I swear I'm not making this up!
Charlton explained to Discovery News that humans have an inherent attraction to physical youth, since it can be a sign of fertility, health and vitality. In the mid-20th century, however, another force kicked in, due to increasing need for individuals to change jobs, learn new skills, move to new places and make 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."
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. "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."
Yeah, man, we're all SOOOOO sorry that you're this big "mature" lump of granite sitting over there, shouting at those damn kids to get off your lawn. ;] And, uh, what precisely does "cultural shallowness" mean, anyway? The guy sure talks a lot, but I do not seem to be hearing much actual substance.
But probably I'm just too young at heart, and my ability to think critically and analyze things deeply, while still being mentally flexible and able to absorb new ideas (i.e., actually learn), is a sign of immaturity.
They are all just poopy-heads! Big, smelly, ugly, poopy-heads!
Nu-uh! You're the poopy-head!