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The Life-span Perspective:

Development: pattern of change that begins at conception through the life span

Life-span Perspective: the perspective that development is lifelong, multidimensional, multidirectional, plastic, multidisciplinary, and contextual

- Involves growth, maintenance, and regulation

- Constructed through biological, sociocultural, and individual factors working together

Characteristics of the life-span perspective:

1.) Development is Lifelong early adulthood isn’t the endpoint of development, no age period dominates development 2.) Development is Multidimensional no matter what your age might be, your body, mind, emotions, and relationships are changing and affecting each other 3.) Development is Multidirectional some dimensions or components of a dimension expand, and others shrink 4.) Development is Plastic you can still improve in some areas through practice and training 5.) Developmental Science is Multidisciplinary psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and medical researchers are involved 6.) Development is Contextual all development occurs within a context, or setting

Normative age-graded influences:

influences that are similar for individuals in a particular age group

Normative history-graded influence influences common to people of a particular generation because of historical circumstances

Nonnormative life events unusual

occurrences that have major impact on an individual’s life 7.) Development involves Growth, Maintenance, and Regulation of Loss the mastery of life often involves conflicts and

competition among 3 goals of human development: growth, maintenance, regulation of loss 8.) Development is a Co-construction of Biology, Culture, and the Individual example, the brain shapes culture, but it is also shaped by culture

Culture: behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a group that are passed on from generation to generation

Cross-cultural studies: comparison of one culture with one or more other cultures

Ethnicity: characteristic based on cultural heritage, nationality characteristics, race, religion, and language

Socioeconomic Status: grouping of people with similar occupational, educational, and economic characteristics

Gender: characteristics of people as males or females

Social Policy: government’s course of action designed to promote the welfare of its citizens

The Nature of Development:

Biological Processes: changes the individual’s physical nature

Cognitive Processes: changes an individual’s thought, intelligence, and language

Socioemotional Processes: changes an individual’s relationships with other people, emotions, and personality

Periods of Development:

1.) Prenatal Period time from conception to birth; 9 months

2.) Infancy from birth to 18 or 24 months; time of extreme dependency upon adults 3.) Early Childhood from 3 through 5 years of age; preschool years

- Children learn to become more self- sufficient and to care for themselves, develop school readiness skills, and spend many hours playing with peers 4.) Middle and Late Childhood 6-10 or 11 years; elementary school years

- Children master the fundamental skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and they are formally exposed to the larger world and its culture

- Self-control increases

5.) Adolescence transition from childhood to

early adulthood; from 10-12 to 18-21 years of age

- Rapid physical changes, dramatic gains in height and weight, changes in body contour, and development of sexual characteristics

- More time is spent outside the family

6.) Early Adulthood early 20s through the 30s; time of establishing personal and economic independence, advancing in their career, and for many, selecting a mate 7.) Middle Adulthood 40-60; time of expanding social involvement and responsibility

- Assisting the next generation in becoming competent, mature individuals; and of reaching and maintaining satisfaction in a career 8.) Late Adulthood 60-70 until death; time of review, retirement, and adjustment to

new social roles and diminishing strength and health

- Longest span of any period of development

Significance of Age:

Happiness increases as one ages

Conceptions of Age:

Chronological Age - The number of years that have elapsed after birth

Biological Age a person’s age in terms of biological health

Psychological Age an individual’s adaptive capacities compared with those of other individuals of the same chronological age

Social Age connectedness with others and the social roles adopt

Developmental Issues:

Nature-Nurture Issue a debate about whether development is primarily influenced by biological inheritance or environmental experiences

Stability-Change Issue debate on whether we become older renditions of our early experience or whether we develop into someone different from who we were at an early point in development

Continuity and Discontinuity Issue debate about the extent to which development involves gradual, cumulative change or distinct stages

Theories of Development:

Scientific Method an approach that can be used to obtain accurate information

Theory interrelated, coherent set of ideas that helps to explain phenomena and facilitate predictions

Hypothesis specific assumptions and predictions that can be tested to determine their accuracy

Psychoanalytic Theories: describe development as

primarily unconscious and heavily colored by emotion

- Behavior is merely a surface characteristic, and the symbolic workings of the mind have to be analyzed to understand behavior

