Bruce Charlton is a Big, Fat Liar

Michael Giberson

Via Discovery News:

The adage “like a kid at heart” may be truer than we think, since new research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever.

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 [Bruce Charlton]….

Among scientists, the phenomenon is called psychological neoteny.

Personally, I think “psychological neoteny” is a big wad of hooey, and anyone who believes in it is a stinky, polka-dotted dunderhead.

And trust me, I probably spent more years in graduate school than you did, so I should know.


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.”

[…] “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.”

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….

Wait, so now he’s saying more and more people are “strikingly immature”, unfinished, unpredictable, unbalanced, and tending to overreact, and we’re supposed to take it as a compliment?

All that I have to say to Charlton is this: “I know you are, but what am I?”

4 thoughts on “Bruce Charlton is a Big, Fat Liar

  1. Well, this does reinforce one of my predjudices.

    Academics are liberals, and a particularly immature kind of liberal at that, know-it-all-ish, sneering, acting like a teenager.

    So this explains it. They’re not acting like teenagers. As far as their brain is concerned, they ARE teenagers.

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