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PRECOCIOUS PUBESCENCE AND MENTAL GROWTH

ARNOLD GESELL, M.D.
JAMA. 1928;90(11):840-841. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02690380024010.
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Does precocious sexual maturation have a demonstrable effect on the curve of mental development? The problem is of theoretical and also of practical significance. There is a vague, popular view, sometimes uncritically shared by the physician, that adolescence is a time when the backward child "outgrows" his retardation. The implication behind this optimism is that puberty produces some activator which will give a special impetus to mental growth.

We have had an opportunity to inquire into this question in two well defined cases of puberty praecox at the Yale Psycho-Clinic. One of these girls has been under our observation four years, the other five years. We have made periodic mental measurements to determine the curve of mental growth, and these data have been reported in detail in a monograph dealing particularly with the psychologic aspects of the problem.1 The outstanding observations are briefly summarized here because of their medical

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