellectual abilities and capabilities that are obtained in the mid-teens. Because of this, prepubescent children don't yet have fully functioning cognitive abilities and like I said in Round 1, cognition is associated with thinking, learning, understanding, and perceiving. The prepubescent brain may not really know what sex is yet and so it might think that getting groped or sexually harassed is just a sign of affection. Of course, not all prepubescent children are like this.

The age of consent is mostly to protect prepubescent children, teenagers, and even adults by basically acting as a barrier between the three age groups and acting as a way to allow people to give out their consent during sexual relationships. Plus, the age of consent is against pedophilia, especially female-on-child or male-on-child rape.
Debate Round No. 3


Empircal show adolescent decision-making is on par with adults decision-making Slovenia 07
Mary Irene Sloniniat ,JD from Case Western ´´State v.Physicians et al : Legal standards guiding the Mature minor doctrine and the Bioethical judgment of Pediatricians in life-sustaining
Medical treatment ´´17 Health Matrix 181 2007

- The limit amount of empirical research on cognitive development and medical decision support piagetian theory that around age 15 children have the same decision-making capabilities as an adult.In 1982 study ,two researchers wanted to test the proposition of the late Supreme Court Justice,Douglas that " moral and intellectual maturity of 14 years old approaches of adult level..They hypothesize an empirical comparison of the competency of 14 years old and adult would support Douglas statement.They took a test group 96 subjects ,and devided them into four groups of twenty -four subjects by age (1) eight and a half to nine and a half,(2) fourteen,(3)eighteen,(4) twenty-one.The subjects response question were evaluated and scored by a panel of twenty expert on four standards of competency ;
(1) evidence of choice,(2) reasonable outcomes,(3)rational reason,and understanding.The result indicate that fourteen years old demonstrated a competency equal to that of eighteen and twenty one years old.
Comparison of adolescent and adult decision-making with regard of risky behaviours (substance of abuse,alcohol use,unprotected sex)have demonstrated that adolescent and adults are equally able to identify possible consequence of risky behaviour.In addition adolescent and adults assess the consequence smiliar ; they estimate similar probability or likehoods of consequences.

Source : (

Another research by Laurence Steinberg,temple university study on Juvenile Competency to stand on trial revealed that that age16-17did not differed significiantly from young adult in competency those with low IQ and younger than age 14 are at greatest risk to be incompetent to stand trial.

This study suggest that children younger than age 14 should be exempt from criminal prosecution while recommend those age 14 and older to held criminal responsibility like an adult.

Source (



If you look at this image, you'll see that the teenage brain is still in the process of developing whereas the adult brain is fully developed in all areas.

Like I said and like this picture also says, "Adolescents are prone to high-risk behaviour"

Prefrontal Cortex- Like the picture says, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for mostly planning and reasoning. This part of the brain is fully developed at age 25. Because teens are more prone to high-risk behavior than adults, the undeveloped prefrontal cortex found in teens may cause the teenager to plan poorly. Poor planning includes procrastinating and putting things off until the last minute. This is why so many teenagers forget about their homework or that essay that's due in a few weeks. Because of this, high schools pretty much train teens to become more responsible and plan properly.

Amygdala- The amygdala is the emotional part of the brain and since the teenage brain is undeveloped, the amygdala causes teenagers to become more moody. It's the part that is responsible for them being emotional trainwrecks and feeling sad one hour and then happy the next. The amygdala is broken down into four core emotions: passion, impulse, fear, and aggression.

Passion is what causes the teenager to become overly fixated one certain things and then lose their focus because of distractions. This is because passion is what people focus on the most. You've probably heard the phrase, "Focus on your passion."

Impulse is the part responsible for causing the teenager to do random and crazy things without thinking about them first. Because of this, many teenagers get excited at the thought of anything that will give them adrenaline or make them feel a rush.

Fear is the part responsible for making the teenager feel worried about their social life and scared of ruining their reputation. Aggression is the part responsible for making the teenagers feel the urge to scream or kill other people at times.

Parietal Lobe- The parietal lobe is the part that is responsible for teens not being able to properly process, analyze, and comprehend information. This is why high schools give teenagers a lot of informational schoolwork. It's because that schoolwork is what makes the teenagers learn new things. This is also why high schools especially emphasize the importance of studying, so that the teenage brain can see the information over and over again and process it more until it understands it.

