Have you ever wondered why there seem to be so many adults who seem to be, well, immature? A new scientific theory purports to explain this. Bruce Charlton, a biologist at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, suggests that today’s society places a premium on flexibility. Ours is a mobile culture on which people may change jobs, and even careers, multiple times in their lives. This means learning new skills, adapting to new locations (workplaces, cities, or even countries), and making 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.”
But along with the virtues of childhood come its vices:
"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.”
Come to think of it, this might explain why I get along so well with my pre-teen nephews.