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Monday, June 26, 2006

Immaturity Rising

According to a new study (link via Discovery News), we not only worship youth, but we act like it too. One piece of marketing "conventional wisdom" is that if you want to target teens, act like you are targeting twenty-somethings (Axe comes to mind). According to this study, twenty-somethings actually act like teens. So, regarding that conventional wisdom...

[researcher] Charlton explained to Discovery News that humans have an inherent attraction to physical youth, since it can be a sign of fertility, health and vitality. In the mid-20th century, however, another force kicked in, due to increasing need for individuals to change jobs, learn new skills, move to new places and make new friends.

A “child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge” is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world, Charlton believes. Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, “unfinished.”

Ahh, now it all makes sense:

"People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact.”

And there is good news:

"Charlton added that since modern cultures now favor cognitive flexibility, “immature” people tend to thrive and succeed, and have set the tone not only for contemporary life, but also for the future, when it is possible our genes may even change as a result of the psychological shift.

But then there's this:

The faults of youth are retained along with the virtues, he believes. These include short attention span, sensation and novelty-seeking, short cycles of arbitrary fashion and a sense of cultural shallowness.

Suddenly, the phrase "there once was a man from Nantucket" popped into my head. Hmmm. Whatever.


Anonymous said...


AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...

you said "head". (giggle)

El Gaffney said...

don't bug me, asswipe. i'm too busy getting my diesel genes in top shape for the next generation of leaders! nach-oooooh! leeee-roy jenkins! woo woo!