Human Development • An ever-evolving field • What is human development? • The scientific study of these patterns of change and stability. • Development is both systematic and adaptive
Studying the Life Span • Life-span development • Concept of development as a lifelong process, which can be studied scientifically
Human Development Today • 1. Goals of a scientific discipline • Description: goal in the study of human development in which scientists observe behavior in order to detect patterns or norms in the lives of children and adults • Explanation: goal in which scientists attempt to understand and tell why observed behavior occurs • Prediction: goal in which scientists use the knowledge of causes of behavior to change or control behavior • Intervention: goal in which scientists use the knowledge of causes of behavior to change or control behavior
continued • 2. Interdisciplinary approach—human development takes information and research from several fields including: • Psychology • Psychiatry • Sociology • Anthropology • Biology • Genetics • Family Science • Education • History • Medicine
The study of human development: basic concepts • Domains of Development • Domain: An aspect of the self including physical, cognitive, or psychosocial development • Physical Development • Growth of body and brain, sensory capacities, motor skills, and health • Cognitive development • Learning, memory, language, thinking, reasoning, and creativity • Psychosocial development • Emotions, personality, and social relationships
Periods of the Life Span • Social construction • Concept about the nature of reality, based on societally shared perceptions or assumptions • Periods include • Prenatal period • Infancy and toddlerhood • Early childhood • Middle childhood • Adolescence • Young adulthood • Middle adulthood • Late adulthood
Influences of Development • Individual differences: • Differences in characteristics, influences, or developmental outcomes.
Heredity, Environment, and Maturation • Maturation • Unfolding of a natural sequence of physical and behavioral changes, including readiness to master new abilities • Heredity: • Inborn characteristics inherited from biological parent and called “nature” • Environment • Totality of nonhereditary, or experiential, influences on development and called “nurture” • Brings us to the big debate………
Nature Vs. Nurture • Which is it?
Context of Development • 1. Family • Nuclear family: • Kinship and household unit made up of one or two parents and their biological, adopted, and/or stepchildren • Extended family: • Multigenerational network of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives, sometimes living together in an extended-family household
2. Socioeconomic Status and Neighborhood • Socioeconomic status (SES): Combination of economic and social factors describing an individual or family, including income, education, and occupation. • Risk factors: Conditions that increase the likelihood of a negative developmental outcome • 3. Culture and Ethnicity • Culture: A society’s or group’s total way of life, including customs, traditions, beliefs, laws, knowledge, values, language, and physical products— all learned and shared behavior passed on from parents to children
Normative and Nonnormative Influence • Normative: Characteristic of an even that occurs in a similar way for most people in a group. • Nonnormative age-graded influences: event or influence that is highly similar for people in a particular age group. • Includes biological (puberty, menopause) and social (marriage, retirement) events • Normative history-graded influences: significant environmental events that shape the behavior and attitudes of a particular cohort
Cont. • Historical generation • A group of people who experience an event, such as the Great Depression or 9/11, at a formative time of life • Cohort • Group of people born about the same time • Nonnormative influences • Unusual events that have a major impact on individual lives because they disturb the expected sequence of the life cycle
Timing of Influences: Critical or Sensitive Periods • Imprinting • Phenomenon in which newly hatched birds will instinctively follow the first moving object they see, the result of the readiness of the nervous system of the organism to acquire certain information during a brief critical period in early life • Critical period • Specific time when a given event, or its absence, has a specific impact on development • Plasticity • Flexibility or modification of performance • Sensitive periods • Times in development when a person is especially responsive to certain kinds of experience
Baltes’s Life-Span developmental approach • Development is lifelong • Development is multidimensional • Development is multidirectional • Relative influences of biology and culture shift over the life span • Development involves changing resource allocations • Development shows plasticity • Development is influenced by the historical and cultural context