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Immaturity Level Rising in Adults

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the is-not-are-too dept.

862

Ant writes to tell us that a Discovery News article is exploring the old adage, "like a kid at heart", which may be closer to the truth than we would like to admit. New research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever. From the article: "Specifically, it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth. As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry."

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To that I say... (5, Funny)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599522)

They are all just poopy-heads! Big, smelly, ugly, poopy-heads!

Re:To that I say... (1)

Zindagi (875849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599571)

Wheeeee..adults are immature. Wheeeeee

Explaination (5, Interesting)

Zemran (3101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599692)

Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional... and I opted out.

Re:To that I say... (5, Insightful)

Skidge (316075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599728)

They are all just poopy-heads! Big, smelly, ugly, poopy-heads!

Nu-uh! You're a poopy-head!

Re:To that I say... (5, Funny)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599731)

Well, um, you've got cooties!

Boooo! (0, Redundant)

jamesjw (213986) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599525)



The original poster has farty pants!

And on that note, my work as an adult is done :)

Myspace (3, Funny)

xoran99 (745620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599528)

Case in point: How many "adults" have a myspace account? I'll admit it...

Re:Myspace (1)

corvair2k1 (658439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599532)

You failed it.

Re:Myspace (2, Funny)

crazyjimmy (927974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599699)

Myspace? Bah.

How many of us post on /. ???

Resignation. (5, Insightful)

haeger (85819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599534)

[Stolen from some website]

Adult Resignation
To Whom It May Concern:

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult.

I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again.

I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four star restaurant.
I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks.
I want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them.
I want to play kickball during recess and paint with watercolors in art.
I want to lie under a big Oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summers day.
I want to return to a time when life was simple.
When all you knew were colors, addition tables and simple nursery rhymes. But that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.
When all you knew was to be happy because you didn't know all the things that should make you worried and upset.
I want to think that the world is fair. That everyone in it is honest and good.
I want to believe that anything is possible.
Somewhere in my youth...I matured and I learned too much.

I learned of nuclear weapons, war, prejudice, starvation and abused children.
I learned of lies, unhappy marriages, suffering, illness, pain and death.
I learned of a world where men left their families to go and fight for our country, and returned only to end up living on the streets... begging for their next meal.
I learned of a world where children knew how to kill...and did.

What happened to the time when we thought that everyone would live because we didn't grasp the concept of death?
When we thought the worst thing in the world was if someone took the jump rope from you or picked you last for kickball?

I want to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again. I want to return to the days when reading was fun and music was clean. When television was used to report the news or for family entertainment and not to promote sex, violence and deceit.

I remember being naive and thinking that everyone was happy because I was.
I would walk on the beach and only think of the sand between my toes and the prettiest seashell I could find.
I would spend my afternoon climbing trees and riding my bike.

I didn't worry about time, bills or where I was going to find the money to fix my car.
I used to wonder what I was going to do or be when I grew up, not worry about what I'll do if this doesn't work out.

I want to live simple again.
I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness and loss of loved ones.
I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.

I want to be 6 again.

.haeger

Re:Resignation. (2, Funny)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599543)

*Sniff* Man, you rock. You totally rock!

To being a kid again! /raises rootbeer float

Re:Resignation. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599565)

I want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them.

Clearly you were unimaginative as a kid, and thus missed out on the special trip to the hospital.

I want to go back to the time when green was a flavour.

Re:Resignation. (3, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599663)

Clearly you were unimaginative as a kid, and thus missed out on the special trip to the hospital.

Wow, you guys went to a hospital ?
We went to a place called "Enterprise Village", but I was sick on the day everyone picked jobs, & got stuck working a dead end job as a cashier at Eckerd Drugs instead of the radio station like I wanted.

Holy Shit ! I just realized that thoose special trips really do have an effect on the rest of your life !

Who wants to be six again? (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599586)

Yes that's all very sentimental but why do you want to be six again, an age where from time to time you can sail a stick across a mud puddle but more often than not you are told you can't go near the mud muddle because you're wearing good clothes/at a wedding/supposed to stay dry? Who yearns for a time when everything is out of your control and sailing sticks across a pond is fun because you've still to undeveloped mentally to enjoy a good game of Risk?

I prefer a world where I have greater control over my freedom, where my education is in my own hands as is my destinty. A world where I can paint watercolors any damn time I feel like no matter what I'm wearing and while I am aware of nuclear weapons I can also dismiss such vapid fears casually to enjoy a warm summer day.

Being an adult is awesome if you just follow the golden words of Paul McCartney and let it be!

Re:Who wants to be six again? (3, Interesting)

etherelithic (846901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599680)

When you are 6 you are unburdened by the full weight of reality, and even though you may not have the intellect to enjoy a game of Risk, you don't care about that. You get enough from the simple things in life, and you didn't have to worry about anything. I fail to see the point you're making about being mentally undeveloped. So what if you're 6 and you can't enjoy a game of chess? If a 6 year old were to get the same enjoyment out of playing with sticks in a puddle as you do in playing Risk, who's to judge the 6 year old for being a simpleton? Whatever brings you happiness, is all that matters to you, no matter what anyone else says.

Burden is an illusion (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599723)

When you are 6 you are unburdened by the full weight of reality

What weight? Is there a physical cinder block upon you? Put it to the side then. All other weight, especially mental weight, is chosen by you. You are the one who decides if weight of your imagining is dragging you down or something to stand upon.

