Week 1: Lifespan Development

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Ted Kaczynski


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Ted Kaczynski

  • called the "unabomber"

  • wanted for 2 decades

  • he was born with a severe allergic reaction which made him isolated from other people

Aileen Wuornos

  • serial killer

  • was sexually abused at a young age

  • had an incest relationship with her brother

  • thrown out of the house when she was a teenager

  • became a sex worker

Halle Berry

  • award-winning actress and former beauty queen

  • first african-american to win an oscar

  • product of a dysfunctional family

  • was abused by her father

Alice Walker

  • was born poor and was a victim of discrimination because she is an african-american woman

  • was blinded due to an accident with her brother

  • worked as a social worker, teacher, and lecturer

  • took part in the 1960s civil rights movement in mississippi

  • won the 1983 pulitzer prize for fiction for her novel "the color purple"

  • acclaimed poet and essayist


the pattern of movement or change that starts at conception and continues through the human life span.

Traditional Approach

emphasizes extensive change from birth to adolescence (especially during infancy), little or no change in adulthood and decline in old age.

Life-span Approach

emphasizes developmental change throughout adulthood as well as childhood.

122 years

oldest age documented.

Jeanne Louise Calment

oldest person documented.

Life Expectancy

the average number of years that a person born in a particular year can expect to live.

Development is Lifelong

no age or period dominated development

Development is Multidimensional

consists of biological, cognitice, and socioeconomic dimensions.

Cognitive Dimension

includes attention, memory, abstract thinking, speed of processing, information, and social intelligence.

Development is Multidirectional

some dimensions and components of dimension expand and others shrink.

Development is Plastic

plasticity means the capacity to for change

Developmental Science is Multidisciplinary

is composed of psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and medical researchers.

Development is Contextual

  • setting

  • families, schools, peer groups, churches, cities, neighborhoods, university laboratories, countries.

Normative Age-Graded Influences

includes biological processes such as puberty and menopause, sociocultural, environmental processes such as beginning formal education and retirement.

Normative History-Graded Influences

  • common to people of a particular generation

  • long term changes in genetic and cultural makeup of a population

Non-normative or Highly Individualized Life Events

unusual occurrences that have a major impact on the individual's life.


  • behavior, patterns, beliefs, products of a particular group of people that are passed on from generation to generation

  • results from the interaction of people over the years


  • rooted in culture heritage, nationality, race, religion, and language.

  • the root word of this word means nation

Socioeconomic Status

refers to a person's position within society based on occupational, education, and economic characteristics.


the psychological and sociocultural dimensions of being female or male.

Social Policy

  • government's course of action designed to promote the welfare of its citizens

  • shaped by values, economics, and politics

Minnesota Family Investment Program

found that an increase in the incomes of working poor parents were linked with benefits for their children - school achievement improved and behavior problems increased.

Biological Processes

  • changes in the individual's physical nature

  • e.g. genes, development of brain, height and weight gains, changes in motor skills, hormonal changes of puberty, and cardiovascular decline

Cognitive Processes

  • changes in the individual's thought, intelligence, and language

  • e.g. watching a colorful mobile swinging above the crib, putting together a two-word sentence, memorizing a poem, imagining what it would like to be a movie star, and solving a crossword puzzle

Socio-emotional Processes

  • changes in the individual's relationship with other people, changes in emotions and changes in personality

  • e.g. infant's smile in response to a parent's touch, toddler's aggressive attack on a playmate, a school-age child's development of assertiveness, adolescent's joy at the senior prom, and affection of an elderly couple

Developmental Period

refers to a time frame in a person's life that is characterized by certain features.

Prenatal Period

  • conception to birth

  • involves continuous growth from a single cell to an organism complete with a brain and behavioral capabilities.


  • birth to 18-24 months

  • time of extreme dependence upon adults

  • many psychological activities such as language, symbollic thought, sensorimotor coordinatio, and social learning are just beginning

Early Childhood

  • 2-5 years

  • also called as the "preschool years"

  • learn to become more self-sufficient and to care for themselves, develop school readiness skills and spend many hours in play with peers

  • first grade marks the end

Middle and Late Childhood

  • 6-11 years

  • corresponds to the elementary school years

  • fundamental skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic are mastered

  • achievement becomes a more central theme of the child's world and self-control increase.


  • 10-12; 18-22 years

  • transition from childhood to early adulthood

  • begins with rapid physical changes - dramatic gains in height and weight, changes in body contour and development of sexual characteristics

  • the pursuit of independence and an identity are prominent

  • thought is more logical, abstractm and idealistic

Early Adulthood

  • 20 to 30s

  • time of establishing personal and economic independence, career development, and for many: selecting a mate, learning to live with someone in an intimate way, starting a family and rearing children

Middle Adulthood

  • 40 to 50s

  • time of expanding personal and social involvement and responsibility of assisting the next generation in becoming competent, mature individuals, and of reaching and maintaining satisfaction in a career

Late Adulthood

  • 60 to 70s

  • time of life review, retirement, and adjustment to new social roles involving decreasing strength and health

  • longest span of any period of development

First Age

childhood and adolescence.

Second Age

prime adulthood; twenties to fifties.

Third Age

  • approximately 60-79 years of age

  • healthier and can lead more active, productive lives

Fourth Age

  • approximately 80 years and older

  • health and well-being decline for many individuals

Chronological Age

  • is the number of years that elapsed since birth

  • based on the birth date

Biological Age

  • is a person's age in terms of biological health

  • involves knowing the functional capacities of a person's vital organs

Psychological Age

  • is an individual's adaptive capacities compared with those of other individuals of the same chronological age

  • older adults who continue to learn, flexible, motivated, and think clearly are engaging in more adaptive behaviors than their chronological age-mates who do not do these things

Social Age

  • refers to social roles and expectations related to a person's age

  • consider the role of "mother" and the behaviors that accompany the roles - in predicting an adult woman's behavior, it may be more important to know that she is the mother of a 3-year-old child than to know whether she is 20 or 30 years old


  • is an interrelated, coherent set of ideas that helps to explain the phenomena and make predictions

  • suggests hypotheses which are specific assertions and predictions that can be tested


refers to an organisms's biological inheritance.


refers to its environmental experiences.