- 1 What is Evolutionary or Developmental Psychology?
- 2 Areas or areas of development
- 3 Development factors
What is Evolutionary or Developmental Psychology?
Is named Evolutionary Psychology or Developmental Psychology to the study of how people change throughout their lives, from birth to old age. Since practically everything that refers to a person changes throughout the life cycle, Evolutionary Psychology includes all the topics studied by psychologists, such as thinking, language, intelligence, emotions and social behavior. But developmental psychologists focus only on a certain aspect of these issues: how and why changes occur as people get older.
In trying to understand the "what" and the "how" of human development, psychologists focus on three topics of permanent interest.
- One is the subject of individual characteristics before shared human traits. Although there are many common patterns in human development, each person's development is also unique in certain ways. We all undertake essentially the same path of development, but each of us does it in different ways and experiences events in different ways.
- A second topic is stability against change. Human development is characterized by important life transitions and discontinuities with the past.
- Finally, the subject of the inheritance before the environment It is central to Evolutionary Psychology. Human development is explained by a combination of biological forces and environmental experiences. Both interact constantly to model the growth of people.
Areas or areas of development
Usually in Evolutionary Psychology or Developmental Psychology, four areas or areas of development are defined; The name given to these areas is not always what I propose here, but similar):
- Physical and psychomotor development; includes, for example, crawling; walk; motor coordination; construction of the body scheme and location of oneself to space; physical changes of puberty and sexual maturation.
- Cognitive development; for example, acquisition of symbolic capacity; evolution from intuitive and concrete thinking to hypothetical and abstract reasoning; changes in perception; changes in attention; memory changes
- Social, emotional and personality development; for example, internalization of values, norms, habits and social behaviors; emotion control; sexuality development; overcoming the Oedipus complex (psychoanalytic theory); move towards personal independence; construction of personal identity; development of self-esteem; moral autonomy; formation of friendly relations.
- Communication and language development; for example, sound emission; first words; phrase issuance
In Evolutionary Psychology The following factors are often identified as responsible for psychological changes throughout human life:
- Maturation. Maturation refers to the organic evolution (nervous system evolution, evolution of the organs, of the endocrine system ...). Do not confuse maturation with development. The development It is the organization of the processes of psychological change that take place from birth to death of the person. Maturation is only one of the factors that, in interaction with other factors, explain these changes. Therefore, it is important not to use the term maturation as development equivalent. We limit its use to organic evolution. It is also important to keep in mind that organic evolution occurs thanks to the organism's interactions with the environment. Without experience there is no organic evolution. Maturation is a factor that the two great theorists of Evolutionary Psychology: Piaget Y Vygotsky they consider important, but far from the most important (one more factor, necessary but not sufficient).
- Interaction with the physical and social environment. Piaget differentiates this factor in two: the interaction with the physical environment (or physical experience) and the interaction with the social environment (it also tells you social experience or social influences; here it includes education ...). The distinction is made because, although on paper he states that the two factors are equally important, in his work and in the theory he develops, he pays special attention to physical experience (in the interaction with physical reality, with the world of objects), while social experience would have a more marginal role in explaining the changes.
- The historical, political conditions of the context in which the person develops. Here culture, socio-historical conditions are encompassed in a very broad sense. Being a child in Spain at the end of the 20th century is not the same as three centuries ago. And nowadays, it is not the same being a child in Spain as in Colombia, for example. It would also be necessary to consider the educational policy in force at a given time, the economic situation of the country, etc.