Unformatted Attachment Preview
Two individuals who put an emphasis on Life-Span Perspective:
1. Ted Kaczynski
The convicted Unabomber, whose difficulty can be traced from growing up as a genius in a kid’s
body and not fitting everywhere when he was a child.
2. Alice Walker
She won the Pulitzer Price for her The Color Purple Book, which is focus in battling racism,
overcoming pain and anger to triumph and celebrate human victory.
1. Defines the importance of studying life-span development
2. Emphasizes the characteristic of Life-span perspectives
3. Introduce contemporary concerns
The perspective that development is lifelong, multidimensional, multidirectional, plastic,
multidisciplinary, and contextual; involves growth, maintenance, and regulation; and is
constructed through biological, sociocultural, and individual factors working together.
-the pattern of movement or changes that begins at conception and continues through the human
1. Development is Lifelong
There is no age period that dominates development.
2. Development is Multidimensional
It consists of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional dimensions. Where it also touches
the attitude, abstract thinking, speed of processing information and etc.
3. Development is Multidirectional
Some developmental dimensions expand and other shrink.
4. Development is Plastic
It means development has the capacity to change.
5. Developmental as Science is Multidisciplinary
Refers to how the environment and heredity affects an individual’s development.
6. Development is Contextual
Development occurs in a setting. It may be a family, peers, cities, school.
The Different Types of Developmental Context Influence:
1. Normative Age-Graded Influence
A stage where individuals are similar in experiencing various things. This includes
puberty, menopause and beginning of formal education.
2. Normative History-Graded Influence
Common to people in particular generation because of historical circumstance.
3. Non-normative Life Events
This is the unusual occurrence that have a major impact on individual’s life.
7. Development Involves Growth, Maintenance, and Regulation of Loss
In our younger years, growth takes the center stage of development. As we grow up,
maintenance and regulation take the center stage in greater depth.
8. Development is a Co-construction of Biology, Culture and Individual
The brain shapes culture, but the culture shapes itself and the individual is influenced by
heredity and environmental factors.
Some Contemporary Issues
1. Health and Well-being
2. Parenting and Education
3. Sociocultural Context and Diversity
Sociocultural Context and Diversity
Shaped by sociocultural context with concepts of culture, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and
It encompasses the patterns of behavior and all other products of particular group of people that
are passed from generations to generations.
It compares the two aspects of two or more cultures. It provides an information about the degree
to which development is similar and distinct among cultures.
Comes from the Greek word “nation” that is rooted in cultural heritage, nationality and race,
religion, and language.
Refers to a person’s position within society based on occupational, educational, and economic
status. Also, it implies societal inequalities.
Refers to the characteristics of people as males and females.
A government’s course of action designed to promote the welfare of its citizen. The values,
economics and politics are the things that shapes a nation’s policy.
Nature and Development
Biological processes produce changes in an individual’s physical nature. Genes inherited from
parents, the development of the brain, height and weight gains, changes in motor skills, nutrition,
exercise, the hormonal changes of puberty, and cardiovascular decline are all examples of
biological processes that affect development.
Cognitive processes refer to changes in the individual’s thought, intelligence, and language.
Watching a colorful mobile swinging above the crib, putting together a two-word sentence,
memorizing a poem, imagining what it would be like to be a movie star, and solving a crossword
puzzle all involve cognitive processes.
Socioemotional processes involve changes in the individual’s relationships with other people,
changes in emotions, and changes in personality. An infant’s smile in response to a parent’s touch,
a toddler’s aggressive attack on a playmate, a school-age child’s development of assertiveness, an
adolescent’s joy at the senior prom, and the affection of an elderly couple all reflect the role of
socioemotional processes in development.
Developmental social neuroscience examines connections between socio-emotional processes,
Period of Development
The interplay of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes produces the periods of the
human life span A developmental period refers to a time frame in a person’s life that is
characterized by certain features.
1. The prenatal period is the time from conception to birth. It involves tremendous growth—
from a single cell to an organism complete with brain and behavioral capabilities—and
takes place in approximately a nine-month period.
