Chapter 1: Independent Questions
I. The Scientific Study of Human Development
1. Define developmental psychology.
The scientific study of age-related changes in our bodies, behavior, thinking, emotions, social
relationships, and personalities.
A. Philosophical Roots
2. Identify the key ideas and the implied parental responsibilities of:
(a) Augustine of Hippo (The doctrine of original sin):
- Babies are born with their sins.
- They must spend the rest of their lives trying to correct these sins.
- The parents must help facilitate the child’s search for redemption
(b) Rousseau (Innate goodness): influenced humanistic theories (ch.2)
- All human beings are born naturally good.
- Nurturing and protection and a good environment help the child grow.
- The parents must not interfere too much to ensure that the child’s innate goodness remains.
(c) Locke (The blank slate): influenced learning theories (ch.2)
- Babies are born without any innate tendencies.
- A human’s experiences shape who he/she is/will be.
- It is the parents’ job to help the child become a good person, in a sense, molding him/her.
(d) If you attended an elementary school that endorsed a policy to reduce teacher control because
students are viewed as naturally possessing the desire or internal motivation to work hard, this policy
would best reflect the ideas of Rousseau (b).
B. The Study of Human Development Becomes a Science
Since the 1930s philosophical ideas have been translated into scientific theories. In turn, scientific
theories are tested/evaluated using scientific research methods. This section reviews some of the early
scientific theories that have paved the way for the more contemporary scientific theories, which are
covered in chapter two.
3. (a) What concept did Darwin’s theory of evolution contribute to developmental psychology?
Darwin’s theory of evolution contributed to the concept of developmental stages.
(b) What concept did Hall contribute to developmental psychology? Define this concept.
Hall contributed the concept of ‘norms’ meaning that children tend to reach certain milestones at
certain ages, which are thought to be similar to those that had taken place in the early evolution of
the human species. (c) What concept did Gesell contribute to developmental psychology? Define this concept.
Gesell contributed the concept of maturation meaning that children developed in certain ways
regardless of practice, training or effort (ex. Learning to walk)
C. A Brief History of the Roots of Psychology in Canada (Optional reading: Not on exams)
II. Contemporary Developmental Psychology
4. Identify the THREE ways that contemporary developmental psychology has changed since the early
days (see introductory paragraph only).
- The term “development” encompasses the entire human lifespan, not just childhood and
- Developmentalists have come to understand that inborn characteristics interact with
environmental factors in complex ways.
- Norms are seen as one way to measure change and not the only way.
A. The Lifespan Perspective
5. (a) Your textbook states that the lifespan perspective invites interdisciplinary investigations. What
unique contributions do psychology, anthropology, and sociology typically make to the study of
- Psychologists have begun taking interest in other sciences. This interest in other kinds of
science has helped better understand human development.
- Anthropology has helped enhance the study of human development through the information it
provides about the cultures of different people.
- Sociology has helped introduce and explain the influence of race, socioeconomic status and
other social factors on an individual’s development.
(b) Define the lifespan perspective.
Important changes occur during every period of development and that these changes must be
interpreted in terms of the cultures and contexts in which they occur.
(c) What did one of the early leaders in the lifespan perspective (Paul Baltes) propose about
Plasticity is the capacity for positive change in response to environmental demands throughout
one’s entire lifetime.
B. The Domains of Development
6. Although there are multiple factors that influence human development, no single theory has been
able to comprehensively incorporate these multiple factors. As a result, it is typically appropriate to
think of each theory as limited or narrowly focused on one of the domains of development.
(a) Identify THREE domains of human