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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes new theories, concepts, and methods that are being brought to bear on the central questions of social development, and it highlights the unprecedented interdisciplinary nature of current research in social development. Topics include the foundations of “social-ness” and its role in making humans unique; new findings on gene–environment and temperament–environment interactions and their role in the emergence of important social outcomes; ways in which socialization experiences are carried forward in children’s mental representations and physiological changes; the impact of different agents of socialization, such as parents, peers, and media; the mutual influence of cognitive and social development, and the ways in which social-cognitive interventions can boost intellectual performance; and the burgeoning area of intergroup perception and interaction. Throughout I discuss the implications of recent discoveries for interventions, and the ways in which interventions both test theories and speak to the plasticity of developing systems.

Keywords: social development, the social brain, gene X environment interactions, temperament, stress regulation, parental responsiveness, aggression, achievement, cognitive performance, intergroup relations, stereotyping

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