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Developmental Psychology Methodology

1. Facts vs. artefacts (the importance of methodology)

2. Definition of Developmental Psychology:
the study of age-related changes in behaviour, usually in humans, across the life-span.

3. Developmental Research Designs

i) The Longitudinal Design

Egs.
Advantages: intra-individual change, rate of change, no cohort effects.
Disadvantages: time, expense, dated variables/ measures, attrition, practice/ memory effects, poor generalisation.

ii) The Cross-sectional Design
Advantages: circumvents most of the disadvantages of the longitudinal design.
Disadvantages: only inter-individual differences, confounds age & cohort effects

Facts? (Illustrate)

Additional problems relevant to both designs (esp. if long-term): Selective sampling, selective survival, terminal drop

Conclusion: Dubious internal & external validity

iii) Sequential Developmental Designs

a) Bell’s (1953, 1954) Convergence Approach

Cross-Sectional
Age Samples Longitudinal Yearly Data

4 year-olds 5, 6, 7 7 year-olds 8, 9, 10

10 year-olds 11, 12, 13

An accelerated longitudinal study

b) Schaie’s (1965) Trifactorial Approach
(Sequential Designs)

Schaie’s 3 Factors (influencing behavioural performance)

Changes in performance may reflect:

1. *Age – Maturational (biological) changes over time.
Universal across cultural + historical settings e.g. motor responses.

2. Cohort – generational differences resulting from
having been born at different time points and having
experienced different socio-cultural,...
Developmental Psychology Methodology
1. Facts vs. artefacts (the importance of methodology)
2. Definition of Developmental Psychology:
the study of age-related changes in behaviour, usually in humans,
across the life-span.
3. Developmental Research Designs
i) The Longitudinal Design
Egs.
Advantages: intra-individual change, rate of change, no cohort
effects.
Disadvantages: time, expense, dated variables/ measures, attrition,
practice/ memory effects, poor generalisation.
ii) The Cross-sectional Design
Advantages: circumvents most of the disadvantages of the
longitudinal design.
Disadvantages: only inter-individual differences, confounds age &
cohort effects
Facts? (Illustrate)
Additional problems relevant to both designs (esp. if long-term):
Selective sampling, selective survival, terminal drop
Conclusion: Dubious internal & external validity
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