International Journal of Developmental Science - Volume 1, issue 2
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Individual human development is influenced by a multitude of systems, ranging from cultural processes, genetic and physiological incidents up to social interactions. How do these systems cooperate and interact during the course of human development? One of the main goals of Developmental Science is finding an answer to this question.
Since it exceeds the means of researchers from individual scientific disciplines to investigate the simultaneous biopsychosocial changes of systems and how they jointly contribute to the social and adaptive functions of human individuals, a new scientific approach is necessary that links the various traditional scientific disciplines under a biopsychosocial approach to describe individual human development: Developmental Science.
Developmental Science combines concepts and insights from scientific disciplines which hitherto used to independently tackle the research of human and non-human development. As an interdisciplinary approach it examines individuals across the lifespan with the objective of comprehending the development of individuals with different cultural and ethnic as well as biological background, different economic and cognitive potentials and under diverse living conditions. To facilitate the understanding of developmental processes it is also necessary to overcome the disadvantageous separation of “normal” from “abnormal” human development. Thus, the interdisciplinary field of Developmental Science comprises a holistic approach to understanding how different systems interact and influence development throughout life from genetic and physiological processes to social interactions and cultural processes.
International Journal of Developmental Science is especially devoted to research from the fields of Psychology, Genetics, Neuroscience and Biology and provides an interdisciplinary and international forum for basic research and professional application in the field of Developmental Science. The reader will find original empirical or theoretical contributions, methodological and review papers, giving a systematic overview or evaluation of research and theories of Developmental Science and dealing with typical human development and developmental psychopathology during infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. All manuscripts pass through a multilevel peer-review process.
In 2007-2010 (Vol. 1-4) this journal was named
European Journal of Developmental Science. In 2011 its name was changed to
International Journal of Developmental Science.
Abstract: Gilbert Gottlieb's theory of probabilistic epigenesis is a fertile ground for further theoretical construction in developmental science. It fills the gap in the domineering empiricism and honoring of inductive generalization that dominates psychology in the beginning of the 21st century, by offering a basic deductive framework for guiding the efforts of developmental science. Further development of his theory takes the form of (a) explicating the propensity notion of probability in his model, (b) extending his multi-level system to include psychological and social levels of organization, and (c) adopting the core notion of systemic catalytic causality for explanations of developmental processes.
Abstract: While Gottlieb recognized the significance of biological factors for behavioral development, the system of psychology he developed did not cast the discipline as a purely biological science. Rather, genes, brains, hormones were understood by him as participating, rather than causal factors in behavioral origins. He worked from two basic principles that he said he became aware of in graduate school: the importance of prenatal development and the bidirectional nature of structure-function relations. Development was, for him, epigenetic, although it was probabilistic and not predetermined. He was, therefore, against biological determinism and strict genetic reductionism. Behavioral origins have an experiential basis,…although he understood much of that experience to be non-obvious and arduous to discern.
Abstract: Gilbert Gottlieb's theory of probabilistic epigenesis replaced the nature-nurture dichotomy, and similar oppositions, with an integrated account of the development of the entire behavioral phenotype. In that theory, invariant developmental outcomes cannot be identified with an organism's ‘nature,’ if by that term is meant a set of predetermined and unalterable features, such as a genetic blueprint. All developmental outcomes result from dynamic interactions among a variety of factors. Some of those outcomes (such as behavior often labeled ‘innate’ or ‘instinctive’) are relatively invariant, but this invariance reflects a dynamic rather than a static constancy, ensured by a system of stable…developmental interactions, not a predetermined set of instructions encoded in the genes.
Abstract: Near the end of his illustrious career, Gottlieb lamented the continued dominance of heritability analysis in human psychology and the difficulties in winning support for the developmental point of view. Recent, spectacular progress in molecular genetic neuroscience and the genetic study of behavior, however, is rendering heritability analysis passé. In many recent articles that mention “heritability,” the term is employed in the generic sense of transmission of something, not necessarily genes, from parent to offspring, rather than as a claim to separate genetic and environmental influences on development. Increasingly, genetic analysis shows why genetic and environmental effects are not and…cannot be additive in reality.
Abstract: In this contribution it is shown that Gilbert Gottlieb's theoretical contributions to developmental science, in particular his focus on individual development and his discussion of the limitations of developmental behavior genetics in this respect, are vindicated by recent theoretical developments in mathematical biology and psychometrics.
Abstract: Gilbert Gottlieb's formative role in establishing a science of experimental behavioral embryology is described. His experimental program on the development of species identification served as a model for developmental psychobiologists seeking alternatives to the nature-nurture dichotomies prevalent in the 20th century. Two of the major concepts included in his theory of probabilistic epigenesis, the bidirectional nature of structure-function relationships and the developmental manifold, had profound effects on developmental science during the second half of the 20th century. The recent rise of developmental systems theory as an integrated view of development, heredity, and evolution owes much to Gottlieb's sustained…experimental and theoretical work in this broad domain.
Abstract: Gottlieb used naturalistic observations of normally occurring events in the life history of individuals for the purpose of discovering the role of experience in the development of species-typical behaviors. His research revealed the impact of self-generated experiences (particularly those experiences that were self-stimulated) in the establishment of the universality of developmental traits. Some examples are described that highlight the differences between the direct (self-stimulative) and indirect influences (eliciting changes in the social and physical environment) of self-generated experience on the developmental progression of species-typical behavior. The development of species typical traits such as reproductive behaviors in birds and handedness in…human infants is presented as examples of how self-generated experience can contribute toward the understanding of the development of behavioral traits.
Abstract: Gilbert Gottlieb was an elegant experimentalist whose research was inspired in part by naturalistic observations of parent-offspring vocal-auditory interactions of waterfowl. Such observations are essential in identifying potential linear (obvious) as well as nonlinear (subtle) mechanisms underlying the development of species-typical behavior. His series of experiments on the development of species identification in birds illustrates the fruitfulness of his conceptual and theoretical approach, which also inspired my own work on alarm call responsivity of ducklings. The respective developmental systems we studied both in nature and in the lab are greatly influenced by nonlinear experiential factors and also illustrate multiple pathways…toward developmental outcomes.
Keywords: Naturalistic observation, Nonlinear experience, Transactionalism, Auditory communication
Abstract: Gottlieb promoted the value of a developmental psychobiological systems approach to the study of human development. This approach recognizes the importance of comparative, animal-based research to advancing our understanding of the complexities and dynamics of the process of development. The major contribution of animal developmental studies is their provision of food for thought (hypotheses, not facts) about human development and general principles of development. Here we briefly describe how, guided by Gottlieb's pioneering vision, we have utilized coordinated studies of non-human animal and human infants to begin to identify patterns of selective attention and perceptual processing that are common across…species in early development. Our converging findings highlight the importance of multimodal (intersensory) redundancy in guiding and constraining early perceptual learning in avian and mammalian species.