09 March, 2007

Demography isn't everything, but it's important

ZenPundit has a talent for crossing disciplinary divides. This time it's neurophysiology and nation-building.

What I infer from this data and the Neurolearning Blog post is that the most favorable time for any effort, external or indigenous, to engage in a positive restructuring of a nation's societal rule-sets may be when a given country's youth bulge hits their early twenties. A narrow window of time when the most physically vigorous and largest section of the population has reached mental maturity in terms of accepting, comprehending and processing abstractions yet are most open to new ideas and desirous of a productive future for themselves.
This reminds me of another point that annoys some of my students: prior to about twenty-one, a person's brain is still growing and developing. There is, in that sense, a physiological basis to the notion of "adulthood" beginning in the early twenties (call it twenty-one for convenience). That in turn, gives us a reason to postpone the legal age to drink or to vote. Thus, when someone tells me "if I'm old enough to vote I should be old enough to drink," the proper reply is "you shouldn't be allowed to vote."

3 comments:

Tyler Heckathorn said...

Your comment on drinking and the voting age limit is spot on. Thank you Dr. McIntosh!

Daniel McIntosh said...

Not the reaction I expected...

Jeremy said...

At 18, I would have happily traded my right to vote for the right to drink.

If I were forced to choose between one or the other today...well...