2. Infancy is the developmental period from birth to 18 or 24 months. Infancy is a time of
extreme dependence upon adults. During this period, many psychological activities—
language, symbolic thought, sensorimotor coordination, and social learning, for example—
are just beginning.
3. Early childhood is the developmental period from the end of infancy to age 5 or 6. This
period is sometimes called the “preschool years.” During this time, young children learn to
become more self-sufficient and to care for themselves, develop school readiness skills
(following instructions, identifying letters), and spend many hours in play with peers. First
grade typically marks the end of early childhood.
4. Middle and late childhood is the developmental period from about 6 to 11 years of age,
approximately corresponding to the elementary school years. During this period, the
fundamental skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic are mastered. The child is formally
exposed to the larger world and its culture. Achievement becomes a more central theme
of the child’s world, and self-control increases.
5. Adolescence is the developmental period of transition from childhood to early adulthood,
entered at approximately 10 to 12 years of age and ending at 18 to 21 years of age.
Adolescence begins with rapid physical changes—dramatic gains in height and weight,
changes in body contour, and the development of sexual characteristics such as
enlargement of the breasts, growth of pubic and facial hair, and deepening of the voice. At
this point in development, the pursuit of independence and an identity are prominent.
Thought is more logical, abstract, and idealistic. More time is spent outside the family
6. Early adulthood is the developmental period that begins in the early 20s and lasts through
the 30s. It is a time of establishing personal and economic independence, career
development, and for many, selecting a mate, learning to live with someone in an intimate
way, starting a family, and rearing children
7. Middle adulthood is the developmental period from approximately 40 years of age to
about 60. It is a time of expanding personal and social involvement and responsibility; of
assisting the next generation in becoming competent, mature individuals; and of reaching
and maintaining satisfaction in a career.
8. Late adulthood is the developmental period that begins in the 60s or 70s and lasts until
death. It is a time of life review, retirement, and adjustment to new social roles involving
decreasing strength and health.
Note: Late adulthood has the longest span of any period of development.
Four Ages of Life-Span Development
First age: Childhood and adolescence
Second age: Prime adulthood, 20s through 50s
Third age: Approximately 60 to 79 years of age
Fourth age: Approximately 80 years and older
The major emphasis in this conceptualization is on the third and fourth ages, especially the
increasing evidence that individuals in the third age are healthier and can lead more active,
productive lives than their predecessors in earlier generations. However, when older adults reach
their 80s, especially 85 and over (fourth age), health and well-being decline for many individuals.
Connections Across Periods of Development
A key aspect in the study of life-span development is how development in one period is connected
to development in another period.
The Significance of Age
happiness increases with age
Conceptions of Age
Chronological age is the number of years that have elapsed since birth.
Biological age is a person’s age in terms of biological health. Determining biological age involves
knowing the functional capacities of a person’s vital organ.
Psychological age is an individual’s adaptive capacities compared with those of other individuals
of the same chronological age. Thus, older adults who continue to learn, are flexible, are
motivated, have positive personality traits, control their emotions, and think clearly are engaging
in more adaptive behaviors than their chronological age-mates who do not continue to learn, are
rigid, are unmotivated, do not control their emotions, and do not think clearly.
Social age refers to social roles and expectations related to a person’s age.
From a life-span perspective, an overall age profile of an individual involves not just chronological
age but also biological age, psychological age, and social age. For example, a 70-year-old man
(chronological age) might be in good physical health (biological age), be experiencing memory
problems and not be coping well with the demands placed on him by his wife’s recent
hospitalization (psychological age) and have a number of friends with whom he regularly plays golf
The nature-nurture issue involves the extent to which development is influenced by nature and
by nurture. Nature refers to an organism’s biological inheritance, nurture to its environmental
experiences. According to those who emphasize the role of nature, just as a sunflower grows in
an orderly way—unless flattened by an unfriendly environment— so too the human grows in an
orderly way. Also, it Refers to the debate about whether development is primarily influenced by
nature or nurture. Nature refers to an organism’s biological inheritance, nurture to its
environmental experiences. The “nature proponents” claim biological inheritance is the most
important influence on development; the “nurture proponents” claim that environmental
experiences are the most important.
