This book is a window into the journey of human development—your own and that of every other member of the human species. Every life is distinct, a new biography in the world.
Examining the shape of life-span development helps us to understand it better. In this ? rst chapter, we explore what it means to take a life-span perspective on development, examine the nature of development, discuss theories of development, and outline how science helps us to understand it.
1 THE LIFE-SPAN PERSPECTIVE
The Importance of Studying Life-Span Development Characteristics of the Life-Span Perspective Some Contemporary Concerns Each of us develops partly like all other individuals, partly like some other individuals, and partly like no other individuals.
Most of the time, our attention is directed to an individual’s uniqueness. But as humans, we have all traveled some common paths. Each of us—Leonardo Da Vinci, Joan of Arc, George Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr. , and you—walked at about 1 year, engaged in fantasy play as a young child, and became more independent as a youth. Each of us, if we live long enough, will experience hearing problems and the death of family members and friends. This is the general course of our development, the pattern of movement or change that begins at conception and continues through the human life span.
In this section, we explore what is meant by the concept of development and why the study of life-span development is important. We outline the main characteristics of the life-span perspective and discuss various sources of contextual in? uences. In addition, we examine some contemporary concerns in life-span development. The Importance of Studying Life-Span Development How might people bene? t from examining life-span development? Perhaps you are, or will be, a parent or a teacher. If so, responsibility for children is, or will be, a part of your everyday life.
The more you learn about them, the better you can deal with them. Perhaps you hope to gain some insight about your own history—as an infant, a child, an adolescent, or an adult. Perhaps you want to know more about what your life will be like as you move through the adult years—as a middle-aged adult, or as an adult in old age, for example. Or perhaps you have just stumbled onto this course, thinking that it sounded intriguing and that the study of the human life span might raise some provocative issues. Whatever your reasons, you will discover that the study of life-span development is ? led with intriguing information about who we are, how we came to be this way, and where our future will take us.
Most development involves growth, but it also includes decline and dying. In exploring development, we examine the life span from the point of conception until the time when life—at least, life as we know it—ends. You will see yourself as an infant, as a child, and as an adolescent, and be stimulated to think about how those years in? uenced the kind of individual you are today. And you will see yourself as a young adult, as a middle-aged adult, and as an adult in old age, and be motivated evelopment The pattern of change that begins at conception and continues through the life span. Most development involves growth, although it also includes decline brought on by aging and dying. life-span perspective The perspective that development is lifelong, multidimensional, multidirectional, plastic, multidisciplinary, and contextual; involves growth, maintenance, and regulation of loss; and is constructed through biological, sociocultural, and individual factors working together.
The Life-Span Perspective 7 to think about how your experiences today will in? ence your development through the remainder of your adult years. Species (common name) Human Maximum Life Span (years) 122 Characteristics of the Life-Span Perspective Although growth and development are dramatic during the ? rst two decades of life, development is not something that happens only to children and adolescents. The traditional approach to the study of development emphasizes extensive change from birth to adolescence (especially during infancy), little or no change in adulthood, and decline in old age. But a great deal of change does occur in the ? ve or six decades after adolescence.
The life-span approach emphasizes developmental change throughout adulthood as well as childhood (Blazer & Steffens, 2009; Charles & Carstensen, 2010; Hoyer & Roodin, 2009). The recent increase in human life expectancy has contributed to the popularity of the life-span approach to development. The upper boundary of the human life span(based on the oldest age documented) is 122 years, as indicated in Figure 1. 1; this maximum life span of humans has not changed since the beginning of recorded history. What has changed is life expectancy: the average number of years that a person born in a particular year can expect to live.
In the twentieth century alone, life expectancy in the United States increased by 30 years, thanks to improvements in sanitation, nutrition, and medicine (see Figure 1. 2). As we end the ? rst decade of the twenty-? rst century, the life expectancy in the United States is 78 years of age (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008). Today, for most individuals in developed countries, childhood and adolescence represent only about one-fourth of their lives. The belief that development occurs throughout life is central to the life-span perspective on human development, but this perspective has other characteristics as well.
According to life-span development expert Paul Baltes (1939–2006), the lifespan perspective views development as lifelong, multidimensional, multidirectional, plastic, multidisciplinary, and contextual, and as a process that involves growth, maintenance, and regulation of loss (Baltes, 1987, 2003; Baltes, Lindenberger, & Staudinger, 2006). In Baltes’ view, it is important to understand that development is constructed through biological, sociocultural, and individual factors working together. Let’s look at each of these characteristics. Galapagos turtle 100+ Indian elephant 70
Chinese alligator Golden eagle Gorilla Common toad Domestic cat Domestic dog Vampire bat House mouse 52 46 39 36 27 20 13 3 FIGURE 1. 1 Maximam Recorded Life Span for Different Species. Our only competitor for the maximum recorded life span is the Galapagos turtle. Time Period 2008, USA 1954, USA Average Life Expectancy (years) 78 70 Development Is Lifelong In the life-span perspective, early adulthood is not the endpoint of development; rather, no age period dominates development. Researchers increasingly study the experiences and psychological orientations of adults at different points in their lives.
Later in this chapter, we consider the age periods of development and their characteristics. Development Is Multidimensional At every age, your body, your mind, your emotions, and your relationships change and affect each other. Development consists of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional dimensions. Even within one of these dimensions, there are many components—for example, attention, memory, abstract thinking, speed of processing information, and social intelligence are just a few of the components of the cognitive dimension.
Development Is Multidirectional Throughout life, some dimensions or components of a dimension expand and others shrink. For example, when one language (such as English) is acquired early in development, the capacity for acquiring second and third languages (such as Spanish and Chinese) decreases later in development, especially after early childhood (Levelt, 1989). During adolescence, as individuals establish romantic relationships, their time spent with friends may decrease. During late adulthood, older adults might become wiser by being able to call on 1915, USA 54 1900, USA 19th century, England 1620, Massachusetts Bay Colony Middle Ages,
England 47 41 35 33 Ancient Greece Prehistoric times 20 18 FIGURE 1. 2 Human Life Expectancy at Birth from Prehistoric to Contemporary Times. It took 5,000 years to extend human life expectancy from 18 to 41 years of age.
8 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction experience to guide their intellectual decision making, but they perform more poorly on tasks that require speed in processing information (Baltes & Kuntzman, 2007). Paul Baltes, a leading architect of the life-span perspective of development, conversing with one of the long-time research participants (now 96 years of age) in the Berlin Aging Study, which he directed.
She joined the study in the early 1990s and has participated six times in extensive physical, medical, psychological, and social assessments. In her professional life, she was a practicing medical doctor. Development Is Plastic Developmentalists debate how much plasticity people have in various dimensions at different points in their development. Plasticity means the capacity for change. For example, can you still improve your intellectual skills when you are in your seventies or eighties? Or might these intellectual skills be ? ed by the time you are in your thirties, so that further improvement is impossible? Researchers have found that the cognitive skills of older adults can be improved through training and developing better strategies (Boron, Willis, & Schaie, 2007). However, possibly we possess less capacity for change when we become old (Baltes, Reuter-Lorenz, & Rosler, 2006). The search for plasticity and its constraints is a key element on the contemporary agenda for developmental research (Kochanska, Philibert, & Barry, 2009; Siegler & others, 2009).
Developmental Science Is Multidisciplinary Psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and medical researchers all share an interest in unlocking the mysteries of development through the life span. How do your heredity and health limit your intelligence? Do intelligence and social relationships change with age in the same way around the world? How do families and schools in? uence intellectual development? These are examples of research questions that cut across disciplines. Development Is Contextual All development occurs within a context, or setting.
