Dan Morrow and Renato F. L. Azevedo
This chapter reviews literature related to relationships between expertise and aging. It first considers how experts excel on domain-relevant tasks despite cognitive limitations and how these expertise-related advantages develop, which suggest ways in which adults can offset age-related cognitive constraints to maintain performance in later years. The chapter then reviews studies that examine two issues about how expertise influences performance as we age. First, to what extent high-level experts can retain superior levels of performance as they age, an issue often addressed in fairly narrow domains such as games, sports, and music. A second, broader issue concerns whether the benefits or costs associated with domain-general as well as domain-specific knowledge change with age. This second issue is central to lifespan theory: To what extent does knowledge and skill associated with experience offset age-related declines in abilities and function.
Anthony A. Volk
A significant body of literature has examined human families from an evolutionary perspective. Another significant body of literature has examined adoptive families. Unfortunately, these two bodies of literature have generally been kept separate from each other. To address this gap, I examine adoption from an evolutionary perspective. My goal is to both better understand adoption via evolutionary theory, as well as to better understand the evolution of families via adoption. I examine several forms and functions of adoption, including adoption as a substitute for biological children, adoption as a means of kin support, and adoption as a means of social exchange and manipulation. From an evolutionary perspective, what stands out about adoption is its ubiquity and its diversity, its emphasis on biological kinship, and its potential utility as a social tool. I recommend further studies on the ecology of adoption, as well as unifying adoption with other modern approaches to families, including cognitive psychology and neuroscience.
Hal Shorey, Steven Bisgaier, and Scott Thien
Theory and research support a developmental model of hope, wherein hope is formed in the context of secure attachment to supportive parents in childhood. This chapter reviews the literature and articulates the many biopsychosocial processes involved in instilling a secure attachment style and the hopeful cognitive processes that go with it. In so doing, it highlights the critical balance between exploratory and attachment systems, with the need for approach-oriented goal pursuits on the one side and having a secure base to retreat to on the other. It demonstrates how both functions (exploration and attachment/proximity-seeking) are needed for hope to flourish and highlights key elements needed for use in resiliency and intervention efforts as well as for research on developmental positive psychology.
Band of Brothers or Band of Siblings?: An Evolutionary Perspective on Sexual Integration of Combat Forces
Kingsley R. Browne
Sexual integration of combat forces presents underappreciated challenges. Sex differences in physical capacity remain important in modern warfare, and the sexes also differ in combat-relevant psychological traits, including risk taking and aggressiveness. Moreover, group dynamics have consequences for unit cohesion and combat performance. Men more easily participate in coalitions organized to mete out violence, a tendency enhanced in the presence of intergroup competition. Men's coalitions require lower levels of investment and can persist for longer in the face of within-group conflict than women's coalitions. Combat units rely on cohesion to enable performance, and introduction of women tends to reduce cohesion because, among other reasons, men often find it difficult to trust women. The attributes that soldiers value in comrades are ones that would have been important for primitive warriors, including strength, physical courage, and other aspects of masculinity, which may mean that women cannot evoke trust in their male comrades the way other men can.
The Bible instructs men to take a proactive approach to their problem with paternity – the possibility that a man's putative child may be another man's genetic offspring – by stoning brides who do not bleed on first penetration, by burning women who have become pregnant out of wedlock, by torturing and poisoning wives who are suspected of adultery, by executing women who have committed adultery and by murdering female prisoners of war who are not virgins. In addition to enhancing men's assurance of paternity, control of women reduces conflict between men over women, which enhances male-male solidarity and thus a society's capacity for military conquest. Concomitant to instructions for controlling women, the Bible commands adherents to commit absolute genocide against people whose land they wish to occupy, kill men in surrounding nations unless they agree to be slaves, and take their virgin women and girls as booty.
Although some non-Western cultures also sanctify such practices, in other traditional societies women have been “very free and at liberty in doing what they please with themselves” (Barbosa, 1500/1866) and military conquest has not been a religious obligation. It follows that the Bible's dark legacy is not a requirement of human nature.
