McCabe, Allyssa Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Emotional development (attachment theory)
- Psychosocial development
- Intellectual and cognitive development
- Moral development
- Developmental psychopathology
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The study of age-related changes in behavior from birth to death. Developmental psychology is an important branch of psychological analysis that investigates the development and changes of behavior over an individual's lifetime (Fig. 1). In general, developmental psychologists attempt to determine the causes of these behavioral changes. Most research has concentrated on the development of children, but there is increasing interest in the elderly and to a lesser extent in other age groups. Also, most research has focused on changes in behavior at certain ages, but there also has been work on individual differences that are constant across all ages. For example, 4-year-olds resemble each other and differ from 7-year-olds in their understanding of the world, but some individuals are more intelligent than their peers at all ages. Similarly, 1-year-olds differ from 3-year-olds in their response to strangers, but some individuals are more shy of strangers than others, regardless of age. Finally, although most developmental research examines humans, there has been some work on primates and other species that would be considered unethical with human beings. Thus, the sensory deprivation of kittens and the separation of young monkeys from their mothers have provided information about abnormal perceptual and emotional development, respectively. See also: Developmental biology; Emotion; Intelligence; Perception; Psychology
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