Contexts include families, neighborhoods, schools, peer groups, churches, university laboratories, cities, countries, and so on. Each of these settings is in? uenced by historical, economic, social, and cultural factors (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Contexts, like individuals, change. Thus, individuals are changing beings in a changing world. As a result of these changes, contexts exert three types of in? uences (Baltes, 2003): (1) normative age-graded in? uences, (2) normative history-graded in? uences, and (3) nonnormative or highly individualized life events.
Each of these types can have a biological or an environmental impact on development. Normative age-graded in? uences are similar for individuals in a particular age group. These in? uences include biological processes such as puberty and menopause. They also include sociocultural, environmental processes such as beginning formal education (usually at about age 6 in most cultures) and retirement (which takes place in the ? fties and sixties in most cultures). Normative history-graded in? uences are common to people of a particular generation because of historical circumstances.
For example, in their youth American baby boomers shared the experience of the Cuban missile crisis, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the Beatles invasion. Other examples of normative historygraded in? uences include economic, political, and social upheavals such as the Great Depression in the 1930s, World War II in the 1940s, the civil rights and women’s rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, as well as the integration of computers, cell phones, and Ipods into everyday life in recent decades (Schaie, 2008a, b; 2009).
Long-term changes in the genetic and cultural makeup of a population (due to immigration or changes in fertility rates) are also part of normative historical change. Nonnormative life events are unusual occurrences that have a major impact on the individual’s life. These events do not happen to all people, and when they do occur they can in? uence people in different ways. Examples include the death of a parent when a child is young, pregnancy in early adolescence, a ? re that destroys a home, winning the lottery, or getting an unexpected career opportunity. ormative age-graded in? uences In? uences that are similar for individuals in a particular age group. normative history-graded in? uences In? uences that are common to people of a particular generation because of historical circumstances. nonnormative life events Unusual occurrences that have a major impact on an individual’s life. Nonnormative life events, such as Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, are unusual circumstances that have a major impact on a person’s life. Here a woman and her children are shown in a Houston shelter for those left homeless by the devastating hurricane.
The Life-Span Perspective 9 Development Involves Growth, Maintenance, and Regulation of Loss Baltes and his colleagues (2006) assert that the mastery of life often involves con? icts and competition among three goals of human development: growth, maintenance, and regulation of loss. As individuals age into middle and late adulthood, the maintenance and regulation of loss in their capacities take center stage away from growth. Thus, a 75-year-old man might aim not to improve his memory or his golf swing but to maintain his independence and merely to play golf.
Development Is a Co-Construction of Biology, Culture, and the Individual Development is a co-construction of biological, cultural, and individual factors working together (Baltes, Reuter-Lorenz, & Rosler, 2006). For example, the brain shapes culture, but it is also shaped by culture and the experiences that individuals have or pursue. In terms of individual factors, we can go beyond what our genetic inheritance and environment give us. We can author a unique developmental path by actively choosing from the environment the things that optimize our lives (Rathunde & Csikszentmihalyi, 2006). Some Contemporary Concerns
Pick up a newspaper or magazine and you might see headlines like these: “Political Leanings May Be Written in the Genes,” “Mother Accused of Tossing Children into Bay,” “Gender Gap Widens,” “FDA Warns About ADHD Drug,” “Heart Attack Deaths Higher in Black Patients,” “Test May Predict Alzheimer Disease. ” Researchers using the life-span perspective are examining these and many other topics of contemporary concern. The roles that health and well-being, parenting, education, and sociocultural contexts play in life-span development, as well as how social policy is related to these issues, are a particular focus of this textbook.
How might growth versus maintenance and regulation be re? ected in the development of this grandfather and his two grandchildren? Health and Well-Being Health professionals today recognize the power of lifestyles and psychological states in health and well-being (Insel & Roth, 2009; Hahn, Payne, & Lucas, 2009; Worthington, 2010). In every chapter of this book, issues of health and well-being are integrated into our discussion. Parenting and Education Can two gay men raise a healthy family? Are children harmed if both parents work outside the home? Are U. S. chools failing to teach children how to read and write and calculate adequately? We hear many questions like these related to pressures on the contemporary family and the problems of U. S. schools (Ballentine & Hammock, 2009; McCoy & Keen, 2009; Patterson, 2009). In later chapters, we analyze child care, the effects of divorce, parenting styles, intergenerational relationships, early childhood education, relationships between childhood poverty and education, bilingual education, new educational efforts to improve lifelong learning, and many other issues elated to parenting and education. Sociocultural Contexts and Diversity Health, parenting, and education— like development itself—are all shaped by their sociocultural context (Tamis-LeMonda & McFadden, 2010; Taylor & Whittaker, 2009). To analyze this context, four concepts are especially useful: culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. 10 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction culture The behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a group that are passed on from generation to generation. cross-cultural studies Comparison of one culture with one or more other cultures.
These provide information about the degree to which development is similar, or universal, across cultures, and the degree to which it is culturespeci? c. ethnicity A characteristic based on cultural heritage, nationality characteristics, race, religion, and language. socioeconomic status (SES) Refers to a person’s position in society based on occupational, educational, and economic characteristics. gender The characteristics of people as males or females. Culture encompasses the behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a particular group of people that are passed on from generation to generation.
Culture results from the interaction of people over many years. A cultural group can be as large as the United States or as small as an isolated Appalachian town. Whatever its size, the group’s culture in? uences the behavior of its members (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Cross-cultural studies compare aspects of two or more cultures. The comparison provides information about the degree to which development is similar, or universal, across cultures, or instead is culture-speci? c (Hayashino & Chopra, 2009).
Ethnicity (the word ethnic comes from the Greek word for “nation”) is rooted in cultural heritage, nationality, race, religion, and language. African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, European Americans, and Arab Americans are examples of broad ethnic groups in the United States. Diversity exists within each ethnic group (Florence, 2010; Hernandez, Denton, & Macartney, 2010). Socioeconomic status (SES) refers to a person’s position within society based on occupational, educational, and economic characteristics. Socioeconomic status implies certain inequalities.
Differences in the ability to control resources and to participate in society’s rewards produce unequal opportunities (Coltrane & others, 2008; Healey, 2009; Huston & Bentley, 2010). Gender refers to the characteristics of people as males and females. Few aspects of our development are more central to our identity and social relationships than gender (Best, 2010; Blakemore, Berenbaum, & Liben, 2009). The sociocultural context of the United States has become increasingly diverse in recent years. Its population includes a greater variety of cultures and ethnic groups than ever before.
This changing demographic tapestry promises not only the richness that diversity produces but also dif? cult challenges in extending the American dream to all individuals (Grigorenko & Takanishi, 2010; Spring, 2010; Tewari & Alvarez, 2008). We discuss sociocultural contexts and diversity in each chapter. In addition, a Contexts of Life-Span Development interlude appears in every chapter. The ? rst one, about women’s international struggle for equality, appears here. Contexts of Life-Span Development 20 Girls Boys Percentage of children 7 to 18 years of age 15 WOMEN’S STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY: AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNEY
The educational and psychological conditions of women around the world are a serious concern (UNICEF, 2009, 2010). Inadequate educational opportunities, violence, and mental health issues are just some of the problems faced by many women. One analysis found that a higher percentage of girls than boys around the world have never had any education (UNICEF, 2004) (see Figure 1. 3). The countries with the fewest females being educated are in Africa, where in some areas, girls and women are receiving no education at all. Canada, the United States, and Russia have the highest percentages of educated women.
