There are a number of important issues that have been debated throughout the history of developmental psychology. The major questions include the following:
- Is development due more to genetics or environment?
- Do early childhood experiences have the greatest impact on development, or are later events equally important?
Learn more about these basic questions and what many psychologists today believe about these issues.
Nature vs. Nurture
The debate over the relative contributions of inheritance and the environment, usually referred to as the nature versus nurture debate, is one of the oldest issues in both philosophy and psychology. Philosophers such as Plato and Descartes supported the idea that some ideas are inborn. On the other hand, thinkers such as John Locke argued for the concept of tabula rasa - a belief that the mind is a blank slate at birth, with experience determining our knowledge.
Today, most psychologists believe that it is an interaction between these two forces that causes development. Some aspects of development are distinctly biological, such as puberty.
However, the onset of puberty can be affected by environmental factors such as diet and nutrition.
Early Experience vs. Later Experience
A second important consideration in developmental psychology involves the relative importance of early experiences versus those that occur later in life. Are we more affected by events that occur in early childhood, or do later events play an equally important role?
Psychoanalytic theorists tend to focus upon events that occur in early childhood. According to Freud, much of a child's personality is completely established by the age of five. If this is indeed the case, those who have experienced deprived or abusive childhoods might never adjust or develop normally.
In contrast to this view, researchers have found that the influence of childhood events does not necessarily have a dominating effect over behavior throughout the life. Many people with less-that-perfect childhoods go on to develop normally into well-adjusted adults.
Continuity vs. Discontinuity
A third major issue in developmental psychology is that of continuity.
Does change occur smoothly over time, or through a series of predetermined steps? Some theories of development argue that changes are simply a matter of quantity; children display more of certain skills as they grow older. Other theories outline a series of sequential stages in which skills emerge at certain points of development. Most theories of development fall under three broad areas:
- Psychoanalytic theories are those influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, who believed in the importance of the unconscious mind and childhood experiences. Freud's contribution to developmental theory was his proposal that development occurs through a series of psychosexual stages.
Theorist Erik Erikson expanded upon Freud's ideas by proposing a stage theory of psychosocial development. Erikson's theory focused on conflicts that arise at different stages of development and, unlike Freud's theory, Erikson described development throughout the lifespan.
- Learning theories focus on how the environment impacts behavior. Important learning processes include classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning. In each case, behavior is shaped by the interaction between the individual and the environment.
- Cognitive theories focus on the development of mental processes, skills, and abilities. Examples of cognitive theories include Piaget's theory of cognitive development.
Abnormal Behavior vs. Individual Differences
One of the biggest concerns of many parents is whether or not their child is developing normally. Developmental milestones offer guidelines for the ages at which certain skills and abilities typically emerge, but can create concern when a child falls slightly behind the norm. While developmental theories have historically focused upon deficits in behavior, focus on individual differences in development is becoming more common.
Psychoanalytic theories are traditionally focused upon abnormal behavior, so developmental theories in this area tend to describe deficits in behavior. Learning theories rely more on the environment's unique impact on an individual, so individual differences are an important component of these theories. Today, psychologists look at both norms and individual differences when describing child development.How to do impressive magic tricks? What does turmoil mean? How to cure hangover fast? What are the meats at chipotle? How to get rid of external hemorrhoids? How to know if you broke your toe? how to spice up hamburger helper Tips on how to quit smoking weed? The mentalist how did patrick do his tricks? What time does the pharmacy close at cvs? What does phi mean? How to make honda civic do hair tricks? How much does it cost to make an iphone? What is the meaning of the cardinal bird? What does incorporated mean? How to know if someone blocked you on imessage? How to trim asparagus? What is cheugy? How to do tricks on shopping cart hero 2? How to comment in html? What does the upside down emoji mean? What is a good resting heart rate by age? What do star tattoos mean? What is the meaning of anti social social club? How to get rid of pores? What is the meaning of luxury? Why are my tips taxed? What does it mean when your leg twitches? Why do the tips of spider plants turn brown? Candice who meaning? what is microsofts ip helper How to clean under nails? Tips for families when their child is struggling with kindergarten math? How to grow microgreens? What does a positive antibody test for covid-19 mean? Fight where george foreman was taught dirty tricks? What is the meaning of syncope? what is the role of helper t cells and cytotoxic t cells What does pathetic mean? How to calm down from a panic attack? How to start building credit? Tips on how to ptfo? What does su mean in spanish? How to add vaccination card to wallet? how to put title keys in wii u helper What is comfort care? What is the meaning of adulation? How to restart my iphone? What does nfc mean on my phone? What does it mean if roe v wade gets overturned? What does it mean to itemize deductions? Tony hawk pro skater 5 how to do tricks? What are the symptoms of a low functioning gallbladder? how do i log in soundcloud helper How are tips fingured out in ireland? How to make chinese dumplings? Which collin resource could you visit for tips on stress management? what is a a human service helper How to deep sleep tips? How to get dark mode on snapchat? What does wary mean? To where you are meaning? How to get prescribed adderall? What does app mean? Boa show me what you got tips? What are planks good for? What is the biblical meaning of bartimaeus? What time does wendy's start serving breakfast? How to make a volcano? How to mine shiba inu coin? What is the meaning of the name john? How to draw infection out of a finger? What does lobo mean in spanish? What is trust issues meaning? See who has logged into my facebook tricks? Kids' magic secrets -simple magic tricks & why they work? What is the spiritual meaning of the crow? What does dissolve mean? Mind blowing tricks to do when bored buttons? How to change voice on google maps? How to find carby vin for free tricks reddit? what add to hamburger helper for flavor lasagna What is the meaning of seo job? How old is too old to have a baby? How to do finger scooter tricks? How to teach basic tricks for dogs? What does monochromatic mean? What does vested mean in 401k? How to play the piano? How to learn tricks skateboard? What does cap mean in soccer? Any tips on how to help me drink the stuff for colonoscopies? who is the lovely young redhead auction helper barrett jackson auction How to start a photography business? What are the symptoms of covid 19? How to make an omelet? How to annotate a pdf? What does heart palpitations feel like? How to hack facebook account?