Saul McLeodpublishedupdated Developmental psychology is a scientific approach which aims to explain growth, change and consistency though the lifespan. Developmental psychologists study a wide range of theoretical areas, such as biological, social, emotion, and cognitive processes. Empirical research in this area tends to be dominated by psychologists from Western cultures such as North American and Europe, although during the s Japanese researchers began making a valid contribution to the field. To describe development it is necessary to focus both on typical patterns of change normative development and on individual variations in patterns of change i.
These processes must be understood in the context of psychological development and social influences. Bradford Brown provided an overview of psychosocial development and adolescent risk-taking, and Valerie Reyna explored recent research on reasoning and decision making as it applies to adolescent risk-taking.
Put simply, there are four key tasks: He identified two ways in which these basic tasks relate to the risks that adolescents take.
First, many risk behaviors can either foster or impede the successful accomplishment of these tasks. Second, adolescents may turn to risky behaviors to help themselves cope with the failure to succeed in one of these areas.
Brown looked first at the relationship between risk-taking and the development of identity, which has been viewed by some psychologists as primarily an individual psychological process and by others as more of a social process. In the first view, originally associated with the work of Erik Erikson, the task is understood as a process of distancing oneself from the views of others, particularly parents, to form a clear sense of who one is as a person Developmental psychology and accessed how one wishes to behave in the world.
When that process is successful, individuals are likely to avoid major risk-taking, but for individuals who have a more diffuse state of identity, there may be an association with drug use and other risks. Those who take the second perspective think that individuals draw their sense of self from the social world and that they have a primary interest in the way they are perceived and in how others respond to them.
The result may also be a coordinated, secure sense of self, but for individuals who go through this process in a social context Developmental psychology and accessed which risk-taking is the norm, they are likely to be more prone to taking risks.
A part of the task for adolescents is to discern the criteria for these possible identities, evaluate them, and decide whether and how to incorporate them into their personal sense of self.
This process is a particular challenge for immigrant youth, who often must decipher both the culture of their family and ethnic or national group and the culture into which they have immigrated. Research on immigrant youth has suggested that, in this circumstance, many young people choose either to stick closely with their home culture, conforming to traditional customs and styles of dress and gaining the reputation of a good boy or girl, or to reject that option in favor of a more Americanized identity.
The Americanized orientation often means association with risk-taking peers. The development of autonomy is closely linked to identity formation and is also generally conceptualized primarily as either a psychological or an interpersonal process. Some researchers, Brown explained, have suggested that there is a universal process through which individuals develop healthy autonomy Kagitcibasi, When this process goes awry, the result is often increased risk-taking.
Other researchers have shown that young people who develop autonomy either too early or too late in their development often have poorer outcomes than those who develop it at the same time that their peers do Dishion et al. Finally, adolescents spend a lot more time with their peers than younger children do and are more heavily influenced by them than younger children are.
The drive for affiliation and acceptance at this stage makes adolescents more open to peer influence and also tends to promote the rapid development of new relationships—with less time spent on negotiation of the basis for the friendship than at other stages of life.
Openness to both neutral and prosocial influences is higher at every stage. Less is known about the reasons underlying the trajectory of openness to influence, although Brown noted that it seems likely to be related to the neurobiological developments discussed above.
Some evidence suggests that adolescents are most susceptible to peer influence in the early stages of new relationships or just prior to the development of a new relationship.
Risk behaviors are also correlated with several more specific kinds of social situations, including romantic relationships that develop early in adolescence, association with older peers or permissive peer groups, romantic or sexual relationships with older partners, and lax adult supervision.
If teenagers perceive, for example, that risky driving makes them more attractive or that engaging in unprotected sex makes them appear more faithful—those images may be important to their personal identity—within their peer group, they may decide to engage in those behaviors despite awareness of the risks.
This reality highlights the importance of developing social competence, another of the key tasks of adolescence. The capacity to engage effectively in social relationships is very important both for developing identity and for gaining acceptance from desired peer groups.
Two skills are of particular importance for developing social competence: Individual adolescents who control their impulses very effectively are likely to have a very different pattern of social relationships than individuals who do not—and they are less likely to manifest aggressive behavior Cairns et al.
Consequently, many other individuals will tend to avoid impulsive adolescents, leaving them with a peer group made up of other aggressive individuals.
Such peer groups tend to be less stable than others.
The pattern is similar with emotion regulation—adolescents who are not successful at it struggle to form stable peer relationships.About the Developmental Psychology Program. The field of Developmental Psychology is devoted to understanding basic processes of change, in particular, how biological and experiential factors cause children's social, emotional, and cognitive functioning to change as they grow older.
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Developmental psychology is a scientific approach which aims to explain growth, change and consistency though the lifespan. Developmental psychology looks at how thinking, feeling, and behavior change throughout a person’s r-bridal.com: Saul Mcleod.
The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (JADP) publishes scholarly empirical research relating to human development. The Journal focuses on two key concepts: human development and application of knowledge.