1. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Advantages and disadvantages of a extended childhood.

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Lorddread, May 23, 2012.

    I have this universe where the genes for psychic abilities also grant eternal youth, with the downside being that maturation is greatly slowed. For example a thirteen year old with mental powers looks about six or seven. What affects on society could this have?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Isn't this exactly what you, as a writer, should be exploring for yourself?

    You take a premise, you explore its ramifications, and you present it to the reader.

    If you do a good job, your readers will be inspired to discuss it. When they start tearing it apart, be proud; you have made them think. If they don't, that's the time to feel disappointed. If no one questions your thoughts on the matter, you probably never touched the readers with your opinion. Apathy is the worst reaction.

    But this is your time to think, and to come up with your own opinion on how they would be affected.
     
  3. Lumipon
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    Lumipon Member

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    Yes, the author should explore the idea himself, but honestly, bouncing around ideas with like minded fellows is very effective way to gain perspective.

    One might demand that all fiction must be a product of a single man, but is it wrong to ask others for input? I say it's likely that Lorddread already has some ideas himself, and just wants to know what other people might think. It may expand his horizons.

    Anyway, back on topic:

    I'd wager there would be special facilities to educate and care for the psychic kids. There also might be new facets of industry that take advantage of supernatural powers, like heavy lifting with telekinesis.

    Also when you put supernatural power in the hands of kids who could thtow a tantrum when they don't get what they want, I would expect there would be some anti-psychic measures developed. That may be a weapon, an elite military/police force, a chip in their brains... Psychic child-labor? Or that psychics deemed too dangerous are put down, because they would cause too much damage before they'd mature enough to control themselves.

    Or could it be that the normal people revere them as gods? Try to please them so they will not throw a building on you.

    Also, are the superpowered ones segregated from or integrated into normal society? This is a question you will need to answer with any setting you come up with
     
  4. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    The story takes place in the future (not sure how far) and psychics are vital for interstellar society. All the other species are universally psychic. And while the slowing of development affects emotion, not so much intellectual growth.
     
  5. Lumipon
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    Lumipon Member

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    Well, one could argue that slow physical growth does affect intellectual development. I don't know the English terminology for psychology, but I can confidently say that a boy whose brain is 10, even if he had 20 years worth of experience, could not be at the same intellectual and emotional level as a "normal" 20y/o. This is because the brain change and evolve very radically until the age of 20+. This all has to do with the frontal lobe, the left and right sides or the brain, neural connections and whatnot, but what you need to know is that a 10y/o cannot achieve the same level of raw cognitive power as an adult no matter how much experience he has.

    I know I don't sound very convincing, but my psychology to English vocabulary is painfully incomplete. But that's how it goes.

    Of course we could hand wave this as sci-fi, but when you use genes as the reason for superpowers, you should be willing to go all the way. I'd suggest you'd read some wikipedia articles on developmental psychology (the biological perspective).

    I'm saying this because having a scientific reason for superpowers, you'd better go scientific for actual science as well. If you don't the readers can (and probably will) call you out on that.
     
  6. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Big con, delayed puberty and sexuality. So much for propigation of the species.
     
  7. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Not necessarily. Look at highly gifted children - there are 10 year olds capable of college-level work.

    The frontal lobes are the main area that is still developing between 10 and 20 years old. They do not have much impact on intelligence, instead they're more about organizational skills, self-control, etc. People with frontal lobe injuries often score just fine on IQ tests, but fail in everyday life because they're impulsive, have trouble getting motivated, don't plan ahead, etc. There's a theory that the reason teenagers tend to be impulsive and risk-taking is because their frontal lobes aren't fully developed.

    So a person with the brain of a 10 year old, but who has lived for 20 years, could very well be capable of the kind of cognitive achievement most 20 years olds could do, but have the organizational skills and self-control of a typical 10 year old.
     
  8. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Keep in mind as psychics they're constantly absorbing knowledge from those around them, and any issues psychic infants and toddlers could have? And bet age of consent laws are going to need alteration.
     
  9. Lumipon
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    And then there adults who can barely solve a linear function. Individual differences are major, but the extremities are very rare. That, however, does not make your point less valid.

    But having trouble concentrating and lack of motivation does impede your learning. But then again, individual differences.

