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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This Handbook surveys what is now known about psychological development from birth to biological maturity, and it reflects the emergence of a new synthetic approach to developmental science that is based on several theoretical and methodological commitments. According to this new view: (1) psychological phenomena are usefully studied at multiple levels of analysis; (2) psychological development depends on neural plasticity, which extends across the lifespan; (3) the effect of any particular influence on psychological development will depend on the context in which it occurs; (4) psychological phenomena, and developmental changes in psychological phenomena, typically reflect multiple, simultaneous causal influences; and (5) these causal influences are often reciprocal. Research based on this synthetic approach provides new insights into the way in which processes operating at many levels of analysis (cultural, social, cognitive, neural, and molecular) work together to yield human behavior and changes in human behavior.

Keywords: ontogeny, developmental systems, multiple levels of analysis, epistemology, ontology, reciprocal causality, philosophy of science

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