Lifespan development

8 August 2016

Human development ¤  Studying change and constancy throughout the lifespan.

Basic Issues in Lifespan ¤  Continuous or discontinuous? ¤  One course of development or many? ¤  Nature or nurture?

Lifespan development Essay Example

The Lifespan Perspective: A Balanced Point of View ¤  Development as lifelong. ¤  Development as multidimensional and multidirectional. ¤  Development as plastic. ¤  Development as embedded in multiple context: ¤  age-graded influences ¤  history-graded influences ¤  nonnormative influences

Periods of Development Prenatal

Conception to birth

Infancy and toddlerhood

Birth to 2 years

Early childhood

2 to 6 years

Middle childhood

6 to 11 years


11 to 18 years

Early adulthood

18 to 40 years

Middle adulthood

40 to 65 years

Late adulthood

65 years to death

Scientific Beginnings ¤  Scientific study of human development dates back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. ¤  Charles Darwin (1809-1882) ¤  Forefather of scientific child study. ¤  Natural selection and survival of the fittest.

¤  The normative period ¤  G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924) à founder of the child study movement and Arnold Gesell (1880-1961). ¤  Both were known because of their normative approach to development.

Scientific Beginnings (cont.) ¤  The mental testing movement ¤  Alfred Binet (1857-1911) à created an intelligence test which sparked interest in individual differences.

Mid-Twentieth Century Theories ¤  In the mid-twentieth century, human development expanded into a legitimate discipline. As it attracted increasing interest, a variety of theories emerged, each of which still has followers today: ¤  The psychoanalytic perspective ¤  People move through a series of stages in which they confront conflicts between biological drives and social expectations. The way these conflicts are resolved determines the person’s ability to learn, to get along with others, and to cope with anxiety.

Mid-Twentieth Century Theories (cont.) ¤  The psychoanalytic perspective (cont.) ¤  Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) à parts of personality and psychosexual development. ¤  Erik Erikson (1902-1994) à psychosocial development.

¤  Behaviorism ¤  An approach that views directly observable events as the appropriate focus of study. ¤  Traditional behaviorism: John B. Watson (1878-1958) à classical conditioning and B. F. Skinner (1904-1990) à operant conditioning

Freud s Three Parts of the Personality n


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largest portion of the mind unconscious, present at birth source of biological needs/desires conscious, rational part of mind emerges in early infancy redirects id impulses acceptably the conscience develops from ages 3 to 6 from interactions with caregivers

Erikson s Psychosocial Stages Basic trust vs. mistrust

Birth to 1 year

Autonomy vs. shame/doubt

1–3 years

Initiative vs. guilt

3–6 years

Industry vs. inferiority

6–11 years

Identity vs. role confusion


Intimacy vs. isolation

Early adulthood

Generativity vs. stagnation

Middle adulthood

Integrity vs. despair

Late adulthood

Behaviorism and Social Learning Classical conditioning


Operant conditioning

Reinforcers and punishments

Social learning


Mid-Twentieth Century Theories (cont.) ¤  Behaviorism (cont.) ¤  Social learning theory: proposed by Albert Bandura à emphasized on modeling, also known as imitation or observational learning.

¤  Cognitive-developmental theory ¤  Inspired by Jean Piaget à children actively construct knowledge as they manipulate and explore their world: ¤  Sensorimotor – birth to 2 yrs. ¤  Preoperational – 2 to 7 yrs. ¤  Concrete operational – 7 to 11 yrs. ¤  Formal operational – 11 yrs. onwards

Recent Theoretical Perspectives ¤  Information processing ¤  An approach that views the human mind as a symbolmanipulating system through which information flows.

¤  Ethology and evolutionary developmental psychology ¤  Ethology is concerned with the adaptive or survival, value of behavior and its evolutionary history. ¤  Evolutionary seeks to understand the adaptive value of specieswide cognitive, emotional, and social competencies as those competencies change with age.

Recent Theoretical Perspectives (cont.) ¤  Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory ¤  It focuses on how culture – the values, beliefs, customs, and skills of a social group – is transmitted to the next generations. ¤  Social interaction – cooperative dialogues with more knowledgeable members of society – is necessary for children to acquire the ways of thinking and behaving that made up a community’s culture.

Recent Theoretical Perspectives (cont.) ¤  Ecological systems theory ¤  Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) views the person as developing within a complex system of relations affected by multiple levels of the surrounding environment: ¤  Macrosystem ¤  Exosystem ¤  Mesosystem ¤  Microsystem

Studying Development ¤  Common research methods: ¤  Systematic observation à naturalistic and structured observations ¤  Self reports à clinical and structured interviews ¤  Clinical, or case study method ¤  Methods for studying culture à ethnography

Studying Development (cont.) ¤  General research designs: ¤  Correlational design à correlation coefficient ¤  Experimental design à IV/DV ¤  Modified experimental designs à field experiment/quasi

¤  Designs for studying development: ¤  Longitudinal design à same group at different times ¤  Cross-sectional design à different groups at same time ¤  Sequential designs à mixed

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