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Normative development is typically viewed as a continual and cumulative process. Children become more skillful in thinking, talking or acting much the same way as they get taller.The discontinuity view sees development as more abrupt-a succession of changes that produce different behaviors in different age-specific life periods called stages.
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.e. Although there are typical pathways of development that most people will follow, no two persons are exactly alike.
Developmental psychologists must also seek to explain the changes they have observed in relation to normative processes and individual differences.
Psychologists of the discontinuity view believe that people go through the same stages, in the same order, but not necessarily at the same rate.
When trying to explain development, it is important to consider the relative contribution of both nature and nurture.
Initially developmental psychologists were interested in studying the mind of the child so that education and learning could be more effective.
Developmental changes during adulthood is an even more recent area of study.
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 life.
Empirical research in this area tends to be dominated by psychologists from Western cultures such as North American and Europe, although during the 1980s Japanese researchers began making a valid contribution to the field.
The three goals of developmental psychology are to describe, explain, and to optimize development (Baltes, Reese, & Lipsitt, 1980).