During wildhood, humans and other animals are predator-naive. Their inexperience attracts attackers and exploiters who see them as easy prey. Predator training—learning to recognize and deter dangerous individuals—may save their lives and prepare them to be more confident adults.
During wildhood, humans and other animals must learn to navigate status hierarchies, which often favor privileged creatures. Learning the rules of groups will determine whether adolescents eat or go hungry, are safe or in danger, and are tolerated, shunned, isolated or accepted into groups.
During wildhood, humans and other animals must learn to balance desire and inhibition by interpreting the language of courtship. Such signals form the basis of sexual consent and coercion.
Whether they leave the nest or stay in home territories, humans and other animals in wildhood take on new roles and responsibilities. As adolescents and young adults begin to provide for themselves, they develop the confidence that comes with self-reliance.