The point I am making is that being much older I have had many more experiences and am able to enjoy them in ways a six-year old is not, as I can enjoy more esoteric pleasure just as much as splashing in a puddle (alluded to in the words of the musical Chess with "The Queens we use would not excite you"). My higher level of awareness also leads to greater ability to experience joy. While it is true that also means a greater ability to experience esoteric suffering, I would not give my far vaster scope of ability to simply feel more just because sometimes there is pain. There was pain when I was six as well so what would be the difference except that by opting to stay six forever I would wish myself to be enclosed in a box.

Have you ever read Flowers For Algernon? There is a reason why that story is a sad tale instead of a joyous return to a blissful state of ignorance.

Re:Resignation. (0, Flamebait)

MrPsycho (939714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599638)

Find a fucking hobby.

Re:Resignation. (4, Insightful)

dhalgren (34798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599660)

I want that too.

Now I just have to find somebody to clothe, feed, and house me while I indulge myself.

Re:Resignation. (2, Insightful)

cybercobra (856248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599733)

If that goddamed phoney Holden Caufield was placed in today's world, I'm sure he'd have written a similar document.
For Chrissake, it even mentions his desire to be a child again, like that phoney Michael Jackson.

========
Ignorance is empty, meaningless bliss.

Laugh or Cry (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599540)

Maybe it's because as the world turns increasingly to s h i t, people develop a imaturity complex derived from the "laugh" half of the proverbial "laugh or cry" syndrome.

Re:Laugh or Cry (5, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599729)

There is a reason why most stand-up comedians are people with a hard personal history.

Humour, cynicsm, sarcasm... all defence mechanisms.

:P (0, Redundant)

hapoo (607664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599541)

I'm NOT Immature! Don't make me tell on you!

Does this surprise anybody? (4, Insightful)

agent dero (680753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599544)

With the focus in the past few decades on feelings, emotions, and our complete obsession with "our inner child." It's not surprising at all, it's been a while since we cared about some responsibility.

There's a reason people are suing everybody, there's a reason tobacco companies have been losing so much money in courts; we're like a cuontry of 8 year olds, always pointing at somebody else in the back of class that through the paper airplane.

That said, I think we're going to see a turn around with the generation in college right now, less divorces, less stupidity because it seems that more and more young people are sick and tied of the bullshit.

Re:Does this surprise anybody? (2, Interesting)

toroidal (982612) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599591)

There's a reason people are suing everybody, there's a reason tobacco companies have been losing so much money in courts; we're like a cuontry of 8 year olds, always pointing at somebody else in the back of class that through the paper airplane. I'm also sick and tired of the ol' nanny state. I'm afraid that the next generation will be the same way becuase some might think that this type of behavior is acceptable.

Re:Does this surprise anybody? (4, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599659)

There's a reason people are suing everybody
What, exactly, is wrong with suing someone? It's a legitimate and often necessary thing to do. There is no "plague" of lawsuits, the way you are trying to present it.

there's a reason tobacco companies have been losing so much money in courts
Yes, they are deliberately killing people. Or put more accurately, but lengthily, they knowingly lied about the medical risks and addictive qualities of cigarettes, portrayed them in advertisements as cool, including marketing that was deliberately designed to appeal to children, and, as if all that wasn't bad enough, they knowingly added ingredients which are very toxic and purposefully formulated cigarettes that are even more addicting than they naturally were!

That said, I think we're going to see a turn around with the generation in college right now, less divorces, less stupidity
Not gonna happen. The reason is that your lament is millennia old. Seriously. There are writings from ancient Greece and Rome that read exactly like the cranky old man of today, who decries the awful state of the youth "these days". If you want the divorce rate to go down, the number one thing you can do is to make it so that the middle class is strong and vibrant, and that people have great financial security and physical health. If you, on the other hand, make it so that both members of the married couple have to work long and hard just to scrape by, how can you possibly be surprised that the stress of daily life will have a detrimental toll on their marriage?

because it seems that more and more young people are sick and tied of the bullshit.
Wishful thinking made by someone who clearly hasn't turned on a television in the last 20 years. Just as it had always been, youth culture will reject the rigid demands of old coots like yourself. Just like always, there will be a segment of the youth who will be very responsible and upstanding. And just like always, life will go on and a whole new cadre of old coots will spout the same old nonsense about how the "youth of today" are worse than ever, just as it has always been for thousands of years.

Re:Does this surprise anybody? (1)

rabuksak (682448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599674)

AMEN! ...and I certainly hope you are right about the last part.

Re:Does this surprise anybody? (5, Funny)

highonlife (942559) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599719)


always pointing at somebody else in the back of class that through the paper airplane.


Did it happen during english class when they were teaching the word "throw"?

Re:Does this surprise anybody? (5, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599721)

we're like a cuontry of 8 year olds, always pointing at somebody else in the back of class that through the paper airplane.
Eight year olds can spell "country" and "threw". Now write both of them 100 times, or I'll keep you in at recess.

American Electorate (1, Troll)

Palal (836081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599550)

Judging by the way American Electorate makes its decisions, I concur with the OP that the adults are getting dumber and electing duby... sorry dumb people.

Re:American Electorate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599598)

It is not the American right that believes in entitlement culture, the foundation of remaining a child forever.

Ie. of being a liberal.

Re:American Electorate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599620)

Uh huh, and the popular right never panders to vicious childishness. Nope.

