International Journal of Developmental Science - Volume 6, issue 1-2
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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: This essay describes briefly population neuroscience, the merging of genetics and epidemiology with neuroscience, and its goals with regard to (1) gaining new knowledge about processes leading to a particular state of brain structure and function, and (2) using this knowledge to predict the risk (and resilience) of an individual for developing a brain disorder. It then argues that these goals are best reached by espousing a developmental perspective that acknowledges the importance of the time dimension (within and across generations) when studying multi-level factors shaping the human brain.
Abstract: Many topics of interest to developmental scientists are informed by behavioural genetic findings and their implications. First, behavioural genetic theory and methods will be briefly outlined. Next, findings will be illustrated by considering two disparate areas – general cognitive ability (IQ), and children's self-conceptions. These topics have yielded some surprising results that fundamentally change the way we think about the influence of families.
Keywords: development, twins, behavioural genetics, adoption, family environment
Abstract: The empirical and conceptual interrelations of phylogeny (evolution) and ontogeny (development) may prove to be more important than previously acknowledged. It is argued that this holds particularly for evolutionary psychology. For instance, an evolutionary point of view will add to the explanation of (the shape of) pre- and postreductive phases of human development. Beyond the prospects of an evolutionary developmental psychology, the integrative potential of the crucial evolutionary concept of adaptation both for developmental and regulating (coping) processes is proposed as a useful starting point for the conceptual convergence of evolution and development.
Abstract: The aim of this essay is to elucidate the relevance of cross-species comparisons for the investigation of human behavior and its development. The focus is on the comparison of human children and another group of primates, the non-human great apes, with special attention to their cognitive skills. Integrating a comparative and developmental perspective, we argue, can provide additional answers to central and elusive questions about human behavior in general and its development in particular: What are the heritable predispositions of the human mind? What cognitive traits are uniquely human? In this sense, Developmental Science would benefit from results of Comparative…Psychology.
Keywords: development, cognitive skills, great apes, primates, comparative psychology
Abstract: In this essay, it is argued that a general understanding of human development needs a unified framework based on evolutionary theorizing and cross-cultural and cultural anthropological approaches. An eco-social model of development has been proposed that defines cultural milieus as adaptations to specific socio-demographic contexts. Ontogenetic development consists of pathways along universal developmental tasks that have to be solved in culture-specific modes. Especially the emphasis of particular modes of autonomy and relatedness influence the timing, stability, dynamics, and gestalts of developmental processes. This argument is exemplified with results from a multicultural research program.
Keywords: cultural pathways, infancy, autonomy, relatedness, parenting strategies
Abstract: The goal of developmental science is to describe, explain, and optimize intraindividual changes in adaptive developmental regulations and, as well, interindividual differences in such relations, across life. The history of developmental science is reviewed and its current foci, which are framed by relational developmental systems models that emphasize that change across life occurs through mutually-regulative relations between individuals and their context, are discussed. Finally, ideas about the future of developmental science are presented.
Keywords: relational developmental systems theory, developmental regulation, plasticity, non-ergodicity, social justice
Abstract: Developmental science aims to understand relations between the past, present, and future. Prior emphases on deterministic predictions based on continuities in biological or psychological traits have given way to multivariate and multilevel probabilistic estimates based on environmental transactions at every level. Continuity is now seen as an epiphenomenon of stable organism-environment relations. The study of discontinuities between levels over time provides the foundation for designing interventions to improve life trajectories by changing organism-environment relations.
Keywords: developmental science, continuity, discontinuity, opportunity structure, meaning systems
Abstract: Developmental science (DS) is defined somewhat differently by different researchers. In the present essay DS is defined as (1) it concerns understanding individual development, partly in contrast to group development, (2) DS is cross-disciplinary, and (3) the individual is regarded as a “functioning whole”, engaged in a developmental process in context, characterized by interactions. Empirical research carried out within a DS framework must pay attention to many issues such as: (1) The translation of a specific DS theory into informative hypotheses. (2) The integration of DS findings with the research literature. (3) Making the findings interpretable as addressing individual development.…Finally, it was pointed out that to maximally advance DS research a shared general theoretical framework and set of central concepts are necessary.