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 An Introduction to Lifespan Development
Chapter 1
Robert S. Feldman
AN ORIENTATION TO DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE LIFESPAN
What is Lifespan Development?
LIFESPAN DEVELOPMENT is the field of study that examines patterns of growth, change, and stability in behavior that occur throughout the entire lifespan.
Assumptions about Developmental Study
Scientific approach that focuses on human development
Neither heredity nor environment alone can account for the full range of human develop
Development continues throughout lifespan
Every period of life contains potential for growth and decline in abilities
Process of development persists throughout every part of people’s lives

Major Topical Areas
Physical development
Cognitive development
Personality development
Social development

(See Table 1-1)
Table 1-1
Age and Range Differences
Prenatal period
Infancy and toddlerhood (0-3)
Preschool years (3-6)
Middle childhood (6-12)
Adolescence (12-20)
Young adulthood (20-40)
Middle adulthood (40-65)
Late adulthood (65-death)
Cultural Factors and Developmental Diversity
Broad factors
Orientation toward INDIVIDUALISM or COLLECTIVISM

Finer differences
Ethnicity (cultural background, nationality, religion, language, etc.)
Race (biological concept, not precise)
Socioeconomic status
Gender

COHORT: a group of people born around the same time in the same place


If visitors from another country came to class and asked you to describe your cohort, what would you tell them?
Influences on Development
HISTORY-GRADED INFLUENCES
AGE-GRADED INFLUENCES
SOCIOCULTURAL-GRADED INFLUENCES
NON-NORMATIVE LIFE EVENT


THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES
What is a theory?
THEORY: broad, organized explanations and predictions concerning phenomena of interest.
(See Table 1-3)
Major Theoretical Perspectives
Psychodynamic
Behavioral
Cognitive
Humanistic
Contextual
Evolutionary
Theories of Development: Psychodynamic
Psychosexual Development
Theorist: Freud
Development motivated by inner forces, memories, and conflicts
Principles:
Psychosexual development involves series of stages-oral, anal, phallic, genital
Contribution: notion of stages of development
Theories of Development: Psychodynamic
Psychosocial Development
Theorist: Erikson
Focus on social interaction with others
Development occurs through changes in interactions with others
Principles:
Eight distinct, fixed, universal stages
Each stage presents crisis/conflict
Growth and change are lifelong
Theories of Development: Behavioral
Classical conditioning (Watson)
Operant conditioning through reinforcement (Skinner)
Observational learning (Bandura)
Development: Behavior is result of exposure to environmental factors
No concept of stages of development
Theories of Development: Cognitive
Cognitive development
Theorist: Jean Piaget
Development of cognitive abilities: Stages of cognitive development, people think differently at different stages
Sensorimotor stage
Preoperational stage
Concrete operations stage
Formal operations stage
Principles: Assimilation and accommodation

Theories of Development: Cognitive Approaches
Information-Processing Approach
Focus is primarily on memory
Information processed in serial manner as it moves from stage to stage; information stored in multiple locations throughout brain
Cognitive Neuroscience Approach
Focus on cognitive development through lens of brain
Focuses specifically on the neurological activity that underlies thinking, problem-solving, etc.
Associations between specific genes and wide range of disorders are identified
Theories of Development: Bronfenbrenner
Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Approach
Focus on relationship between individuals and their various “worlds”
Development is unique and intimately tied to person’s social and cultural context; four levels of environment influence individuals
Microsystem
Mesosystem
Exosystem
Macrosystem
Chronosystem
Bronfenbrenner’s Approach to Development
RESEARCH METHODS
Posing Developmental Questions
What is a theory?
Broad explanation and prediction about phenomena of interest

Hypothesis: prediction stated in such a way that permits it to be tested
The Scientific Method
Identifying questions of interest
Formulating an explanation
Carrying out research that either lends support to the explanation or refutes it
Categories of Research
Correlational research
Relationship between two variables

Experimental research
Causal relationship between two variables
Correlational Studies
What is a correlation?



Correlational Studies
Do not prove causality
Do provide important information
Correlation Coefficient

Types of Correlational Studies
Naturalistic observation

Ethnography

Case studies

Survey research

Psychophysiological methods

Determining Cause and Effect
Experiment
Groups
Treatment/experimental
Control
Variables
Independent
Dependent
Random subject selection and assignment
Watch the clips to see how theories may be tested…
The Independent and Dependent Variables







Why aren’t experiments always used?
Logically impossible

Ethically impossible

Choosing Research Settings
Field study- correlational
Capture behavior in real-life settings
Participants may behave more naturally
May be used in correlational studies and experiments
Often difficult to exert control over situation and environment
Laboratory study- experimental
Hold events constant
Enables researchers to learn more clearly how treatment affect participants
Measuring Developmental Change
Longitudinal Studies
Measuring individual change over time
Cross-Sectional Studies
Measuring people of different ages at same point in time
Sequential Studies
Measure a number of different age groups at several points in time
Combination of longitudinal and cross-sectional



A Quick Review