LOLOOLOL!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599552)

YUO R TEH FAGG0T! LOLOL!

Seriously, you see this more and more online. With people who arent 13.

I work at a movie theatre and I see grown men acting like children over the stupidest shit....

Though this study also explains companies like SCO and the MPAA and RIAA.

"WE'RE NOT GETTING WHAT WE WANT.. WAH WAH WAAAAAAAAAAH"

People use the kid at heart excuse too much. Basically they're justifying acting completely anti-social and not having to be decent to other people.

Re:LOLOOLOL!! (0, Redundant)

centipetalforce (793178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599579)

"Basically they're justifying acting completely anti-social and not having to be decent to other people."

Kinda sometimes definitely... although it may also be the other way around. I think people are desperate to reach out to other people in SOME way, anyway possible.

But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599553)

Of course maturity being a RELATIVE CONCEPT

Not sure about this guy's definitions (4, Interesting)

Bombula (670389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599554)

"immature ... in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact."

I'm not sure if that's the world's best definition of immaturity, since its corollary would suggest that maturity is defind by predictability, having balance of priorities (what does that mean?), and not overreacting (does that mean reacting appropriately - how do you define appropriate?).

I hate to reduce things to an argument over definitions, but this stuff seems a little fruity to me. I think a simpler definition of maturity is a willingness to accept responsibility for oneself and for others. By that definition, then we definitely do see a lot of immature, i.e.: irresponsible, behavior among adults - probably because irresponsibility no longer gets you eaten by lions and tigers and bears the way it did for our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

But this guy is definitely right about the value of maintaining mental elasticity as an adult. My grandfather is a good example. He was a prof at a big university and has always had an amazingly agile and adaptive mind. And today I got an email from him of some pictures he took on his digital camera that he doctored in photoshop. Th guy is 86 years old. Email went mainstream when he was in his late 70s, for God's sake.

Re:Not sure about this guy's definitions (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599567)

I think we posted the same conclusions at the same time - you won the race, so I'll get moderated redundant

P.S. My father, emeritus Professor of Statistics at London University, sounds a lot like your grandfather.

Re:Not sure about this guy's definitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599635)

balance of priorities means knowing what to priotorise above other things,example during college days,you are supposed to give greater priority to your exams than to parties,after marriage its supposed to be wife/kids/health first,career second,everything else third.

but look at people nowadays,you'll see that some of them have their priorities wrong.there are those who work too hard,resulting in marriage problems,there are nothers,like i read in a /. comment yesterday,that people are first measuring how much material "value/kick" you are giving them and based upon that decide if to continue their relation with you or not.that's basically the reason for the large number of divorces.look at the country,as a poster just pointed out,like 8 year olds we are pointing fingers at each other,what ever happened to maturity ?.
nowadays there ssome interesting trend going on which eveyone follows like sheep,it was first "boobies will be the death of us all",then its "save the children!",all along in the background someone is shouting "terrorism!".when was the last time out politicians or we as a socitey questioned what we are doing,kid experiments with a chemistry/experiments set and gets hurt,gets to sue the manufacturer.its a sue happy culture,but consider this,where does being sue happy come from ? from the lack of maturity,like kids who complain to the teacher everytime their friend does something they dont like instead of solving it themselves.

what we need is a dose of maturity,but that will not come as long as the money keeps flowing.but not to worry,life has interesting ways of teaching people,you too will be atught one fine day.

Re:Not sure about this guy's definitions (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599697)

Yeah, I read the article expecting some thoughtful insight--perhaps how people still buy toys for themselves, or like to eat at McDonald's or something. What I didn't expect was something so utterly useless. I do hope that the article doesn't really represent what the biology professor was trying to say.

Maturity isn't defined by any specific set of characteristics, it's described by them. By that I mean, you look at something that is mature (finished its final growth stage) and whatever state it's in is what is "mature" for that thing. These days, "maturity" means something different, psychologically, than it (apparently) did 100 years ago (I'm not so sure about this--I can think of many great people from centuries and even millennia ago who were just as "immature" in their maturity as the professor is saying we are today).

To me, one of the fundamentally key ingredients that makes the human mind so powerful is the fact that it doesn't have to "mature", in the sense that it doesn't have to reach a relatively unchanging state during life.

On the other hand, I don't see any reason one can't keep a child-like mind while still being financially responsible and dependable. Like I said, given that the article seems to paint such a seemingly arbitrary view of "maturity", I really do hope it's a case of bad reporting.

Re:Not sure about this guy's definitions (5, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599736)

I don't see any reason one can't keep a child-like mind while still being financially responsible and dependable.
Greetings! My daddy used to be the nigerain minizter for candies and in my house I have a very enourmus jar of sweets. Unfortunatly this jar is guarded by my big brother, but if you give me ten bucks I will bribe him to open it for me ... er us and I will share them with you.

Re:Not sure about this guy's definitions (3, Interesting)

MayonakaHa (562348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599700)

Reminds me of some of the customers I get at work. Usually older gentlement trying to get a handle on computers who don't have quite the mental flexibility of others saying they were "born too early".

The funny part about that is the last customer who said that was talking to our Toshiba representative who's got a pretty good grip on current tech. When the rep asked when he was born in response and got something back that was around the 50's, the rep replied by saying he was born in the 20's. Just shows you that if you keep your mind fresh instead of just letting it sit there unchallenged you don't have to be left behind.

