In psychology, maturation is the process of development in which an individual matures or reaches full functionality. Originally, maturation examined only biological forces, such as the aging process, involved in a child's changes in behavior. Maturation theories evolved to include cognitive development as a result of biological maturation and environmental experiences. Modern concepts of maturation theorize that it is the process of learning to cope and to react in emotionally appropriate ways. Along with growth and learning, maturation is one of three processes that play a central role in a person's development. Maturation does not necessarily happen along with aging or physical growth, but is a part of growth and development.
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Second, maturational change is a systematic process. Finally, the end-goal of maturational change is an adaptive state. Maturity represents this goallike apex of adaptive functioning, and maturation describes the systematic and time-consuming processes that achieve maturity. This definition of maturation is broader than it has been defined historically. For example, the Child Study Movement of the first half of the twentieth century sought to describe child development as a maturational process that is independent of experience and learning.