What is developmental Psychology?

What is developmental Psychology?
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 29-09-2023

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Humans go through various stages of development. Developmental psychologists study how people grow, develop, and adapt at different life stages. They conduct research designed to help people reach their full potential, for example, by studying the difference between learning styles in babies and adults. (APA)

Why Is It Important To Study Developmental Psychology?

Why do we say that a child ‘should’ start walking by the age of 1-2 years or that they should start saying small phrases by 1 year? How do we know that this is the norm? And what happens when they don t do so? Developmental psychology is the scientific study of human development. It shows you how people mature and the different stages of life. Knowing the different stages of development helps identify developmental goals and whether they are being met or not.

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Developmental Stages

The definition of development has changed over the years to make it more inclusive of every age group. Earlier, the concept of development ended at young adulthood because it was assumed that development stopped after a certain stage. Later definitions have finally reached a stage where they consider development a lifelong process, that is, from conception until death. Erik Erikson contributed significantly to the developmental stages that are: 

Infancy 
Toddler 
Preschool
Adolescent 
Young adulthood
Middle adulthood
Late adulthood 

Some Of The Many Issues Developmental Psychologists Assist With Include:

Cognitive development during childhood and throughout life
Developmental challenges and learning disabilities
Emotional development
Language acquisition
Moral reasoning
Motor skill development
Personality development
Self-awareness and self-concept
Social and cultural influences on child development

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When To See A Developmental Psychologist  

Developmental psychologists study human growth and development over the lifespan, including physical, cognitive, social, intellectual, perceptual, personality, and emotional growth. They focus on specific aspects of human development and track the developmental milestones for each of these areas. When people fail to reach those milestones, visiting a developmental psychologist is suggested. Out of all the different aspects of development, the four main categories that developmental psychologists focus on are:

Physical: these refer to the physical development norms that indicate healthy development. These developmental milestones are noted before the baby is even born. Ever since the baby starts to develop in the womb until it becomes old, its development is noted to see whether it is happening at the right pace or not. These include when the baby starts moving in the womb, when it starts walking, talking, solving intellectual problems, and so on. Any delay or problem faced in any activity should be consulted with an expert 

Social or emotional: Social development refers to a child s ability to create and sustain meaningful relationships with adults and other children. Emotional development is a child s ability to express, recognize, and manage his or her emotions, as well as respond appropriately to others emotions. The development which is caused by one s surroundings has proven to be interesting and important in an individual s life, so keeping track of that helps experts track one s development and the potential issues 

Intellectual: Cognitive or intellectual development means the growth of a child s ability to think and reason. It s about how they organize their minds, ideas and thoughts to make sense of the world they live in. cognitive impairment could be due to the mental health issues an individual may be dealing with. These issues may further contribute to the development of cognitive impairment, further hindering the optimal growth of the individual.  

Communication: how an individual communicates shows a great deal about their overall development. This must be tracked from the baby s first words to phrases, simple sentences, and further complex sentences. Hindrances in any of these developmental milestones can help in discovering what may be the issue and the potential solutions 

Some Disorders That Developmental Psychology Covers 

Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, leads to people having issues communicating properly. This is usually caused by differences in the brain. They may struggle with social interactions, have different ways of learning, and have repetitive behaviors. 

Learning disorder: having a learning disorder is not directly related to IQ levels. A person s having a learning disorder indicates nothing about their intelligence. Learning disorders affect one or more areas of learning where the individual may struggle to differentiate between left and right, reverse letters and so on 

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that is caused by an extra chromosome. This may lead to increased risks of health issues, intellectual problems and delayed learning 

Attention Deficit hyperactivity disorder: or ADHD, is one of the most common developmental disorders and may result in the individual not being able to pay attention, control impulsive behavior or have a lack of long-term thinking( not thinking about the consequences of a problem)

Learn More at HopeQure

HopeQure is a platform that psycho-educates people on various topics, including the one we discussed above such as ego psychology, humanistic psychology, issues that couples deal with and so much more. Our goal is to make you self-aware! And apart from psychoeducation, we also provide assistance to our experts on any topics that are relevant to your well-being! So feel free to reach out and learn more! 

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