Developmental psychology is the scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescenceadult developmentaging, and the entire lifespan. Developmental psychologists aim to explain how thinking, feeling, and behaviors change throughout life. This field examines change across three major dimensions: physical developmentcognitive development, and socioemotional development.[1][citation needed] Within these three dimensions are a broad range of topics including motor skillsexecutive functionsmoral understandinglanguage acquisitionsocial changepersonality, emotional development, self-concept, and identity formation.

Developmental psychology examines the influences of nature and nurture on the process of human development, and processes of change in context across time. Many researchers are interested in the interactions among personal characteristics, the individual’s behavior, and environmental factors, including the social context and the built environment. Ongoing debates in regards to developmental psychology include biological essentialism vs. neuroplasticity and stages of development vs. dynamic systems of development.

Developmental psychology involves a range of fields, such as educational psychologychild psychopathologyforensic developmental psychologychild developmentcognitive psychologyecological psychology, and cultural psychology. Influential developmental psychologists from the 20th century include Urie Bronfenbrenner,


The Self in a Social Context
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