CHAPTER 1- Introduction
Introduction to Development Psychology
emerging adulthood late teens to mid 20s
What is Development?
Development systematic continuities and changes in an individual between conception and death.
o Continual & summulative
Developmental Continuities ways we remain stable over time or continue to reflect our past.
Developmental Psychology identifying/explaining continuities & changes of an individual.
Developmentalist any scholar ( any discipline) seeking to understand the developmental process.
What Causes us to Develop?
2 important processes that underlie developmental changes:
o 1) Maturation:
developmental changes in the body/behavior that result from the aging process.
partly responsible for psychological changes such as our increasing ability to
concentrate, solve problems and understand another persons thoughts or feelings
Heredity guides us & similar species through maturation at same points in our lives
o 2) Learning
relatively permanent changes in feelings, thoughts, behavior resulting from
experiences or practice.
we often learn to feel, think and behave in new ways from our observations and
interactions with others and our environment.
What Goals Do Developmentalists Pursue?
3 main goals of developmental sciences:
o 1) Describe observe behavior of people of different ages, to specify changes over time
how humans resemble each other and differ as they proceed through life
typical pathways that people tend to follow, but no 2 people follow the same path
must focus on both..
normative development typical patterns of change
o developmental changes that characterize most/all members of
species; typical patterns of development
ideographic development individual variations
o individual variations in the rate, extent, or direction of
o 2) Explain why people develop as they typically do and why some develop differently.
Centers around normative changes within individuals and variations between
individuals o 3) Optimize applying what they have learned in attempts to help people develop in
positive directions in the real world.
Basic Observations about the Character of Development
A Continual and Cumulative Process
First 12 years are extremely important in the stages between adolescence and adulthood
Who we are as an adult is defined from our experiences in childhood
Human development is best described as a continual and cumulative process
o Changes that occur at major phases of life can have important implications for the future
Focus on the first 5 periods of life:
o prenatal development (conception-birth)
o infancy and toddlerhood (birth-3)
o preschool (3-5)
o middle childhood (5-12/puberty)
o adolescence (12-20)
A Holistic Process
Developmentalists were once divided into 3 groups
o physical growth and development (bodily changes and motor skills)
o Cognitive aspects (perception, language, learning and thinking )
o Psychosocial aspects (emotions, personality, interpersonal relationships)
humans are physical, cognitive and social beings and each of these components interact
o Unified view of the development that emphasizes the important interrelationships among
the physical, mental, social and emotional aspects.
o Ex. puberty and social skills affect whether or not someone is popular
o Ex. boys who reach puberty early are more popular, where girls who do are not
The capacity for change; a developmental state that has the potential to be shaped by experience
each cultural and social class transmits a particular pattern of beliefs, values, customs, and skills
influenced by societal changes :
o historical events; wars, technological breakthroughs, and social causes (gay movement)
Development in Historical Perspective
Western societies can be described as child-centered: parents focus a lot of their lives on children.
Childhood in Premodern Times
children had few rights:
o often killed as religious sacrifices or embedded in the walls to strengthen structures.
Until 300 AD: Roman law was to kill their own deformed/illegitimate/unwanted infants.
o When outlawed, unwanted children were often left to die in the wilderness or sold as
servants/sex objects upon reaching middle childhood.
Not all societies treated children as harshly they were possessions who had no rights.
1100 AD: Europe legislation equated infanticide with murder
Medieval law: generally treated children as adults except from criminal fault.
Toward Modern-Day Views of Childhood
17 -18 century : views changed, religious leaders stressed children were innocent/helpless souls
who should be shielded from the wild and reckless behavior of adults.
o Decided kids should be sent to school (proper moral and religious education)
o still considered possessions, but abuse was considered wrong, warmth & affection was good
late 19th century : laws to restrict child labour and make school compulsory
Early 20 century: wide spread of industry in western soieties o coined the term adolescence children started hanging out with those their own age
rather then adults and began to develop their own peer cultures. Many cultures dont
recognize it as a stage.
Now: extended adolescence those who do not proceed into adulthood until their late 20s.
Early Philosophical Perspectives on Childhood: (17 -18 century)
Speculation about human nature lead to the following issues:
o Are children inherently good or bad?
o Are children driven by in born motives and instincts; or products of their environments?
o Are children actively involved in shaping their characters, or are they passive creatures
molded by parents, teachers, and agents of society?
o original sn belief that children are inherently selfish & egotistic, must be taught by
society how to act properly
parents must actively control their egotistic children
children must learn to rechannel their naturally selfish interests into socially
acceptable outlets (molded by the parents)
Jean Jacques Rousseau
o innate purity children born with an intuitive sense of right/wrong that society corrupts.
parents should give children freedom to follow their positive inclinations
o childs mind was a blank slate no inborn tendencies; all knowledge, abilities, behaviours,
and motives are acquired through experience
in favour of disciplined child rearing to ensure children develop good habits.
Hobbes Rousseau Locke
Childs Inherit Original Sin Innate Purity Tabula Rasa
Nature (-) (+) (neutral)
Childs Role of Passive Active Passive
Children as Subjects of Study: The Baby Biographies
19th century Investigators observe the development of their own children and published the
data in baby biographies (detailed record of an infants growth and development)
Charles Darwin (most influential)
o Made daily records of the early development of his son
o He believed that young, untrained infants share many characteristics with their nonhuman
ancestors, the development of the individual child retraces the entire evolutionary history
of the species, illustrating the descent of man.
o Difficult to compare:
Different baby biographers emphasized different aspects of behaviour
o Parents arent objective
o assumptions about the nature of development bias their observations
found what they were looking for
o each biography was based on a single child
could not be true for other children
Development of Childrens Rights in Canada
Struggled with who was responsible for children (society or parents) and how to protect them
Began to be seen as semi-independent individuals with rights of their own
Changes occurred with historic changes Origins of a Science of Development
G. Stanley Hall:
o founder of development psychology
o conducted the first large-scale scientific investigation of children
o He collected more objective data of larger samples