• Major Trends in the Field
• Development is
• Development is Variable, not
every aspect of someone develops
at the same time and rate.
Example: child is physically mature
but emotionally immature. • Focus on the “whole Life” verses
the years between Birth and
• Continuity (Gradual & Consistent
Changes) vs. Discontinuity
(Sudden, Abrupt Changes)
in Human Development
• Development is Cumulative.
Early experiences are very
• Stability vs. Change in
Personality Characteristics vs.
(Major Life Events)
• Development is often Cyclical and
Repetitive. Example: Identity crisis at 18, 30,
40, & 65.
• Individual Differences in human
Early vs. Late Maturation
Timing and Rates of development
differ between individuals in social
abilities, physical maturation,
walking, talking, and cognitive
• Cultural Differences in Human
“Biological Time Clock ” vs.
“Social Time Clock ”
Appropriate times of marriage, sex,
work, and children are all
influenced by the social time clock. • Who is considered Old?
• Changing Perceptions of Later
Life: Adulthood and Old Age
• Life Expecthncy
– Before 20 century medical advances,
average life expectancy was low
– Today, twentieth-century life expectancy
•Infectious diseases wiped out
•Chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer,
• New Stages
– Young-old (60s, 70s)
– Old-old (80s and beyond)
• Nature (Genes) vs. Nurture
(Environment) Debate: Are we shaped by
biological/genetic forces or is the
environment more influential?
• Behaviorism: The Original
• Traditional Behaviorism: John
Watson and B. F. Skinner
– Nurture is all important!
– A real science: study observable,
– If we understand the scientific laws of
learning we can produce any behavior
• B. F. SKINNER
• Conditioning = Learning
• Operant Conditioning We behave a certain way because we
are reinforced (rewarded) for certain
• Any behavior that is reinforced is likely to
• Any behavior that is not reinforced or is
punished is less likely to bed.
• Evolutionary Psychology:
• Evolutionary psychologists
focus on biological
– Inborn, species-specific
behaviors influence human
– Speculate about the genetic
roots of human behaviors
– Survival of the fittest! • Behavioral Genetics: Nature
• Field devoted to scientifically determining
the role that hereditary forces play in
individual differences in behavior
– Twin Studies (identical and fraternal)
– Adoption Studies
– Heritability- 1 (totally genetic) to 0 (no
• Statistic to summarize the extent to which
a given behavior is shaped by genetics
• Nature and Nurture Combined
• Consider both nature and nurture when
studying human development!
• Inborn talents and temperamental
tendencies naturally evoke certain
responses from others.
– Bidirectional forces in relationships • Active Forces
– We actively select our environments based on
our genetic tendencies.
• Four Contexts of Development
• Cohort: birth group
• baby boom cohort
• Socioeconomic Status (SES)
education and income level
Developed world; Developing
Collectivist and Individualist
• Gender • A Different Perspective:
(Social Learning Theory)