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Maturation, in the broad sense, means all of the processes in the course of the development of an organism that lead it to a mature state. In a more precise sense, it can be taken to mean the set of preprogrammed mechanisms that set in motion and coordinate the functions necessary for the life of the organism, before they come into operation, and for which biological maturation creates the means and conditions.

The term has made only marginal appearances in psychoanalytic literature. It would seem that Freud never used it in his...