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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Define and distinguish between the three domains of development: physical, cognitive and psychosocial
  • Discuss the normative approach to development
  • Understand the three major issues in development: continuity and discontinuity, one common course of development or many unique courses of development, and nature versus nurture
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety. (Wordsworth, 1802)

In this poem, William Wordsworth writes, “the child is father of the man.” What does this seemingly incongruous statement mean, and what does it have to do with lifespan development? Wordsworth might be suggesting that the person he is as an adult depends largely on the experiences he had in childhood. Consider the following questions: To what extent is the adult you are today influenced by the child you once were? To what extent is a child fundamentally different from the adult he grows up to be?

These are the types of questions developmental psychologists try to answer, by studying how humans change and grow from conception through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and death. They view development as a lifelong process that can be studied scientifically across three developmental domains—physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development. Physical development involves growth and changes in the body and brain, the senses, motor skills, and health and wellness. Cognitive development involves learning, attention, memory, language, thinking, reasoning, and creativity. Psychosocial development involves emotions, personality, and social relationships. We refer to these domains throughout the chapter.

Research methods in developmental psychology

You’ve learned about a variety of research methods used by psychologists. Developmental psychologists use many of these approaches in order to better understand how individuals change mentally and physically over time. These methods include naturalistic observations, case studies, surveys, and experiments, among others.

Naturalistic observations involve observing behavior in its natural context. A developmental psychologist might observe how children behave on a playground, at a daycare center, or in the child’s own home. While this research approach provides a glimpse into how children behave in their natural settings, researchers have very little control over the types and/or frequencies of displayed behavior.

In a case study, developmental psychologists collect a great deal of information from one individual in order to better understand physical and psychological changes over the lifespan. This particular approach is an excellent way to better understand individuals, who are exceptional in some way, but it is especially prone to researcher bias in interpretation, and it is difficult to generalize conclusions to the larger population.

In one classic example of this research method being applied to a study of lifespan development Sigmund Freud analyzed the development of a child known as “Little Hans” (Freud, 1909/1949). Freud’s findings helped inform his theories of psychosexual development in children, which you will learn about later in this chapter. Little Genie, the subject of a case study discussed in the chapter on thinking and intelligence, provides another example of how psychologists examine developmental milestones through detailed research on a single individual. In Genie’s case, her neglectful and abusive upbringing led to her being unable to speak until, at age 13, she was removed from that harmful environment. As she learned to use language, psychologists were able to compare how her language acquisition abilities differed when occurring in her late-stage development compared to the typical acquisition of those skills during the ages of infancy through early childhood (Fromkin, Krashen, Curtiss, Rigler,&Rigler, 1974; Curtiss, 1981).

The survey method asks individuals to self-report important information about their thoughts, experiences, and beliefs. This particular method can provide large amounts of information in relatively short amounts of time; however, validity of data collected in this way relies on honest self-reporting, and the data is relatively shallow when compared to the depth of information collected in a case study.

Experiments involve significant control over extraneous variables and manipulation of the independent variable. As such, experimental research allows developmental psychologists to make causal statements about certain variables that are important for the developmental process. Because experimental research must occur in a controlled environment, researchers must be cautious about whether behaviors observed in the laboratory translate to an individual’s natural environment.

Later in this chapter, you will learn about several experiments in which toddlers and young children observe scenes or actions so that researchers can determine at what age specific cognitive abilities develop. For example, children may observe a quantity of liquid poured from a short, fat glass into a tall, skinny glass. As the experimenters question the children about what occurred, the subjects’ answers help psychologists understand at what age a child begins to comprehend that the volume of liquid remained the same although the shapes of the containers differs.

