First, research on happiness shows that the determinants of subjective well-being
are precisely that: subjective.
Objective realities are not as important as subjective feelings. (your health,
wealth, and job are not as influential as how you feel about your health, wealth
and job. These feelings are likely to be influenced by what your expectations
Second, when it comes to happiness everything is relative. (you evaluate what you
have relative to what the people around you have. We compare ourselves to others
who are similar to us.)
Third, research on subjective well-being indicates that people often adapt to their
circumstances. (this is one reason why increases in income dont necessarily bring
increases in happiness)
Hedonic adaptation occurs when the mental scale that people use to judge the
pleasantness/unpleasantness of their experiences shifts so that their neutral point
(or baseline for comparison) changes.
The 2 themes that permeate human development transition and continuity.
Development is the sequence of age related changes that occur as a person
progresses from conception to death.
The life span into 4 broad periods:
1. Prenatal period (between conception and birth)
Prenatal period occurs when fertilization creates a zygote, a one-celled organism
formed by the union of a sperm and an egg. The prenatal period extends from
conception to birth, usually encompassing nine months of pregnancy.
Development during this period is remarkably rapid. In the final weeks before
birth the frenzied pace of prenatal development tapers off dramatically.
The course of prenatal development is divided into 3 phases:
1. The germinal stage (first 2 weeks) during this stage within 36 hours,
rapid cell division begins, the zygote becomes a microscopic mass of
multiplying cells. This mass of cells slowly migrates along the mothers
fallopian tube to the uterine cavity. On about the 7 day the cell mass
begins to implant itself in the uterine wall. This process takes about a
week. At this point many zygotes are rejected. During the implantation the
placenta begins to form. The placenta is a structure that allows oxygen
and nutrients to pass into the fetus from the mothers bloodstream, and
bodily waste to pass out of the mother. This critical exchange takes place
across thin membranes that block the passage of blood cells, keeping the
fetal and maternal bloodstreams separate. 2. The embryonic stage (2 weeks to 2 months) during this stage, most of
the vital organs and bodily systems begin to form in the developing
organism, which is now called an embryo. Structure such as the heart,
spine and brain emerge gradually as cell division becomes more
specialized. The embryo is typically only about 2.5cm long at the end of
this stage, its already beginning to look human. Arms, legs, hands, feet,
fingers, toes, eyes, and ears are already distinguishable. This stage is a
period of great vulnerability because virtually all of the basic
physiological structures are being formed. Any interference with
development during this stage can be devastating. Most miscarriages
occur during this period as well as most major structural birth defects due
to problems that occur during this stage.
3. The fetal stage (2 months to birth)during this stage the developing
organism, now called a fetus, becomes capable of physical movements as
skeletal structures harden. Organs formed in the embryonic stage continue
to form and gradually begin to function. Sex organs begin to develop
during the 3 month. During the final 3 months of the prenatal period,
brain cells multiply at a brisk pace. A layer of fat is deposited under the
skin to provide insulation, and the respiratory and digestive systems
mature. These changes prepare the fetus for life outside of the mothers
womb. Between 22 weeks and 26 weeks the fetus reaches the age of
viability the age at which a baby can survive in the event of a
premature birth. At 23 weeks the probability of survival is still slim.(10-
20%) Over the next month it climbs rapidly to around 75% survival rate at
26 weeks. Unfortunately, a great number of premature infants born near
the threshold of viability go on to experience a wide range of
Environmental factors and prenatal development: Teratogens are any external
agents, such as drugs or viruses that can harm an embryo or fetus.
FAS Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a collection of congenital (inborn) problems
associated with excessive alcohol use during pregnancy. Typical problems
include: microcephaly (a small head), heart defects, irritability, hyperactivity, and
delayed mental and motor development. Intellectual disability is the most
common known effect of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and is related to
an increased incidence of difficulties in school, depression, suicide, drug
problems, and criminal behaviour in adolescence and adulthood.
Prenatal malnutrition has been linked to vulnerability to schizophrenia, which
usually emerges in late adolescents or early adulthood.
Low birth weight, which is a marker for a variety of prenatal disruptions, has been
found to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease later in adulthood.
Studies have also linked aspects of prenatal development to adults risk for
depression and other mood disorders, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Motor Development: refers to the progression of muscular coordination required
for physical activities. Basic motor skills include grasping and reaching for
objects, sitting up, crawling, walking and running.
A number of principles are apparent in motor development
1. the cephalocaudal trend the head-to-foot direction of motor development.
(When children gain control over the upper parts of their bodies before the
2. the proximodistal trend is the centre-outward direction of motor
development. (When children gain control over their torso before their
Maturation is the development that reflects the gradual unfolding of ones
Developmental norms indicate the median age at which individuals display
various behaviours and abilities.
Differences in Temperament: Easy and Difficult Babies
Temperament refers to characteristic mood, activity level, and emotional
Longitudinal design, investigators observe one group of people repeatedly
over a period of time. (Example: an investigator would study 50