Stability and change involve the degree to which early traits and characteristics persist through
life or change. Many developmentalists who emphasize stability in development argue that
stability is the result of heredity and possibly early experiences in life. For example, many argue
that if an individual is shy throughout life (as Ted Kaczynski was), this stability is due to heredity
and possibly early experiences in which the infant or young child encountered considerable stress
when interacting with people. Developmentalists who emphasize change take the more optimistic
view that later experiences can produce change. Also, e Involves the degree to which we become
older renditions of our early experience (stability) or whether we develop into someone different
from who we were at an earlier point in development (change).
The continuity-discontinuity issue focuses on the degree to which development involves either
gradual, cumulative change (continuity) or distinct stages (discontinuity). In terms of continuity,
as the oak grows from seedling to giant oak, it becomes more of an oak—its development is
continuous (see Figure 1.9). Similarly, a child’s first word, though seemingly an abrupt,
discontinuous event, is actually the result of weeks and months of growth and practice. Puberty
might seem abrupt, but it is a gradual process that occurs over several years. In terms of
discontinuity, as an insect grows from a caterpillar to a chrysalis to a butterfly, it passes through a
sequence of stages in which change is qualitatively rather than quantitatively different. Similarly,
at some point a child moves from not being able to think abstractly about the world to being able
to. This is a qualitative, discontinuous change in development rather than a quantitative,
Theories of Development
Process of Scientific Method
1. Conceptualize a process or problem to be studied
- formulating a problem to study, they often draw on theories and develop hypotheses.
Theory is an interrelated, coherent set of ideas that helps to explain phenomena and make predictions. It
may suggest hypotheses, which are specific assertions and predictions that can be tested.
2. collect research information (data)
3. analyze data
4. draw conclusion
Describe development as primarily unconscious and heavily colored by emotion. Behavior is merely a
surface characteristic, and the symbolic workings of the mind have to be analyzed to understand behavior.
Early experiences with parents are emphasized
As Freud listened to, probed, and analyzed his patients, he became convinced that their problems
were the result of experiences early in life. He thought that as children grow up, their focus of
pleasure and sexual impulses shifts from the mouth to the anus and eventually to the genitals. As
a result, we go through five stages of psychosexual development: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and
genital. Our adult personality, Freud (1917) claimed, is determined by the way we resolve conflicts
between sources of pleasure at each stage and the demands of reality. Unconscious thought
remains a central theme but thought plays a greater role than Freud envisioned.
Five Stage of Psychosexual Development of Freud
1. Oral Stage
Birth to 1 ½ years
- infant’s pleasure centers on the mouth.
2. Anal Stage
1 ½ to 3 years
- child’s pleasure is focuses on the anus
3. Phallic Stage
3 to 6 years
- child’s pleasure focuses on the genitals
4. Latency Stage
6 years to puberty
- Child repress sexual interest and develops social and intellectual skills
5. Genital Stage
- A re-awakening of sexuality; source of sexual pleasures from someone outside the family
Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory
Erik Erikson (1902–1994) recognized Freud’s contributions but believed that Freud misjudged some
important dimensions of human development. For one thing, Erikson (1950, 1968) said we develop in
psychosocial stages, rather than in psychosexual stages, as Freud maintained. According to Freud, the
primary motivation for human behavior is sexual in nature; according to Erikson, it is social and reflects a
desire to affiliate with other people. According to Freud, our basic personality is shaped in the first five
years of life; according to Erikson, developmental change occurs throughout the life span. In Erikson’s
theory, eight stages of development unfold as we go through life. At each stage, a unique developmental
task confronts individuals with a crisis that must be resolved.
Eight Stages of Development
1. Trust versus mistrust is Erikson’s first psychosocial stage, which is experienced in the first year of
life. Trust in infancy sets the stage for a lifelong expectation that the world will be a good and
pleasant place to live
2. Autonomy versus shame and doubt is Erikson’s second stage. This stage occurs in late infancy and
toddlerhood (1 to 3 years). After gaining trust in their caregivers, infants begin to discover that
their behavior is their own. They start to assert their sense of independence or autonomy. They
realize their will. If infants and toddlers are restrained too much or punished too harshly, they are
likely to develop a sense of shame and doubt.
