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Is there a better way to measure or test maturity (mental or physical) than age?

As a minor, this question comes up every now and again. I'm sure many of you have been restricted by your age, but thought you were more than mature enough to do whatever it was. I think age has been used far too long as a measurement of maturity. Sometimes the age limit is too low and for others too high. Since we all mature at different rates, why would time be used as the measure of maturity? I sort of aimed this question toward neuroscientists (or anyone else studying the brain) to see if there was already a device that measured maturity or if it wasn't even possible.

Feel free to post relevant examples and of course ideas of how we can either test or measure a person's maturity (mental or physical) better.


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    Jul 3 2013: The only way I know the observe how people react to situatoins. Every now and then you just have to put people to the test and see where they are at.

    Low tech answer but accurate.
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      Jul 3 2013: Exactly :) Conduct a Q and A afterwards where you find out why they reacted the way they did and what thought processes were involved. There comes a time where you end up thinking beyond the immediate consequence (i.e. "because I didn't want to get in trouble") and really think about the long term effects of a decision and allow your mind to travel down several paths resulting in different outcomes. This kind of thinking only develops after an individual has experienced enough to be able to accurately predict different results for one scenario.
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        Jul 5 2013: Thanks Frank and Ang! That is sort of along the lines of what I was thinking of for testing maturity. I think we could use their reactions and thought processes to more correctly restrict or free people's access to various things from R-rated films to alcohol and drugs.

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