Developmental Issues in the Nature of Development

In the field of developmental science, many theories offer very different ideas about what people are like and how they change also if they have any developmental issues. The study of development provides no ultimate truth. Because researchers do not always agree on the meaning of what they see.

There are some basic developmental issues in human- such as Continuous or Discontinuous development, on course of development or many and relative influence of nature and nurture. Lets study these developmental issues in details.

Is the course of development continuous or discontinuous?

One view says that infants and preschoolers respond to the world in much the same way as adults do. The difference between the immature and mature being is simply one of amount or complexity. For example, when Sofie was a baby. Her perception of a piano melody, memory for past events, and ability to categorize objects may have been much like our own. Perhaps, her only limitation was that she could not perform these skills with as much information and precision as we can. As a result, we can say that the changes in her thinking must be continuous.

According to a second view, infants and children have unique ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Ones quite different from those of adults. Therefore, the development is discontinuous. From this perspective, Sofie could not yet perceive, remember, and categorize experiences as a mature person can. Rather, she moved through a series of developmental steps, each with unique features, until she reached the highest level of functioning.

Does one course of development characterize all people, or are there many possible courses?

The field of human development is becoming increasingly aware that children and adults live in distinct contexts—unique combinations of personal and environmental circumstances that can result in different paths of change. For example, a shy individual who fears social encounters develops in very different contexts from those of an outgoing agemate who readily seeks out other people. Children and adults in non-Western village societies have experiences in their families and communities that differ sharply from those of people in large Western cities. And these different circumstances foster different intellectual capacities, social skills, and feelings about the self and others. As a result, people not only are affected by but also contribute to the contexts in which they develop.

What are the roles of genetic and environmental factors—nature and nurture—in development?

Are genetic or environmental factors more important? This is the age-old nature–nurture controversy. By nature, we mean the hereditary information we receive from our parents at the moment of conception. And by nurture, we mean the complex forces of the physical and social world that influence our biological makeup and psychological experiences before and after birth.

A theory’s position on the roles of nature and nurture affects how it explains individual differences. So, the theorists who emphasize stability—that individuals who are high or low in a characteristic (such as verbal ability, anxiety, or sociability) will remain so at later ages—typically stress the importance of heredity. Development as having substantial plasticity throughout life—as open to change in response to influential experiences.

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Berk, L. E. (2006). Child Development. (7 Ed). New Delhi: Pearson Education Dorling Kindersley India pvt ltd.

Feldman, R. S., & Babu, N. (2011). Discovering the Life Span. Indian subcontinent adaptation, New Delhi: Dorling Kindersley India pvt ltd.


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