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Developmental psychology was originally concerned with infants and children but has expanded to include adolescence, aging, and the entire lifespan.
Development can be understood from physical, cognitive, and psychosocial perspectives.
Periods of development can be analyzed using discontinuous theories that postulate qualitatively different stages. These theories contrast with continuous theories that hypothesize development as the result of incremental quantitative changes.
Lifespan development can be studied using various research methods including descriptive, correlational, and experimental paradigms. Each paradigm can also be seen through research designs such as longitudinal, cross-sectional, and sequential data-collection methods.
Exercises in Critical Thinking
Reflect on your own development in light of the theories we have discussed in this chapter. Which do you think is best in explaining your journey thus far?
How do you think Indigenous perspectives on development might inform our own ideas about a lifespan perspective?
Consider the different research methods discussed and list the advantages and disadvantages for each.