Life-Span Development and Behavior - Vol. 11

Life-Span Development and Behavior - Vol. 11

Life-Span Development and Behavior - Vol. 11

Life-Span Development and Behavior - Vol. 11

Synopsis

The final volume in this significant series, this publication mirrors the broad scientific attention given to ideas and issues associated with the life-span perspective: constancy and change in human development; opportunities for and constraints on plasticity in structure and function across life; the potential for intervention across the entire life course (and thus for the creation of an applied developmental science); individual differences (diversity) in life paths, in contexts (or the ecology) of human development, and in changing relations between people and contexts; interconnections and discontinuities across age levels and developmental periods; and the importance of integrating biological, psychological, social, cultural, and historical levels of organization in order to understand human development.

Excerpt

The serial publication Life-Span Development and Behavior is aimed at reviewing life-span research and theory in the behavioral and social sciences, with a particular focus on contributions by psychologists and sociologists. As co-editors we do not attempt to organize each volume around a particular topic or theme. Rather, we solicit manuscripts from investigators who are conducting programmatic research on current problems or who are interested in refining particular theoretical positions. Occasionally, authors are invited to identify new areas of concern worthy of theoretical articulation or exploration. the lack of a single substantive focus for any given volume resulting from our editorial policy is somewhat compensated for by listing the contents of previous volumes of the series in each new volume. Thus, it is possible to link articles from the entire series along substantive or theoretical dimensions of particular interest.

The prefaces to the ten preceding volumes stated the purposes of introducing more empirical research into the field of life-span development and of increasing its interdisciplinary character. These two purposes are reaffirmed in the current volume.

Life-span research on human development contributes to a variety of intellectual positions, some of which deserve particular elaboration at this time. First, in the past few years research and theory in life-span development have given increased attention to the issue of constancy and change in human development and to the issue of opportunities for and constraints on plasticity in structure and function across life. For example, the assumption that the experiences of infancy and early childhood have a lasting and generalized effect on adulthood and personality is under increasing challenge by careful studies of the effects of early experiences, the results of which have not been entirely supportive of the simple view of continuity. in turn, research involving biological and cognitive processes has shown, at several periods of life (e.g., infancy, adolescence, the aged years), that the directions and outcomes of development are more open than believed on the basis of previous available evidence. a life-span approach, then, acknowledges the need for and existence of interconnection between age and developmental periods. It also focuses on conditions for possibly discontinuous development that emerge at later periods and exhibit less generality in terms of sequencing and occurrence than is true for many facets of child development such as physical and cognitive growth. a concern with nonnormative and . . .

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