MODULE 1.1 Beginnings
s David Furek looked around the Thanksgiving table, he felt content. This had nothing to do with the array of food on the table; the bounty he was thankful for was his large family.
David’s three youngest children (Louise, Brad, and his “surprise present,” baby Glenn) lived at home with David and his wife, Carla. For the past five years, David’s widowed mother also lived with them. And just last year his eldest child, Erin, had been laid off from her job and moved in temporarily with her family. This added to the household Erin; her husband Peter, who was a graduate student; and their baby, Peter—just a year younger than David’s youngest son. David’s two other children, Marco and Ted, were out of the house and making a living on their own, but they shared an apartment in the same neighborhood and visited the family just about every day. David looked around the table. When he came to his youngest child, baby Glenn, who was hard at work becoming a complete person, he recalled the worries he’d had about the effects on the baby of Carla’s bearing him at age 48. So far so good. Now he wondered what it must feel like to grow up surrounded by two parents,
Nature vs. Nurture: Which has the greater influence?
see page 4.
MODULE 1.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Lifespan Development
Is one right and one wrong?
see page 12.
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a grandparent, a slew of brothers and sisters, a brother-in-law, and now, oddly, a nephew. So many people to watch, interpret, learn from, and be influenced by. David knew he had his father’s stubbornness and his mother’s patience. He could see that little Glenn had Carla’s eyes and his smile. But what about the less visible things? Where would Glenn’s personality come from? His intelligence? His emotionality? Would he have his brother Marco’s sense of humor or Ted’s dogged seriousness? Would he be musical like Brad or athletic like Louise? Or would he be unlike anyone else in the family, drawing his habits and behaviors by observing and interacting with his family or the larger society outside the house? As David watched the varied, noisy, entertaining show around the Thanksgiving table, he smiled and thought: He’ll certainly have a variety of traits to draw on. Lifespan development is a diverse and growing field with a broad focus and wide applicability. It covers the entire lifespan of the individual from birth to death as it examines the ways in which people develop physically, intellectually, and socially. It asks and attempts to answer questions about the ways in which people change and remain the same over their years of life. Many of the questions that developmentalists ask are, in essence, the scientist’s version of the questions that parents ask about their children and themselves: How the genetic legacy of parents plays out in their children; how children learn; why they make the choices they make; whether personality
MODULE 1.3 Research Methods
What kind of research could you conduct using David’s four-generation household? see page 25.
How much of your child’s personality is inherited through genetics and how much comes from the environment he or she is brought up in? How will your parenting decisions affect your child’s development? What decisions would you make when it comes to raising a newborn? Log onto My Virtual Child through MyDevelopmentLab.com and start making those choices.
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characteristics are inherited and whether they change or are stable over time; how a stimulating environment affects development; and many others. To pursue their answers, of course, developmentalists use...