You are on page 1of 62

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Life-Span Development,
Twelfth Edition
Chapter 1: Introduction
The Life-Span Perspective
Development: the pattern of movement or change
that begins at conception and continues through the
human life span
Involves growth and decline
Traditional Approach: emphasizes extensive
change from birth to adolescence, little to no
change in adulthood, and decline in old age
Life-Span Approach: emphasizes developmental
change throughout childhood and adulthood
2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Life-Span Perspective
Life Span: based on
oldest age documented
Currently 122 years

Life Expectancy: average


number of years that a
person can expect to live
Currently 78 years

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Life-Span Perspective
Life-Span Perspective views development as:
Lifelong
Multidimensional
Multidirectional
Plastic
Multidisciplinary
Contextual
Development is a process that involves growth,
maintenance, and regulation of loss
Development is constructed through biological,
sociocultural, and individual factors working together

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Life-Span Perspective
Development is Lifelong
Early adulthood is not the endpoint of development
No age period dominates

Development is Multidimensional
Consists of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional
dimensions
Multiple components within each dimension

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Life-Span Perspective
Development is Multidirectional
Some dimensions (or components of a dimension) expand,
and others shrink

Development is Plastic
Plasticity: capacity for change

Development is Multidisciplinary
Development is of interest to psychologists, sociologists,
anthropologists, neuroscientists, and medical researchers
2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Life-Span Perspective
Development is Contextual
All development occurs within a context (setting)
Each setting is influenced by historical, economic, social, and
cultural factors
Contexts exert three types of influences:
Normative age-graded influences: similar for individuals in a
particular age group
Normative history-graded influences: common to people of a
particular generation because of historical circumstances
Non-normative life events: unusual occurrences that have a major
impact on the individuals life

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Life-Span Perspective
Development Involves Growth, Maintenance, and
Regulation of Loss

Development is a Co-Construction of Biology,


Culture, and the Individual

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Some Contemporary Concerns
Health and Well-Being
Parenting and Education
Sociocultural Contexts and Diversity
Culture: behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products
of a particular group of people that are passed on from
generation to generation
Ethnicity: cultural heritage, nationality, race, religion, and
language
Socioeconomic Status: a persons position within society
based on occupational, educational, and economic
characteristics
Gender: characteristics of people as males and females
2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Social Policy Issues
Social Policy: a governments course of action
designed to promote the welfare of its citizens
Childrens Issues
Benchmarks demonstrate that the U.S. is at or near
the lowest rank for industrialized nations in the
treatment of children (Edelman, 1997)
As of 2006, approximately 17.4% of U.S. children
are living in poverty

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


73
Children Exposed
to Six Stressors
Poor housing quality
Excessive noise 49
Crowding 45
Exposure to violence
Child separation 32

Family turmoil 24
21
16
14
Percentage 12
7
3

Poor Middle-income
children children
2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Social Policy Issues
Older Adults
Number of older adults in the U.S. is growing
dramatically
A significant increase will occur in the number of
individuals in the 85-and-older group
Access to affordable, adequate health care is a
significant issue
Many will need societys help, as more older adults
will be unmarried, childless, and living alone

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Aging of America

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Nature of Development
Development is the product of biological,
cognitive, and socioemotional processes
Biological: changes in an individuals physical nature
Cognitive: changes in thought, intelligence, and
language
Socioemotional: changes in relationships with other
people, changes in emotions, and changes in
personality

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Developmental Changes Are a Result of Biological,
Cognitive, and Socioemotional Processes

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Nature of Development
Developmental Period: a time frame in a persons
life that is characterized by certain features
Prenatal period: conception to birth (9 months)
Tremendous growth
Infancy: birth to 18-24 months
Dependenceupon adults
Development of many psychological activities

Early childhood: end of infancy to 5-6 years


Preschool years
Self-sufficiency and increased play

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Nature of Development
Developmental Period (continued)
Middle and late childhood: 6-11 years
Reading, writing, and arithmetic
Focus on achievement and self-control

Adolescence: varying endpoints; from 10-12 to 18-22 years


Rapid physical changes
Pursuit of independence and identity

Early adulthood: late teens to early 30s


Personal and economic independence
Selecting a mate

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Nature of Development
Developmental Period (continued)
Middle adulthood: 40-60 years
Social involvement and responsibility
Assisting the next generation

Late adulthood: 60s-70s to death


Lifereview
Adjustment to new social roles
Longest developmental span
youngest old vs. oldest old

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Nature of Development
Four Ages of Development
First Age: Childhood and adolescence
Second Age: Prime adulthood (20s through 50s)
Third Age: Approximately 60 to 79 years of age
Fourth Age: Approximately 80 years and older
The Significance of Age
Age and Happiness:
No specific age group reports more happiness or satisfaction than
another
Each age period has its own stresses, advantages, and
disadvantages

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Age and Happiness
100

80

60
Happy
people
(%)
40

20

0
15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 +
Age range (years)