Jayanthi Mistry, Mariah Contreras, and Elizabeth Pufall-Jones
In this chapter we synthesize extant scholarship and research to delineate the unique or specific socialization processes that are theorized as facilitating academic performance of bicultural children. We integrate two conceptual models that base the experience of being an underrepresented minority as a central feature of the developmental pathways and psychosocial processes of ethnic-minority children. We then use this integrated framework to organize our synthesis of empirical research on the adaptive familial processes and promotive features of children’s socio-cultural contexts that lead to school achievement for bicultural youth. Potential pathways that are both theorized and tested through empirical research suggest that racial and ethnic socialization messages impact educational outcomes indirectly and directly through their impact on racial-ethnic identity and self-esteem. When parents provide messages of racial/cultural pride and optimally prepare their children for bias in extra-familial settings, such efforts have been shown to mediate the effects of discrimination so that children can function and flourish in educational settings. Research also highlights alternative pathways, in that racial and ethnic socialization have been found to effect educational outcomes by bolstering self-system processes. However, more recent research highlights the complex interplay between these familial and intrapersonal processes within the varied socio-cultural contexts of children. Here, salience of being a minority, sense of belonging in a setting, and the diversity of children’s settings emerge at the forefront of analytic considerations.
Olin Eugene Myers Jr.
This chapter summarizes current knowledge about children’s relationships to nature. While nature has always been part of childhood, concern about whether it will retain its traditional roles has risen apace with reduced exposure to it in the West. The chapter first examines Western cultural associations between children and nature, then presents contemporary psychological theories and methods used in this field. Key themes from research include that children are losing access to nature and inhabiting it less; that play in nature is varied and shows developmental patterns; that nature provides both powerful positive and negative emotional experiences; and that children are cognitively equipped to understand the living world. Technological simulations of nature may not provide all that real nature provides. This may include a wide range of physical and psychological benefits that are increasingly recognized.
Patricia M. King and Karen Strohm Kitchener
This chapter examines cognitive development in emerging adulthood by focusing on two concepts: cognitive complexity and development. More specifically, it explores how complex cognitive abilities enable emerging adults to better cope with the demands of adult life through the aid of complex thinking that results from cognitive development. To understand cognitive development, the chapter first outlines several conditions that make a cognitive change developmental in nature. It then discusses three cognitive processes, namely, cognition, metacognition, and epistemic cognition, with emphasis on the theory and research related to each. In addition, it considers age-related issues of cognitive development. William G. Perry Jr.’s seminal work on students’ intellectual and ethical development in the college years is also examined, together with the concepts of self-evolution and self-authorship. Finally, the chapter discusses the dynamic development theory developed by Fischer et al. and its implications for understanding epistemic development.
Daniel Brian Krupp, Lisa M. DeBruine, and Benedict C. Jones
Genetic relatedness is central to the problems of social evolution. Whenever individuals interact nonrandomly with respect to genotype, their actions may have indirect fitness consequences. Although population structure affects the frequency of interactions among relatives, kin recognition systems can help optimize behavior to the advantage of the actor’s genetic posterity. Here, we review the functional and mechanistic foundations of kin recognition systems and demonstrate their effects on cooperation and conflict in a number of different species, devoting special attention to the case of Homo sapiens. We conclude by developing several testable hypotheses about the impact of kin recognition on social behavior.
Lutz H. Eckensberger
The following chapter deals with the concept of Culture-Inclusive Action Theory (CIAT) and research the author and his coworkers conducted primarily in Saarbrücken (and later in Frankfurt) over the last 35 years in two (complementary) subject areas, which also form the roots of the chapter: cross-cultural research and development of moral judgment in the tradition of Piaget/Kohlberg. In cross-cultural psychology, the duality “person versus culture” is unavoidable. In moral development, the dualities “content versus structure,” “facts versus norms,” and “affects versus cognition” are likewise unavoidable. In both research fields, the assumption of a dialectical relation between these dualities and the role of action theory in relation to dialectics was and still is attractive. In the following this role is interpreted also within Dynamic System Theory, by the concepts of upward emergence and downward selection, which are synthesized by the human action. This theoretical orientation from the very beginning called for its justification vìs-a-vìs mainstream psychology by implying meta-theoretical reflections. After a short introduction into dialectics and action theory in psychology, a more detailed treatment of the two research subjects are presented. The first step in both topics was (biographically) a systematic theoretical analysis dealing with the meaning of culture for psychology and the deep structure of moral development. In both topics the (descriptive) application of action theory and the (interpretative) appropriation of dialectics was productive and lead to contextualized research by conceptualizing a “regional cultural identity” on the one hand and formulating “types of everyday morality” on the other. This cultural contextualization is the reason for calling our approach Culture-Inclusive Action Theory (CIAT). A later study on the process of coming to terms with cancer was based on the same theoretical model; developed in both fields (culture and morality), it was also methodically contextualized from the very beginnings.
