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  1. 1. Life-Span Development Chapter 1: Introduction
  2. 2. The Life-Span Perspective2  Development: the pattern of growth that begins at conception and continues through the human life span  Involves growth and decline  Traditional Approach: emphasizes extensive change from birth to adolescence, little to no change in adulthood, and decline in old age  Life-Span Approach: emphasizes developmental change throughout childhood and adulthood
  3. 3. The Life-Span Perspective3  Life Span: the maximum number of years a species can live  Currently 122 years  Life Expectancy: average number of years that a person can expect to live  Currently 78 years
  4. 4. The Life-Span Perspective4  Life-Span Perspective views development as:  Lifelong Multidimensional  Multidirectional Plastic  Multidisciplinary Contextual  A life-span theorist believes that developmental changes occur in the early, middle and late years of life.  Development is a process that involves growth, maintenance, and regulation of loss  Development is constructed through biological, sociocultural, and individual factors working together
  5. 5. The Life-Span Perspective5  Development is Lifelong  Early adulthood is not the endpoint of development  No age period dominates  Development is Multidimensional  Occurs in three distinct dimensions: biological, cognitive, and socioemotional.  Development is Multidirectional  Some dimensions (or components of a dimension) expand, and others shrink
  6. 6. The Life-Span Perspective6  Development is Plastic  Plasticity: capacity for change  Development is Multidisciplinary  Development is of interest to psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and medical researchers  Development is Contextual  All development occurs within a context (setting)  Each setting is influenced by historical, economic, social, and cultural factors
  7. 7. Some Contemporary Concerns7  Health and Well-Being  Parenting and Education  Sociocultural Contexts and Diversity  Culture: behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a particular group of people that are passed on from generation to generation  Ethnicity: cultural heritage, nationality, race, religion, and language  Socioeconomic Status (SES): a person’s position within society based on occupational, educational, and economic characteristics  Gender: characteristics of people as males and females
  8. 8. Social Policy Issues8  Older Adults  Number of older adults in the U.S. is growing dramatically  A significant increase will occur in the number of individuals in the 85-and-older group  Access to affordable, adequate health care is a significant issue  Many will need society’s help, as more older adults will be unmarried, childless, and living alone
  9. 9. The Aging of America9  People today are waiting longer to marry and raise children. In the 1950s, it was more common for people to marry and start a family before they were 20 years old. This difference is an example of normative history-graded influence on development.
  10. 10. The Nature of Development10  Development is the product of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes  Biological: changes in an individual’s physical nature  Cognitive: changes in thought, intelligence, and language  Socioemotional: changes in relationships with other people, changes in emotions, and changes in personality
  11. 11. The Nature of Development11  Developmental Period: a time frame in a person’s life that is characterized by certain features  Prenatal period: conception to birth (9 months)  Tremendous growth  Infancy: birth to 18-24 months  Dependenceupon adults  Development of many psychological activities  Early childhood: end of infancy to 5-6 years  Preschool years  Self-sufficiency and increased play
  12. 12. The Nature of Development12  Developmental Period (continued)  Middle and late childhood: 6-11 years  Reading, writing, and arithmetic  Focus on achievement and self-control  Adolescence: varying endpoints; from 10-12 to 18-22 years  Rapid physical changes  Pursuit of independence and identity  Early adulthood: late teens to early 30’s  Personal and economic independence  Selecting a mate
  13. 13. The Nature of Development13  Developmental Period (continued)  Middle adulthood: 40-60 years  Social involvement and responsibility  Assisting the next generation  Late adulthood: 60’s-70’s to death  Lifereview  Adjustment to new social roles  Longest developmental span  “youngest old” vs. “oldest old”
  14. 14. The Nature of Development14  Conceptions of Age  How relevant is chronological age to understanding a person’s psychological development?  How should age be conceptualized?  Chronological age: number of years that have elapsed since 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: social roles and expectations related to a person’s age
  15. 15. Developmental Issues15  Nature and Nurture: the extent to which development is influenced by biological inheritance and/or environmental experiences  Nature proponents argue that an evolutionary and genetic foundation produces commonalities in growth and development  Nurture proponents emphasize the importance of both the biological and social environment  Life-span psychologists generally agree that nature and nurture both influence development.