It's all about definitions (4, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599555)

From TFA

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."

and

"By contrast, many modern adults fail to attain this maturity, and such failure is common and indeed characteristic of highly educated and, on the whole, effective and socially valuable people," he said.

So it looks like his definition of 'maturity' coresponds to my 'boring old fart', which, at the age of 53, I hope I'm not.

Re:It's all about definitions (1)

austus (199520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599667)

I completely agree with you. His research is pure rubbish because it begins with a bogus premise, specifically his stupid definitions.

Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599557)

http://ytmnd.com/ [ytmnd.com]

youth culture killed my dog (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599558)

Slashdot posters especially tend to overstate the value of youthful flexibility and forget what evil little pricks children often are.

Part of maturing is learning to handle the fact that you are part of the world and that you don't always get what you want. Adult temper tantrums are increasingly viewed as the way to get things done, a vicious and childish response to being balked is hailed as being "forceful" and "practical".

Compulsory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599560)

Insert compulsory "slashdotters living with their moms" here ->

Let the flamefest starts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599563)

...having lived in the US I can say it's quite true. People there, more than anywhere else, love their toys. Except that the tiny remote controlled car has turned into a 4x4 with huge tires and raised suspension. Or a huge collections of guns that go 'bang!'. Or many other examples like the fact they react violently or in a completely immature way when someone tries to tell them they are wrong (freedom fries indeed). On the other hand I have no idea what 'adult maturity' would be like, myself...

Thought you should know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599564)

I just pooted. ;)

It's a symptom of the cause, (4, Insightful)

centipetalforce (793178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599566)

...not the cause of the symptom. I hear jokes that sound ridiculous when heard from third person all the time that I might laugh at if told to me. But stupid jokes don't cause immaturity, nor vice versa necessarily. It does all depend on the taste and context though, as some third grad jokes are as good as ever if done in the right context and aren't done in a derisive or tasteless sense.

But the real cause of bad jokes is that people are as desperate as ever to be well liked. I blame that on the growing culture of sexual presumptiveness in our society. You can't just go up to a stranger and start conversing with them usually without her/him thinking your up to something, no matter how natural you are (unless you have a reason to be talking). People in general are paranoid, presumptive, and take themselves too seriously. They have nightmare stories in the back of their minds from 'Unsolved Mysteries' that tell them never to talk to strangers because they will rape and kill you!

At least, that's the way people are in my town. I dunno about yours.

Re:It's a symptom of the cause, (1)

HillaryWBush (882804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599581)

I know what you mean, but is that really sexual presumptiveness? More like too much TV makes you a zombie.

But ... what is maturity ? (1)

torviz (969871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599569)

Could someone please define what is maturity ? I am lost here !

Immaturity Level Rising in Adults (0, Redundant)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599570)

No duh!

-Peter

Personal position (5, Interesting)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599572)

I can only speak for myself.

I reject the traditional concepts of maturity. I refuse to spend my life doing things I don't like because of some outmoded notion of 'have to.' The pressure to grow up, to think like an adult, is ridiculous and useless from an objective standpoint.

This doesn't mean shirking responsibility is part of the mindset. It simply means I try to retain a childlike viewpoint on the world. One of the most important things children have that most adults lack is a sense of wonder and discovery. The benefits are astonishing.

That said, I didn't actually read the article, as it were, so I may be wildly off-topic. In true immature fashion, whatever.

Responsibility is key (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599621)

I don't think the immaturity discussion at hand has really anything to do with becoming one of the Sheeple and conforming to expected norms. I think it has everything to do with accepting responsibilities. That I think is a growing problem that people seem to be less responsible than in the past...

I myself am happy to maintain a child like outlook on life but I also take responsibilities and commitments and relationships very seriously. Perhaps it is the erosion of serious relationships in society (and that could mean anything from partners to very close friends) that is tainting other aspects of life for some people.

My motto... (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599573)

...has always been: "I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up!"

Responsibility (5, Insightful)

abdulwahid (214915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599583)

I think part of the problem might be that people are not forced to grow up and take responsibility at such a young age as they were before. I am now living in Africa but comparing my experiences to when I was living in the West I see this every day. Many children here have to take serious responsibilities in life from a young age. Perhaps they have to look after whole families or simply go out and find food every day for themselves. Regardless, when speaking to some of the young people you find that they are relatively mature.

Perhaps in the West people are too protected and hence don't need to grow up. Many people by the age of 18 have never gone to bed with hunger pains. They have probably never had a real job. They are probably given an allowance from their parents that they can go and waste on useless luxuries. The kids in the West are pampered and spoilt. No wonder there is a trend towards immaturity.

Re:Responsibility (5, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599613)

I think part of the problem might be that people are not forced to grow up and take responsibility at such a young age as they were before.

Nope, sorry.

The friends of mine who HAVE had to take responsibility at a young age, who HAVE gone to bed with hunger pains (and not out of choice) are far more immature and unable to take care of themselves than those of us who were children until the age of 18. Being introduced to hardship doesn't cause one to grow up faster -- it causes one to stop growing and start muddling through, even if they're not ready.

If you look at the rate of war, murder, and general chaos, you'll find that those regions of the world where children are not allowed to mature before being forced to act like adults are far worse off than places like the west. While I won't argue that western children are "spoiled" far more often than their african counterparts -- I think I'd rather my children be spoiled than broken.

Re:Responsibility (1)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599658)

To be fair, though; responsibility is not the same thing as hardship.

