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A Comprehensive Review of Developmental Psychology by Elizabeth Hurlock


Developmental Psychology by Elizabeth Hurlock: A Book Review




Developmental psychology is the scientific study of how humans change and grow throughout their lifespan, from conception to old age. It covers various aspects of human development, such as physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and personality development. Developmental psychology also examines how different factors, such as genetics, environment, culture, and education, influence human development.




Developmental Psychology Elizabeth Hurlock.pdf



One of the classic books on developmental psychology is Developmental Psychology by Elizabeth Hurlock, first published in 1956 and revised several times until 1980. This book provides a comprehensive and systematic overview of the major theories, concepts, methods, and findings in developmental psychology. It also illustrates how developmental psychology can be applied to various fields, such as education, health, parenting, and social work.


In this article, I will review Developmental Psychology by Elizabeth Hurlock and evaluate its strengths and limitations. I will also discuss its relevance for contemporary psychology and suggest some further reading for those who are interested in learning more about developmental psychology.


Introduction




Who is Elizabeth Hurlock?




Elizabeth Hurlock was an American psychologist who was born in 1898 and died in 1988. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University in 1925 and became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1930. She was one of the pioneers in developmental psychology and child psychology. She wrote several books and articles on topics such as child development, adolescence, personality, mental hygiene, and sex education. She was also involved in various professional organizations and social causes, such as the American Psychological Association, the National Council on Family Relations, and the Planned Parenthood Federation.


What is developmental psychology?




Developmental psychology is a branch of psychology that studies how humans change and grow throughout their lifespan. It aims to describe, explain, predict, and influence human development across different domains, such as physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and personality development. Developmental psychology also explores how different factors, such as genetics, environment, culture, and education, affect human development.


Developmental psychology has several subfields that focus on specific stages or aspects of human development. Some examples are prenatal development (the period before birth), infancy (the first two years of life), childhood (from two to twelve years), adolescence (from twelve to eighteen years), adulthood (from eighteen to sixty-five years), and aging (from sixty-five years onward). Other examples are moral development (the development of ethical values and judgments), gender development (the development of gender identity and roles), emotional development (the development of feelings and expressions), and social development (the development of interpersonal relationships and social skills).


What are the main themes of the book?




The book Developmental Psychology by Elizabeth Hurlock covers the following main themes:



  • The nature and scope of developmental psychology, including its history, goals, methods, and applications.



  • The biological basis of development, including the role of genes, hormones, brain, and nervous system in human development.



  • The development of motor skills, including the stages, factors, and problems of motor development.



  • The development of sensory and perceptual processes, including the development of vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and kinesthesia.



  • The development of learning and memory, including the types, stages, factors, and problems of learning and memory development.



  • The development of intelligence, including the definition, measurement, theories, and factors of intelligence development.



  • The development of language and communication, including the stages, factors, and problems of language and communication development.



  • The development of personality and emotions, including the definition, theories, factors, and problems of personality and emotion development.



  • The development of social behavior, including the stages, factors, and problems of social behavior development.



Summary of the book




Chapter 1: The Nature and Scope of Developmental Psychology




In this chapter, Hurlock introduces the field of developmental psychology and its history, goals, methods, and applications. She traces the origins of developmental psychology to ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, who speculated about the nature and nurture of human beings. She also discusses the contributions of modern psychologists such as Darwin, Freud, Piaget, Erikson, Skinner, and Bandura to the development of developmental psychology. She then explains the four main goals of developmental psychology: to describe how humans change and grow throughout their lifespan; to explain why humans change and grow in certain ways; to predict how humans will change and grow in the future; and to influence how humans can change and grow for the better. She also describes the various methods that developmental psychologists use to collect and analyze data on human development. These methods include observation (naturalistic or controlled), experimentation (laboratory or field), longitudinal study (following the same individuals over time), cross-sectional study (comparing different individuals at different ages), sequential study (combining longitudinal and cross-sectional methods), case study (focusing on a single individual in depth), survey (using questionnaires or interviews), correlation (measuring the relationship between two variables), and meta-analysis (combining the results of several studies). She also discusses the ethical issues that developmental psychologists face when conducting research on human subjects. Finally, she illustrates how developmental psychology can be applied to various fields such as education (e.g., designing curricula and teaching methods), health (e.g., promoting physical and mental well-being), parenting (e.g., providing guidance and support), and social work (e.g., helping individuals cope with life challenges).


Chapter 2: The Biological Basis of Development




Chapter 3: The Development of Motor Skills




In this chapter, Hurlock explores the development of motor skills in humans. She defines motor skills as the abilities to control and coordinate the movements of the body. She distinguishes between gross motor skills (the movements of large muscles, such as walking or jumping) and fine motor skills (the movements of small muscles, such as writing or buttoning). She also distinguishes between reflexes (the involuntary responses to stimuli, such as blinking or sucking) and voluntary movements (the intentional actions that are learned and controlled, such as waving or throwing).


