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Critically exploring psychology
Critically exploring psychology

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1.3 Developmental psychology

Developmental psychology is concerned fundamentally with how individuals change over time. This requires them to move beyond synchronic ‘snapshots’ of human psychology in order to explore the lived experience and psychological functioning of individuals across their entire lifespans.

From the time of Darwin’s first publication on his own child, children have been central to psychology. One of the most influential developmental psychologists was Jean Piaget, who was a keen observer of children. His work imagined the child to be a little bit like a scientist trying to figure out how the world works.

Coloured silhouettes showing life changes from baby to eldery person.
Figure 3 Developmental psychology considers how individuals change over time

Recently, developmental psychology has moved increasingly beyond its traditional focus on child psychology to explore psychological development across the entire human lifespan.