In developing countries, 67 percent of women over the age of 25 (compared with 50 percent of men) have never been to school. At the beginning of the twenty-? rst century, 80 million more boys than girls were in primary and secondary educational settings around the world (United Nations, 2002). Women in every country experience violence, often from someone close to them (Humphreys, 2007). Abuse by partners occurs in one of every six households in the United States, with the vast majority of the abuse being directed at women by men (White & Frabutt, 2006).
Although most countries around the world now have battered women’s shelters, beating women continues to be accepted and expected behavior in some countries (UNICEF, 2009, 2010). 10 5 0 Nonpoor Poor FIGURE 1. 3 Percentage of Children 7 to 18 Years of Age Around the World Who Have Never Been to School of Any Kind. When UNICEF (2004) surveyed the education that children around the world are receiving, it found that far more girls than boys receive no formal schooling at all. The Life-Span Perspective 11 Doly Akter, age 17, lives in a slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where sewers over? ow, garbage rots in the streets, and children are undernourished.
Nearly twothirds of young women in Bangladesh get married before they are 18. Doly recently organized a club supported by UNICEF in which girls go door-to-door to monitor the hygiene habits of households in their neighborhood. The monitoring had led to improved hygiene and health in the families. Also, her group has managed to stop several child marriages by meeting with parents and convincing them that it is not in their daughter’s best interests. When talking with parents in their neighborhoods, the girls in the club emphasize the importance of staying in school and how this will improve their daughters’ future.
Doly says that the girls in her UNICEF group are far more aware of their rights than their mothers ever were. (UNICEF, 2007). Gender also in? uences mental health (Blakemore, Berenbaum, & Liben, 2009). A study of depression in high-income countries found women were twice as likely as men to be diagnosed as depressed (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1990). In the United States, from adolescence through adulthood, females are more likely than males to be depressed (Davison & Neale, 2010). Why? Some experts suggest that more women are diagnosed with depression than actually have depression (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2010).
Some argue that inequities such as low pay and unequal employment opportunities have contributed to the greater incidence of depression in females than males (Whiffen, 2001). In the view of some researchers, problems like these are likely to be addressed only when women share equal power with men (UNICEF, 2009). Risk factor (stressor) Family turmoil 45 12 Child separation 45 14 Exposure to violence 73 49 Crowding 16 7 Poor children Middle-income children Excessive noise 32 21 Poor housing quality 24 3 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Social Policy Social policy is a government’s course of action designed to promote the welfare of its citizens.
Values, economics, and politics all shape a nation’s social policy. Out of concern that policy makers are doing too little to protect the well-being of children and older adults, life-span researchers are increasingly undertaking studies that they hope will lead to effective social policy (Balsano, Theokas, & Bobek, 2009; Gupta, Thornton, & Huston, 2008). Statistics such as infant mortality rates, mortality among children under 5, and the percentage of children who are malnourished or living in poverty provide benchmarks for evaluating how well children are doing in a particular society.
For many years, Marian Wright Edelman, a tireless advocate of children’s rights, has pointed out that indicators like these place the United States at or near the lowest rank for industrialized nations in the treatment of children. Children who grow up in poverty represent a special concern (Huston & Bentley, 2010; McLoyd & others, 2009). In 2006, approximately 17. 4 percent of U. S. children were living in families below the poverty line (Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2008). This is an increase from 2001 (16. 2 percent) but down from a peak of 22. percent in 1993. As indicated in Figure 1. 4, one study found that a higher percentage of U. S. children in poor families than in middle-income families were exposed to family turmoil, separation from a parent, violence, crowding, excessive noise, and poor housing (Evans & English, 2002). A recent study also revealed that the more years children spent living in poverty, the more their physiological indices of stress were elevated (Evans & Kim, 2007). Percent of children exposed FIGURE 1. 4 Exposure to Six Stressors Among Poor and Middle-Income Children.
One recent study analyzed the exposure to six stressors among poor children and middleincome children (Evans & English, 2002). Poor children were much more likely to face each of these stressors. social policy A government’s course of action designed to promote the welfare of its citizens. 12 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund (shown here interacting with young children), has been a tireless advocate of children’s rights and has been instrumental in calling attention to the needs of children. What are some of these needs? The U.
S. ?gure of 17. 4 percent of children living in poverty is much higher than those from other industrialized nations. For example, Canada has a child poverty rate of 9 percent and Sweden has a rate of 2 percent. Edelman says that parenting and nurturing the next generation of children are our society’s most important functions and that we need to take them more seriously than we have in the past. To read about efforts to improve the lives of children through social policies, see the Applications in Life-Span Development interlude that follows. Applications in Life-Span Development
IMPROVING FAMILY POLICY In the United States, the national government, state governments, and city governments all play a role in in? uencing the well-being of children (Children’s Defense Fund, 2008, 2009). When families fail or seriously endanger a child’s well-being, governments often step in to help. At the national and state levels, policy makers have debated for decades whether helping poor parents ends up helping their children as well. Researchers are providing some answers by examining the effects of speci? c policies (Huston & Bentley, 2010).
For example, the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) was designed in the 1990s primarily to in? uence the behavior of adults—speci? cally, to move adults off the welfare rolls and into paid employment. A key element of the program was that it guaranteed that adults participating in the program would receive more income if they worked than if they did not. When the adults’ income rose, how did that affect their children? A study of the effects of MFIP found that increases in the incomes of working poor parents were linked with bene? ts for their children (Gennetian & Miller, 2002).
The children’s achievement in school improved, and their behavior problems decreased. A current MFIP study is examining the in? uence of speci? c services on low-income families at risk for child maltreatment and other negative outcomes for children (Minnesota Family Investment Program, 2009). Developmental psychologists and other researchers have examined the effects of many other government policies. They are seeking ways to help families living in poverty improve their well-being, and they have offered many suggestions for improving government policies (Johnson, Tarrant, & Brooks-Gunn, 2008; McLoyd & others, 2009).
These children live in a slum area of a small Vermont town where the unemployment rate is very high because of a decline in industrial jobs. What should be the government’s role in improving the lives of these children? The Life-Span Perspective 13 40 Millions of Americans over age 65 Female 30 20 10 0 1900 1940 Year 2000 2040 Male FIGURE 1. 5 The Aging of America. The number of Americans over 65 has grown dramatically since 1900 and is projected to increase further from the present to the year 2040. A signi? cant increase will also occur in the number of individuals in the 85-and-over group.
Centenarians—persons 100 years of age or older—are the fastest-growing age group in the United States, and their numbers are expected to swell in the coming decades (Perls, 2007). At the other end of the life span, the well-being of older adults also creates policy issues (Blazer & Steffens, 2009; Moody, 2009). Key concerns are escalating health-care costs and the access of older adults to adequate health care (Ferrini & Ferrini, 2008). One study found that the health-care system fails older adults in many areas (Wenger & others, 2003).
For example, older adults received the recommended care for general medical conditions such as heart disease only 52 percent of the time; they received appropriate care for undernutrition and Alzheimer disease only 31 percent of the time. These concerns about the well-being of older adults are heightened by two facts. First, the number of older adults in the United States is growing dramatically, as Figure 1. 5 shows. Second, many of these older Americans are likely to need society’s help. Compared with earlier decades, U. S. adults today are less likely to be married, more likely to be childless, and more likely to be living alone.
