AP Psychology
Introduction to Developmental Psychology (7-9%)

Weiten Ch 11

Myers Ch 5


    A. Definition of Developmental Psychology
  • Development – sequence of age-related changes that occur as a person progresses from conception to depth.
  • Developmental psychology examines our physical, cognitive, and social development across the lifespan with a focus on three major areas:

B. General Principles of Development

  • Nature and nurture: How does our genetic inheritance (our nature) interact with our experiences (our nurture) to influence our development?
  • Continuity and stages: What parts of development are gradual and continuous, like riding on an escalator? What parts change abruptly in separate stages, like climbing rungs on a ladder?
  • Stability and change: Which of our traits persist through life? How do we change as we age?
  • C. Nature Versus Nurture Argument
  • a. Jerome Kagan – “Every psychological quality in an adult can be likened to a pale grey fabric woven from thin black threads representing biology and white threads representing experience, neither visible in the homogeneously grey cloth.”

D. Kinds of Development

  • a. Physical development
  • b. Emotional development – Harlow and Attachment; Ainsworth and Attachment
  • c. Motor development
  • d. Personality development – Temperament (Thomas & Chess); Freud; Erikson
  • e. Cognitive development – Piaget; Vygotsky
  • f. Moral development – Kohlberg
  • g. Identity development – Erikson; Marcia

E. Means/Methods of Study

  • Longitudinal study - investigators observe one group of participants repeatedly over time. (7-up documentary) – more sensitive to developmental changes
  • Cross sectional study – investigators compare groups of participants of differing ages at the same point in time. Disadvantage is COHORT EFFECT – changes in different age groups due to growing up in different time periods