Developmental psychology concentrates on the development of behavior and psychological mechanisms throughout the lifespan. Developmental psychology takes all the core areas of psychology and adds age as a critical variable. Whereas a course in cognitive psychology would focus mainly on the cognitive mechanisms of adults, courses in developmental psychology provide information on changes in cognitive abilities and in cognitive mechanisms beginning in infancy or even in the prenatal period and extending into advanced old age. Major areas of interest and representative questions covered include:
- Genetic and environmental influences on development. Does the relative influence of genetic and environmental factors change as people get older?
- Sensory and perceptual development. How do changes in sensory ability affect the car driving of older people? When can infants recognize their mother’s faces?
- Cognitive development. What types of rules do 8-year-olds use to solve math problems? How does old age affect information processing?
- The development of achievement and intelligence. What types of environmental influences are associated with high achievement?
- Personality development. How do children differ in their temperament, and can we predict adult personality from studying temperament in young children?
- Parent-child relationships. What kinds of discipline are most effective with different kinds of children? How does conflict between spouses affect children?
- Peer relationships. What kinds of children are rejected by other children? How do intimate relationships change over the lifespan?
- Developmental sex differences. Are boys more aggressive than girls? Do men become less aggressive as they get older?
- Moral development. How do children develop a conscience?
- Developmental psychopathology. What are the causes of attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity) or Alzheimer’s disease.
Courses on child and adolescent development help prepare students for a variety of careers as teachers, day-care workers, and the helping professions directed at the care of children and older adults.
- May Ling Halim (Assistant Professor)
- Maricela Correa-Chavez (Assistant Professor)
-Kevin MacDonald (Professor)
- Clyde Pentz (Lecturer)