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Introduction to Developmental Psychology

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Ryerson University
PSY 302
Sohail Rashid

Chapter 1January2410833 PMIntroduction to Developmental PsychologyWhat Is DevelopmentSystematic continuities and changes in the individual that occur between conception and deathsystematic meaning orderly patterned and relatively enduringcontinuities things that dont change in developmentA developmentalistrefers to any scholar who seeks to understand development regardless of disciplineWhat Causes us to Develop Two important processes that underlie developmental change Maturation biological changes ie According to inheritanceLearning behaviouristic permanent change in behaviour results from experience or practiceWhat Goals do Developmentalists PursueThe three major goals of the developmental sciences are to describe explain and to optimize developmentTo adequately describe development it is necessary to focus on typicalpatterns of change normative development and on individual variationsin patterns of change ideographic developmentIndividualidiosDevelopmentalists seek to understand the important ways that developing humans resembleeach other and how they are likely to differthroughout lifeApproach to psychology is more holistic holistic approachDevelopmentalists hope to optimize development by applying what they have learned in attempts to help people develop in positive directionsSome Basic Observations about the Character of DevelopmentSome conclusions developmentalists have drawn about the character of developmentHolism Development is not in separate parts or fragments butholisticall aspects of development physical cognitive social are interdependentPlasticityrefers to a capacity for change in response to positive or negative life experiencesHistoricalCultural ContextContent of cultural socialization has a strong influence on the attributes and competencies that individuals displayDevelopment is also influenced by societal changes wars technological breakthroughs social causesOrigins of a Science of DevelopmentA theory is a set of concepts and propositions that describe and explain some aspect of experienceFrom Greek wordtheoriaact of viewing way of looking at something ie ObservationsGood theories have the ability to predict future events These theoretical predictions are calledhypothesesthe starting point of a study testable educated hunchResearch Strategies Basic Methods and DesignsThe Scientific MethodModern developmental psychology is labelled a scientific enterprise because those who study psychology have adopted the scientific methodthat guides their researchThe SM is the use of objective and replicable methods to gather data for the purpose of testing a theory or hypothesis It dictates that above all investigators must be objective and must allow their data to decide the merits of their thinking Meritsthe facts of a matter considered without regard for emotional procedural or other issuesSome methodologies are more scientific than others Child Psychology Page 1
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