- Early experiences with parents are emphasized 1.) Freud’s Theory: as children grow up, their focus of pleasure and sexual impulses shifts from the mouth to the anus and eventually to the genitals a.) Oral Stage: infant’s pleasure centers are on the mouth

b.) Anal Stage: child’s pleasure focuses on the anus c.) Phallic Stage: child’s pleasure focuses on the genitals d.) Latency Stage: child represses sexual interest and develops social and intellectual skills e.) Genital Stage: a time of sexual reawakening; source of sexual pleasure becomes someone outside the family 2.) Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory: contrary to Freud’s theory, rather than sexual motivations, humans also reflect a desire to socialize and affiliate themselves with others

a desire to socialize and affiliate themselves with others Cognitive Theories: emphasizes conscious thoughts 1.)

Cognitive Theories: emphasizes conscious thoughts

1.) Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory – theory stating that children actively construct their understanding of the world and go through 4 stages of cognitive development a.) Sensorimotor Stage: birth to 2 yrs.; infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences with physical actions

- Progresses from reflexive, instinctual action at birth to the beginning of symbolic thought toward the end of the stage b.) Preoperational Stage: 2-7; child begins to represent the world with words and images

- Increased symbolic thinking and go beyond the connection of sensory information and physical action c.) Concrete Operational Stage: 7-11; child can now reason logically about concrete events and classify objects into different sets d.) Formal Operational Stage: adolescent reasons in more abstract, idealistic, and logical ways 2.) Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Cognitive Theory:

emphasizes how culture and social interaction guide cognitive development 3.) Information-processing Theory emphasizes that individuals manipulate information, monitor it, and strategize about it. Central to this theory are the processes of memory and thinking

Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories: emphasize continuity in development and argue that development does not occur in stage-like fashion

1.) Skinner’s Operant Conditioning: operant conditioning the consequences of a behavior produce changes in the probability of the behavior’s occurrence 2.) Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory: behavior, environment, and cognition are the key factors in development

- Modelling learning that occurs through observing what others do

Ethological Theory

Ethology behavior is strongly influenced by biology, is tied to evolution, and is characterized by critical or sensitive periods

Ecological Theory: emphasizes environmental factors

1.) Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory:

development reflects the influence of several environmental systems a.) Microsystem setting where the individual lives

- Most direct interactions with social agents

- The individual is not a passive recipient of experiences in these settings, but someone who helps construct the settings b.) Mesosystem relations between microsystems or connections between contexts c.) Exosystem links between a social setting which the individual doesn’t have an active role in d.) Macrosystem the culture in which the individuals live e.) Chronosystem the patterning of environmental events and transitions over the life course, as well as sociohistorical circumstances

Eclectic Theoretical Orientation: doesn’t follow any one theoretical approach but rather selects from each theory whatever is considered its best features

Research in Life-Span Development:

Methods for Collecting Data:

1.) Observation: observation needs to be systematic in order for it to be effective

- Naturalistic Observation studies that involve observing behavior in real-world settings 2.) Survey and Interview: best and quickest way to get information

- Useful when information from many people is needed 3.) Standardized Test: test with uniform procedures for administration and scoring; allow a person’s performance to be compared with the performance of other individuals 4.) Case Study: in-depth look at a single individual

Research Designs

1.) Descriptive: designed to observe and record behavior

2.) Correlational: goal is to describe the strength of the relationship between two or more events or characteristics

- Correlational coefficient: a number based on statistical analysis that is used to describe the degree of association between 2 variables 3.) Experimental: carefully regulated procedure in which one or more of the factors believed to influence the behavior being studied are manipulated while all other factors are held constant

Time Span of Research:

1.) Cross-Sectional Approach: individuals of different ages are compared at one time 2.) Longitudinal Approach: the same individuals are studied over a period of time, usually several years or more 3.) Cohort Effects: effects due to a person’s time of birth, era, or generation rather than a person’s actual age

Conducting Ethical Research

1.) Informed Consent 2.) Confidentiality 3.) Debriefing 4.) Deception

Minimizing Bias

1.) Gender Bias 2.) Cultural and Ethnic Bias


Menarche: a girl’s first period

Puberty: a period of rapid physical maturation, occurring primarily in early adolescence, that involves hormonal and bodily changes

Hormones: powerful chemical substances secreted by the endocrine glands and carried through the body by the bloodstream

Testosterone: hormone associated in boys with genital development, increased height, and deepening of the voice