Ventral Striatum- This part of the brain is what makes teenagers so easily excited by rewards and like I said in Round 2, people tend to feel proud of themselves when they get rewards because they may feel like the reward is a "Good job" message to them. This is why so many teachers keep stickers in their classrooms and hand them out to teenagers who are doing an "excellent job."

Hippocampus- The hippocampus is the main hub of memory and information. Since it's undeveloped in teenagers, many teenagers may not remember certain events as much as adults, unless they have an eidetic memory, which is extremely rare for prepubescent children, teenagers, and even adults to have due to the fact that the conscious part of the brain is not able to remember everything. The subconscious on the other hand remembers everything and every single detail.
Debate Round No. 4


Yes but it's true that teenage brain aren´t fully developed until 25 years old but why many of them are as competent as adult in decision-making capabilities such as (hypothetical medical decision) and stand on trial as an adult ?

Deficit in abilities or lack of competence are usually associate with mental retardation,low IQ,and mental illness rather than biological age.You could become intellectual mature at young age or immature until 25 years old or older,that doesn't matter. Because juvenile detention are more likely to have low IQ than in community the greater risk of incompetent to stand on trial are more likely to be.That´s is not much different than young adult.

Scientific scholar has been proven that adolescent could make decision that are on par of young adults. Cognitive capacities such as ability to reason and process information ,shape the decision making process. Logical reasoning skills such as deductive and inductive reasoning,short-long term memory,and the capacities to process information are all improved during early adolescent ( Steinberg ,2008) .Such as laboratory studies have shown that adolescent pure cognitive capacities are very close to an adult level by age 14 or 16 ( Caufmann & Steinberg 2000,Kambam & Thompson 2009). Overall cognitive capacities increase linear with age.

Mental Health & and Juvenile Justice

One study found that all but two of 50 surveyed youth had experience severe trauma prior to their involvment in the court system and 42 % had at least mental disabilites ( Beyer 2006).Today about two-third of youth in custody meet the criteria for at least one mental health diagnoses which is two to three times higher than average community rate (Grisso,2004).While all adolescent are going to through normative development change,behaviors health challenges may excaberate problem behaviors.

Psychosocial Development :

Maturity in handling real-life situation

While many adolescent may have cognitive capacity to process information at an adult level,psychosocial immaturity can significant hinder their judgment and decision-making in real life scenario..There is a significant gap between cognitive devlopment and psychoscial immaturity in adolescent.This devevlopment gap inhibit adolescent ability to make mature decision in heat momemt eventhough most teen by age 16 and older have to cognitive capacity to reason logically (steinberg 2007



Like I said before, the teenage brain is still in the process of development.

It's true that there is a significant gap between cognitive development and psychosocial immaturity in adolescents and this is because the adolescents' brains are still developing and growing social and intellectual abilities. These social and intellectual abilities increase the more you learn and the more you grow, which is one of the biggest reasons why school exists.

School increases a teenager's social and intellectual abilities because the teenager is learning new information, which makes the brain process and analyze that information, and engaging in a wide variety of educational and productive activites.

Without cognition, all living organisms would be dumb because then they wouldn't know how to think, learn, or understand things in order to make smart and reasonable decisions.

Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Skinnyp 2 years ago
Con won this debate because his arguments were much better and more easy to understand why pro used more opinion based stances and arguements con also did a better job disputing pros claims good debate tho
Posted by stephannoi 2 years ago
Sex education should be applied for all youngster at any age so that they could understand fully about reproduction and be able to make informed decision.I really hope,there would be a change in society attitude so that to end society oppression on pedophilia.

-Pedophile is a sexual orientation.
Posted by stephannoi 2 years ago
I urge the USA government to revise the law and reform age of consent
Posted by stephannoi 2 years ago
There is no actual harm cause by sexual intercourse so long as there it's consensual sex and not by forcible force.
Posted by stephannoi 2 years ago
I am an advocate for adult-child sex. Children should be able to engage in consensual sex with whoever they want.
Posted by stephannoi 2 years ago
Age of consent in USA is too high and should be abolish or lowered to at least 14 or 13 in all jurisdiction.We should liberate sex with children recognizing this as a fudamental privacy rights.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheChristian 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro simply reused half of his arguments repeatedly. He also flips his stance so often that I am inclined to believe he is being a troll. Pro's arguments were nearly illegible and were frequently unsourced. con provided psychological arguments as well as arguments. Pro even said that the adolescent brain was underdeveloped, which was uncontested. Con fulfilled the BoP where Pro pretty much did what is in his nature and insulted, trolled, and otherwise misbehaved.