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Chapter 1
PS3313

 

 

CLASS LECTURE NOTES

 

 

CHAPTER (1)

STUDY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

 

WHAT IS HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND WHAT WERE THE PRINCIPALS STEPS IN THE EVOLUTION OF ITS STUDY?

 

“There is nothing permanent except change” (Heraclitus)

 

Human Development: is the study of Change and Stability throughout life.  The study of human development began with studies of children during the nineteenth century. It was not until the twentieth century that Adolescence was considered a separate phase of human development.

 

When researchers became interested in following development from birth through adulthood, then life span development (concept of development as a lifelong process, which can be studied scientifically) became a field of study.

 

Consequently, of Human Development has evolved from the study of Children up through Adulthood, thus creating what is called the study of the “Full life span”.

 

 

 

A fundamental question concerning Human Development has always been, are the changes we experience innate or acquired?  

 

We will discuss this question in more detail in later chapters

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE LIFE SPAN DEVELOPMENT APPROACH, AND WHAT ARE ITS KEY PRINCIPLES?

 

Baltes’s life span developmental approach is a framework for the study of life span development.  Its key principles include the idea that development is life long.  The importance of history and context, is multidimensional and multidirectional and is plasticity (modifiable).

 

 

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT TODAY

 

WHAT ARE THE FOUR GOALS OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH?

 

The four goals of human development research seeks to (1) describe, (2) Explain, (3) Predict, and to (4) modify development.

 

 

WHAT DO DEVELOPMENT SCIENTISTS STUDY?

 

Development Scientists study developmental CHANGE.  They are concerned with both quantitative change (how much) and qualitative change (degree or kind), and with  stability of personality and behavior.

 

WHAT ARE THE THREE MAJOR PERIODS OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT?

 

The three major periods or aspects of human development are: (or changes)

 

PHYSICAL

COGNITIVE

PSYCHOSOCIAL

 

These forms of development do not occur in isolation, each affects the other.

 

Therefore, in each stage of development that we discuss our main focus will be on

 

PHYSICAL (growth, size, etc)

 

COGNITIVE (thought processes)                          

 

PSYCHOSOCIAL (Cultural influences and environment)

 

 

 

WHAT INFLUENCES ON DEVELOPMENT MAKE ONE PERSON DIFFERENT FROM ANOTHER?

 

Because development is complex, and the factors that affect it cannot always be precisely measured, scientists cannot answer this question fully.

 

Influences on development come from both heredity (innate or inborn genetics endowment) and environment (acquired from the world outside the self).   

 

A very important environmental influence is the family.  In different societies, either the nuclear family (living unit made up of parents and their children) or extended family (multigenerational kinship’s, parents, children and more distant relatives living together) predominates.

 

Socioeconomic status is often related to developmental process.  Consequently, such factors as the quality of home

Life, neighborhood environment, medical care, and schooling are important factors.  The most powerful neighborhood influences on outcomes and development seem to be neighborhood income and human capital.  

 

Environment influences stem from ethnic groups and culture.  In large, multiethnic societies, immigrant groups often acculturate, or adapt, to the majority culture while preserving aspects of their own.

 

 

 

 

TIMING OF INFLUENCES

 

The specific time at which an event occurs has much to do with differences in development.

 

This notion accounts for the coining of the term Critical Period:

 

 

What is a Critical Period?

 

Critical period is a specific time when a given event, or its absence, has the greatest impact on development.

 

Example: If a women receives X rays, takes certain drugs, or contracts certain diseases at certain times during pregnancy, the fetus may show ill effects.

 

A child deprived of certain kinds of experience during a critical period is likely to show permanent stunting of physical development. (Example of this in Video, Wild Child)

 

Undernourishment during the critical period of brain growth just after birth can result in permanent brain damage.

 

It is believed that if language is not learned before puberty, it may never be learned. (Genie, text, page 22).

 

 

 

 

This concept of critical period is more complex when applied to cognitive and psychosocial development.  For these aspects of development there seems to be greater plasticity.  In other words if an event does not occur at a specific time in cognitive development, later events can reverse the adverse effect of an earlier event.

 

NORMATIVE (events experiences in a similar age group by most people; Examples of Normative Events might be Puberty, menopause etc.)                                                                      

 

NON-NORMATIVE (unusual events that occur in groups; marriage at an early age, teen pregnancies,  death of a parent when a child is young)                                                                

 

ETHNIC GROUP (consist of people united by ancestry, race, religion, language or national origin which contribute to a sense of shared identity)

 

 

SHOW THE ‘WILD CHILD”                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

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