Unformatted text preview: Developmental Psychology: An Introduction What is Lifespan Development? The study of systematic changes in physical, mental, and behavioral characteristics that occur between conception and death We study 2 aspects of these changes: How persons change over time (description) What factors produce these changes (explanation for changes) Four Assumptions in a Lifespan Perspective to Development
1 Development is a lifelong process At all age periods significant changes take place 2 Development is viewed in an historic context
Normative agegraded influences Normative historygraded influences Nonnormative influences Four Assumptions in a Lifespan Perspective to Development
3 4 Development can take many directions At all periods we experience growth & decline Development is multiply influenced in a biopsychosocial framework 3 factors interact Biological factors Psychological factors Sociocultural factors A good example of this is those over 100 yrs old Assumption has been one of poor health & mental decline Research by Perls (1995) shows that those in 90's and older: Centenarians: Life over 100 What is their life like? Have lower rates of Alzheimers than younger populations Have lower rates of chronic disease than expected More likely to die of a shortterm, acute illness Are socially and sexually more active than expected Centenarians: Life over 100 What accounts for these findings? Biological factors Selective Survival Psychological factors More attentive to nutrition, not smoking, exercise More resilient to stress Cope well with grief Work into their 90's Keep full social life Social factors Controversies in Developmental Psychology Continuity versus Discontinuity Is development smooth with quantitative progressions? Continuity Is development stagelike with abrupt shifts in knowledge, personality, & skills? Discontinuity Most developmentalists see the interaction of these two as the most important factor now Controversies in Dev Psych Universal vs. Contextspecific argument Does everyone go through the same kinds of changes at about the same time? Is development universal? Are there differences in how we progress through development depending on our culture and the context w/in which dev. Occurs? Or Controversies in Dev Psych Examples: How smart someone is or how outgoing someone is Nature versus Nurture Are we shaped by genetic & hereditary influences (nature) or by our environments (nurture)? Most researchers now see the interaction of nature and nurture as shaping most characteristics ...
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