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Nature of Development
Conceptions of Age
How relevant is chronological age to understanding a
persons psychological development?
How should age be conceptualized?
Chronological age: number of years that have elapsed
since birth
Biological age: a persons age in terms of biological health
Psychological age: an individuals adaptive capacities
compared with those of other individuals of the same
chronological age
Social age: social roles and expectations related to a
persons age
2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Developmental Issues
Nature and Nurture: the extent to which
development is influenced by biological inheritance
and/or environmental experiences
Nature proponents argue that an evolutionary and
genetic foundation produces commonalities in growth
and development
Nurture proponents emphasize the importance of both
the biological and social environment

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Developmental Issues
Stability and Change: the degree to which early
traits and characteristics persist through life or
change
Stability: traits and characteristics are seen as the result
of heredity and early life experiences
Change: traits and characteristics can be altered by
later experiences
Role of early and later experiences is hotly debated

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Developmental Issues
Continuity and Discontinuity: focuses on whether
development is either:
A process of gradual, cumulative change (continuous)
A set of distinct stages (discontinuous)
Evaluating Developmental Issues:
Most developmentalists acknowledge that
development is not all-or-nothing
There is debate regarding how strongly each of these
issues influences development

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Theories of Development
Scientific Method: A four-step process:
1. Conceptualize a process or problem to be studied
2. Collect research information (data)
3. Analyze data
4. Draw conclusions
Theory: an interrelated, coherent set of ideas that
helps to explain phenomena and make predictions
Hypotheses: specific assertions and predictions that
can be tested
2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Theories of Development
Diverse but complementary theories are used for
explaining life-span development:
Psychoanalytic theories
Cognitive theories
Behavioral and social cognitive theories
Ethological theory
Ecological theory

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Psychoanalytic Theories
Psychoanalytic Theories: describe development as
primarily unconscious
True understanding requires analyzing the symbolic
meanings of behavior
Early experiences with parents extensively shape
development

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Psychoanalytic Theories
Freuds Theory:
Focus of sexual impulses changes throughout
development
Five stages of psychosexual development (oral, anal,
phallic, latency, genital)
Adult personality is determined by the way we resolve
conflict within each stage
Modern theorists place less emphasis on sexual
instincts and more on cultural experiences

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Psychoanalytic Theories

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Psychoanalytic Theories
Eriksons Psychosocial Theory:
Focused on our desire to affiliate with other people
Believed that developmental change occurs throughout
the life span
Proposed eight stages of development
Each stage comprises a crisis that must be resolved

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Psychoanalytic Theories

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Psychoanalytic Theories
Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theories:
Contributions:
Emphasis on a developmental framework, family
relationships, and unconscious aspects of the mind
Criticisms:
Lack of scientific support
Too much emphasis on sexual underpinnings
Negative image of people

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Cognitive Theories
Piagets Cognitive Developmental Theory:
Stresses conscious thoughts
Emphasizes the processes of organization and
adaptation
Four stages of cognitive development in children
Each stage represents a qualitatively different way of
understanding the world

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Cognitive Theories

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Cognitive Theories
Vygotskys Sociocultural Cognitive Theory:
Children actively construct their knowledge
Emphasizes how social interaction and culture guide
cognitive development
Learning is based upon the inventions of society
Less-skilled persons learn from those who are more
skilled

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Cognitive Theories
Information-Processing Theory:
Emphasizes that individuals manipulate information,
monitor it, and strategize about it
Individuals develop a gradually increasing capacity for
processing information
Thinking is information processing
Individuals learn strategies for better information
processing

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Cognitive Theories
Evaluating Cognitive Theories:
Contributions:
Positive
view on development
Emphasis on the active construction of understanding

Criticisms:
Skepticism about the pureness of Piagets stages
Too little attention to individual variations

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Behavioral & Social Cognitive Theories

Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories:


Behaviorism: we can study scientifically only what
can be directly observed and measured
Development is observable behavior that can be learned
through experience
Skinners Operant Conditioning:
Consequences of a behavior produce changes in the
probability of the behaviors occurrence
A rewardincreases likelihood of behavior
A punishment decreases likelihood of behavior

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Behavioral & Social Cognitive Theories

Banduras Social Cognitive


Theory:
Behavior, environment, and
cognition are key factors in
development
Observational learning:
learning through observation
People cognitively represent
the behavior of others

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Behavioral & Social Cognitive Theories

Evaluating Behavioral and Social Cognitive


Theories:
Contributions:
Emphasis on scientific research and environmental
determinants of behavior
Criticisms:
Little
emphasis on cognition (Skinner)
Inadequate attention given to developmental changes

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Ethological Theory
Ethology: stresses that behavior is strongly
influenced by biology and evolution
Characterized by critical or sensitive periods
Brought to prominence by Konrad Lorenz
Studied imprinting in geese
Bowlby stressed the importance of human attachment
during the first year of life

