Monday, November 26, 2007

Psychological Neoteny: Prolonged Immaturity As An Evolutionary Adaptation In Science (And Technology)

I have a tattoo of the Decepticon logo.

I spent at least $400 on Legos this year. And there are Lego guys who put me to shame.

The mid-twentieth century saw the rise of the boy-genius, probably because a personality type characterized by prolonged youthfulness is advantageous both in science and modern life generally. This is the evolution of ‘psychological-neoteny’, in which ever-more people retain for ever-longer the characteristic behaviours and attitudes of earlier developmental stages. Whereas traditional societies are characterized by initiation ceremonies marking the advent of adulthood, these have now dwindled and disappeared. In a psychological sense, some contemporary individuals never actually become adults.

Fascinating analysis from a UK psychiatrist.