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Chapter 1

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PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 1 Introduction to developmental psychology and its research strategiesWhat is development o Development refers to systematic continuities and changes in the individual that occur between conception and death Systematic changes are orderly patterned and relatively enduringo Continuities are ways in which we remain the same or continue to reflect our pasto Developmental sciences study of continuities and changes multidisciplinary enterprise developmentalist scholar who seek to understand the developmental processo Developmental psychology largest of disciplines many biologist sociologist etc share the same interest in developmental continuity and changeWhat causes us to develop1 Maturation biological unfolding of the individual according to speciestypical biological inheritance and an individual persons biological inheritance Developmental changes in body or behavior that result from aging processMaturation is partly responsible for psychological changes ability to concentrate solve problems and understand another persons thoughts or feelings Heredity guides us through many of same developmental changes at about the same point in our lives2 Learning process through which our experiences produce relatively permanent changes in our feelings thoughts and behaviorswe change in response to our environment What goals do developmentalists pursueo 3 main goals are to describe explain and to optimize development 1 Description Human developmentalists observe the behavior of people of different ages to specify how people change over time there are typical pathways of development that virtually all people follow no two persons are exactly alike to describe development must focus on the typical patterns of change normative development and individual variations ideographic development Normative development changes that characterize most or all members of species typical patterns of development Ideographic individual variations in the rate extent or direction of development the goal of development is to seek to understand the important ways that developing humans resemble each other and how they are likely to differ as they proceed through lifeProvides us with the facts about development 2 Explain developmentalists hope to determine why people develop as they typically do and why some people differently then othersExplanation centers both on normative changes within individuals and on variations in development between individuals 1 3 Optimize by applying what they have learned in attempts to help people develop in positive directions Some basic observation about the character of developmento A continual and cumulative process First 12 years are extremely important for setting the stage for adolescence and adulthood Who we are as adolescents and adults also depends on the experiences we have later in life Human development is best described as a continual and cumulative process The one constant is change and the changes that occur at each major phase of life can have important implications for the future Focus on first 5 periods of life prenatal infancy and toddlerhood preschool middle childhood and adolescence see table 11 p4 o A holistic process Divide developmentalist into 3 camps1 Those who studied physical growth and development including bodily changes and the sequencing motor skills 2 Those who studied cognitive aspects of development including perception language learning and thinking 3 Those who concentrated on psychosocial aspects of development emotions personality and growth of interpersonal relationship the age at which a child reaches puberty an important milestone inphysical development has an effect on social life Boys who reach puberty early are more popular where girls who do are not popularity depends on both cognitive and physical development Holistic perspective humans are physical cognitive and social beings and each of these components of self dependson changes taking place in other areas of development unified viewof the developmental process that emphasizes among the physical mental social and emotional aspects of human developmento Plasticity Capacity for change in response to positive or negative life experiences a developmental state that has the potential to be shaped by experience o Historicalcultural context Each cultures subcultures and social class transmits a particular pattern of beliefs values customs and skillsDevelopment is also influenced by societal changes historical events such as warsHuman development in historical perspective Western societies can be described as childcentered parents focus much of their lives on their children spend a lot of money to care and educate them 2
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