Approaches To Lifespan Development

Approaches to Lifespan Development


If you have not already done so, complete the studies for this unit. The second study asked you to choose one of the following influential themes in lifespan development theory and read a scholarly resource (journal article or book chapter) that addresses it:

Nature versus nurture.

Critical periods and plasticity.

Continuity and discontinuity.

Universality and specificity.

Qualitative and quantitative change.

Activity and passivity.


For your initial discussion post, address the following:

Clearly summarize the theme you chose and the main issues, oppositions, or controversies in differing approaches to it.

What are the similarities and differences in the contrasting approaches?

Are these approaches appropriate in light of what the researcher seeks to understand or predict? Why or why not?

Describe specific lifespan development theories that are associated with the theme you analyzed.

Evaluate to what extent the scholarly article you used in your analysis met the criteria for credibility, using an appropriate combination of these criteria:

Detailed and clear information.

Accuracy of information.

Support of conclusions.

Relevancy to the field.

Credibility of author or authors.

Publication date (timeliness or current relevancy).



Use your Broderick and Blewitt textbook, The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals, to complete the following:

Read Chapter 1, “Organizing Themes in Development.” This chapter introduces lifespan developmental theorists, including Freud, Erikson, and Piaget; learning theories, such as behaviorism and social learning; multidimensional theories, including Bronfenbrenner’s theory; and the concept of nature–nurture.

Use the Capella library to complete the following:

Read Baltes and Smith’s 2004 article, “Lifespan Psychology: From the Developmental Contextualism to Developmental Biocultural Co-constructivism,” from Research in Human Development, volume 1, issue 3, pages 123—143.

Read Foster’s 2010 article, “Causal Inference and Developmental Psychology,” from Developmental Psychology, volume 46, issue 6, pages 1454–1480.

Audiovisual Media

View the following video from Annenberg Media’s Discovering Psychology series:

Past, Present, and Promise | Transcript.

Running time: 27:00.


Click Human Development Theorists to learn about some of the theories behind human development.

Suggested Readings

You are encouraged, but not required, to complete the following:

Read Kagan’s 2008 article, “In Defense of Qualitative Changes in Development,” from Child Development, volume 79, issue 6, pages 1606–1624.

Read Kimble’s 1993 article, “Evolution of the Nature–Nurture Issue in the History of Psychology,” from Nature, Nurture & Psychology, pages 3–25.

Read Manstead and Fischer’s 2002 article, “Beyond the Universality-Specificity Dichotomy,” from Cognition & Emotion, volume 16, issue 1, pages 1–9.

Development Issues Article Search

During this first week, you will establish a base of knowledge regarding lifespan development. The major themes embedded in development theory are:

Nature versus nurture.

Critical periods and plasticity.

Universality and specificity.

Continuity and discontinuity.

Qualitative and quantitative change.

Activity and passivity.

Choose one of the above, then find and read a scholarly resource (journal article or book chapter) that addresses it.

Research Guides

Several different activities in this course require you to locate scholarly resources in the Capella library. The following guides and tutorials can help you understand where to begin your search.

Summon is a tool that enables you to easily search across the Capella University Library collection. Experiment with using this tool as you conduct your research for this unit.

Examine the Research Guide – Psychology. This guide provides a range of research-related information, including advice on how to find articles in the library, links to statistical Web sites and professional organizations (in the Staying Current section), and specific tabs related to the various specializations within psychology. You can access the information and links by clicking the tabs near the top of the page.

Visit the Library Research and Information Literacy Skills (RAILS) page. This online handbook helps you develop your research skills. Be sure to go through the following sections:

Identifying Scholarly Resources.

Defining Your Topic.

Searching Effectively.

Evaluating Source Quality.

Examine the Databases A–Z: Psychology Web page, which lists databases for general research and by specialization area. A few of the databases are highlighted here:

PsycINFO – A comprehensive database from the American Psychological Association (APA), covering psychology and related disciplines. It contains over 2.6 million citations and summaries dating as far back as the early 1800s. Ninety-eight percent of the material is peer-reviewed.

PsycARTICLES – A psychology database containing more than 140,000 articles from over 60 journals published by the APA, the Educational Publishing Foundation, and allied organizations. This database includes coverage of applied psychology, health, theory, research, social/personality, and more.

Proquest Psychology Journals – Full-text articles from nearly 600 top journals and related publications for coverage of psychology, organizational behavior, counseling, communications, and related fields.

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