As the older population continues to expand in the twenty-? rst century, an increasing number of older adults will be without either a spouse or children— traditionally the main sources of support for older adults (Connides, 2009). These individuals will need social relationships, networks, and supports (Fiori, Antonucci, & Akiyama, 2009). Review and Reflect: Learning Goal 1 1 Discuss the distinctive features of a life-span perspective on development REVIEW • What is meant by the concept of development? Why is the study of life-span development important? What are eight main characteristics of the life-span perspective? What are three sources of contextual in? uences? • What are some contemporary concerns in life-span development? REFLECT • Imagine what your development would have been like in a culture that offered fewer or distinctly different choices. How might your development have been different if your family had been signi? cantly richer or poorer? 14 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction 2 THE NATURE OF DEVELOPMENT Biological, Cognitive, and Socioemotional Processes Periods of Development The Signi? cance of Age Developmental Issues
In this section, we explore what is meant by developmental processes and periods, as well as variations in the way age is conceptualized. We examine key developmental issues, how they describe development, and strategies we can use to evaluate them. A chronicle of the events in any person’s life can quickly become a confusing and tedious array of details. Two concepts help provide a framework for describing and understanding an individual’s development: developmental processes and periods of development. Biological, Cognitive, and Socioemotional Processes At the beginning of this chapter, we de? ed development as the pattern of change that begins at conception and continues through the life span. The pattern is complex because it is the product of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes (see Figure 1. 6). Biological processes Cognitive processes Socioemotional processes Biological Processes 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.
FIGURE 1. 6 Processes Involved in Development. Development involves the interaction of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes. Cognitive processes 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 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 re? ect the role of socioemotional processes in development. Connecting Biological, Cognitive, and Socioemotional Processes Biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes are inextricably intertwined (Diamond, 2009; Diamond, Casey, & Munakata, 2010).
Consider a baby smiling in response to a parent’s touch. This response depends on biological processes (the physical nature of touch and responsiveness to it), cognitive processes (the ability to understand intentional acts), and socioemotional processes (the act of smiling often re? ects a positive emotional feeling, and smiling helps to connect us in positive ways with other human beings). Nowhere is the connection across biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes more obvious than in two rapidly emerging ? lds: • Developmental cognitive neuroscience, which explores links between development, cognitive processes, and the brain (Diamond, Casey, & Munakata, 2010) • Developmental social neuroscience, which examines connections between socioemotional processes, development, and the brain (de Haan & Gunnar, 2009; Johnson & others, 2009) biological processes Processes that produce changes in an individual’s physical nature. cognitive processes Processes that involve changes in an individual’s thought, intelligence, and language. ocioemotional processes Processes that involve changes in an individual’s relationships with other people, emotions, and personality. The Nature of Development 15 In many instances, biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes are bidirectional. For example, biological processes can in? uence cognitive processes and vice versa. Thus, although usually we study the different processes of development (biological, cognitive, and socioemotional) in separate locations, keep in mind that we are talking about the development of an integrated individual with a mind and body that are interdependent.
Periods of Development The interplay of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes produces the periods of the human life span (see Figure 1. 7). A developmental period refers to a time frame in a person’s life that is characterized by certain features. For the purposes of organization and understanding, we commonly describe development in terms of these periods. The most widely used classi? cation of developmental periods involves the eight-period sequence shown in Figure 1. 7. Approximate age ranges are listed for the periods to provide a general idea of when a period begins and ends.
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. 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. 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-suf? cient 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. Periods of Development Prenatal period (conception to birth) Infancy (birth to 18–24 months) Early childhood (2–5 years) Middle and late childhood (6–11 years) Adolescence (10–12 to 18 years) Early adulthood (20s to 30s) Middle adulthood (40s to 60s) Late adulthood (60s–70s to death)
FIGURE 1. 7 Processes and Periods of Development. The unfolding of life’s periods of development is in? uenced by the interaction of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes. Biological processes Cognitive processes Socioemotional processes Processes of Development 16 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction ne’s children’s children’s children. Look back to us as we look to you; we are related by our imaginations. If we are able to touch, it is because we have imagined each other’s existence, our dreams running back and forth along a cable from age to age. —ROGER ROSENBLATT American Writer, 20th Century
O 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. 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. Early adulthood is the developmental period that begins in the late teens or early twenties and lasts through the thirties.
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. 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. Late adulthood is the developmental period that begins in the sixties or seventies and lasts until death.
It is a time of life review, retirement, and adjustment to new social roles involving decreasing strength and health. Late adulthood has the longest span of any period of development, and—as noted earlier—the number of people in this age group has been increasing dramatically. As a result, life-span developmentalists have been paying more attention to differences within late adulthood (Scheibe, Freund, & Baltes, 2007). Paul Baltes and Jacqui Smith (2003) argue that a major change takes place in older adults’ lives as they become the “oldest old,” on average at about 85 years of age.
For example, the “young old” (classi? ed as 65 through 84 in this analysis) have substantial potential for physical and cognitive ? tness, retain much of their cognitive capacity, and can develop strategies to cope with the gains and losses of aging. In contrast, the oldest old (85 and older) show considerable loss in cognitive skills, experience an increase in chronic stress, and are more frail (Baltes & Smith, 2003). Nonetheless, as we see in later chapters, considerable variation exists in how much the oldest old retain their capabilities.
Thus, Baltes and Smith concluded that considerable plasticity and adaptability characterize adults from their sixties until their mid-eighties but that the oldest old have reached the limits of their functional capacity, which makes interventions to improve their lives dif? cult. Nonetheless, as described in later chapters, considerable variation exists in how much the oldest old retain their capabilities (Perls, 2007). As you will see in the Research in Life-Span Development interlude, contexts play an important role in how well older adults perform.
Research in Life-Span Development MEMORY IN THE A. M. AND P. M. AND MEMORY FOR SOMETHING MEANINGFUL Laura Helmuth (2003) described how researchers are ? nding that certain testing conditions have exaggerated age-related declines in performance in older adults. Optimum testing conditions are not the same for young adults as they are for older adults. Most researchers conduct their studies in the afternoon, a convenient time for researchers and undergraduate participants. Traditional-aged college students The Nature of Development 7 in their late teens and early twenties are often more alert and function more optimally in the afternoon, but about 75 percent of older adults are “morning people,” performing at their best early in the day (Helmuth, 2003). Lynn Hasher and her colleagues (2001) tested the memory of college students 18 to 32 years of age and community volunteers 58 to 78 years of age in the late afternoon (about 4 to 5 p. m. ) and in the morning (about 8 to 9 a. m. ). Regardless of the time of day, the younger college students performed better han the older adults on the memory tests, which involved recognizing sentences from a story and memorizing a list of words. However, when the participants took the memory tests in the morning rather than in the late afternoon, the age difference in performance decreased considerably (see Figure 1. 8). The relevance of information also affects memory. Thomas Hess and his colleagues (2003) asked younger adults (18 to 30 years of age) and older adults (62 to 84 years of age) to listen to a drawn-out description that was identi? ed as either someone’s experiences on a ? rst job or their experiences while searching for a retirement home.