Estradiol: type of estrogen that in girls is associated with breast, uterine, and skeletal development

The corpus callosum thickens in adolescence

The amygdala matures earlier than the prefrontal cortex

Sexually Transmitted Infections: infections contracted primarily through sexual contact, including oral-genital and anal-genital contact

Anorexia Nervosa: eating disorder that involves the relentless pursuit of thinness through starvation

- Weigh less than 85% of what is considered normal for their age and height

- Intense fear of gaining weight that does not decrease with weight loss

- Distorted image of their body shape

- Amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) in girls who have reached puberty

Bulimia Nervosa: individual consistently follows a binge-and-purge pattern

Hypothetical-deductive reasoning: Piaget’s formal operational concept that adolescents have the cognitive ability to develop hypotheses, or best guesses, about ways to solve a problem

Adolescent Egocentrism: heightened self- consciousness of adolescents

- David Elkind points out that adolescent egocentrism has 2 key components 1.) Imaginary Audience: adolescents believe that others are as interested in them as they themselves are, as well as attention- getting behavior motivated by a desire to be noticed, visible, and on stage 2.) Personal Fable: part of adolescent egocentrism that involves an adolescent’s sense of uniqueness and invincibility (or invulnerability)

Cognitive Control: effective control in a number of areas, including controlling attention, reducing interfering thoughts, and being cognitively flexible

Cognitive Flexibility: being aware that options and alternatives are available and adapting to the situation

Dual-Process Model: a view of thinking in which decision making is influenced by 2 systems, one

analytical and one experimental, that compete with each other

Top-dog Phenomenon: moving from the top position in elementary school to the lowest position in middle or junior high school

Service Learning: form of education that promotes social responsibility and service to the community


Narcissism self-centered and self-concerned approach toward others

Crisis period of identity development during which the individual is exploring alternatives

Commitment personal investment in identity

4 Statuses of Identity:

James Marcia

1.) Identity Diffusion: status of individuals who have not yet made any commitments

- Undecided on occupational and ideological choices

- Likely to show little interest in such matters

2.) Identity Foreclosure: status of individuals who have made a commitment but not experienced a crisis

- Often when parents hand down commitments to their adolescents 3.) Identity Moratorium: status of individuals who are in the midst of a crisis but whose commitments are either absent or are only vaguely defined 4.) Identity Achievement: status of individuals who have undergone a crisis and made a commitment

Ethnic Identity: an enduring basic aspect of the self that includes a sense of membership in an ethnic group and the attitudes and feelings related to that membership

Cliques: small group of about 5-6 individuals that may form among adolescents who engage in similar activity

Crowds: larger than cliques and less personal

3 Developmental Stages in Dating and Romantic Relationships:

1.) Entry into romantic attractions and affiliations at about 11-13 years of age:

initially triggered by puberty, adolescents become intensely interested in romance 2.) Exploring romantic relationships at approximately 14-16 years of age: 2 types of romantic involvement occur:

- Causal dating emerges and only last for a few months or weeks

- Dating in groups is common and reflects embeddedness in the peer facilitators of a potential dating relationship by communicating their friend’s romantic interest and confirming whether this attraction is reciprocated 3.) Consolidating dyadic romantic bonds at about 17-19 years of age: more serious romantic relationships develop

Early Bloomers: 11-13 years old adolescents in romantic relationships

Late Bloomers: 17-19 years old adolescents who have not been into romantic relationships and others have not have any last more than 4 months

Rite of Passage: ceremony or ritual that marks an individual’s transition from one status to another


1.) Juvenile Delinquency

- Juvenile Delinquent an adolescent who breaks the law or engages in behavior that is considered illegal

- Causes of Delinquency low-income neighborhoods, inadequate parental monitoring, delinquent peers, delinquent siblings 2.) Depression and Suicide

- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents

- Females are more likely to attempt suicide, but males are more likely to succeed in committing suicide

Successful Programs in Preventing and Reducing Adolescent Problems:

1.) Intensive Individualized Attention: high-risk adolescents are attached to a responsible adult who gives the adolescent attention and deals with the adolescent’s specific needs 2.) Community-wide Multiagency Collaborative Approaches: a number of programs and services have to be in place 3.) Early Identification and Intervention:

reaching younger children and their families before children develop problems or at the onset of their problems is a successful strategy