Alleged age discrepancy in South Sudanese man's case a head-scratcher

Border officials allege a 29-year-old man had been posing as a teenager in Windsor, Ont. The allegations may leave many people wondering how it would be possible for other people not to notice the alleged discrepancy between the man's real and stated ages.

CBSA alleges Jonathan Nicola is 29 years old and not a teenager

Jonathan Nicola was listed on the Windsor Essex County Secondary School Athletic Association website as playing for Catholic Central. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

How could it be possible to not realize a person is nearly twice the age they claim to be?

It's a question at the root of allegations involving a South Sudanese man who is accused of posing as a teenager in Windsor, Ont., and who until recently had been attending a local high school.

The Canada Border Services Agency alleges Jonathan Nicola is 29 years old, as opposed to 17.

Nicola was recently arrested for contravening the Immigration Refugee Protection Act. He is currently in custody and awaiting a detention review.

Cathy Mondloch, a professor in the psychology department at Brock University, said it is difficult to accurately judge another person's age.

And Mondloch, who is the director of the Face Perception Lab at Brock, said this is particularly true when two people are of different races.

Follow this link, or use the media player on this page, to hear Mondloch's full conversation with CBC Radio's Windsor Morning.

With files from the CBC's Tony Doucette, CBC Radio's Windsor Morning and The Canadian Press