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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Textbook Notes

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Psychology 2040A/B
Ian Mac Donald

CHAPTER 1INTRODUCTION TO DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGYWhat is DevelopmentDevelopment systematic continuities and changes in the individual over the course of life between conception and death o Systematicchanges are orderly patterned and relatively enduringo Continuitiesways in which we remain stable over time or continue to reflect our past 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 DevelopTwo important processes underlie developmental change 1 Maturation developmental changes in the body or behaviour that result from the aging process rather than from learning inquiry illness or some other life experienceo Human maturational biological program calls for us to become capable of walking and uttering our first meaningful words at about 1 year old reach sexual maturity at age 11152 Learning relatively permanent change in behaviour or behavioural potential that results from ones experiences or practiceo We change in response to our environmentsparticularly in response to the action and reactions of the people around us Most developmental changes are the product of both maturation and learningWhat Goals do Developmentalists Pursue Three major goals of developmental sciences 1 to describe 2 to explain and 3 to optimize developmento Descriptiondevelopmentalists observe the behaviour of people of different ages seeking to specify how people change over time Normative Development developmental changes that characterize most or all members of a species typical patterns of development Ideographic Development individual variations in the rate extent or direction of developmento Explanationdevelopmentalists hope to determine why people develop as they typically do and why some people develop differently than others Centers on both normative changes within individuals and variations in development between individualso Optimizationdevelopmentalists hope to optimize development by applying what they have learned in attempts to help people develop in positive directions Optimization goals are believed to increasingly influence research stagendas in the 21 century Some Basic Observations about the Character of Development A CONTINUALCUMULATIVE PROCESS o First 12 years are an important part of the life span that sets the stage for adolescence and adulthoodo Changes that occur at each major phase of life can have important implications for the futureo Chronological Overview of Human Development conception to birth 1 Prenatal Periodfirst year of life 2 Infancy18 months3 years 3 Toddler Period35 years 4 Preschool Period 5 Middle Childhood512 years or until the onset of puberty 1220 years from onset of puberty to the point at6 Adolescencewhich the individual is independent from parental sanctions7 Young Adulthood2040 years4065 years8 Middle Age65 years 9 Old Age A HOLISTIC PROCESSo Once fashionable to divide developmentalists into 3 camps 1 those who studied physical growth and development 2 those who studied cognitive aspects of development and 3 those who concentrated on psychosocial aspects of developmento Holistic Perspective unified view of the developmental process that emphasizes the important interrelationships among the physical mental social and emotional aspects of human developmentone of the dominant themes of human development PLASTICITY o Plasticity capacity for change a developmental state that has the potential to be shaped by experienceo Course of development can change abruptly if important aspects of ones life change HISTORICALCULTURAL CONTEXT o Each culture subculture and social class transmits a particular pattern of beliefs values customs and skills to its younger generations o Development is also influenced by societal changestechnological breakthroughs Internet historical events wars social causes gaylesbian movement o Each generation develops in its own wayHuman Development in Historical Perspective Contemporary Western societies can be described as childcenteredparents focus much of their lives on their children spent a great deal of money to care for and educate their children and excuse children from shouldering full responsibilities of adulthood until a certain age
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