The younger adults remembered the details of both circumstances. However, the older adults showed a keen memory for the retirementhome search but not for the ? rst-job experience. In short, researchers have found that age differences in memory are robust when researchers ask for information that doesn’t matter much, but when older adults are asked about information that is relevant to their lives, differences in the memory of younger and older adults often decline considerably (Hasher, 2003). Thus, the type of information selected by researchers may produce an exaggerated view of declines in memory with age. . 0 Mean number of words recalled Traditional-aged college students 6. 5 6. 0 5. 5 5. 0 4. 5 4. 0 A. M. P . M. Older adults Time of test FIGURE 1. 8 Memory, Age, and Time of Day Tested (a. m. or p. m. ). In one study, traditional-aged college students performed better than older adults in both the a. m. and the p. m. Note, however, that the memory of the older adults was better when they were tested in the morning than in the afternoon, whereas the memory of the traditional-aged college students was not as good in the morning as it was in the afternoon (Hasher & others, 2001).
Life-span developmentalists who focus on adult development and aging increasingly describe life-span development in terms of four “ages” (Baltes, 2006; Willis & Schaie, 2006): First age: Childhood and adolescence Second age: Prime adulthood, twenties through ? fties 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 eighties, especially 85 and over (fourth age), health and well-being decline for many individuals. The Signi? cance of Age In the earlier description of developmental periods, an approximate age range was linked with each period. But there are also variations in the capabilities of individuals of the same age, and we have seen how changes with age can be exaggerated. How important is age when we try to understand an individual?
Age and Happiness Is one age in life better than another? When researchers have studied this question, consistent answers have not been forthcoming. Some studies of adults have indicated that happiness increases with age (Rodgers, 1982); others reveal no differences in happiness for adults of different ages (Ingelhart, 1990); and yet others have found a U-shaped result with the lowest happiness occurring at 30 to 40 years of age (Mroczek & Kolarz, 1998).
However, an increasing number of studies indicate that at least in the United States adults are happier as they age (Charles, Reynolds, & Gatz, 2001; Erlich & Isaacowitz, 2002). 18 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction Consider a recent large-scale U. S. study of approximately 28,000 individuals from 18 to 88 that revealed happiness increased with age (Yang, 2008). For example, about 33 percent were very happy at 88 years of age compared with only about 24 percent in their late teens and early twenties.
Why might older people report as much or more happiness and life satisfaction as younger people? Despite the increase in physical problems and losses older adults experience, they are more content with what they have in their lives, have better relationships with the people who matter to them, are less pressured to achieve, have more time for leisurely pursuits, and have many years of experience that may help them adapt better to their circumstances with wisdom than younger adults do (Cornwell, Schumm, & Laumann, 2008; Ram & others, 2008).
Also in the study, baby boomers (those born from 1946 to 1964) reported being less happy than individuals born earlier—possibly because they are not lowering their aspirations and idealistic hopes as they age as did earlier generations. Because growing older is a certain outcome of living, it is good to know that we are likely to be just as happy or happier as older adults than when we were younger. (Top) Dawn Russel, competing in the broad jump in a recent Senior Olympics competition in Oregon; (bottom) a sedentary, overweight middle-aged man.
Even if Dawn Russel’s chronological age is older, might her biological age be younger than the middle-aged man’s? Conceptions of Age According to some life-span experts, chronological age is not very relevant to understanding a person’s psychological development (Botwinick, 1978). Chronological age is the number of years that have elapsed since birth. But time is a crude index of experience, and it does not cause anything. Chronological age, moreover, is not the only way of measuring age.
Just as there are different domains of development, there are different ways of thinking about age. Age has been conceptualized not just as chronological age but also as biological age, psychological age, and social age (Hoyer & Roodin, 2009). 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 organs. One person’s vital capacities may be better or worse than those of others of comparable age.
The younger the person’s biological age, the longer the person is expected to live, regardless of chronological age. 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 ? exible, are motivated, control their emotions think clearly, and 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 (Park & Reuter-Lorenz, 2009).
Re? ecting the importance of psychological age, a longitudinal study of more than 1,200 individuals across seven decades revealed that the personality trait of conscientiousness (being organized, careful, and disciplined, for example) predicted lower mortality (frequency of death) risk from childhood through late adulthood (Martin, Friedman, & Schwartz, 2007). Social age refers to social roles and expectations related to a person’s age. Consider the role of “mother” and the behaviors that accompany the role (Hoyer & Roodin, 2009).
In predicting an adult woman’s behavior, it may be more important to know that she is the mother of a 3-year-old child than to know whether she is 20 or 30 years old. Life-span expert Bernice Neugarten (1988) argues that in U. S. society chronological age is becoming irrelevant. The 28-year-old mayor, the 35-year-old grandmother, the 65-year-old father of a preschooler, the 55-year-old widow who starts a business, and the 70-year-old student illustrate that old assumptions about the proper timing of life events no longer govern our lives.
We still have some expectations for when certain life events—such as getting married, having children, and retiring— should occur. However, chronological age has become a less accurate predictor of these life events in our society. Moreover, issues such as how to deal with intimacy and how to cope with success and failure appear and reappear throughout the life span. From a life-span perspective, an overall age pro? le 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 The Nature of Development 9 PEANUTS: © United Feature Syndicate, Inc. (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 golfs (social age). Developmental Issues Is your own journey through life marked out ahead of time, or can your experiences change your path? Are the experiences you have early in your journey more important than later ones? Is your journey more like taking an elevator up a skyscraper with distinct stops along the way or more like a cruise down a river with smoother ebbs and ? ws? These questions point to three issues about the nature of development: the roles played by nature and nurture, by stability and change, and by continuity and discontinuity. nature-nurture issue Debate about whether development is primarily in? uenced 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 more important in? uence on development; the “nurture proponents” claim that environmental experiences are more important. tability-change issue Debate as to whether and to what degree 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). Nature and Nurture The nature-nurture issue involves the extent to which development is in? uenced 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 sun? ower grows in an orderly way—unless ? ttened by an unfriendly environment—so too the human grows in an orderly way. An evolutionary and genetic foundation produces commonalities in growth and development (Buss, 2008; Hyde, 2009). We walk before we talk, speak one word before two words, grow rapidly in infancy and less so in early childhood, experience a rush of sex hormones in puberty, reach the peak of our physical strength in late adolescence and early adulthood, and then physically decline. Proponents of the importance of nature acknowledge that extreme environments— those that are psychologically barren or hostile—can depress development. However, they elieve that basic growth tendencies are genetically programmed into humans (Brooker, 2009). By contrast, others emphasize the importance of nurture, or environmental experiences, in development (Thompson, 2009a). Experiences run the gamut from the individual’s biological environment (nutrition, medical care, drugs, and physical accidents) to the social environment (family, peers, schools, community, media, and culture). Stability and Change Is the shy child who hides behind the sofa when visitors arrive destined to become a wall? ower at college dances, or might the child become a sociable, talkative individual?
Is the fun-loving, carefree adolescent bound to have dif? culty holding down a 9-to-5 job as an adult? These questions re? ect the stability-change issue, which involves 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. Developmentalists who emphasize change take the more optimistic view that later experiences can produce change. Recall that in the life-span perspective, plasticity, the potential for change, exists throughout the life span.
Experts such as Paul Baltes (2003) argue What is the nature of the early- and laterexperience issue in development? 20 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction that with increasing age and on average older adults often show less capacity for change in the sense of learning new things than younger adults. However, many older adults continue to be good at practicing what they have learned in earlier times. The roles of early and later experience are an aspect of the stability-change issue that has long been hotly debated (Kagan, 2010; Park & Reuter-Lorenz, 2009).
