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Chapter 1

Chapter 1- Developmental Psyc

13 Pages

Course Code
PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

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Introduction to Development Psychology What is Development? Development refers to the systematic continuities and changes in the individual that occur between conception and death Developmental Continuities ways in which we remain stable over time or continue to reflect our past it reflects on the changes an individual experiences from womb to tomb Developmental Psychology branch of psychology devoted to identifying and explaining the continuities and changes that individuals display over time Developmentalist any scholar, regardless of discipline, who seeks to understand the developmental process What Causes us to Develop? There are two important processes that underlie developmental changes: maturation and learning Maturation developmental changes in the body or behavior that result from the aging process rather than from learning, injury, illness, or some other life experience Maturation is partly responsible for psychological changes such as our increasing ability to concentrate, solve problems and understand another persons thoughts or feelings Heredity guides us, as well as species similar to us, through maturation at the same points in our lives Learning relatively permanent change in behavior that results from ones experiences or practice Our experiences produce permanent changes in our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors Many of our abilities and habits do not simply happen as a part of maturation; we often learn to feel, think and behave in new ways from our observations and interactions with others We change in response to our environments What Goals Do Developmentalists Pursue? 3 main goals of developmental sciences are to describe, explain and optimize development o Description human developmentalists observe the behavior of people of different ages, to specify how people change over time there are typical pathways that people tend to follow, but no 2 people follow the same path to describe development, must focus on both the typical patterns of change (normative development) and individual variations (ideographic development) Normative developmental 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 developmentalists is to seek and understand the important ways that developing humans resemble each other and how they are likely to differ as they proceed through life it provides us with the facts o Explain goal is to determine why people develop as they typically do and why some people develop differently then others Centers around normative changes within individuals and variations between individuals o Optimize applying what they have learned in attempts to help people develop in positive directions Some Basic Observations about the Character of Development A Continual and Cumulative Process First 12 years are extremely important in the development of 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 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 the first 5 periods of life : prenatal development, infancy and toddlerhood, preschool, middle childhood and adolescence A Holistic Process Developmentalists were once divided into 3 groups o Those who studied physical growth and development bodily changes and the sequencing motor skills o Cognitive aspects including perception, language, learning and thinking o Psychosocial aspects of development emotions, personality and the growth of interpersonal relationship However, we no that all of these aspects affect one another for example puberty and social skills affect whether or not someone is popular boys who reach puberty early are more popular, where girls who do are not Holistic Perspective humans are physical, cognitive and social beings and each of these components of self depends o Unified view of the developmental process that emphasizes the important interrelationships among the physical, mental, social and emotional aspects of human development Plasticity The capacity for change; a developmental state that has the potential to be shaped by experience Historical/Cultural Context each cultural and social class transmits a particular pattern of beliefs, values, customs, and skills influenced by societal changes historical events such as wars, technological breakthroughs, and social causes such as the gay and lesbian movement Human Development in Historical Perspective Western societies can be described as child-centered: parents focus a lot of their lives on their children Childhood in Premodern Times In early days children had few rights Children were often killed as religious sacrifices and embedded them in the walls of buildings to strengthen these structures Until 4 century A.D Romans were legally entitled to kill their deformed, illegitimate or unwanted infants
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