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Human adulthood encompasses psychological adult development. Definitions of adulthood are often inconsistent and contradictory; a person may be biologically an adult, and have adult behavior but still be treated as a child if they are under the legal age of majority.Conversely, one may legally be an adult but possess none of the maturity and responsibility that may define an adult character.The two-word term biological adult stresses or clarifies that the original definition, based on physical maturity, is being used.The time of puberty varies, but usually begins around 10 or 11 years old.After the social construct of adolescence was created, adulthood split into two forms: biological adulthood and social adulthood.Thus, there are now two primary forms of adults: biological adults (people who have attained reproductive ability, are fertile, or who evidence secondary sex characteristics) and social adults (people who are recognized by their culture or law as being adults).One can distinguish the legality of acts of a young person, or of enabling a young person to carry out that act, by selling, renting out, showing, permitting entrance, allowing participation, etc.
Historically and cross-culturally, adulthood has been determined primarily by the start of puberty (the appearance of secondary sex characteristics such as menstruation in women, ejaculation in men, and pubic hair in both sexes).
Depending on one's jurisdiction, the age of majority may or may not be set independently of and should not be confused with the minimum ages applicable to other activities, such as engaging in a contract, marriage, voting, having a job, serving in the military, buying/possessing firearms, driving, traveling abroad, involvement with alcoholic beverages, smoking, sexual activity, gambling, being a model or actor in pornography, running for President, etc.
Admission of a young person to a place may be restricted because of danger for that person, concern that the place may lead the person to immoral behavior or because of the risk that the young person causes damage (for example, at an exhibition of fragile items).
In contrast to a "minor", a legal adult is a person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient, and responsible.
The typical age of attaining legal adulthood is 18, although definition may vary by legal rights and country.