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Ethological Theory
Evaluating Ethological Theory:
Contributions:
A focus on the biological and evolutionary basis of
development
Use of careful observations in naturalistic settings

Criticisms:
Too much emphasis on biological foundations
Critical and sensitive period concepts may be too rigid

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Ecological Theory
Bronfenbrenners Ecological Theory: development
reflects the influence of five environmental systems:
Microsystem: setting in which the individual lives
Mesosystem: relations between microsystems
Exosystem: links between a social setting in which the
individual does not have an active role and the individuals
immediate context
Macrosystem: culture in which individuals live
Chronosystem: patterning of environmental events and
transitions; sociohistorical circumstances

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Ecological Theory

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Ecological Theory
Evaluating Ecological Theory:
Contributions:
Systematic examination of macro and micro dimensions of
environmental systems
Attention to connections between environmental systems

Criticisms:
Giving inadequate attention to biological factors
Too little emphasis on cognitive factors

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Eclectic Theoretical Orientation
Eclectic Theoretical Orientation:
No single theory can explain all of development
Every theory has contributed to our understanding
Eclectic orientation does not follow any one theoretical
approach
Instead, it selects from each theory whatever is considered
its best features

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Comparison of Theories

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Methods
Methods for Collecting Data:
Observation:
Laboratory:controlled setting that eliminates many
complex real-world variables
Participants typically know they are being studied
Setting is unnatural
May not represent general population
Some individuals may be intimidated by laboratory setting
Naturalistic: observing behavior in real-world settings
Researcher makes no effort to manipulate or control the
situation

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Methods
Methods for Collecting Data:
Survey and Interviews:
Standard sets of questions are used to obtain peoples
attitudes or beliefs about a particular topic
Can be used to study a wide variety of topics
Participants may answer in a way that is considered socially
desirable and acceptable

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Methods
Methods for Collecting Data:
Standardized Test:
Uniform procedures for administration and scoring
Most allow a persons performance to be compared with
that of others
Assumes consistency and stability across time and
situations
Case Study:
In-depth look at a single individual
Difficult to generalize to others
May not be reliable

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Methods
Methods for Collecting
Data:
Physiological Measures:
Many uses; technology is
constantly improving
Functional magnetic
resonance imaging (fMRI):
uses electromagnetic waves to
construct images of brain
tissue and biochemical
activity

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Designs
Three main types: descriptive, correlational, and
experimental

Descriptive: aims to observe and record behavior


Methods discussed so far are descriptive
Cannot prove causation, but can reveal important
information

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Designs
Correlational: describes the strength of the
relationship between two or more events or
characteristics
Correlation Coefficient: a number based on a
statistical analysis that is used to describe the degree of
association between two variables
Ranges from +1.00 to -1.00
+ means a positive association; - means a negative association
Higher number indicates a stronger association
Correlation does not equal causation

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Designs

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Designs
Experimental Research:
Experiment: carefully regulated procedure in which
one or more factors believed to influence the behavior
being studied are manipulated while all other factors
are held constant
Can demonstrate cause and effect
Independent Variable: manipulated, influential,
experimental factor
Dependent Variable: a factor that can change in an
experiment, in response to changes in the independent
variable

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Designs
Experimental Research:
Experimental Group: a group whose experience is
manipulated
Control Group: a comparison group whose
experience is not manipulated
Random Assignment: researchers assign participants
to experimental and control groups by chance
Reduces the likelihood of preexisting differences between
groups

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Designs

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Designs
Time Span Research:
Cross-Sectional: simultaneously compares individuals
of different ages
Advantage: researcher does not have to wait for individuals
to grow older
Disadvantage: does not give information about the aging
process
Longitudinal Approach: studies the same individuals
over a period of time, usually several years or more
Advantage: provides information about the aging process
Disadvantage: expensive and time-consuming

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Research Designs
Time Span Research:
Cohort Effects:
Cohort: a group of people who are born at a similar point in
history and share similar experiences
Cohort effects: differences due to a persons time of birth,
era, or generation, but not to actual age
Cross-sectional studies can show how different cohorts respond,
but they may confuse age effects and cohort effects
Longitudinal research can study age changes, but only within
one cohort

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Conducting Ethical Research
Informed Consent: all participants must know what
their research participation will involve and what
risks might develop

Confidentiality: researchers are responsible for


keeping the data completely confidential and, if
possible, anonymous

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Conducting Ethical Research
Debriefing: after the study, participants should be
informed of the studys purpose and methods that
were used

Deception: researchers must ensure that deception


will not harm participants, and that participants are
fully debriefed

2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Conducting Ethical Research
Minimizing Bias:
Gender Bias: preconceived notions about the abilities
of women and men
Research can affect how people think about gender
differences
Cultural and Ethnic Bias:
Life-span research needs to include more people from
diverse ethnic groups
Ethnic gloss: using an ethnic label in a superficial way that
portrays an ethnic group as being more homogenous than it
really is
2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.