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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 - Development Over the Lifespan

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Psychology 1000
Terry Biggs

Chapter 12 Development over the LifespanDevelopmental Psychology Issues and Methods Four issues guide developmental issues which examines changes in our biological physical psychological and behavioural processes as we ageNature and nurture to what extent is our development the product of heredity nature or the product of environment nurture Critical and sensitive periods are some experiences especially important at particular ageso A critical period is an age range in which certain experiences must occur for development to proceed normally or along a certain patho A sensitive period is an optimal age range for certain experiences but if those experiences occur at another time normal development will still be possible Continuity versus discontinuity is development continuous and gradual as when a sapling grows into a tree or is it discontinuous progressing through distinct stages as when a caterpillar transforms into a butterflyStability versus change do our characteristics remain consistent as we age There are five developmental functionsNo change an ability present at or before birth that remains relatively constant across the lifespan eg the ability to discriminate high from low pitched sounds Continuous change Continuity an ability not present or very immature at birth that develops gradually over months or years and then remains constant over age eg certain types of intelligence Stages Discontinuity an ability that progresses in stages with relatively rapid shifts from a lower level of performance to a higher level eg in cognitive development the shift from nonverbal thought to symbolic thinking involving words Inverted Ushaped function an ability that emerges after birth peaks and disappears with age eg separation anxietyUshaped function an ability that is present early in life disappears temporarily and reemerges later A crosssectional design is a research design that simultaneously compares people of different ages at a particular point in time However a key drawback is that the different age groups called cohorts grew up in different historical periods To avoid this problem a longitudinal design repeatedly tests the same cohort as it grows older However this design is timeconsuming and as years pass the sample may shrink substantially as people move drop out of the study or die A sequential design combines the crosssectional and longitudinal approachesrepeatedly test several age cohorts as they grow older and determine whether they follow a similar developmental patternPrenatal DevelopmentalPrenatal development consists of three stages of physical growth The germinal stage constitutes approximately the first two weeks of development beginning when one sperm fertilizes a female eggthis fertilized egg is called a zygote
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