Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Upton I 3
Continuity/Discontinuity/Developmental psychology/Upton: Question: is psychological development a continuous path or is it a discontinuous stage-based process?
A. Continuous process: In continuous change, development is gradual and cumulative. Changes are quantitative in nature and the underlying processes that drive change are the same over the course of the lifespan. In this view, one behaviour or skill builds upon another, such that later development can be predicted from what occurred early in life.
B. Discontinuous change: here, development occurs in distinct, usually abrupt stages. Each stage is qualitatively different from the last. E.g., a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly.
Skills/abilities/developmental psychology: question: are psychological skills and abilities in childhood qualitatively different from those of adults, or are children merely mini adults, who simply lack the knowledge that comes with experience? One area in which this debate has been of primary concern is cognitive development.
Discontinuity: a proponent of this view is >Jean Piaget.
Stages/Piaget: Thesis: organisation. This gives rise to qualitative differences in thinking and reasoning at each stage. This, in turn, means that a child’s view of the world is different from that of an adult.
Continuity/psychological theories: E.g. information-processing models of cognitive development: have proposed (…) that cognitive change occurs because of an increase in quantitative advances, not qualitative differences. A child’s ability to engage in more sophisticated reasoning processes is believed to stem from a change in their capacity to handle information. This increased capacity, along with improved processing speeds, makes processing more efficient.( Information-processing VsPiaget). Continuity modelsVsPiaget, PiagetVsContinuitiy models, PiagetVsInformation processing models).


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Developmental Psychology
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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