3. Initiative versus guilt, Erikson’s third stage of development, occurs during the preschool years. As
preschool children encounter a widening social world, they face new challenges that require active,
purposeful, responsible behavior. Feelings of guilt may arise, though, if the child is irresponsible
and is made to feel too anxious.
4. Industry versus inferiority is Erikson’s fourth developmental stage, occurring approximately in the
elementary school years. Children now need to direct their energy toward mastering knowledge
and intellectual skills. The negative outcome is that the child may develop a sense of inferiority—
feeling incompetent and unproductive.
5. Identity versus identity confusion, during the adolescent years, individuals face finding out who
they are, what they are all about, and where they are going in life. If adolescents explore roles in a
healthy manner and arrive at a positive path to follow in life, then they achieve a positive identity;
if not, then identity confusion reigns.
6. Intimacy versus isolation is Erikson’s sixth developmental stage, which individuals experience
during the early adulthood years. At this time, individuals face the developmental task of forming
intimate relationships. If young adults form healthy friendships and an intimate relationship with
another, intimacy will be achieved; if not, isolation will result.
7. Generativity versus stagnation, Erikson’s seventh developmental stage occurs during middle
adulthood. By generativity Erikson means primarily a concern for helping the younger generation
to develop and lead useful lives. The feeling of having done nothing to help the next generation is
8. Integrity versus despair is Erikson’s eighth and final stage of development, which individuals
experience in late adulthood. During this stage, a person reflects on the past. If the person’s life
review reveals a life well spent, integrity will be achieved; if not, the retrospective glances likely will
yield doubt or gloom—the despair Erikson described.
Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theories
Contributions of psychoanalytic theories include an emphasis on a developmental framework, family
relationships, and unconscious aspects of the mind. Criticisms include a lack of scientific support, too
much emphasis on sexual underpinnings, and an image of people that is too negative
Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory
Piaget’s theory states that children go through four stages of cognitive development as they actively
construct their understanding of the world. Two processes underlie this cognitive construction of the world:
organization and adaptation. To make sense of our world, we organize our experiences. For example, we
separate important ideas from less important ideas, and we connect one idea to another. In addition to
organizing our observations and experiences, we adapt, adjusting to new environmental demands.
Piaget’s Four Stages of Cognitive Development
1. Sensorimotor stage, which lasts from birth to about 2 years of age, is the first Piagetian stage. In
this stage, infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences
(such as seeing and hearing) with physical, motoric actions—hence the term sensorimotor.
2. Preoperational stage, which lasts from approximately 2 to 7 years of age, is Piaget’s second stage.
In this stage, children begin to go beyond simply connecting sensory information with physical
action and represent the world with words, images, and drawings. However, according to Piaget,
preschool children still lack the ability to perform what he calls operations, which are internalized
mental actions that allow children to do mentally what they previously could only do physically.
3. Concrete operational stage, which lasts from approximately 7 to 11 years of age, is the third
Piagetian stage. In this stage, children can perform operations that involve objects, and they can
reason logically when the reasoning can be applied to specific or concrete examples. For instance,
concrete operational thinkers cannot imagine the steps necessary to complete an algebraic
equation, which is too abstract for thinking at this stage of development
4. Formal operational stage, which appears between the ages of 11 and 15 and continues through
adulthood, is Piaget’s fourth and final stage. In this stage, individuals move beyond concrete
experiences and think in abstract and more logical terms. As part of thinking more abstractly,
adolescents develop images of ideal circumstances. They might think about what an ideal parent
is like and compare their parents to this ideal standard. They begin to entertain possibilities for the
future and are fascinated with what they can be.
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Cognitive Theory
Vygotsky’s theory is a sociocultural cognitive theory that emphasizes how culture and social interaction
guide cognitive development. Vygotsky portrayed the child’s development as inseparable from social
and cultural activities He maintained that cognitive development involves learning to use the inventions
of society, such as language, mathematical systems, and memory strategies. Thus, in one culture,
children might learn to count with the help of a computer; in another, they might learn by using beads.
