Developmental Psychology

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Maturation-the unfolding of behaviors that are genetically programmed for all humans and learning-systematic changes in behavior, thoughts and feelings as a result of experience. 

To what extent do biological, cognitive, and socio-cultral factors influence human development?

Evaluate psychological research relevant to developmental psychology

  • Observations and interviews in naturalistic settings (don't lend to control)
  • Labratory experiments (ecological validity is questioned)
  • Combinations of experimental data are corroborated by findings from naturalistic settings
  • Case study (ethical issues)
  • Longitudinal research (participants development is measured over time)-time consuming
  • Corss-sectional design (comparing two or more groups on a particular variable

Evaluate theories of cognitive development


  • Newborn babies show universal characteristics at birth
  • Mirror neurons (baby responds to human faces, enables interaction long before language develops)
  • Synaptic growth is most significant in first year of life
  • Neuroplasticity (ability to develop and change in response to environment)
  • Chugani (1999) PET scan of glucose metabolism 
    • little activity in cerebral cortex (higher-level…


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