Some argue that unless infants experience warm, nurturant caregiving in the ? rst year or so of life, their development will never be optimal (Berlin, Cassidy, & Appleyard, 2008). The later-experience advocates see children as malleable throughout development and later sensitive caregiving as equally important to earlier sensitive caregiving (Siegler & others, 2009). Continuity Discontinuity Continuity and Discontinuity When developmental change occurs, is it gradual or abrupt? Think about your own development for a moment. Did you gradually become the person you are?
Or did you experience sudden, distinct changes in your growth? For the most part, developmentalists who emphasize nurture describe development as a gradual, continuous process. Those who emphasize nature often describe development as a series of distinct stages. 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 and more an oak—its development is continuous (see Figure 1. 9). Similarly, a child’s ? st 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 butter? y, 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 do so. This is a qualitative, discontinuous change in development rather than a quantitative, continuous change.
Evaluating the Developmental Issues Most life-span developmentalists acknowledge that development is not all nature or all nurture, not all stability or all change, and not all continuity or all discontinuity (D’Onofrio, 2008). Nature and nurture, stability and change, continuity and discontinuity characterize development throughout the human life span. Although most developmentalists do not take extreme positions on these three important issues, there is spirited debate regarding how strongly development is in? uenced by each of them (Blakemore, Berenhaum, & Liben, 2009; Schaie, 2009).
FIGURE 1. 9 Continuity and Discontinuity in Development. Is our development like that of a seedling gradually growing into a giant oak? Or is it more like that of a caterpillar suddenly becoming a butter? y? Review and Reflect: Learning Goal 2 2 Identify the most important processes, periods, and issues in development REVIEW • • • • continuity-discontinuity issue Debate that focuses on the extent to which development involves gradual, cumulative change (continuity) or distinct stages (discontinuity). What are three key developmental processes? What are eight main developmental periods?
How is age related to development? What are three main developmental issues? REFLECT • Do you think there is a best age to be? If so, what is it? Why? Theories of Development 21 3 THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT Psychoanalytic Theories Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories Ecological Theory Cognitive Theories Ethological Theory An Eclectic Theoretical Orientation How can we answer questions about the roles of nature and nurture, stability and change, and continuity and discontinuity in development? How can we determine, for example, whether special care can repair the harm in? cted by child neglect or whether memory declines in older adults can be prevented? The scienti? c method is the best tool we have to answer such questions. The scienti? c method is essentially a four-step process: (1) conceptualize a process or problem to be studied, (2) collect research information (data), (3) analyze data, and (4) draw conclusions. In step 1, when researchers are formulating a problem to study, they often draw on theories and develop hypotheses. A theory is an interrelated, coherent set of ideas that helps to explain phenomena and make predictions.
It may suggest hypotheses, which are speci? c assertions and predictions that can be tested. For example, a theory on mentoring might state that sustained support and guidance from an adult make a difference in the lives of children from impoverished backgrounds because the mentor gives the children opportunities to observe and imitate the behavior and strategies of the mentor. This section outlines key aspects of ? ve theoretical orientations to development: psychoanalytic, cognitive, behavioral and social cognitive, ethological, and ecological.
Each contributes an important piece to the life-span development puzzle. Although the theories disagree about certain aspects of development, many of their ideas are complementary rather than contradictory. Together they let us see the total landscape of life-span development in all its richness. theory An interrelated, coherent set of ideas that helps to explain phenomena and make predictions. hypotheses Speci? c assumptions and predictions that can be tested to determine their accuracy. psychoanalytic theories Theories that 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. Psychoanalytic Theories Psychoanalytic theories describe development as primarily unconscious (beyond awareness) and heavily colored by emotion. Psychoanalytic theorists emphasize that behavior is merely a surface characteristic and that a true understanding of development requires analyzing the symbolic meanings of behavior and the deep inner workings of the mind. Psychoanalytic theorists also stress that early experiences with parents extensively shape development.
These characteristics are highlighted in the main psychoanalytic theory, that of Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). Freud’s Theory 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 ? ve stages of psychosexual development: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital (see Figure 1. 10). Oral Stage Infant’s pleasure centers on the mouth. Anal Stage Child’s pleasure focuses on the anus.
Phallic Stage Child’s pleasure focuses on the genitals. Sigmund Freud, the pioneering architect of psychoanalytic theory. How did Freud portray development? FIGURE 1. 10 Freudian Stages. According to Freud, people develop through ? ve psychosexual stages in which the focus of pleasure changes. Latency Stage Child represses sexual interest and develops social and intellectual skills. Genital Stage A time of sexual reawakening; source of sexual pleasure becomes someone outside the family. Puberty Onward Birth to 11? 2 Years 11? 2 to 3 Years 3 to 6 Years 6 Years to Puberty 22 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction Erikson’s Stages Integrity versus despair
Developmental Period Late adulthood (60s onward) Generativity versus stagnation Middle adulthood (40s, 50s) Our adult personality, Freud (1917) claimed, is determined by the way we resolve con? icts between sources of pleasure at each stage and the demands of reality. Freud’s theory has been signi? cantly revised by a number of psychoanalytic theorists. Many of today’s psychoanalytic theorists argue that Freud overemphasized sexual instincts; they place more emphasis on cultural experiences as determinants of an individual’s development. Unconscious thought remains a central theme, but thought plays a greater role than Freud envisioned.
Next, we consider the ideas of an important revisionist of Freud’s ideas—Erik Erikson. Intimacy versus isolation Early adulthood (20s, 30s) Identity versus identity confusion Adolescence (10 to 20 years) Industry versus inferiority Middle and late childhood (elementary school years, 6 years to puberty) Early childhood (preschool years, 3 to 5 years) Initiative versus guilt Autonomy versus shame and doubt Infancy (1 to 3 years) Trust versus mistrust Infancy (first year) FIGURE 1. 11 Erikson’s Eight Life-Span Stages. Like Freud, Erikson proposed that individuals go through distinct, universal stages of development.
Thus, in terms of the continuitydiscontinuity issue both favor the discontinuity side of the debate. Notice that the timing of Erikson’s ? rst four stages is similar to that of Freud’s stages. What are implications of saying that people go through stages of development? Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory Erik Erikson recognized Freud’s contributions but stressed 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 re? ects a desire to af? liate with other people. According to Freud, our basic personality is shaped in the ? rst ? ve years of life; according to Erikson, developmental change occurs throughout the life span. Thus, in terms of the earlyversus-later-experience issue described earlier in the chapter, Freud viewed early experiences as far more important than later experiences, whereas Erikson emphasized the importance of both early and later experiences.
In Erikson’s theory, eight stages of development unfold as we go through life (see Figure 1. 11). At each stage, a unique developmental task confronts individuals with a crisis that must be resolved. According to Erikson, this crisis is not a catastrophe but a turning point marked by both increased vulnerability and enhanced potential. The more successfully individuals resolve the crises, the healthier their development will be. Trust versus mistrust is Erikson’s ? rst psychosocial stage, which is experienced in the ? rst 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. 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.
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. 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 Erik Erikson with his wife, Joan, an artist. Erikson generated incompetent and unproductive. one of the most important developmental theories of the During the adolescent twentieth century. Which stage of Erikson’s theory are you years individuals face ? nding in? Does Erikson’s description of this stage characterize you? Theories of Development 23 out who they are, what they are all about, and where they are going in life. This is Erikson’s ? fth developmental stage, identity versus identity confusion.