Re:Responsibility (1)

trajik2600 (944364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599706)

I think that children want to immitate the life they were accustomed to as children. I grew up in a family of seven, from lower class to lower-middle class, because my parents tried their hearts out to not let us know we were poor. I remember the days of macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, up to the point my parents would spend $250 every paycheck on food while I bitched that I didn't have a Playstation.

I'm 23 now, and totally understand where my parents were coming from. There is only me and the woman, a combined income of $60k, an 840 sq ft apartment, and no money. I commend my parents, as they've set goals for me to live for. I grew up in a 2500 sq ft, 5 bedroom home, and never knew of anything worse. Now I live in worse, and strive for the status quo I was raised to know.

I think that people only try to achieve the better that they've known. Any better might be uncomfortable or wasteful.

Re:Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599735)

As a product of hunger pangs, foster homes, and physical abuse as a child, I agree. My wife has just given birth to our daughter four months ago, and my mission is to spoil her to no end, and I've already started.

Children are supposed to be nurtured and allowed to toe into the water - no thrown in wholesale.

Re:Responsibility (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599630)

The kids in the West are pampered and spoilt. No wonder there is a trend towards immaturity.

I think you left out one of the most important factors - the government's use of hysteria about "protecting the children" to justify all kinds of nanny-state laws. We have this strange dichotomy enforced on us that people are helpless, naive babes in the woods until they reach 18 (and in some cases 21) years of age, which is completely geared to isolating them from any maturity-developing life experiences.

I see it as the social sciences version of that recent study indicating that children raised in too clean of an environment end up with weakend immune systems because they've never been exposed to grit and grime of the real world and thus never had the opportunity for their immune systems to mature and build up sufficient biological defenses.

Well I dunno man (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599650)

If what it takes to be "responsible" or "mature" is starvation, child labour, and so on then please, sign me up for immaturity. I would also point out that in that "mature" environment we have more crimes against humanity than, well, proably anywhere in the modern world. Ethnic clensing, tribal warfare, brutal torture, etc. Seems that perhaps having the weight of the world thrust on your shoulders as a kid and haivng to mature fast is perhaps not the best method for a stable and successful future.

I'm not trying to say America has the be-all, end-all answer for raising kids. Clearly we get screwed up adults here. But pointing to Africa as a good example of maturity is rather shocking. While perhaps people have to be mature on an individual level and accept responsibility for immediate concerns like food, socially it's very immature. Brutal fighting against someone who happens to be an arbitrary different tribe than you is not mature. It is indeed very much like little kids ostracising certian members because of trivial differences, it's just done in the grown up world and thus has more dire consequences. It is overall more mature to have a society where it's not just what's good for you and yours, but good over all. A warlike, tribal view is extremely immature in that context.

I think perhaps there's something to be said for being less "mature" in some ways. Being mature often seems to be tied to being cynical and depressed. People who are bright eyed and idealistic are looked down upon as immature and young. Ok, maybe so, but it is those bright eyed idealists that can bring about real change. If you are "mature" about life in that you accept it as it is then you don't stand much chance of changing it. It's only if you have the perhaps naive view that the world can and should be a better place that you'll have the will to go try and make it such.

Re:Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599662)

Many children here have to take serious responsibilities in life from a young age. Perhaps they have to look after whole families or simply go out and find food every day for themselves. Regardless, when speaking to some of the young people you find that they are relatively mature.

That's precisely the reason why Africa is a haven of stability and prosperity.

The kids in the West are pampered and spoilt. No wonder there is a trend towards immaturity.

That's precisely the reason why the West is such a quagmire of war, hunger and disease.

A way to deal (5, Insightful)

demon_2k (586844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599585)

I think that this is just a way for adults to deal with the stress of current day life. Or a side affect if you will.

Sadly, that would explain a lot of posts here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599592)

Many of the posts are very immature. The shear amount of trolls are incredable. I used to think that it was just kids, but over the ages, I have realized that a fair number are adults who wish to be something that they are not.

Academics, eh? (5, Interesting)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599596)

From the artice:

The theory's creator is Bruce Charlton, a professor in the School of Biology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England...
"People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence..."


I'm amused that he singles out academics, teachers and scientists - pretty much the exact description of people he has in his department. Not that I wish to suggest that the fine fellows at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne are in any way immature (I did my Bachelor's degree there), but I can't help thinking that his paper is by implication not exactly flattering to them.

Stolen from Tom Waits... (1)

da (93780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599597)

When I'm lyin' in my bed at night
I don't wanna grow up
Nothin' ever seems to turn out right
I don't wanna grow up
How do you move in a world of fog
That's always changing things
Makes me wish that I could be a dog
When I see the price that you pay
I don't wanna grow up
I don't ever wanna be that way
I don't wanna grow up

Seems like folks turn into things
That they'd never want
The only thing to live for
Is today
I'm gonna put a hole in my TV set
I don't wanna grow up
Open up the medicine chest
And I don't wanna grow up
I don't wnna have to shout it out
I don't want my hair to fall out
I don't wanna be filled with doubt
I don't wanna be a good boy scout
I don't wanna have to learn to count
I don't wanna have the biggest amount
I don't wanna grow up

Well when I see my parents fight
I don't wanna grow up
They all go out and drinking all night
And I don't wanna grow up
I'd rather stay here in my room
Nothin' out there but sad and gloom
I don't wanna live in a big old Tomb
On Grand Street

When I see the 5 o'clock news
I don't wanna grow up
Comb their hair and shine their shoes
I don't wanna grow up
Stay around in my old hometown
I don't wanna put no money down
I don't wanna get me a big old loan
Work them fingers to the bone
I don't wanna float a broom
Fall in and get married then boom
How the hell did I get here so soon
I don't wanna grow up

TOM WAITS - "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" lyrics

Apologies for length - but feel the width...

