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Child Development, November/December 2008, Volume 79, Number 6, Pages 1648 1653 In Defense of Change Processes
 

Summary: Child Development, November/December 2008, Volume 79, Number 6, Pages 1648 1653
In Defense of Change Processes
Karen E. Adolph
New York University
Scott R. Robinson
University of Iowa
Nativist and constructivist approaches to the study of development share a common emphasis on characterizing
beginning and end states in development. This focus has highlighted the question of preservation and
transformation--whether core aspects of the adult end state are present in the earliest manifestations during
infancy. In contrast, a developmental systems approach emphasizes the process of developmental change. This
perspective eschews the notions of objective starting and ending points in a developmental progression and rejects
the idea that any particular factor should enjoy a privileged status in explaining developmental change. Using
examples from motor development and animal behavior, we show how a developmental systems framework can
avoid the pitfalls of the long and contentious debate about continuity versus qualitative change.
Continuity and Qualitative Change
Every developmental researcher agrees that the pri-
mary goal of developmental psychology is to under-
stand development. As described in Kagan (2008),
a popular approach to the problem of understanding
development is to characterize beginning and end

  

Source: Adolph, Karen - Center for Neural Science & Department of Psychology, New York University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine