Diploma in Developmental Psychology
Developmental psychology examines the influences of nature and nurture on the process of human development, and processes of change in context and across time. Many researchers are interested in the interaction between personal characteristics, the individual’s behavior and environmental factors, including social context and the built environment.
In this course, you will learn about the scientific nature of developmental psychology, basically the science of growth as well as the processes involved in child and adolescent development. You should also be exposed to the research strategies employed in developmental psychology.
By definition, living involves being in constant development. Developmental psychology is interested in the scientific study of ontogenetic development, that is, all stages of development from the prenatal until old age and death. It probes the fundamental theories of growth and development as well as the psychological functions involved in the process of development. In the past, researchers were primarily interested in the developmental stages of childhood and adolescence.
This particular field of developmental psychology has typically been termed “child psychology.” In essence, developmental psychology as we know it today emerged from child psychology. Today, child psychology is considered only one of many aspects of developmental psychology. Two major discussions have always been of concern to theories of human development. The first is the interplay between biological inheritance and social environment: in other words, the nature versus nurture controversy.
In the past, theorists typically held oppositional views, arguing that development is determined either solely by innate factors such as genetic inheritance and physiological maturation or by environmental factors such as nurturing and learning.
Today, few are extreme believers in either genetic inheritance or environment. In fact, theorists agree that both factors are important and that they function interactively to determine individual psychological development. Contemporary discussions now focus on the functions as well as on the relative contributions that genetic predisposition and social environment may exert on psychological development.
The second discussion is whether psychological development is continuous or discontinuous. The issues are whether psychological development reflects quantitative or qualitative changes, whether all individuals move through common stages of psychological development, and whether children’s mental functions are qualitatively different from that of adults. In essence, the proponents of both major theoretical areas in developmental psychology have generated their own views.
Developmental psychology is interested in the scientific study of sensory and motor development as well as in cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and social development.
Cognitive development and social development have been at the forefront of theory and research. Jean Piaget’s genetic epistemology and information processing theories have inspired many studies on children’s perception of the outside world as well as children’s cognitive and socialization processes.
Socialization involves individual learning of socially acceptable behaviors and moral standards, acquisition of social experience, the formation of values and beliefs, as well as the development of personality and identity of individuals as independent members of society. Frequently studied topics in social development and socialization include pro-social behaviors, anti-social behaviors, sexual roles, self-consciousness, identity, moral development, family influences, peer pressures, and the effects of mass media on child and adolescent psychological development.
Development is typically divided into stages: infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and late adulthood. Research on infant and childhood psychological development has always received much attention. Only in the last quarter of the twentieth century has the process of aging started to receive special attention, sparking much research on the psychological development inherent to late adulthood. In comparison, late young adulthood and adulthood have received little attention. There are two preferred controlled observations designs used in developmental psychology: longitudinal and cross-sectional studies.
In longitudinal studies, the same individuals are observed on several occasions over time. The major advantage of this approach is that it observes how specific individuals are developing over time. The changing relationship between earlier and later stages can thus be rather precisely defined. Nevertheless, longitudinal studies have disadvantages: they take decades to complete and data can be subject to error and contamination as individual participants are susceptible to the effects of learning and repeated exposure to the experimental methodology.
Cross-sectional studies observe individuals of different age groups simultaneously at a particular time. This method can thus gather developmental data from different age groups in a relatively short period of time. An important drawback is that the developmental data do not come from the same individuals. Hence, conclusions may not adequately reflect the true processes involved in individuals’ psychological development over time. In essence, both methods have their advantages and limitations.
A limitation of both methods is generational differences caused by the simple effect of time: developmental changes that are attributable to different historical backgrounds are confounded with those attributable to normal aging, thus rendering generational differences vulnerable to being mistakenly interpreted as individual developmental changes.
At the end of this course, you should be able to explain and understand:
- Child development
- Scientific strategies of the study of child development
- Critical Periods In developmental psychology and developmental biology
- Research Strategies in Developmental Psychology
- The Principles of human development and growth
- The Major controversies in developmental psychology
- Medieval understanding of ‘childhood’ development
- The Perinatal Environment
- Stage by stage Human development
- An Overview of Development Brain Growth and Development
- Pre-Natal Development In human development
- Post-Natal Development In human development
- Developmental milestones in neonatal perceptions
- Neural Development in Neonates
- And many more.
To start this course, you are required to take 2 prerequisite courses listed below