Easy (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599607)

It's easy to move in a world of fog, you just need more sunshine in your outlook to burn the fog away.

Re:Stolen from Tom Waits... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599746)

If only there was a way to mod parent "Oh, hell yes." I'd give a different that is close to making sense like interesting, but I've been M2ed "unfair" like crazy lately on textbook moderations, such as redundant for people copying and pasting the article from sources that have no registration requirements, no signs of /. effect kicking in, etc. So I'll just post anonymously instead.

It's obvious from the posts here that about two people RTFA before posting. What the article is basically saying is that flexibility of mind is essentially a childhood trait. Societal pressures are forcing people to retain a more and more flexible mind with the result that the mind does not reach a "mature" state with side effects "including short attention span, sensation and novelty-seeking, short cycles of arbitrary fashion and a sense of cultural shallowness." Although I'd really question that last bit "a sense of cultural shallowness." Academics often complain about this so called modern phenomenon, but don't provide any statistics to back this up. I claim that this idea is patently false. While there may be certain literary, musical and artistic works that were once held as great art which are being largely ignored today the fact is two generations ago the vast majority of people had no hope of being exposed to these works of art and culture, it was simply the elite (I.E. wealthy) who really had a chance to experience them. I feel that there are more people interested in and actively participating in deep culture now than were 100 years ago. You just won't find them if you sit in your ivory tower, you have to go across the street to the art galleries and coffee houses to find them. You won't hear great musical innovation on the radio, but have to go to small seedy bars and clubs to find the musicians pushing the envelope further and refining and expanding the art, just as you did with the jazz greats.

One important question to ask is whether "maturity" in the for the article talks about does not come, or if it simply sets on later than it used to. If maturity does not ever set in, then I could see obvious negative effects. However, if it simply is taking longer for people to reach maturity, that would mean a world of a difference. This means that people have more time to gather data and obtain different opinions before their general world view is cemented. It may also mean that in times past, people were forced to suddenly mature before they were actually ready resulting in a mind that is not as fully developed, similar to how a fruit that is picked when still green and force ripened in transit will not taste as good or be as nutritious as one picked fresh when ripe. One very likely cause of delayed maturity is having children of your own. Having children often forces people to adopt a mature role, but these days it makes more and more sense to delay having children untill the economic security that comes with a degree and experience in the workplace has already been achieved. Untill that time a person is free to live for the moment a little. And acting a little immature (I.E. seeming like a fun and interesting person to be around) really is in itself a necessary ingredient to courting a mate to have that first child with.

That said, I would probably find the paper that the researcher is writing to be an interesting read. I might question some of his conclusions and even research methods, but it's still an interesting concept and one worth thinking about.

Kohlberg scale and selling/war? (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599606)

Having too many of the peasent moving up the Kohlberg scale is bad for
profits, war and control?
What if they start wanting and understanding ethical principles?
Best keep them all at stage 2?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg's_stages_of_ moral_development [wikipedia.org]

Worldwide? (5, Funny)

Bazman (4849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599610)

Some people have commented that this is only happening in developed nations. But if it happens all over teh globe, would that make it a Peter Pan-demic?

Haha (1)

EMIce (30092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599611)

What's the definition of mental adulthood?

marks of mental adulthood (1)

waterbear (190559) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599654)

What's the definition of mental adulthood?

Sigmund Freud wrote somewhere that psychological maturity was about the ability to love and to work.

You can take your pick, but that sounds like a start to me.

-wb-

Re: Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599681)

Mental adulthood is publishing a scientific paper with peer review instead of self-aggrandizement via MSM and a vanity journal.

Re:Haha (2, Insightful)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599727)

Adulthood is...
Doing what you must do, before doing what you want to do.
Doing the right thing, especially when no one will ever know.
Knowing that your actions and words affect those near you.
Realizing that like it or not, every word and deed has a consequence; often unforseen.
Understanding implicitly that in spite of the previous two items, the world does not revolve around you.

It depends (4, Interesting)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599612)

Before we got married, my wife and I decided to not have kids. Over the years since and to this day, when people ask us why we don't have any kids, we simply say "We're not done being kids, ourselves."

And its true. We'd just rather spend all of that child-rearing money on ourselves and keep our options open (go out/take trips whenever), while not having to put up with the hassles of tending to kids.

I'm sure many traditionally-raised folks might see this as immature or selfish, but it all depends on the point of view.

Re:It depends (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599640)

And of course your tax is paying towards their kids' education, and if you live somewhere with a decent welfare system, your tax is probably paying for their birth. Parental tax breaks mean you are paying for their food as well. How unselfish can you get?

Re:It depends (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599645)

Before we got married, my wife and I decided to not have kids
seeing how ugly you and your wife are, you're doing the human race a favour.

Re:It depends (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599707)

I think the "traditonally-raised" part these actually is the problem with the orignal article. It seems to hold the tranditonal way of doing things as the gold standard of maturity. As though if you were inflexable, but utterly reliably to do whatever mindless task you'd been trained to do that was "mature". That's no longer such an asset in society, and people are chinging. I think perhaps a better definition of maturity is the skills necessary to be a successful, productive, happy member of society.