Louise Chawla and Victoria Derr
With a focus on childhood and adolescence, this chapter seeks to understand how people come to act responsibly on behalf of the environment. It begins with a brief overview of selected theories related to the development of agency and the motivation to act as a framework for research reviews in three areas of young people’s experience: informal play and exploration in nature; environmental education programs in schools and in the field; and wilderness experience programs. The chapter compares research results in these areas with the goal of understanding the types of experiences that prepare young people to take action for the environment, considers how these results correspond with processes that would be predicted by developmental theory, and distills recommendations for the design of school-based programs, wilderness adventure programming, and the design of communities that facilitate free access to nature. Directions for future research are suggested.
Do Everyday Affective Experiences Differ Throughout Adulthood?: A Review of Ambulatory-Assessment Evidence
Michaela Riediger and Antje Rauers
Do adults from different age groups vary in the intensity or the variability of their everyday affective experiences? Are there age-related differences in the likelihood of encountering, and in the intensity of affectively reacting to, affect-eliciting events in daily life? Do individuals from different age groups differ in the complexity of their everyday affective lives? We review evidence on these questions currently available from ambulatory assessment studies. Ambulatory assessment refers to a group of research techniques—such as diary or experience sampling methods—that repeatedly capture everyday experiences as they naturally occur in people’s daily lives. We summarize the strengths and challenges of ambulatory assessment methods, discuss the available evidence from ambulatory assessment studies on age differences in everyday affective experiences and stability, and summarize research on possible factors that may contribute to these effects. Here, we address findings on age differences in the likelihood of encountering distressing experiences, on age differences in people’s affective reactions to such events, and on age differences in people’s affect regulation orientations. We also review ambulatory assessment evidence on age differences in the complexity of everyday affective experiences.
Parenting can be understood as the transmission of cultural norms and values that are adapted to particular environmental conditions. Thus, parenting merges biological predispositions with cultural emphases. Two prototypical parenting strategies are discussed. Parenting in Western middle-class families is regarded as prototypical of dual parenting. Exclusive attention is directed to the child from birth on in a dyadic behavioral mode. Socialization efforts stress the child’s individual uniqueness and emphasize a mental world of intentions, cognitions, and emotions. Parenting in subsistence-based farm families is regarded as prototypically communal parenting. The child is embedded into the shared attention of multiple caregivers. The prevalent behavioral mode is proximal, and socialization efforts stress the communal nature of the self and role-based responsibilities, with early tutoring of these behavioral modes. Implications for the definition of adulthood as related to parenting, as well as continuity and discontinuity in developmental trajectories, are discussed.
Gisela Labouvie-Vief, Anne-Laure Gilet, and Nathalie Mella
In this chapter, we discuss Fredda Blanchard-Fields’ important contribution to the understanding of emotional regulation in later life by relating it to a recent cognitive-developmental theory (Dynamic Integration Theory [DIT]) that posits joint development and aging of the cognitive-executive and emotional systems. This conception, inspired by the work of Jean Piaget, describes cognitive-emotional development during the first part of the lifespan as a process in which the capacity for sustaining emotional tension becomes raised as higher order cognitive representations become part of a common regulatory network. This process raises the functional tension threshold range over which emotional equilibrium is maintained. In contrast to earlier development, aging is characterized by a lowering of tension thresholds that brings greater vulnerability to high levels of activation in conditions that are novel and involve a great deal of effort. In contrast, well-automated knowledge and crystallized knowledge can provide a degree of buffering against these negative changes and is, at times, even related to increases in the depth and integration of experience.
