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We’ve all heard the reference about men maturing slower than women, and while it may have once just been a joke or assumption, a study discovered the truth behind it.

According to the study, carried out by the University of Oxford, the maturation of the human brain is measured by the prolonged development of the structural and functional network properties that extend into adulthood. And their objective was to find which of our features transform as we mature, and which ones remain intact. The reasoning behind this is because the female brain establishes connections, leading it to mature faster than the brain of a male.

“It seems that the process starts a few years after birth and continues to occur until around 40 years old,” co-author Sol Lim, a graduate student at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, told Mic.

During the first few years of our life, we have an “initial overabundance of neurons, connections, folding of the brain surface,” Lim said. “After that, [a] ‘pruning’ process occurs for refinement, to make the brain network more economic and efficient.” It might seem strange to think of the brain condensing as it improves rather than expanding, but that helps to explain this particular maturation effect.

The study was carried out by measuring the brains of 121 people aged between 4-40 and a tool then measured the brain in various regions to see how it communicates from within. To communicate, we are born with fibers in our brain that create the bridge of connection from one part of the brain to another.

As we age, the fibers deteriorate, allowing for faster connections, and thus proving our maturation. “This selective pruning process, which we called preferential detachment, preserves core properties of the brain network that are crucial for information processing and cognitive development,” said Lim

And the pruning seems to occur much faster in women, based on the studies findings.

So, if there was ever any doubt in your mind behind the assumption that men aren’t as mature as women, I hope this gave you clarity. Honestly, though, I knew this without a study, but it’s nice to have one to the site when the topic gets brought up again.