If adolescents explore roles in a healthy manner and arrive at a positive path to follow in life, they achieve a positive identity; if they do not, identity confusion reigns. 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. 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 stagnation. Integrity versus despair is Erikson’s eighth and ? nal stage of development, which individuals experience in late adulthood. During this stage, a person re? ects 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 scienti? c support, too much emphasis on sexual underpinnings, and an image of people that is too negative. Cognitive Theories Whereas psychoanalytic theories stress the importance of the unconscious, cognitive theories emphasize conscious thoughts. Three important cognitive theories are Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory, Vygotsky’s sociocultural cognitive theory, and information-processing theory.
Erikson’s theory Theory that proposes eight stages of human development. Each stage consists of a unique developmental task that confronts individuals with a crisis that must be resolved. Piaget’s theory Theory stating that children actively construct their understanding of the world and go through four stages of cognitive development. 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 (Byrnes, 2008; Carpendale, Muller, & Bibok, 2008). Piaget (1954) also proposed that we go through four stages in understanding the world (see Figure 1. 12). Each age-related stage consists of a distinct way of thinking, FIGURE 1. 12 Piaget’s Four Stages of Cognitive Development. According to Piaget, distinct ways of thinking characterize children of different ages.
Sensorimotor Stage The infant constructs an understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences with physical actions. An infant progresses from reflexive, instinctual action at birth to the beginning of symbolic thought toward the end of the stage. Preoperational Stage The child begins to represent the world with words and images. These words and images reflect increased symbolic thinking and go beyond the connection of sensory information and physical action. Concrete Operational Stage The child can now reason logically about concrete events and classify objects into different sets.
Formal Operational Stage The adolescent reasons in more abstract, idealistic, and logical ways. Birth to 2 Years of Age 2 to 7 Years of Age 7 to 11 Years of Age 11 Years of Age Through Adulthood 24 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction Jean Piaget, the famous Swiss developmental psychologist, changed the way we think about the development of children’s minds. What are some key ideas in Piaget’s theory? a different way of understanding the world. Thus, according to Piaget, the child’s cognition is qualitatively different in one stage compared with another. What are Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development?
The sensorimotor stage, which lasts from birth to about 2 years of age, is the ? rst 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. The 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. For example, if you imagine putting two sticks together to see whether they would be as long as another stick, without actually moving the sticks, you are performing a concrete operation. The 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 speci? c 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. The formal operational stage, which appears between the ages of 11 and 15 and continues through adulthood, is Piaget’s fourth and ? nal 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. In solving problems, they become more systematic, developing hypotheses about why something is happening the way it is and then testing these hypotheses. We will examine Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory further in Chapters 5, “Motor, Sensory, and Perceptual
Development,” 7, “Information Processing,” 9, “Language Development,” and 11, “The Self, Identity, and Personality. ” Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Cognitive Theory Like Piaget, the Russian developmentalist Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934) maintained that children actively construct their knowledge. However, Vygotsky (1962) gave social interaction and culture far more important roles in cognitive development than Piaget did. 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 (Gredler, 2008; Holzman, 2009). He argued 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 (Gauvain & Parke, 2010).
Through this interaction, they learn to use the tools that will help them adapt and be successful in their culture. In Chapter 6, “Schools,” we examine ideas about learning and teaching that are based on Vygotsky’s theory. There is considerable interest today in Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural cognitive theory of child development. What were Vygotsky’s basic claims about children’s development? The Information-Processing Theory Information-processing theory emphasizes that individuals manipulate information, monitor it, Theories of Development 25 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 (Halford, 2008). Robert Siegler (2007), 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 Behaviorism essentially holds that we can study scienti? ally only what we can directly observe and measure. Out of the behavioral tradition grew the belief that development is observable behavior that we can learn through experience with the environment (Klein, 2009). In terms of the continuity-discontinuity issue discussed earlier in this chapter, the behavioral and social cognitive theories emphasize continuity in development and argue that development does not occur in stage-like fashion. Let’s explore two versions of behaviorism: Skinner’s operant conditioning and Bandura’s social cognitive theory. 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. For example, when an adult smiles at a child after the child has done something, the child is more likely to engage in that behavior again than if the adult gives the child a disapproving look. In Skinner’s (1938) 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 that modi? cations in an environment can help a shy person become more socially oriented. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory Some psychologists agree with the behaviorists’ notion that development is learned and is in? enced strongly by environmental interactions. However, unlike Skinner, they also see cognition as important in understanding development. Social cognitive theory holds that behavior, environment, and cognition are the key factors in development. American psychologist Albert Bandura (1925– ) is the leading architect of social cognitive theory. Bandura (Bandura, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010a,b) emphasizes that cognitive processes have important links with the environment and behavior. His early research program focused heavily on observational learning (also called imitation,
B. F. Skinner was a tinkerer who liked to make new gadgets. The younger of his two daughters, Deborah, was raised in Skinner’s enclosed AirCrib, which he invented because he wanted to control her environment completely. The Air-Crib was sound-proofed and temperature controlled. Debbie, shown here as a child with her parents, is currently a successful artist, is married, and lives in London. What do you think about Skinner’s Air-Crib? Vygotsky’s theory Sociocultural cognitive theory that emphasizes how culture and social interaction guide cognitive development. nformation-processing theory Theory emphasizing that individuals manipulate information, monitor it, and strategize about it. Central to this theory are the processes of memory and thinking. social cognitive theory Theoretical view which holds that behavior, environment, and cognition are the key factors in development. 26 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction 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 cts 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. What is cognitive about observational learning in Bandura’s view? He proposes that people cognitively represent the behavior of others and then sometimes adopt this behavior themselves. Bandura’s (2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010a,b) model of learning and development includes three elements: behavior, the person/cognition, and the environment.
An individual’s con? dence that he or she can control his or her success is an example of a person factor; strategies are an example of a cognitive factor. As shown in Figure 1. 13, behavior, person/cognition, and environmental factors operate interactively. Albert Bandura has been one of the leading architects of social cognitive theory. What is the nature of his theory? Behavior Evaluating Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories Contributions of the behavioral and social cognitive theories include an emphasis on scienti? research and environmental determinants of behavior. Criticisms include too little emphasis on cognition in Skinner’s view and giving inadequate attention to developmental changes. Ethological Theory Ethology stresses that behavior is strongly in? uenced by biology, is tied to evolution, and is characterized by critical or sensitive periods. These are speci? c time frames during which, according to ethologists, the presence or absence of certain experiences has a long-lasting in? uence on individuals.