Elizabeth A. Kensinger, Eric Allard, and Anne C. Krendl
Many of the benefits conveyed to memory by socioemotional processing are preserved even as adults age. Like young adults, older adults are more likely to remember emotional information than neutral information and to benefit from self-referential processing of information. There is, however, one age-related change in emotional memory that has garnered widespread discussion in the psychological literature: the “positivity effect,” or the tendency for older adults to remember proportionally more positive information than do young adults. This essay discusses how an affective neuroscience perspective is revealing what aspects of socioemotional processing change with aging, shedding light on why aging preserves the memory benefits conveyed by socioemotional processing while at the same time influencing the valence of information that is most likely to be remembered.
Arnett’s (2000) theory of emerging adulthood has been both widely celebrated and strongly criticized. However, it has not yet been closely scrutinized for what it claims to be: “a new theory of development for the late teens though the twenties.” The purpose of this chapter is to take up this scrutiny, evaluating some of the major postulations and criticisms of emerging adulthood in light of the available evidence. In particular, the chapter focuses on three broad claims pertaining to emerging adulthood: (1) that it is a developmental stage, (2) that it is a theory, and (3) that it is nonsense. The analysis presented in the chapter is not meant to resolve the debates in the field but rather to examine the nuance and celebrate the complexity of the questions in order to stimulate further theory and research on the topic.
Bradley Taber-Thomas and Koraly Pérez-Edgar
Emerging adulthood (EA) is marked by a prolonged developmental transition to adulthood, dynamic personal and environmental circumstances, and unique patterns of vulnerability to psychological dysfunction. Neurodevelopment in childhood and adolescence has been studied extensively, but EA has not yet received its due attention from developmental cognitive neuroscience. The existing evidence shows that neurodevelopment continues throughout EA in support of emerging adult roles. The data suggest a frontolimbic fine-tuning model of brain development in EA that holds that adult functions are promoted through the strengthening of prefrontal regulation of limbic function and a newly emerging balance between prefrontal subregions involved in modulating approach and avoidance. Considering the overlap between these neurodevelopmental processes and the peak incidence of numerous psychological disorders in EA, it seems that individual differences in the dynamics of emerging adulthood neurodevelopment may not only underlie differences in functioning, but also risk for psychological disorder.
Manuela du Bois-Reymond
Emerging adulthood theory (EAT) has gained wide support in the social sciences over the past 15 years despite critical comments also being voiced. This contribution positions EAT within the main European traditions of theories about change in the lives of young people. It shows that EAT has antecedents in many of these theories, but without taking social class as thoroughly into account as it should. This is demonstrated by reanalyzing a US survey and by, albeit indirectly, referring to a European project that established a typology on educational disadvantage based on a multilayered methodology. The chapter encourages increasing cooperation between scholars in the field of youth studies in order to both overcome disciplinary rigidity and discourage a naïve reliance on interdisciplinarity as remedy for all problems.
Julia Dietrich and Katariina Salmela-Aro
The transition from education to work is a key developmental task of emerging adulthood. In this chapter, the authors approach this transition from an engagement perspective, presenting a model of phase-adequate engagement that links career development, developmental regulation, and identity development theories in the context of the education-to-work transition. Taking a phase-adequate engagement perspective, they then review the literature on emerging adults’ transition from education to work and the role of interpersonal contexts. The authors conclude with suggestions for future research, emphasizing that a holistic view is needed in the study of emerging adults’ engagement, one taking more into account the structural, institutional, and cultural contexts that emerging adults are exposed to when transitioning from education to work.
James P. Morris and Jessica J. Connelly
Every cell within a given organism contains the same DNA blueprint; in the case of humans, this means that the same DNA code can give rise to hundreds of different cell types with very diverse functions. The genome accomplishes this feat by organizing the DNA into domains that are transcriptionally active or inactive given the particular cell type and function. This occurs by modification of the DNA and the proteins bound to it; methylation of cytosine residues, DNA methylation, is one such “epigenetic” modification and is the focus of this chapter. The role of epigenetic influences on cultural diversity is poorly understood. Given the natural links between environment and biological function, epigenetic processes are poised to play a critical role in new approaches to understanding the biological underpinnings of culture.