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Lecture

Lectures 1 and 2


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY313H5
Professor
Giampaolo Moraglia

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PSY213: CHAPTER ONE BASIC CONCEPTS17:50
Adult Development and Aging: Basic concepts
What is the nature of adult development?
Loss
More beguine
On the meaning of aging:
Primary aging: normal, disease-free, age related changing which occur throughout
adulthood
Secondary aging: changes related to disease, lifestyle, and environmental factors
that are not intrinsically part of aging per se.
Tertiary aging: rapidly occurring decline that occurs shortly before death
The seven stages of life by Shakespeare
Arbitrary and part of convention.
Patricians vary from one society to another
Currently in the west, lifespan is subdivided into a number of periods
Infancy
Childhood
Adulthood
Young (20-40)
Middle (40-65)
Late (65 +)
markers of distinct periods of maturity (none can be satisfactory by itself)
biological (sexual maturity) (loss of reproductive ability)
psychological (attaining a stable and well adjusted personality) (subjective sense of
decline)
sociological (adoption of adult roles such as parenting) (becoming a grandparent,
loss of parents)
maturity and old age come to different people at different times
Great surge of interest into issues related to adulthood and aging
importantly related with demographics
Squaring of population Pyramid
Instead of many young and few old it is now similarly represented of various age
groups
Due to better standard of living for the aging and the decline in birth rates
Key demographic terms:
Birth rate: number of live births for every 1000 people within a specific period
Fertility rate: the average number of children born to mothers 15-49 years old
within a specific period
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Cohort: a group of people born within a given period in a specific society (baby
boomers)
The lifespan perspective holds that human development
Is a lifelong process
Includes both gain and looses
Is multidimensional
Physical, social, emotional, etc.
Is multi-causal
Arises from a vast array of factors
Is plastic
Development of an individual is variable based on experiences which are modifiable
Is embedded in historical, cultural, and societal contexts
Because of the above, this field of study is intrinsically multidisciplinary
This approach has changed our view of what constitutes successful aging
Development includes both gains and losses
Although gains and losses occur throughout the lifespan, the relative amount of
each varies with age
Forces that drive human development
Biological: genetic and age related physiological factors
Psychological: sensory, cognitive, affect and personality related factors
Sociocultural: interpersonal, societal, economic, cultural, and ethnic factors
The influence of the various forces on individual human development can be
categorized into three major types depending on the degree to which they are
common or unique to any given individual
Normative age graded
Highly correlated with chronological age
Make people in the same age group more similar to each other
Have the strongest impact in children
Biological: learning to walk or talk
Psychological: loss of youth, fear of death (mid-life crisis)
Sociological: first marriage, retirement
Normative history graded
Most people in a specific culture experience events at the same time
They effect everyone so not correlated with age but has a different impact depending
on age group
Biological: fear of disease
Psychological: particular stereotypes
Sociological: fighting a war
Non normative
Comparatively rare events that are important to certain individual but are not
universal
Can occur at any age
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The potentialities of the later years are often underestimates
Older adults often do not use capacities they nevertheless do possess
This reserve capacity can be used to exceed the ordinary level of functioning
Psychological intervention (among others) can be effective in ameliorating the level
of functioning in later yeas
People rarely if ever, function at the limits of their capacities
People will only use a high level skill only in the environment demands it
Methodological Issues in Adult Development Research
Metatheories (super theories which are too broad to be counted as one theory,
paradigm, a large domain of theories, it drives theory development) provide an
outlook on key aspects of a large domain of reality
Behaviorists (believing the individual develops by interaction with environment, as
long as environment provides essentials development can unfold in a predicted
path): B.F. Skinner, John Watson, Bandura, Stanley Hall (organismic), Piaget, Erik
Erikson, Arnold Gesell
Mechanistic
Organismic
Contextual (dialectical theory)
Interaction between individual and layers or components of the environment
Mostly agreed upon in the present
Comparing three metatheories
Mechanistic
Organismic
Contextual
Basic Metaphor
Machine
Developing organism (e.g. embryo)
Development as an ongoing act in context
View of Development
Continuous (no stages)
Discontinuous (stages)
Continuous and discontinuous (shifting goals and contexts)
Type of Change emphasized
Quantitative
Qualitative
Quantitative and qualitative
Causality
Internal and External environment
Internal; directed to optimal endpoint
Individual goals within contextual opportunities and constraints
Predictability
Very High
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