Chapter 4: The Developing Person
Developmental psychologists study the life cycle, from
conception to death, examining how we develop
physically, mentally, and socially. Chapter 4 covers
physical, cognitive, and social development over the life
span and introduces three major issues in
the relative impact of
genes and experience on behavior,
development is best described as gradual and
continuous or as a discontinuous sequence of stages,
whether the individual’s personality remains
stable or changes over the life span.
Although there are not too many terms to learn in this
chapter, there are a number of important research
findings to remember. Pay particular attention to the
stage theories of Piaget, Kohlberg, and Erikson, as well
as to the discussion regarding intellectual stability
during adulthood. Writing carefully prepared answers
to the section preview items should be especially
helpful in mastering the material in this chapter.
Introducing the Developing Person
David Myers at times uses idioms that are
unfamiliar to some readers. If you do not
know the meaning of any of the following
words, phrases, or expressions in the context
in which they appear in the text, refer to page
140 for an explanation: .
journey through life
from womb to tomb.
First, skim the introduction. Then read the following
objectives and, as you read the text, search for the
information that will enable you to meet each
objective. Answer guidelines are provided on page 127.
1.Briefly describe the work of developmental
2.Identify and briefly describe three major issues that
pervade developmental psychology.
Stepping Through the Introduction
After you have read the introduction, complete the
sentences and answer the questions. As you proceed,
evaluate your performance by consulting the answers
on page 127. Do not continue with the next section
until you understand each answer. If you need to,
review or reread the section in the textbook before
1. Scientists who study physical, mental, and social
changes throughout the life cycle are called
______________ ______________ .
2. One of the major issues in developmental
psychology concerns the relative importance of
genes and experience in determining behavior; this
is called the ______________ issue.
3. A second developmental issue, ______________/
______________, concerns whether developmental
changes are gradual or abrupt.
4. A third controversial issue concerns the
consistency of personality and whether
development is characterized more by
______________ over time or by change.
Prenatal Development and the Newborn
1. Describe conception and outline the course of
2. Discuss the possible effects of teratogens on the
developing embryo and fetus.