Questions & Answers

What explanatory value do you think behavioral learning theory has for human behavior?
Kuurshejr Reply
what are the contributions of Darwin's evolutionary theory to psychology
Merit Reply
In thinking about the case of Candace described earlier, do you think that Candace benefitted or suffered as a result of consistently being passed on to the next grade?
Haley Reply
what is post traumatic stress disorder?
Nafisa Reply
can we ever think beyond books?
Chandrakant
what is schizophrenia?
Nafisa
Nafisa Sultana# Schizophrenia is characterised by thoughts or experiences that seem out of touch with reality, disorganised speech or behaviour and decreased participation in daily activities. Difficulty with concentration and memory may also be present.
Mohammad
ok..thanks a lot
Nafisa
and what about post traumatic stress disorder?
Nafisa
Nafisa Sultana# Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.
Mohammad
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.
Mudit
okk
Nafisa
thanks
Nafisa
PAM🥂
Mudit
Hello! how we can apply CBT therapy? any source to learn practice it?
Isra
Nafisa Systematic desensitization is another name of Exposure therapy in which an individual brought to little anxious condition and he show anxiety but soon come to understand that it's vague. and afterward to original situation where he shows same behavior and realize as above treatment for Anxiey
Wajid
what are the four basic style of life? explain
Alysha Reply
Describe the characteristics proposed by Alfred Adler that kay develop on first born, second born, and youngest children as a result of their order of birth within the familys
Alysha
answer pl
Nss
it's complicated
Chandrakant
like how you count all these things and put them into a category?
Chandrakant
4 styles of life Authoritarian Authoritative Permissive Neglectful
Wajid
what does alfred adler differ from sigmund freud
Alysha Reply
One of the differences is that Adler had an holistic view of individuals when studying them whereas Freud worked on separate personality components
Syed
what are the differences between their theories
Alysha
heyyy
Crazy
Freudian theory of personality have basic components as ID,Ego,Superego. Freud have psychosexual developmental model of personality. Whearas Adler given Birth order in personality development also focused on Inferiority complex and superiority complex.
Wajid
thank you
Alysha
thanks guys for your information 👍
Sonu
my pleasure..
Wajid
Was Psyche rlly a Mortal woman
Elijah Reply
yes name psyche derived from anicient mortal women
Wajid
how much for book
Ashley Reply
Whose book?
Natalie
if it is for this book, psychological trauma and illuminations are each taxed differently depending on your mental preparedness to engage in the subject.
Nathaniel
tell me 5 best things that a woman can do better than a guy and a guy can do better than a woman?
Chandrakant
I just know this that women have more emotional intelligence than men and men are more practical than women
Samiha
Yes womens emotional intelligence as mother is more than father and father is more practical than a mother
Wajid
What explanatory value do you think behavioral learning theory has for human behavior?
Kuurshejr
does this apply to the career in applied behavior analysis?
Nicole Reply
Actually I really don't know much about psychology because my age is just 13 ..but I am interested in this subject.I feel it important..to know human behavior and about the world not materially but emotionally.. Can you help me from now to take the courses of psychology from now?
Nafisa
I can try. im only in my 2nd year
Nicole
read, take notes, study ask questions, study some more. you"ll do just fine. u made it this far.
jeddy
yes it does.
jeddy
age isn't a barrier.
jeddy
same here I am even 12 And I am interested in psychology reading and knowing is ok but what about exams
Vaishali
I have downloaded an app where I used to give exam per day
Nafisa
heyy.. I'm new here..can I know what is this chat box used for?
pakki
would you please recommend the app
Vaishali
here u can clear u doubts ..if u r having any problems
Nafisa
Hi can you help me? I need ideas for my thesis title related to psychology
Mercelyn
what's the subject?
Nicole
@nafisa name that app....
Ishan
psychology quiz
Nafisa
Don't learn psychology, learn what is the possibilities of mind then you will get know what is the psychology in real sens.
Mohammad
that's very truee
Nafisa
hii everyone I m new here
ROFIKUL
hmm
Nafisa
hello guys..go through q youtube and watch some psychological facts about human ....it is really very interesting....
Nafisa
Watch the illusions and be aware about it🤗
Nafisa
all information teaches something, its just not always truth.
Nathaniel
agreed
Teena
yes nafis what kind of help do you need
Wajid
no sir..
Nafisa
wajid sir can u explain me about the exposure therapy with an example
Nafisa
Nafisa Systematic desensitization is another name of Exposure therapy in which an individual brought to little anxious condition and he show anxiety but soon come to understand that it's vague. and afterward to original situation where he shows same behavior and realize as above treatment for Anxiey
Wajid
I was recently diagnosed schizophrenic. after a lifetime of major depression. time I did hear voices not for long. how does one know if they really schizophrenic?
Cathy Reply
because psychology is the dissection and study of the mind, some find it hard to believe a diagnosis under mental health concerns. if you feel you have been misdiagnosed, go to another doctor. be 100% honest in all questions asked. to lie to your doctor is much like lying to yourself/hurting self
on the contrary, a diagnosed schizophrenic doesn't always have episodes. it may start off very mild and progress over time. it may also be triggered by events/situations/certain states of mind the patient may experience
diagnosed schizophrenics are normally prescribed a medication that can help. if you feel your medication is not working, or that it may make matters worse, discuss this with your doctor so he/she can make adjustments. what works for one person may not work for them all, and so doctors need to know
i want to study about psychology b'coz my father has a mental illness. iwant to help my father to healed from her sicknessed.
Layca
please whats the answer
Fortune Reply
answer to what?
Gaunt
what is mean by what?
Mohammad
to the questions ooo i can't find the answers
Fortune
Can you repeat the question or comment the page you saw it?
Haim
why they named it psychology
zayn Reply
telll me
ABDUL
the word "psychology" comes from the Greek words "psyche" meaning life and "logos" meaning "explanation".
Soma
Psyche, in Greek mythology was a goddess who comes to represent the human soul's triumph over the misfortunes of life. The term psychology was coined. Psyche, meaning soul or mind and the root "ology" meaning the study of. I hope this helped.
JC
well done
ABDUL
how you convince a drug addict not to consume drugs?
Chandrakant
advise them to do exercises and keep themselves energetic, and tell them to control their urge and whenever they get an urge just go for a jogging or something (I'm not a professional, I'm only telling my point of view so please do ask someone else too)
Samiha
ya I appreciate wat you said
Chandrakant
you r sweet tho samiha 😊😊
Chandrakant
What explanatory value do you think behavioral learning theory has for human behavior?
Kuurshejr
what is chunking
Ritika Reply
Chunking is a process by which individual pieces of an information set are broken down and then grouped together in a meaningful whole.
Azquan
chunking is to information as syllabus is to word
ABDUL
what dose it means, operant and classic conditioning in short words?
Mikiyas Reply
classical conditioning is based on association between unnatural stimulus to natural response whether the conditioning on the basis of consequences is known as operant conditioning.
Wajid
okk
Nafisa
well said Mr.Wajid
Maryam
well..
Nafisa
example in humans lacking education
Olivia
scientific method, critical thinking.
jeddy Reply
the dealings with the thought process and human behavior.
jeddy
for acquiring knowledge by experimentation.
jeddy
study scientific study of mind and behavior.
jeddy
scientific study of the human mind and behavior.
jeddy
hey jeddy I have question s for you
Yussuf
hi what is behavioralism ?
jusem
what is psychology..?
Ania
the science of mental life.
Mikiyas
it focuses on understanding and modifying human behaviour
ABDUL

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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