This paper presents the hypothesis that NMDA receptor delayed maturation (NRDM) may lead to the pathogenesis of schizophrenic psychotic symptoms. This hypothesis is further analyzed in the language of a neural modeling formulation. This formulation points to a possible chain of pathological events, leading from molecular-level NRDM to over-increased synaptic plasticity, and to the formation of pathological attractors, a putative macroscopic-level correlate of schizophrenic positive symptoms. The relations of the NRDM hypothesis to other alterations which are assumed to take place in schizophrenia are discussed, together with possible ways to test this hypothesis. (C) 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.