According to Vygotsky, children’s social interaction with more-skilled adults and peers is indispensable
to their cognitive development. Through this interaction, they learn to use the tools that will help them
adapt and be successful in their culture.
The Information-Processing Theory
Information-processing theory emphasizes that individuals manipulate information, monitor it, and
strategize about it. Unlike Piaget’s theory, but like Vygotsky’s theory, information-processing theory
does not describe development as stage-like. Instead, according to this theory, individuals develop a
gradually increasing capacity for processing information, which allows them to acquire increasingly
complex knowledge and skills. Robert Siegler, a leading expert on children’s information processing,
states that thinking is information processing. In other words, when individuals perceive, encode,
represent, store, and retrieve information, they are thinking. Siegler emphasizes that an important
aspect of development is learning good strategies for processing information. For example, becoming
a better reader might involve learning to monitor the key themes of the material being read.
Evaluating Cognitive Theories
Contributions of cognitive theories include a positive view of development and an emphasis on the
active construction of understanding. Criticisms include skepticism about the pureness of Piaget’s
stages and too little attention to individual variations.
BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORIES
Skinner’s Operant Conditioning
According to B. F. Skinner (1904–1990), through operant conditioning the consequences of a behavior
produce changes in the probability of the behavior’s occurrence. A behavior followed by a rewarding
stimulus is more likely to recur, whereas a behavior followed by a punishing stimulus is less likely to recur.
In Skinner’s view, such rewards, and punishments shape development. For Skinner the key aspect of
development is behavior, not thoughts and feelings. He emphasized that development consists of the
pattern of behavioral changes that are brought about by rewards and punishments. For example, Skinner
would say that shy people learned to be shy as a result of experiences they had while growing up. It follows
those modifications in an environment can help a shy person become more socially oriented.
Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory
Social cognitive theory holds that behavior, environment, and cognition are the key factors in
development. Bandura emphasizes that cognitive processes have important links with the environment
and behavior. His early research program focused heavily on observational learning (also called imitation
or modeling), which is learning that occurs through observing what others do. For example, a young boy
might observe his father yelling in anger and treating other people with hostility; with his peers, the young
boy later acts very aggressively, showing the same characteristics as his father’s behavior. Social cognitive
theorists stress that people acquire a wide range of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings through observing
others’ behavior and that these observations form an important part of life-span development. He
proposes that people cognitively represent the behavior of others and then sometimes adopt this behavior
Evaluating Behavioral and Social Cognitive
Theories Contributions of the behavioral and social cognitive theories include an emphasis on scientific
research and environmental determinants of behavior. Criticisms include too little emphasis on cognition
in Skinner’s view and giving inadequate attention to developmental changes.
Ethology stresses that behavior is strongly influenced by biology, is tied to evolution, and is characterized
by critical or sensitive periods. John Bowlby illustrated an important application of ethological theory to
human development. Bowlby stressed that attachment to a caregiver over the first year of life has
important consequences throughout the life span. In his view, if this attachment is positive and secure, the
individual will likely develop positively in childhood and adulthood. If the attachment is negative and
insecure, life-span development will likely not be optimal.
Evaluating Ethological Theory
Contributions of ethological theory include a focus on the biological and evolutionary basis of
development, and the use of careful observations in naturalistic settings. Criticisms include too much
emphasis on biological foundations and a belief that the critical and sensitive period concepts might be too
Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory holds that development reflects the influence of several environmental
systems. The theory identifies five environmental systems: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystemic,
macrosystem, and chronosystem.
Microsystem is the setting in which the individual lives. These contexts include the person’s family,
peers, school, and neighborhood. It is in the microsystem that the most direct interactions with
social agents take place—with parents, peers, and teachers, for example. The individual is not a
passive recipient of experiences in these settings, but someone who helps to construct the settings.
Mesosystem involves relations between microsystems or connections between contexts.
Examples are the relation of family experiences to school experiences.