  16. 16. Developmental Issues16  Stability and Change: the degree to which early traits and characteristics persist through life or change  Stability: traits and characteristics are seen as the result of heredity and early life experiences  Change: traits and characteristics can be altered by later experiences  Role of early and later experiences is hotly debated
  17. 17. Developmental Issues17  Continuity and Discontinuity: focuses on whether development is either:  A process of gradual, cumulative change (continuous)  A set of distinct stages (discontinuous)  Evaluating Developmental Issues:  Most developmentalists acknowledge that development is not all-or-nothing  There is debate regarding how strongly each of these issues influences development
  18. 18. Theories of Development18  Diverse but complementary theories are used for explaining life-span development:  Psychoanalytic theories  Cognitive theories  Behavioral and social cognitive theories  Ethological theory  Ecological theory •Our relationships with others, changes in emotions, and changes in personality are all examples of socioemotional processes.
  19. 19. Psychoanalytic Theories19  Psychoanalytic Theories: describe development as primarily unconscious  Freud’s Theory:  Focus of sexual impulses changes throughout development  Five stages of psychosexual development (oral, anal, phallic, latency, genital)  Adult personality is determined by the way we resolve conflict within each stage  Modern theorists place less emphasis on sexual instincts and more on cultural experiences
  20. 20. Psychoanalytic Theories20  Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory:  Focused on our desire to affiliate with other people  Believed that developmental change occurs throughout the life span  Proposed eight stages of development  Each stage comprises a crisis that must be resolved
  21. 21. Cognitive Theories21  Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory:  Stresses conscious thoughts  Emphasizes the processes of organization and adaptation  Four stages of cognitive development in children  Each stage represents a qualitatively different way of understanding the world
  22. 22. Cognitive Theories22  Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Cognitive Theory:  Children actively construct their knowledge  Emphasizes how social interaction and culture guide cognitive development  Learning is based upon the inventions of society  Less-skilled persons learn from those who are more skilled
  23. 23. Cognitive Theories23  Information-Processing Theory:  Emphasizes that individuals manipulate information, monitor it, and strategize about it  Individuals develop a gradually increasing capacity for processing information  Thinking is information processing  Individuals learn strategies for better information processing
  24. 24. Behavioral & Social Cognitive Theories24  Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories:  Behaviorism: we can study scientifically only what can be directly observed and measured  Development is observable behavior that can be learned through experience  Skinner’s Operant Conditioning:  Consequences of a behavior produce changes in the probability of the behavior’s occurrence  A rewardincreases likelihood of behavior  A punishment decreases likelihood of behavior
  25. 25. Behavioral & Social Cognitive Theories25  Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory:  Behavior, environment, and cognition are key factors in development  Observational learning: learning through observation  People cognitively represent the behavior of others
  26. 26. Ethological Theory26  Ethology: stresses that behavior is strongly influenced by biology and evolution  Characterized by critical or sensitive periods  Brought to prominence by Konrad Lorenz  Studied imprinting in geese  Bowlby stressed the importance of human attachment during the first year of life
  27. 27. Ecological Theory27  Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory: development reflects the influence of five environmental systems:  Microsystem: setting in which the individual lives  Mesosystem: relations between microsystems  Exosystem: links between a social setting in which the individual does not have an active role and the individual’s immediate context  Macrosystem: culture in which individuals live  Chronosystem: patterning of environmental events and transitions; sociohistorical circumstances
  28. 28. Eclectic Theoretical Orientation28  Eclectic Theoretical Orientation:  No single theory can explain all of development  Every theory has contributed to our understanding  Eclectic orientation does not follow any one theoretical approach  Instead, it selects from each theory whatever is considered its best features