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developmental psychology

developmental psychology ( psychology)

Developmental Psychology is a branch of psychology that studies human development from childhood to aging Learn about the definition and. most important questions that developmental psychology answers as well as historical origins.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Define developmental psychology

Developmental Psychology is a scientific approach to psychology that aims to explain the growth, change and consistency that humans experience over a lifetime. Developmental psychology looks at how thinking, feeling and behavior change throughout a person's life. A large proportion of theories in this discipline focus on growth that occurs during childhood, because it is the period when humans experience the greatest manifestations of change and growth.

Developmental psychologists study a wide range of theoretical fields, primarily biological, social, emotional and cognitive processes. Besides, experimental research in this field is dominated by psychologists from Western cultures such as North America and Europe, Although Japanese researchers began to make a valid contribution in this area during the 1980s.

The three objectives of developmental psychology are to describe, explain and improve development and growth (Baltic, Reese, and Lipisti, 1980). To describe development, it is necessary to focus on both typical patterns of growth

(standard growth) and individual differences in patterns of change 

(i.e. personal development).  There are no two people who are exactly the same, although most people have typical growth paths.

In addition, developmental psychologists also seek to explain the changes they have observed in relation to standard processes and individual differences. Although it is often easier to describe growth than to explain how it occurs.

Finally, developmental psychologists hope to improve growth and development applying their theories to help people in practical situations (for example, helping parents develop safe relationships with their children).

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Questions answered by developmental psychology

Continuity vs discontinuity

Thinking about how children can reach? In other words, is there a predictable pattern they follow in terms of thought, language and social development? Are children undergoing gradual or sudden changes? Standard growth is usually seen as a continuous and cumulative process. The continuity point of view says that change is gradual. Children become more skilled at thinking, talking or acting in the same way as they become taller and bigger, gradually.

The view of non-continuity or interruption sees evolution and growth as surprising in the sense of a series of changes that produce different behaviors at different age periods called stages. Biological changes provide the possibility of such changes.

We often hear people talking about children going through "stages" in life

 (i.e. the "sensory stage"). These are called "developmental stages", i.e. life periods that begin through distinct transitions in physical or psychological performance.

Psychologists believe from the point of view of interruption or non-continuity that people are going through the same stages, in the same order, but not necessarily at the same rate.

Imprinting vs Imprinting

It is important to take into account the relative contribution of both nature and upbringing when trying to explain the process of development or growth. Developmental psychology seeks to answer two big questions about genetics and the environment, i.e. "nature versus printing":

1. How much does each contribute?

2. How does nature interact with nurture?

Nature refers to genetic processes in biological maturity and growth. Shared genetics (DNA) is one of the reasons why human development and development are so similar, as they guide us all to the same developmental changes and at almost the same points of life. Upbringing refers to the impact of the environment, which includes the process of learning through experiences.

There are two effective ways to study the influence of nature.

1. Twin Studies: Identical twins have the same genetic makeup, and identical twins have 50% of the genes in common.
2. Adoption Studies: Similarities in Biological Family, vs. Similarities in Adoption-Based Families.

stability vs change

Stability refers to personality traits that existed during childhood and continue to grow up. Change theorists, on the other hand, say that characters are modified through interactions with family, experiences, school, and culture.

This ability to change is called plasticity. For example, Ratter (1981) discovered that children living in understaffed orphanages often become cheerful and emotional when adopted in socially stimulating homes.

Historical Origins

Developmental psychology as a system did not exist until after the Industrial Revolution when the need for an educated workforce in social construction led to the need for a worker, and thus began to take care of childhood as a distinct stage in a person's life.

The idea of childhood originated in the Western world at this stage and this was the reason for the derivation of early research on the need for a science to study childhood. At first, developmental psychologists were interested in studying the child's mind so that teaching and learning would be more effective, and studies were then circulated to the rest of the child's life.

Developmental changes that occur during adulthood are a recent area of study. 

This is mainly due to advances in medical sciences, enabling people to live up to old age.

Charles Darwin is credited with conducting the first systematic study of developmental psychology. In 1877, he published a short paper detailing the evolution of innate forms of communication based on the scientific observations of his infant son, Dudi.

However, the emergence of developmental psychology as a specific system in the study can be traced back to 1882 when Wilhelm Breyer (a German physicist) published a book entitled The Child's Mind. In this book, Breyer describes his daughter's development from birth to two and a half years. More importantly, Breyer used strict scientific procedures during the study of his daughter's many abilities.

In 1888, Breyer's publication was translated into English, at which time developmental psychology was established as a complete system with the publication of 47 other experimental studies from Europe, North America and Britain to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge in this field.

During the 20th century, three key figures dominated the field with their broad theories about human development: Jean Piaget (1896-1980), Lev Figotsky 

(1896-1934) and John Bolby (1907-1990). Much of the current research is still influenced by these three theorists.


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