Exosystem consists of links between a social setting in which the individual does not have an active
role and the individual’s immediate context.
Macrosystem involves the culture in which individuals live. Remember from earlier in the chapter
that culture refers to the behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a group of people
that are passed on from generation to generation. Remember also that cross-cultural studies—the
comparison of one culture with one or more other cultures—provide information about the
generality of development.
Chronosystem consists of the patterning of environmental events and transitions over the life
course, as well as sociohistorical circumstances.
Eclectic theoretical orientation does not follow any one theoretical approach but rather selects from each
theory whatever is considered its best features.
RESEARCH IN LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT
1. Methods for Collecting Data
• Observation requires an important set of skills. For observations to be effective, they have to be
systematic. We have to have some idea of what we are looking for. We have to know whom we
are observing, when and where we will observe, how the observations will be made, and how they
will be recorded.
Laboratory- a controlled setting in which many of the complex factors of the “real world” are removed
Naturalistic observation means observing behavior in real-world settings, making no effort to manipulate
or control the situation. Life-span researchers conduct naturalistic observations at sporting events, childcare centers, work settings, malls, and other places people live in and frequent.
Survey and Interview, sometimes the best and quickest way to get information about people is to
ask them for it. One technique is to interview them directly. A related method is the survey
sometimes referred to as a questionnaire, which is especially useful when information from many
people is needed.
Standardized Test has uniform procedures for administration and scoring. Many standardized tests
allow a person’s performance to be compared with that of other individuals; thus, they provide
information about individual differences among people.
Case Study is an in-depth look at a single individual. Case studies are performed mainly by mental
health professionals when, for either practical or ethical reasons, the unique aspects of an
individual’s life cannot be duplicated and tested in other individuals. A case study provides
information about one person’s experiences; it may focus on nearly any aspect of the subject’s life
that helps the researcher understand the person’s mind, behavior, or other attributes.
2. Research Design
• Descriptive Research, which aims to observe and record behavior. For example, a researcher might
observe the extent to which people are altruistic or aggressive toward each other.
• Correlational Research, the goal is to describe the strength of the relationship between two or
more events or characteristics. The more strongly the two events are correlated (or related or
associated), the more effectively we can predict one event from the other.
Correlation Coefficient- a number based on a statistical analysis that is used to describe the degree of
association between two variables.
Experimental Research, study causality, carefully regulated procedure in which one or more factors
believed to influence the behavior being studied are manipulated while all other factors are held
constant. If the behavior under study changes when a factor is manipulated, we say that the
manipulated factor has caused the behavior to change. In other words, the experiment has
demonstrated cause and effect. The cause is the factor that was manipulated. The effect is the
behavior that changed because of the manipulation. Nonexperimental research methods
(descriptive and correlational research) cannot establish cause and effect because they do not
involve manipulating factors in a controlled way.
Independent and Dependent Variables, an independent variable is a manipulated, influential,
experimental factor. It is a potential cause. The label “independent” is used because this variable
can be manipulated independently of other factors to determine its effect. An experiment may
include one independent variable or several of them. A dependent variable is a factor that can
change in an experiment, in response to changes in the independent variable. As researchers
manipulate the independent variable, they measure the dependent variable for any resulting
3. Time Span of Research
• Cross-Sectional Approach, a research strategy that simultaneously compares individuals of
• Longitudinal Approach, a research strategy in which the same individuals are studied over a period
of time, usually several years or more.
• Cohort Effects, a group of people who are born at a similar point in history and share similar
experiences as a result, such as living through the Vietnam War or growing up in the same city
around the same time.
4. Conducting Ethical Research
• Informed consent
5. Minimizing Bias
• Gender Bias, our society has had a strong gender bias, a preconceived notion about the abilities of
women and men that prevented individuals from pursuing their own interests and achieving their
potential. Gender bias also has had a less obvious effect within the fi eld of life-span development.
• Cultural and Ethnic Bias, he realization that research on life-span development needs to include
more people from diverse ethnic groups has also been building.
• Ethnic gloss Using an ethnic label such as African American or Latino in a superficial way that
portrays an ethnic group as being more homogeneous than it really is.