European zoologist Konrad Lorenz (1903–1989) helped bring ethology to prominence. In his best-known research, Lorenz (1965) studied the behavior of greylag geese, which will follow their mothers as soon as they hatch. Lorenz separated the eggs laid by one goose into two groups. One group he returned to the goose to be hatched by her. The other group was hatched in an incubator. The goslings in the ? rst group performed as predicted. They followed their mother as soon as they hatched. However, those in the second group, which saw Lorenz when they ? st hatched, followed him everywhere, as though he were their mother. Lorenz marked Person/ Cognition Environment FIGURE 1. 13 Bandura’s Social Cognitive Model. The arrows illustrate how relations between behavior, person/cognition, and environment are reciprocal rather than unidirectional. Konrad Lorenz, a pioneering student of animal behavior, is followed through the water by three imprinted greylag geese. Describe Lorenz’s experiment with the geese. Do you think his experiment would have the same results with human babies? Explain. Theories of Development 7 the goslings and then placed both groups under a box. Mother goose and “mother” Lorenz stood aside as the box lifted. Each group of goslings went directly to its “mother. ” Lorenz called this process imprinting, the rapid, innate learning that involves attachment to the ? rst moving object that is seen. John Bowlby (1969, 1989) illustrated an important application of ethological theory to human development. Bowlby stressed that attachment to a caregiver over the ? rst 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. In Chapter 10, “Emotional Development,” we explore the concept of infant attachment in much greater detail. In Lorenz’s view, imprinting needs to take place at a certain, very early time in the life of the animal, or else it will not take place. This point in time is called a critical period. A related concept is that of a sensitive period, and an example of his is the time during infancy when, according to Bowlby, attachment should occur in order to promote optimal development of social relationships. Another theory that emphasizes biological foundations of development— evolutionary psychology—is presented in Chapter 2, “Biological Beginnings,” along with views on the role of heredity in development. In addition, we examine a number of biological theories of aging in Chapter 3, “Physical Development and Biological Aging. ” Macrosystem d ideologies of the c es an ultu itud re Att Exosystem s nd ily m
Family Health services The individual Sex Age Health etc. 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 rigid. Mesosystem Fr of i e fa Microsystem School Ne ig h bo r s Peers m Church group ed ia Neighborhood play area Ecological Theory ls ga Le Socia l welfare services
While ethological theory stresses biological factors, ecological theory emphasizes environmental factors. One ecological theory that has important implications for understanding life-span development was Chronosystem Time Patterning of environmental (sociohistorical created by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917–2005). events and transitions over the conditions and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory (1986, 2004; Bronfenbrenner life course; sociohistorical time since life conditions events) & Morris, 1998, 2006) holds that development re? ects the in? uence of several environmental systems.
The theory identi? es ? ve environmental systems: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem (see FIGURE 1. 14 Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Figure 1. 14). Theory of Development. Bronfenbrenner’s The microsystem is the setting in which the individual lives. Contexts within ecological theory consists of ? ve environmental it include the person’s family, peers, school, and neighborhood. It is in the systems: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, microsystem that the most direct interactions with social agents take place—with macrosystem, and chronosystem. arents, friends, and teachers, for example. The individual is not a passive recipient of experiences in these settings, but someone who helps to construct the ethology Theory stressing that behavior is settings. strongly in? uenced by biology, is tied to evoluThe mesosystem involves relations between microsystems or connections between tion, and is characterized by critical or sensitive contexts. Examples are the relation of family experiences to school experiences, periods. school experiences to church experiences, and family experiences to peer experiences.
For example, children whose parents have rejected them may have dif? culty Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory Brondeveloping positive relations with teachers. fenbrenner’s environmental systems theory The exosystem consists of links between a social setting in which the individual that focuses on ? ve environmental systems: does not have an active role and the individual’s immediate context. For example, microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macroa husband’s or child’s experience at home may be in? enced by a mother’s expesystem, and chronosystem. riences at work. The mother might receive a promotion that requires more travel, er vi c es ss Ma 28 CHAPTER 1 • Introduction Source Individual which might increase con? ict with the husband and change patterns of interaction with the child. The 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. The chronosystem consists of the patterning of environmental events and transitions over the life course, as well as sociohistorical circumstances. For example, divorce is one transition. Researchers have found that the negative effects of divorce on children often peak in the ? rst year after the divorce (Hetherington, 1993, 2006). By two years after the divorce, family interaction is more stable.
As an example of sociohistorical circumstances, consider how the opportunities for women to pursue a career have increased since the 1960s. Urie Bronfenbrenner developed ecological Bronfenbrenner (2004; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006) subtheory, a perspective that is receiving insequently added biological in? uences to his theory, describing it as creased attention. What is the nature of a bioecological theory. Nonetheless, it is still dominated by ecological, ecological theory? environmental contexts (Ceci, 2000). What can make children resilient when they face adverse contexts?
Ann Masten (2001, 2004, 2007, 2009a,b) analyzed the research literature on resilience and concluded that resilient children have a number of different kinds of positive characteristics and support in their lives Characteristic including positive individual traits (such as good intellectual functionGood intellectual functioning ing), family ties (close relationships in a caring family), and extrafamilAppealing, sociable, easygoing ial supports (connections with competent, caring adults outside the disposition family).
Figure 1. 15 summarizes the sources of resilience that may come Self-confidence, high self-esteem from individual, family, and extrafamilial contexts. Talents Faith Family Close relationship to caring parent figure Authoritative parenting: warmth, structure, high expectations Socioeconomic advantages Connections to extended supportive family networks Bonds to caring adults outside the family Connections to positive organizations Attending effective schools
Evaluating Ecological Theory Contributions of the theory include a systematic examination of macro- and microdimensions of environmental systems, and attention to connections between environmental systems. Criticisms include giving inadequate attention to biological factors, as well as placing too little emphasis on cognitive factors. Extrafamilial context An Eclectic Theoretical Orientation No single theory described in this chapter can explain entirely the rich complexity of life-span development, but each has contributed to our understanding of development.
Psychoanalytic theory best explains FIGURE 1. 15 Characteristics of Resilient Children. the unconscious mind. Erikson’s theory best describes the changes that occur in adult development. Piaget’s, Vygotsky’s, and the information-processing views provide the most complete description of cognitive development. The behavioral and social cognitive and ecological theories have been the most adept at examining the environmental determinants of development.
The ethological theories have highlighted biology’s role and the importance of sensitive periods in development. In short, although theories are helpful guides, relying on a single theory to eclectic theoretical orientation An orientaexplain development is probably a mistake. This book instead takes an eclectic tion that does not follow any one theoretical theoretical orientation, which does not follow any one theoretical approach but approach, but rather selects from each theory rather selects from each theory whatever is considered its best features.
In this way, whatever is considered the best in it. you can view the study of development as it actually exists—with different theorists Theories of Development 29 THEORY Continuity/discontinuity, early versus later experiences Psychoanalytic ISSUES Biological and environmental factors Freud’s biological determination interacting with early family experiences; Erikson’s more balanced biological-cultural interaction perspective
Discontinuity between stages — continuity between early experiences and later development; early experiences very important; later changes in development emphasized in Erikson’s theory Discontinuity between stages in Piaget’s theory; continuity between early experiences and later development in Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories; no stages in Vygotsky’s theory or information-processing theory Cognitive Piaget’s emphasis on interaction and adaptation; environment provides the etting for cognitive structures to develop; information-processing view has not addressed this issue extensively but mainly emphasizes biological-environmental interaction Environment viewed as the cause of behavior in both views Strong biological view Behavioral and social cognitive Ethological Ecological Continuity (no stages); experience at all points of development important Discontinuity but no stages; critical or sensitive periods emphasized; early experiences very important Little attention to continuity/discontinuity; change emphasized more than stability Strong environmental view FIGURE 1. 6 A Comparison of Theories and Issues in Life-Span Development. making different assumptions, stressing different empirical problems, and using different strategies to discover information. Figure 1. 16 compares the main theoretical perspectives in terms of how they view important developmental issues in children’s development. Review and Reflect: Learning Goal 3 3 Describe the main theories of human development REVIEW • How can theory and hypotheses be de? ned? What are the four steps of the scienti? c method? What are two main psychoanalytic theories? What are some contributions and criticisms of the psychoanalytic theories? What are three main cognitive theories? What are some contributions and criticisms of the cognitive theories? • What are two main behavioral and social cognitive theories? What are some contributions and criticisms of the behavioral and social cognitive theories? • What is the nature of ethological theory? What are some contributions and criticisms of the theory? • What characterizes ecological theory? What are some contributions and criticisms of the theory? • What is an eclectic theoretical orientation? REFLECT • Which of the life-span theories do you think best explains your own development? Why?