Developmentalists have come to understand that inborn characteristics interact with environmental
factors in complex ways.
Baltes emphasized that as humans age, they adopt strategies that help them maximize gains and
compensate for losses.
Scientists who study age related changes across the lifespan often use three broad categories, called
domains of development, to classify these changes. (physical domain (includes how individuals sense
and perceive the world), cognitive domain, social domain) these 3 domains do not function
independently of one another.
A good example of research that exemplifies the interactionist model is implicit in the ideas of
vulnerability and resilience. Vulnerabilities and protective factors interact with the child’s environment
so that the same environment can have quite different effects, depending on the qualities the child
brings to the interaction. Studies of Canadian children have shown that a combination of a highly
vulnerable child and a poor or unsupportive environment produces by far the most negative outcome.
Universal changes- common to every individual in a species and are linked to specific ages
group specific changes- shared by all individuals who grow up together in a particular group. Culture
shapes not only the development of individuals, but also our ideas about what normal development is.
individual differences- changes resulting from unique, unshared events
The biological clock obviously constraints the social clock to some extent at least. Virtually every culture
emphasizes family formation in early adulthood because that is, in fact, the optimal biological time for
In studies of adults, one important concept related to timing has been the idea of on-time and off-time
events, the idea is that experiences occurring at the expected times for an individual’s culture or cohort
will pose fewer difficulties for her than will off-time experiences.
Developmental psychology uses the scientific method to achieve four goals: to describe, explain
(theories), predict (hypothesis), and influence human development from conception to death.
A higher level of education predicted better outcomes for mother’s offsprings. As a general rule, the
healthiest and best educated are most likely to stick it out in the longitudinal study, and this biases the
results. Practice effects also distort the results because people exposed to the questions over and over
again learn them.
To generate explanations, developmentalists rely on theories, sets of statements that propose general
principles of development
The weakness of naturalistic observation is observer bias. So they use 2 observers. The measure for this
procedure is known as inter-rater reliability. Correlations do not indicate causal relationships. In order to identify a cause, we have to carry out
A key feature of an experiment is that participants are assigned randomly to one of two or more groups.
When participants are randomly assigned to groups, the groups have equal amounts of variation with
respect to characteristics such as intelligence, personality traits, height, weight, health status, etc.
Quasi-experiments: compare groups without assigning the participants randomly. It will always yield
more ambiguous results than will a fully controlled experiment
Cross cultural research is important to developmental psychology for 2 reasons: 1-developmentalists
want to identify universal changes. 2-one of the goals of developmental psychology is to produce
findings that can be used to improve people’s lives.
According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, all humans are born naturally good
Current toy developers aim to promote a child’s cognitive development
The Canadian psychological association was founded in 1938 in anticipation of the threat of war in
The philosophical concepts of original sin (parental responsibility is intervene to correct), the blank slate
(parental responsibility is to shape behaviors), and innate goodness (parental responsibility is to nurture
and protect) have influences Western ideas about human development
Darwin studied child development to gain insight into evolution. Hall published the first scientific study
of children and introduced the concept of norms. Gesell studied the maturational milestones of
development (Maturationally determined development occurred regardless of practice, training, or
effort). Piaget identified 4 stages of cognitive development
Today’s developmentalists recognize that change happens throughout the lifespan. They believe that
every developmental change is a product of both nature and nurture.
Development is a matter of changes both in degree (continuity) and kind (discontinuity).
Contemporary developmental psychologists study 3 kinds of changes: universal, group-specific, and
In cross-sectional studies, separate age group are each tested once. In longitudinal designs, the same
individuals are tested repeatedly over time. Sequential designs combine cross-secti