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Human Development and Family Studies
HD FS 129

The Lifespan Perspective *Framework, not theory 1. Development is a life-long process a. Previous thinking: all development happened at a young age b. Every stage of development involves particular tasks c. How does environment in one stage effect development in other stages? i. Example: temperament and attachment 2. Multidirectionality a. Development can take many directions i. People are unique, so development is unique b. Non-normative events: events that happen that are not the norm i. Can affect the development of that individual 3. Plasticity a. The degree to which characteristics can or cannot change throughout the lifespan b. The question is not can something be changes, but how much can something change 4. Development must be viewed in historical context a. Social movements b. Technology c. War 5. Contextualism a. Development must be studied in various contexts b. “Development is an ongoing interaction between a changing individual in a changing environment” c. *Reciprocal influence i. The individual influences and is influenced by his or her environment 6. Multidimensionality a. Biological, cognitive, social, and environmental factors interact to affect development 7. Multidisciplinary a. The study of human development should involve collaboration across various fields of study Developmental Age Classifications • Infancy and Toddlerhood (birth – 2 years) • Early Childhood (2 – 6 years) • Middle Childhood (6 – 11 years) • Adolescence (11 – 18 years) • Early Adulthood (18 – 40 years) • Middle Adulthood (40 – 65 years) • Late Adulthood (65+ years) Nature/Nurture • Nature: the influence of heredity on development or biologically based predispositions • Nurture: forces in the environment that influence development o Includes: parenting practices, nutrition, circumstances in the womb, birth complications, schooling, culture, etc. • The question becomes: How do nature and nurture interact to affect development? o Where we are at now o Previously: trying to figure out which was more powerful o Very complex form of thinking • Just because one has a predisposition in life, it does not necessarily manifest how it will transfer into life o Example: musically inclined child, genetically –> adopted into musically talented family • Traits which have a substantial genetic predisposition (high genetic loading): o Intelligence o Verbal ability -> expressing yourself o Vocational interest o Scholastic achievement o Memory o Extroversion/Introversion o Neuroticism -> feeling secure/insecure o Openness o Conscientiousness o Agreeableness • 2007 Baby Einstein Videos Study o Dr. Christakis and Zimmerman – University of Washington o Evidence to suggest that videos may impede language development for infants ages 8 to 16 months o 17% drop in vocabulary for babies who watched videos compared to babies who did not watch videos, but, instead, engaged in face-to-face interactions with adults • Disorders which have a substantial genetic predisposition: o Depression o Autism o Alzheimer’s Disease o Schizophrenia o Alcoholism • When researchers report that traits are heritable, they typically mean that genes account for 30-60% of the variation you see in that trait • The environment modifies or enhances traits to which we are predisposed Stability vs. Change • Is personality stable over time? o To what extent can we change over time? Scientific Investigation • Goals: o Description: average trends o Explanation: why do we develop as we do? o Optimization: how can we help people to develop in a positive direction? • Science is not defined by what it studies, but how it conducts investigations • Theory: a set of assumptions that attempt to describe, predict, or explain a phenomenon • Cycle of Science: Observations -> Support or Modify Theory ----> Theory ^ I I V Systematic Observation Getting good grades Third variable: motivation • Research question: is there a relationship between x and y? o Example: Is there a relationship between intimacy in friendships and the gender of the individual? • Hypothesis: states an expected relationship o Example: Females will exhibit a greater degree of intimacy in their friendships than males o We have two concepts: “gender” and “intimacy”  We must “operationalize” our concepts by either: • Providing a clear definition of the concept • Designating a particular measurement instrument to measure
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