Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 122 (2), 153-69

The Role of Immaturity in Human Development


The Role of Immaturity in Human Development

D F Bjorklund. Psychol Bull.


The possibility that infants' and young children's immature behaviors and cognitions are sometimes adaptive is explored and interpreted in terms of evolutionary theory. It is argued that developmental immaturity had an adaptive role in evolution and continues to have an adaptive role in human development. The role of developmental retardation in human evolution is discussed, followed by an examination of the relation between humans' extended childhood and brain plasticity. Behavioral neoteny, as exemplified by play, is examined, as are some potentially adaptive aspects of infants' perception and cognition that limit the amount of information they can process. Aspects of immature cognition during early childhood that may have some contemporaneous adaptive value are also discussed. It is proposed that viewing immaturity as sometimes adaptive to the developing child alters how children and their development are viewed.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 31 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types