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Developmental Psychology 2110 3.0 H (Fall Term) Introduction Developmental Quiz Definition of Development The pattern of movement or change that begins at conception and continues through the human life span Why Study Life-Span Development? You can gain insight to your own life as a child, adolescent, and young adult. You will learn about life through the adult years— middle age, and old age. You may be a parent or a teacher some day. Life-span development is linked with many different areas of psychology. Assumptions influence practices Original Sin - children were perceived as being basically bad, born into the world as evil beings. Tabula Rasa - children are like a “blank tablet,” and acquire their characteristics through experience. Innate Goodness - children are inherently good. Where do our assumptions come from? Tradition Personal experience Experts Research History: Aristotle (384-322 BCE) Young Men: “Young men have strong passions, and tend to gratify them indiscriminately” Elderly Men: “They are cynical … small-minded, cowardly, and are always anticipating danger …they love life; and all the more when their last day has come …” Men in their prime: “all the valuable qualities that youth and age divide between them are united in the prime of life .. the body is in its prime from thirty to five-and-thirty; the mind about forty-nine” History: English-speaking pioneers Charles Darwin (1809-1882): “A Biographical Sketch of an Infant” (1877) G.S. Hall (1844-1924): “Adolescence” (1907):”Most savages in most respects are children, or, because of sexual maturity, more properly, adolescents of adult size” Traditional Approach vs. Life-Span Approach The traditional approach emphasizes extensive change from birth to adolescence, little or no change in adulthood, and decline in late old age. The life-span approach emphasizes developmental change during adulthood as well as childhood. Characteristics of the Life-Span Perspective Development is lifelong Development is multidimensional Development is multidirectional Development is plastic Development is contextual Development is studied by a number of disciplines Development involves growth, maintenance, and regulation Development is Lifelong No age period dominates development. Researchers increasingly study the experiences and psychological orientations of adults at different points in their development. Development is Multidimensional There are biological dimensions. There are cognitive dimensions. There are socioemotional dimensions. Development is Multidirectional Some dimensions or components of a dimension increase in growth. Some dimensions or components of a dimension decrease in growth. Development is Plastic Plasticity involves the degree to which characteristics change or remain stable. Development is Contextual Normative age-graded influences Normative history-graded influences Nonnormative life events Development is Studied by a Number of Disciplines Psychologists Sociologists Anthropologists Neuroscientists Medical Researchers The Three Goals of Human Development Maintenance Growth Regulation Biological Processes Involve changes in the individual’s physical nature such as: Height and weight gains The development of the brain Changes in motor skills Cardiovascular decline Cognitive Processes Involve changes in the individual’s thought, intelligence, and language such as: Watching a mobile swing above a crib Creating a two-word sentence Memorizing a poem Imagining being a movie star Socioemotional Processes Involve changes in the individual’s relationships with other people, changes in emotions, and changes in personality such as: An infant smiling from her mother’s touch A young boy hitting a playmate A girl’s joy at her senior prom The affection of an elderly couple Periods of Development The prenatal period Infancy Early childhood Middle and late childhood Adolescence Early adulthood Middle adulthood Late adulthood The Prenatal Period The time from conception to birth From a single cell to an organism complete with a brain and behavioral capabilities Approximately a 9-month period Infancy The developmental period from birth to 18 or 24 months A time of extreme dependency on adults Many psychological activities are just beginning Early Childhood The developmental period extending from the end of infancy to about 5 or 6 years Often called the “preschool years” Children learn to become more self-sufficient Children now develop school readiness skills Children spend many hours playing with peers Middle and Late Childhood The developmental period extending from about 6 to 11 years of age Approximately corresponds to the elementary school years Fundamental skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic are mastered Child is formally exposed to larger world and its culture Adolescence The developmental period of transition from childhood to early adulthood—entered at 10-12 years, ending at 18-22 years Begins with rapid physical changes. Pursuit of independence and identity are prominent Thought is now more logical, abstract, and idealistic Early Adulthood The developmental period beginning in the late teens or early twenties and lasting through the thirties A time of establishing personal and economic independence Also a time of career development Early adults select a mate, start a family, and rear children Middle Adulthood The developmental period beginning around 40 years of age and extending to about 60 A time of expanding personal and social involvement and responsibility Also a time of assisting the next generation in becoming competent Middle adults reach and maintain satisfaction in a career Late Adulthood The developmental period beginning in the sixties or seventies and lasting until death A time of adjustment to decreasing strength and health Also a time of life review, retirement, and new social roles Age Groups in Late Adulthood The Young Old, or Old Age (65-74 years of age) The Old Old, or Late Old Age (75 years and older) The Oldest Old (85 years and older) Age and Happiness No particular age group says they are happier or more satisfied than any other age group. Conceptions of Age Chronological Age Biological Age Psychological Age Social Age Chronological Age The number of years that have elapsed since a person’s birth Biological Age A person’s age in terms of biological health Psychological Age An individual’s adaptive capacities compared to those of other individuals of the same chronological age Social Age Refers to social roles and expectations related to a person’s age Developmental Issues Nature vs. Nurture Continuity vs. Discontinuity Stability vs. Change Activity vs. passivity Universal vs. particular The Nature-Nurture Issue Involves the debate about whether development is primarily influenced by nature or nurture Nature An organism’s biological inheritance Nurture An organism’s environmental experiences The Continuity-Discontinuity Issue This issue focuses on the extent to which development involves gradual, cumulative change or distinct stages. Continuity Development results from a gradual process occurring over several weeks, months, and possibly years. Discontinuity Development occurs through a sequence of stages in which change is qualitatively rather than quantitatively different. The Stability-Change Issue This issue involves the degree to which we become older renditions of our early experience or whether we develop into someone different from who we were at an earlier point in development. It considers the extent to which early experiences (especially in infancy) or later experiences are the key determinants of a person’s development. Evaluating the Developmental Issues Most life-span developmentalists recognize that extreme positions are unwise. The key to development is the interaction of nature and nurture rather than either factor alone. There still exists strong debate regarding how strongly development is influenced by each of the factors.
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