Human Development across the Life Span: Educational and Psychological Applications

Human Development across the Life Span: Educational and Psychological Applications

Human Development across the Life Span: Educational and Psychological Applications

Human Development across the Life Span: Educational and Psychological Applications

Synopsis

This new collection of writings describes the recent thinking of psychologists and educators regarding interactive development across the spectrum of competency domains within the individual. Significant research efforts emphasizing innovations in qualitative methodology, pedagogical refinements, and therapeutic interventions--both remedial and prophylactic--are presented to illustrate recent applications of current life-span development theorizing.

Excerpt

Deborah J. Youngman

Philosophical and literary references dating to antiquity document pre- scientific recognition of human development across the life span. Proto- Grecian and Platonic formulae for successful living were subsumed within Aristotle's logical conceptualization of propriety, which, though temporarily obscured by the metaphysics of the Middle Ages, has evinced authority since Classical times, informing even contemporary notions of evolution as hierarchical and teleological. Throughout Western history, prominent developmental indices have furthermore been, more or less, characterized by biological determinism and a prescriptive intent; age-differentiated tasks have been presumed to define the human condition while refining the social order.

Intellectual heir to emerging scientific methodology as well as to the eighteenth-century philosophical construction of human agency and spontaneity, the French scientist Quetelet (1796-1874) can justly be considered the founder of life span psychology. Employing systematic cross-sectional technique, Quetelet demonstrated that human variance and quantitative change over time is influenced not only by age but by constitutive features of the physical and social environment as well. Likewise of significance for our purposes here was the work of his predecessor, Pestalozzi (1746-1827), who had promulgated, as later did William James and John Dewey at the end of nineteenth century, the role of education in the purposive development of the whole human being toward prosocial ends. Interestingly, such considerations adumbrate more recent theoretical pursuits after an intervening period during which relatively less significance was attached to these themes.

Diverse, proceeding contributions by Goethe, Galton, Preyer, Darwin, and others across the disciplines laid the ground for the pioneering work of theorists such as Baldwin, Binet, Mead, Hall, and Buhler (1893-1974) a century later. In a notable departure from prevailing cross-sectional studies, Charlotte Buhler collected longitudinal data on . . .

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