So something like: If you can't deal with society's rules, you aren't socially mature. If you can't succede in modern jobs you aren't intellectually mature. If you cannot find happiness in life you aren't emotionally mature. That kind of thing. That we don't defie it as some traditonal lifestyle to meet, but rather as having a good life in the world as it is today.

Also an interesting thing about the childless it is it perhaps a new kind of maturity that we have to accept. There is a limit to the number of people we can have in the world, that's just a simple fact. It would seem we are already pushing that limit too far. Well, it will eventually solve itself via things like starvation, but I think a better idea might just be to procreate less. Given the number of people who decide that they want to have more than two children, it is socially repsonsible to have no children. That is, of course, not to advocate everyone goes childless, but there's something to be said for those that don't have kids.

I just don't think that the definition of maturity as "Living your life like the last generation" is a useful one.

Re:It depends (1)

jozmala (101511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599734)

Before we got married, my wife and I decided to not have kids. Over the years since and to this day, when people ask us why we don't have any kids, we simply say "We're not done being kids, ourselves."

Evolution at work, reducing immaturity in future generations.

Their photo for illustration (2, Funny)

simdan (207210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599614)

They are using a photo of a traffic cop dancing in the street to illustrate their point. I could have sworn I've seen that cop on TV. He does these crazy moves and motions as he directs traffic. Pretty entertaining to see and a lot better then a cop with a chip on his shoulder. I have doubts that he is really all that immature. Just a guy having fun at his job.

Obivous? (0, Offtopic)

rgravina (520410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599617)

I don't understand why someone tagged this "obvious". I had no idea that adults, on average, are more immature now than they were in the past. It does sound reasonable, yes, but certainly not obvious.

something I noticed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599622)

It seems adults in the USA have stolen the toys of their children.

Take comics for example, I was surprised to know that comic book companies in the USA now target adults much more than children. I was surperised more to find that adults dress up as comic characters in conventions. The same applies for Sci-Fi movies and TV shows. I don't know about video games, but with the increasing violence I'm guessing that again the main target is now a mostly adult audience.

The aim of this post isn't attacking adult comic readers (or whatever), but there's a difference between some people buying something they like, and the current situation where adults 'hijacked' whole categories of products initially marketed for their children.
Can anyone explain to a non-American how this happened?

Re:something I noticed (1)

cliath (978599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599691)

The reason that has happened to comics is simply that new mediums (cartoons) which took over that spot in children's lives. People who grew up on comic books, grew tired of the childish themes, and the new generation weren't interested in them since they had animated comics.

Fast Food (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599631)

I'm scared to post in this topic, I could be a poster child for immature behavior...

It all started when I had to answer to a 16 year old boss being 18 at that fast food joint.

This is great! Now I can (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599633)

feel perfectly comfortable telling people my own age to get the hell off my lawn!

This topic is producing a lot of childish replies (2, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599637)

Ironically it's the ones that aren't intentional that we should be worrying about...

Definition of mental maturity/adulthood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599651)

Is there an agreed-upon defintion of mental or psychological maturity? If so, what is that? When I'm lyin in my bed at night I don't wanna grow up Nothin ever seems to turn out right I don't wanna grow up How do you move in a world of fog Thats always changing things Makes me wish that I could be a dog When I see the price that you pay I don't wanna grow up I don't ever wanna be that way I don't wanna grow up Seems like folks turn into things That theyd never want The only thing to live for Is today... Im gonna put a hole in my tv set I don't wanna grow up Open up the medicine chest And I don't wanna grow up I don't wanna have to shout it out I don't want my hair to fall out I don't wanna be filled with doubt I don't wanna be a good boy scout I don't wanna have to learn to count I don't wanna have the biggest amount I don't wanna grow up Well when I see my parents fight I don't wanna grow up They all go out and drinking all night And I don't wanna grow up Id rather stay here in my room Nothin out there but sad and gloom I don't wanna live in a big old tomb On grand street When I see the 5 oclock news I don't wanna grow up Comb their hair and shine their shoes I don't wanna grow up Stay around in my old hometown I don't wanna put no money down I don't wanna get me a big old loan Work them fingers to the bone I don't wanna float a broom Fall in love and get married then boom How the hell did I get here so soon I don't wanna grow up (tom waits/kathleen brennan)

What's the definition of maturity? (1)

MonkeyBot (545313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599669)

"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."
Aside from short attention span, is any of this really indicative of immaturity? Sounds a bit more like a shift in social paradigm to me...I still see people working 8-5 to make ends meet so that a family can be raised. How are these people defining "mental adulthood?"

It sounds like this guy's main argument is that education requires mental immaturity, and education now continues into the 20s. If this is the case, then shouldn't the New Adult be more capable of learning than the older generations? I don't understand, but maybe it is just a consequence of my short attention span...

Its Simple Really (4, Interesting)

artoffacts (850560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599676)

Adults are typically hard to sell to. Children on the other hand typically make easy marks. So how do you make sure that your target market remains in a blissful pre-lapsarian haze in the face of age and oncoming responsibility?

You produce them as such.

Thomas Doherty once quipped that "movies reflect teenage, not mass - and definitely not adult - tastes". Hollywood, The TV industry, glossy magazines, etc, are all interested in doing one thing: producing you as an unquestioning consumer whose core concerns are childlike.

