Chapter 1 Introducing Life Span Development

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I. An orientation to lifespan development A. LIFESPAN DEVELOPMENT is the field of study that examines patterns of growth, change, and stability in behavior that occur throughout the entire lifespan. 1. Developmental psychologists test their assumptions about the nature and course of human development by applying scientific methods. 2. Lifespan development focuses on human development. a. universal principles of development b. cultural, racial, ethnic differences c. individual traits and characteristics 3. Lifespan developmentalists view development as a lifelong, continuing process. 4. Lifespan developmentalists focus on change and growth in addition to stability, consistency, and continuity in people’s lives. 5. Lifespan developmentalists are interested in people’s lives from the moment of conception until death. B. Topical areas in lifespan development 1. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT involves the body’s physical makeup, including the brain, nervous system, muscles, and senses, and the need for food, drink, and sleep as a determinant of behavior. 2. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT involves the ways that growth and change in learning, memory, problem-solving, and intelligence influence a person’s behavior. 3. PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT involves the ways that the enduring characteristics that differentiate one person from another change over the lifespan. 4. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT is the way in which individual’s interactions with others and their social relationships grow, change, and remain stable over the course of life. C. Age ranges and individual differences 1. The lifespan is usually divided into broad age ranges. a. Prenatal period (conception to birth) b. Infancy and toddlerhood (birth to age 3)

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