Chapter summary image What universal changes do we experience as we grow older?

HOW DO OUR BIOLOGY AND OUR ENVIRONMENTS INFLUENCE OUR DEVELOPMENT?

  • During pregnancy, teratogens can pass through the placenta and cause irreparable harm to an embryo or fetus.
  • Increased food intake and a decrease in disease may contribute to the earlier onset of puberty in industrialized countries.

WHAT UNIVERSAL CHANGES DO WE EXPERIENCE AT DIFFERENT STAGES IN OUR LIVES?

  • Newborn babies exhibit reflexes.
  • Motor skills tend to develop in sequence from top to bottom and from inside to outside.
  • During puberty, the body develops primary and secondary sex characteristics.
  • The gradual loss of brain cells as we age leads to a decline in memory.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LANDMARKS OF PHYSICAL, COGNITIVE, AND LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT?

  • Physical landmarks include the germinal, embryonic, and fetal stages; newborn reflex actions; motor development; puberty; menopause and andropause; and the physical decline of old age.
  • Piaget theorized that children use assimilation and accommodation to adjust their informational schemas. Vygotsky believed children’s cognitive development is influenced by cultural experiences.
  • Language development landmarks include cooing and babbling, producing vocabulary, and learning grammatical rules.

HOW DO PSYCHOLOGISTS STUDY HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, AND WHAT QUESTIONS HAVE YET TO BE ANSWERED?

  • Developmental psychologists study the physical, cognitive, and social changes we experience by examining three issues: stability/change, nature/nurture, and continuity/ stages.
  • Researchers perform both cross-sectional and longitudinal developmental studies.
  • Normative investigations enable researchers to distinguish between chronological age and developmental age.