Take for example these new Nike Ronaldino ads whose catchphrase is "never grow up". I don't want to go all Barthes here but these ads are so shameless in their meaning production that you wonder how any adult with an IQ over 80 could fall for their message. It's pitiful really.

The trouble is.... (3, Interesting)

WontStopTrying (984863) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599678)

I'm 19. To politely state how I feel about my generation is that I strongly dislike them. What's worse though is having to deal with adults at my college, who attend to get a "second chance" at whatever it is they want. What's annoying about them is that they are immature. They act exactly like my generation. A group of people who are more focused on social aesthetics rather than concerning themselves with the overall good, they don't even focus on a goal besides graduating. It's annoying, and it probably won't stop. Education is being pushed on younger people to attend at an early age so they don't have to go back, or won't have to do a lot of work later in life while raising kids, and that might make it change because they'll be able to focus on adult responsibilties and socialize with people who are farther along in their life. As far as people in "the west" living in cushy little houses and having everything provided for them by their hardworking parents, that is untrue. My mom made me go get a job. My mom told me if I didn't save money that I would be the man who had to walk to work because he blew it on a game system instead of preparing for an accident from his car or saving for my retirement. Currently I'm renting my own house leased under my own name and sure I had her help finding it, but it's me and my roommates paying for it. She prepared me for it, but I am proof that "the west" doesn't have everything given to them and that some of my generation can appreciate deeper things than how many friends you have on myspace, or who got drunk at what party. Personally I find my generation offensive, but that's just me.

Re:The trouble is.... (2, Funny)

ComradeSnarky (900400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599715)

My mom told me if I didn't save money that I would be the man who had to walk to work because he blew it on a game system instead of preparing for an accident from his car or saving for my retirement.


Your game system costs as much as a car plus your whole nest egg? I didn't know the PS3 was out already.

Re:The trouble is.... (1)

WontStopTrying (984863) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599732)

I lol'd

I guess alot of people think like I do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599684)

Wow! I remember thinking at the age of 10: "wow, being an adult sucks. I could go without the goodies if being an adult is as bad as my parents complain it is. I mean, I don't have to do anything. Having to spend most of my day at some crappy repetitive job would suck" I guess that sentiment has caught on.

Are Farts Funnier in Church? (2, Interesting)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599685)

It's really impossible to address the range of issues such a claim covers. In evolutionary terms we're thought by many to be neotenic [wikipedia.org] . From wikipedia: " There is controversy over whether adult humans exhibit certain neotenous features, or juvenile characteristics, that are not evidenced in other great ape species. Stephen Jay Gould was an advocate of the view that humans are a neotenous species of chimpanzee; the argument being that juvenile chimpanzees have an almost-identical bone structure to humans, and that the chimpanzee's ability to learn seems to be cut off upon reaching maturity."

An argument could be made that as we're neotenic by evolutionary design it's "only natural" that psychologically we exhibit overextended developmental immaturity.

Our sense of humour is based on broken symmetry. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience [amazon.com] by Erving Goffman was an early effort to set out the myriad markers we use to establish a contextual frame and the wit we employ to break that frame for various reasons, humour not least among them.

Our relatively oversized brain is conjectured to be an outgrowth of our intricate social relationships. Our fetishes and rituals have come under scrutiny by dint of recorded history and cultural cross fertilization. In the vein of familiarity breeds contempt it may be that we've simply come to more easily poke fun at ourselves.

The Marx brothers said it best: Groucho:"I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as a member"; and Karl: "Moi, je ne suis pas marxiste."

It may be that those who are now seen as relatively immature are those whose lives most correspond with the material wealth that permited playful immaturity. I suggest that Freud's concept of polymorphous perversity can be extended from sexuallity to all aspects of our lives as a description of our ability to transcend our basic nature.

"The faults of youth" (1)

Rational (1990) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599687)

"sensation and novelty-seeking, short cycles of arbitrary fashion" etc.

I submit those are the symptom of exactly the opposite - mankind finally beginning to grow up.

bs (2, Insightful)

norteo (779244) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599689)

"a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth"

Oh my God!!!! Adults don't think about money any more! what are we going to do?! Don't tell me wars will soon be over!! Quick, you, "leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry", give me some aderol!!!

Old fart maturity? (3, Insightful)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599705)

I believe that being mature simply means to accept the consequences of our acts.

Being mature doesn't have anything to do with being predictable, boring, let-me-read-my-diary old fart or being playful, childish, fun and sometimes impredictable and impulsive.

As long as I accept the consequences of my acts let me play all I can and enjoy simple things and not worry more than I have to.

prepare for economic activity?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599711)

"The psychological neoteny effect of formal education is an accidental by-product -- the main role of education is to increase general, abstract intelligence and prepare for economic activity,"

prepare for economic activity.... am i the only one that thinks there's something wrong about that one?
.... abstract intelligence and prepare for a corporate life??? that's growing up???
i've been reading too much chomsky http://www.understandingpower.com/ [understandingpower.com] ...

HUH?!?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15599712)

wat teh fucken u d00dz no abt waht is matrue and waht peeple wanna do now?!!? thins is change all teh time an were teh new way 2 go u fagz r stuk inna tim wrap!?! GO back to teh 70s u r 2 0ld!?!!!

Hey, wait a minute... (1)

Cicero382 (913621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15599747)

...is he talking about us?
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