Big Question: Is nature or nurture more influential in determining our course of development?
Identify the major aspects of evolutionary psychology such as natural selection and survival of one’s genes.
Describe the evolutionary psychologists’ explanation for gender differences and discuss the major criticisms of the evolutionary explanation
Identify the major findings of twin, adoption, and temperament studies and how they contribute to the question of nature vs. nurture in development.
Describe the studies of behavior genetics and molecular genetics.
Discuss the influence of parents, experience, and peers on development.
Define cultural norms and memes.
Discuss the influence the social learning theory and the gender schema theory have had on gender behavior.
Discuss the proposal that adult development involves chronological stages and explain why it is controversial.
Describe the capacities of the newborn.
Describe Piaget’s view of how the mind develops and discuss his theory of cognitive development in the light of current research.
Describe the impact of aging on adult memory and intelligence.
Identify and describe Erikson’s stages of social development.
Identify and describe Kohlberg’s stages of moral development and major criticisms of his theory.
Summarize current view regarding continuative vs. stages and stability vs. change in lifelong development.
Development Overview Developmental psychologists study the life cycle, from conception to death, examining how we develop physically, cognitively, and socially. The Development chapter covers prenatal, infant, and childhood development and introduces three major issues in developmental psychology: (1) the relative impact of genes and experience on behavior, (2) whether development is best described as gradual and continuous or as a discontinuous sequence of stages, and (3) whether the individual’s personality remains stable or changes over the life span.
Research and theoretical issues introduced in this chapter are the foundation of the overarching developmental unit. Pay particular attention to the research of Piaget on cognitive development, Harlow and others on attachment and social deprivation, and to the studies of twins and adopted children.
A key assumption of modern developmental psychology is that development is lifelong. The Development unit explores physical, cognitive, and social development during adolescence and adulthood. On the basis of this discussion, this chapter will revisit the issue of continuity in development. Although there are not too many terms to learn in this chapter, there are a number of important research findings to remember. Pay particular attention to the discussions regarding intellectual stability or decline and social changes during adulthood. A major challenge in this chapter is to become familiar with two stage theories: Kohlberg’s theory of moral development and Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. Writing carefully prepared answers to the guided study items should be especially helpful in mastering the material of this chapter.