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date: 28 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes the emergence and prominent features of a science of psychological development. Pioneering researchers established laboratories in Europe in the mid-nineteenth century to examine the significance of successive changes in the organism with the passage of time. American psychologists, many of whom had studied in the European laboratories, subsequently inaugurated similar efforts in the United States. Scientific theories and methods in the fledgling field were fostered by developments in experimental psychology, but also in physiology, embryology, ethology, and sociology. Moreover, organized efforts to provide information about development to parents, educators, and public policy specialists further propagated support for developmental science. The evolution of the field in its first century has provided a substantial platform for future developmental research.

Keywords: developmental psychology, history, normative studies, experimental methods, transactional processes, continuity/discontinuity, nativism/empiricism, genetic epistemology, developmental stages, context

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