    I wouldn't say "very well be capable", rather it's possible. Because the nature of those 20 years will mean a lot aswell. If none of those years are spent in a school or the like, having all the potential in the world won't help you.

    Though I am not a super psychology professor.

    Well, if they can read minds, it could be possible that they learn telepathy faster than they learn to speak (though they'd probably learn language pretty well too). And depending on how much destructive power the toddlers possess, they might cause some accidents (flying toys, cribs, people...)
     
  10. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Any adaptions the educational system would have to make?
     
  11. Rosyln
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    Rosyln New Member

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    I think that would depend on your concept how you present it. You must write every emotion in detail, plus what the character feels also must be written in detail. And if your writing sensible stuff and full of positiveness then it will have a good effect as you must keep in mind that young people would read such stuff so should write positive things.
     
  12. Rosyln
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    Rosyln New Member

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    I think that schools should teach self defense to girl kids from primary classes.
     
  13. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Any particular reason?
     
  14. Rosyln
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    Rosyln New Member

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    As we see that mostly girls face problems in defending themselves if someone tries to molest them and some parents because of insufficient money they cannot send their children to self defense classes so if school people teach it from beginning and without charging separately for it would help the parents and children greatly.
     
  15. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Wonder how parenting would be affected?
     
  16. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    where the mind is without fear...
    No child/teen/young adult wants to be young. They resent when they are called a child, it is just how a child's mind works. It is only when people starts growing old they want to remain young. So, when they are 30 but have the physical and mental maturity of a 15 years old, they will treat this forever young thing as a curse rather than a gift. The psycotherapists might be the riches professionals in such a society :)
     
  17. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Oh and they stop ageing at twenty five.
     
  18. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Well, I'm with you for 90% of that observation.

    People my age want to be healthy, extend their life spans, even turn back the clock. But that is a physical manifestation only. I do not wish to think like a person in their 20s.

    Many times my wife and will sit with a younger person at the coffee bar and discuss life, loves, jobs, etc. Then the younger person might profess a valuable insight into life, like he/she stumbled onto a nugget no one else has opined.

    Later my wife and I will nudge each other, and one will say, "I discovered that in 1962."

    I don't think I had a valuable, lucid, and practical thought that helped me reflect on 'real life' until I was 35 years old. The one common thread in living is that children and old people agree on most things. That's because they view what's in front of them without filters.
     
  19. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Keep in mind they do eventually become grown up physically and mentally.
     
  20. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I would assume the largest problem would involve the physical aging. So my question would be, are these psychics segregated from the rest of the population? From your outline the thirteen year old would have more knowledge than the average human thirteen year old, but the fact that they look like their six years old would effect how people treat them. Another question I have is, how do they absorb knowledge from other people? Can they stop this from happening? Are they educated separately from human children? (I would imagine they would have to because of the sheer knowledge they possess).
     
  21. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I'm not saying they don't. The real issue is that maturity is a marathon, not a sprint. I wouldn't trade anything to once again become a slightly graying dynamic middle-aged executive.

    For example, I dress like a bum. Ever see a toddler rip off a diaper? Same idea. Wearing what someone else feels is "conventional" is uncomfortable.

    We do the same thing with ideas. There's always a new hit song, a popular movie, current jargon, and supposedly out-of-the-box thinking. Within a year we are embarrassed we participated. Go get a picture out of your high school yearbook.

    I believe what we euphemistically call "the second childhood" is actually a return to sanity. Things are what they are.
     
  22. Lorddread
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    Lorddread Contributing Member

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    Their population can't afford to be separated from the rest of the world because they represent humanity as a whole, I imagine they are prone to intergenerational friendships. So any other differences from the norm other than their powers and their immortality that could be neat to chuck in?
     
  23. Furyvore
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    Also, in terms of maturity and innocence, you can easily force one of these characters to grow up faster (not physically, but mentally) through tough experiences that cause loss of innocence.
     
  24. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I think in order for us to most effectively answer this question, we need to know their role in society and how significant their powers are. what kind of powers do they have? How are they used? Do they cause trouble or save lives or both? Are the psychics arrogant because of their power? are they exalted? These are all questions I WOULD ASK MYSELF. Society might be resentful of these superpowered "freaks" who could disguise themselves among the children.

    On this one I have to fully agree with Cogito, although there is nothing wrong with asking for help :)
     

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