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The Study of Human Development Chapter 1 DEP 2004 & 2004H Human Development Across the Lifespan Erica Jordan, Ph.D., University of West Florida.

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Presentation on theme: "The Study of Human Development Chapter 1 DEP 2004 & 2004H Human Development Across the Lifespan Erica Jordan, Ph.D., University of West Florida."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Study of Human Development Chapter 1 DEP 2004 & 2004H Human Development Across the Lifespan Erica Jordan, Ph.D., University of West Florida

2 Chapter 1 Guiding Questions Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted. 2  What is human development?  What key concepts are considered in human development?  How do researchers study human development?  What factors must be considered when designing a research study in the field of human development?

3 What is human development? Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted. 3  Field of study investigating how people change and remain the same over time.  Examines humans from before the cradle to the grave.  This field is multidisciplinary, meaning it takes into account many different forces that may influence how people develop.  Study of both typical and atypical development.

4 Recurring Issues in Human Development 4 The focus of these issues is not “either-or.” The focus of the issues can better be described as “to what degree” does each factor influence development.  Nature and Nurture  Continuity and Discontinuity  Universal and Context-Specific Development Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

5 5  Nature  The extent to which heredity (inherited traits or genes influences the development of a person).  Nurture  The extent to which factors in the environment influence the development of a person. Many psychological characteristics (such as aggression) have been found to be influenced by both heredity and the environment. Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

6 6  Continuity  The extent to which development occurs as a smooth progression or the extent to which a variable is relatively stable over time.  Discontinuity  The extent to which development occurs in abrupt shifts or the extent to which a variable changes significantly over time. When determining if a developmental phenomenon is continuous or discontinuous, it often depends on the way you choose to view the phenomenon. Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

7 7  Universal Development  Concept that development occurs in a relatively similar manner for all individuals  Context-Specific Development  Concept that development may vary significantly and does not occur similarly for all individuals All people tend to change in similar ways as they age (universal). However, people in some cultures develop some gross motor skills earlier (context-specific). Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

8 The Biopsychosocial Framework 8  Biological Forces  Genetic and health factors  Psychological Forces  Perceptual, cognitive, emotional and personality factors  Sociocultural Forces  Interpersonal, societal, cultural and ethnic factors  Life-Cycle Forces  Degree to which the same event affects people of different ages and life stages Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

9 How do researchers study human development? 9  What is a theory?  Organized set of ideas  Developmental theories are ideas that attempt to explain development  Theories represent what we think we know so far based on scientific evidence  Example: Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

10 There are many theories in the field of human development… 10 Most fall under one of these major theoretical perspectives:  Psychodynamic Theory  Learning Theory  Cognitive-Developmental Theory  The Ecological and Systems Approach  The Lifespan and Life-Course Perspective These theoretical perspectives provide guidance for research in the field of human development. Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

11 General Measurement Techniques 11  Systematic observation  Behavior tasks  Self-reports  Physiological measures Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

12 Systematic Observation (2 Types) Naturalistic Observation—observing people in real-life settings  Examples:  Potential problems (also see Table 1.4):  Presence of the observer may influence participants’ behaviors  Some behaviors are rare  Many behaviors are difficult to record (so that they may be later analyzed) because they are so complex and occur rapidly; video technology has helped with this problem Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

13 13 2. Structured Observation—observing people in a lab or another environment that has been structured/created by the researcher  Examples:  Potential problems:  Presence of observer  Novel (and often unnatural) environment  Many behaviors are complex and only certain behaviors can be coded Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

14 14  Behavior Tasks—requiring the participant to complete a task in order to measure a specific behavior (or specific behaviors)  Examples:  Potential problems:  May be oversimplified  May be unnatural measure of the behavior Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

15 15  Self-Reports—participants answer questions about themselves or about the topic of study in an interview or survey/questionnaire format  Examples:  Potential problems:  Participants are not always accurate in their responses for a variety of reasons  Forgetting  Response bias (tell the researcher what is socially desirable or what they believe the researcher wants to hear)  Misunderstanding/misreading the question  May not want to answer the question  Participants may also simply be unaware of certain behaviors that they display Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

16 16  Physiological Measures  Examples:  Potential problems:  Very specific  Can be very expensive  Requires the upmost precision to ensure that physiological responses are occurring because of the variable of interest and are not due to some other factor Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

17 What research design is it anyway? 17  Correlational, experimental, or qualitative?  Longitudinal, cross-sectional or sequential? Please note that there are other research designs, but we will only discuss these. Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

18 18  Correlational Studies  Correlation does not equal causation! We cannot simply conclude that one variable causes another just because they are related. We can make inferences, but further studies are needed to draw definitive conclusions.  Experimental Studies  Because variables are manipulated by the researcher, we can make stronger claims about causation.  Not all variables can be examined this way in an ethical manner.  Qualitative Studies  In-depth study often involving a smaller sample size. Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

19 Longitudinal vs. Cross-sectional vs. Sequential Design (An Example) 19  You are interested in the effects of divorce on children’s social and academic functioning.  Longitudinal: You might follow a group of 50 children for a period of 20 years, collecting data from them a few times each year beginning when they are 3 years old. Ideally, you would begin collecting data before the parents of the children divorced.  Cross-sectional: You might collect data one time from a group of children whose parents divorced and a group of children whose parents did not divorce.  Sequential: You might initially follow a group of children for 50 years, collecting data from them a few times each year. A few years later, you would collect data from a new cohort of children in addition to collecting additional data from the first group of children. Both groups would continue to be retested each year. This design also helps to answer questions related to “cohort effects.” Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.

20 Other Issues to Consider When Conducting Research 20  Reliability—Is your measure consistent?  Validity—Is your measure accurate?  Representative sampling—Is your sample an accurate reflection of the population of interest?  Ethical guidelines—Is your study ethical?  Costs versus benefits of conducting the study—Is the study worthy of being conducted or are the costs/risks too great?  Integrating findings—How do the results of your study fit with the results of other studies examining similar variables?  Be aware of limitations related to causation! Based on material from Human Development: A Life-Span View, Fifth Edition by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh unless otherwise noted.


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