International Journal of Developmental Science - Volume 6, issue 1-2
Purchase individual online access for 1 year to this journal.
Price: EUR 55.00
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.
Abstract: In this short contribution I introduce myself to the readership of the International Journal of Developmental Science by describing some high points in my scientific career, leading up to a major change in my perspective on the proper way to conduct empirical research in developmental science.
Abstract: Reaction times are still rarely reported in developmental psychology although they are an indicator of the neural maturity of children's information processing system. Competence and capacity are confounded in development, where children may be able to reason, or remember, but are unable to cope with information processing load. Furthermore, there are social implications in ignoring the speed factor. Slow and apparently delayed reactions from infants and children often try the patience of parents and teachers alike, and can be interpreted as non-compliance already before the child gets the chance to respond. Furthermore, individual differences in reaction times in young children…are high, with standard deviations that may prevent significance of differences between task conditions. This inaugural article argues that reaction time research with children nevertheless can be done and raises the methodological problems involved. An example is presented that shows that challenges to capacity reveal true mental effort in a memory task when delay is controlled down to milliseconds rather than just in terms of the number of delay items.
Keywords: reaction time, children, mental load, mental effort, mental challenge
Abstract: The idea of successful development is used as the conceptual platform for a proposal that three basic principles of developmental science be expanded. Specifically, we propose that (a) developmental science needs to be reframed as a guide for what successful development is and how it is manifested at different times of the life course; (b) that the integrative emphasis of developmental science needs to emphasize the intersection of developmental domains as well as the integration of concepts from other disciplines; and (c) that careful distinctions need to be made between the life span approach (i.e., research focused on processes within…one moment of the life course) and the life history approach (i.e., understanding stability and change across part of the life course). It is argued that the concept of successful development can be used to enrich developmental science.
Keywords: successful development, life span, life history
Abstract: From a biopsychosocial perspective on human development, this essay review introduces a model linking social changes at the macro level with individual development at the micro level. German unification and the globalization of economy that followed are taken as a case in point for social changes that have affected the lives of many. It is argued that social change cascades down to the individual level through various contexts of development where it is manifested in terms of demands individuals have to negotiate. Empirical examples from recent research on the process and results of this negotiation are provided.
Keywords: social change, uncertainties in work, coping, well-being, contexts as moderators
Abstract: This review encompasses a time-span of about 50 years of research on morality and moral development. It discusses Kohlberg's (1984) work as a milestone that constituted the cognitive developmental viewpoint of morality and that dominated research for about three decades. In this paradigm the role of reasoning and deliberation was emphasized as the basis for morality. Towards the end of the last century new paradigms of morality arose outside of developmental psychology, bridging from the social sciences and humanities to the natural sciences. These paradigms emphasize moral feelings and intuitions as the basis of morality. Basic aspects of these approaches…are presented, also in light of moral developmental science.
Keywords: moral reasoning, moral emotions, deliberation, moral intuition, paradigm change
Abstract: Research on bullying and victimization, especially in school settings, has become an important area of developmental research, with strong practical implications. In this article we overview some considerations from neuropsychology, quantitative genetics, developmental neuroscience, we discuss CU traits and conduct problems, individual, group, class and school levels of analysis, developmental changes by age and context, and cross-cultural aspects. Together we argue that these can help bring about a developmental science perspective on to this area of research.
Keywords: bullying, victimization, aggression, school
Abstract: In this essay we argue that our societal and individual beliefs about aging can have an influence on the aging process. We give a brief illustration how life-span developmental theories have undergone a process of development themselves in the last years. Hereby it is essential that old age is conceptualized as a result of a lifelong aging process that can be influenced by individual action. Finally, we illustrate how developmental science can contribute to research on aging and on old age and discuss a number of research desiderata.
Keywords: beliefs about aging, social norms, self-regulation, successful aging, aging in context
Abstract: Although there are certainly traditions of conducting longitudinal/developmental analyses to trace outcomes of preventive behavior and academic interventions (i.e., traditions that collectively can be referred to as development through intervention practices), less attention has been given to combined analyses of the changes behavior interventions introduce within and across specific developmental changes. This essay considers the rationale for and the benefits of such analyses for developmental science.
Abstract: Research in the past decades has investigated the time course of the acquisition of physical knowledge in early development in much detail. However, few is known about the motives that actually lead infants to interact with the objects of their physical world. The research presented here investigated in two experiments if 11-month-old infants' reaches for objects are guided by preferences for particular object features. To this end, infants in Experiment 1 (n = 16) could choose in a preferential reaching task between an object made of sponge or wood. In Experiment 2, infants (n = 16) could again choose between…a sponge and a wooden object. This time, however, the objects differed also in their weight (light or heavy). The results of both experiment show that infants preferred to interact with the sponge rather than the wooden object, independent of the weight of the object. This suggests that material preferences play an important role in infants' object interactions and that these material preferences can even override the different action affordances of the light and heavy object.
Abstract: Many programs to prevent aggressive behaviours have been implemented at German schools. One such program is “Faustlos”, a German adaptation of Second Step. This study investigated the social validity of the Faustlos curriculum in a sample of German fourth graders. Social validity refers to the level of acceptance associated with a prevention program. In our study 117 children were asked to report their opinions about Faustlos. The methods that were used throughout the program were differentially valued by the children. Moreover, results indicate that the children reported different situations in which they used and valued contents of the program. The…results revealed three groups of children. Some children found the program useful, other children attributed usefulness to it, but based on theoretical knowledge and the third group reported no perceived usefulness. Findings will be discussed with regard to the further development of aggression prevention programs.
Keywords: usefulness, aggression prevention, social validity, interviews, elementary school children