Developmental Psychology

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PSYC 112 – HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Definition of terms
This is the study of how people change physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally over the entire lifespan. Its major interest is on how and why the human organism grows and changes from its initial form in utero to an adult being. The term growth and development both refer to dynamic process. Often used interchangeably, these terms have different meanings. Growth and development are interdependent, interrelated processes. Growth generally takes place during the first 20 years of life; development continues after that. Growth:

* Is physical change and increase in size.
* It can be measured quantitatively.
* Indicators of growth include height, weight, bone size, and dentition. * Growth rates vary during different stages of growth and development. * The growth rate is rapid during the prenatal, neonatal, infancy and adolescent stages and slows during childhood. * Physical growth is minimal during adulthood.

Development:
* Is an increase in the complexity of function and skill progression. * It is the capacity and skill of a person to adapt to the environment. * Development is the behavioural aspect of growth.

* Refers to qualitative changes
Development can be defined as changes in a person’s physical and neurological structures, behaviour, and trails that emerge in orderly ways and are reasonably consistent in their 1st 20 years of life, these changes usually result in new, improved ways of reacting – ie behaviour that is healthier, more organized, more complex, more stable more efficient eg from creeping to walking, running; babbling to talking; concrete to abstract thinking. The Goals of Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology is mainly concerned with the description, explanation, prediction, and modification of age related behaviours during the full life span from conception to death. Some developmental psychologists emphasize specific ages (e.g., infancy, adolescence, or old age) while others concentrate on specific areas (such as, personality or cognitive development). The primary task of developmental psychology is to describe accurately changes and discover their underlying causes. It attempts to explain changes in behaviour that are as result of maturation and experience. The description of behaviour is important in order to be able to answer questions about why a human being behaves the way he/she does and to change undesirable behaviour. 1. To understand the changes with increasing age that appear to be universal ( ie. occur to all children regardless of their culture or experiences). 2. To explain individual differences in behaviour.

3. To understand the influence of context or situation on behaviour. 4. to understand ourselves and others in order to reduce the effects of the generation gap. 5. To understand the change in the age distribution of the population. Compare and account for the developed and 3rd world’s composition of the young and old people. 6. For practical reasons such as jobs, parenthood, changes / crises in life, in order to be equipped with coping strategies. 7. For maintaining balance in a rapidly changing world eg early maturation, more healthy children, ‘future shock’ that is personal disorganisation in meeting the premature arrival of the future eg – Hiv/Aids, retrenchment, divorce, unwanted pregnancies, increased mental health problems, death of a spouse when you are just married and still very young. Reasons why we should Study Developmental Psychology?

Developmental psychology is important to teachers because it will enable them to: * Identify behaviour problems and to bring about desirable changes in the behaviour of children and the society as a whole. * Know the potentialities of each pupil in the class so that they may exploit them to the maximum for the benefit of the individual and the society. * Guide students and...
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