She then describes the stages of motor development in humans from birth to adulthood. She explains how motor development follows two general principles: cephalocaudal (the development from head to tail) and proximodistal (the development from center to periphery). She also explains how motor development is influenced by various factors, such as maturation (the biological readiness), experience (the practice and feedback), motivation (the interest and reward), and environment (the opportunities and constraints). She then discusses some of the problems that can affect motor development, such as prematurity (the birth before the normal gestation period), malnutrition (the lack of adequate nutrients), injury (the damage to the brain or body), disease (the infection or disorder), and disability (the impairment or limitation).


Chapter 4: The Development of Sensory and Perceptual Processes




In this chapter, Hurlock investigates the development of sensory and perceptual processes in humans. She defines sensory processes as the detection and transmission of stimuli from the external world to the brain. She defines perceptual processes as the interpretation and organization of sensory information into meaningful patterns. She identifies five main senses: vision (the sense of sight), hearing (the sense of sound), touch (the sense of pressure, temperature, and pain), taste (the sense of flavor), and smell (the sense of odor). She also identifies two additional senses: kinesthesia (the sense of body position and movement) and vestibular (the sense of balance and motion).


She then describes the development of sensory and perceptual processes in humans from birth to adulthood. She explains how sensory and perceptual processes develop through three stages: differentiation (the ability to distinguish between different stimuli), integration (the ability to combine different stimuli into a whole), and adaptation (the ability to adjust to changing stimuli). She also explains how sensory and perceptual processes are influenced by various factors, such as maturation (the biological readiness), experience (the exposure and learning), attention (the focus and selection), motivation (the interest and reward), and environment (the availability and quality). She then discusses some of the problems that can affect sensory and perceptual development, such as deprivation (the lack of adequate stimulation), overload (the excess of stimulation), distortion (the alteration of stimulation), impairment (the loss or reduction of stimulation), and disorder (the abnormality or dysfunction of stimulation).


Chapter 5: The Development of Learning and Memory




In this chapter, Hurlock examines the development of learning and memory in humans. She defines learning as the process of acquiring new knowledge, skills, attitudes, or behaviors. She defines memory as the process of storing, retrieving, and using learned information. She distinguishes between three types of learning: classical conditioning (the learning of associations between stimuli), operant conditioning (the learning of consequences for behaviors), and observational learning (the learning by watching others). She also distinguishes between three types of memory: sensory memory (the brief storage of sensory information), short-term memory (the temporary storage of limited information), and long-term memory (the permanent storage of unlimited information).


(the process of transforming information into a form that can be stored), storage (the process of maintaining information in memory), retrieval (the process of accessing information from memory), and forgetting (the process of losing information from memory). She also explains how learning and memory are influenced by various factors, such as maturation (the biological readiness), experience (the practice and feedback), attention (the focus and selection), motivation (the interest and reward), and environment (the opportunities and constraints). She then discusses some of the problems that can affect learning and memory development, such as interference (the confusion or disruption of information), decay (the fading or weakening of information), distortion (the alteration or modification of information), amnesia (the partial or total loss of information), and dementia (the decline or impairment of information).


Chapter 6: The Development of Intelligence




In this chapter, Hurlock explores the development of intelligence in humans. She defines intelligence as the ability to think, reason, solve problems, and adapt to new situations. She distinguishes between two types of intelligence: fluid intelligence (the ability to deal with novel and abstract problems) and crystallized intelligence (the ability to use acquired knowledge and skills). She also distinguishes between two aspects of intelligence: general intelligence (the overall mental ability that applies to all tasks) and specific intelligence (the specialized mental ability that applies to particular tasks).


She then describes the development of intelligence in humans from birth to adulthood. She explains how intelligence develops through four stages: sensorimotor stage (from birth to two years, when intelligence is based on sensory and motor actions), preoperational stage (from two to seven years, when intelligence is based on symbolic and intuitive thinking), concrete operational stage (from seven to eleven years, when intelligence is based on logical and concrete thinking), and formal operational stage (from eleven years onward, when intelligence is based on abstract and hypothetical thinking). She also explains how intelligence is influenced by various factors, such as maturation (the biological readiness), experience (the exposure and learning), education (the instruction and training), culture (the values and norms), and environment (the availability and quality). She then discusses some of the problems that can affect intelligence development, such as retardation (the below-average level of intelligence), giftedness (the above-average level of intelligence), dyslexia (the difficulty in reading and writing), dyscalculia (the difficulty in arithmetic and mathematics), and dysgraphia (the difficulty in handwriting and spelling).


Chapter 7: The Development of Language and Communication




In this chapter, Hurlock investigates the development of language and communication in humans. She defines language as the system of symbols and rules that humans use to communicate with each other. She defines communication as the process of exchanging information, ideas, feelings, or intentions with others. She distinguishes between two types of language: verbal language (the use of spoken or written words) and nonverbal language (the use of gestures, facial expressions, body language, or tone of voice). She also distinguishes between two aspects of language: receptive language (the ability to understand what others say or write) and expressive language (the ability to say or write what one wants to communicate).


(from birth to one year, when communication is based on nonverbal signals such as crying, smiling, or babbling), linguistic stage (from one to two years, when communication is based on verbal signals such as words or sentences), metalinguistic stage (from two to five years, when communication is based on awareness and manipulation of language such as grammar or meaning), and pragmatic stage (from five years onward, when communication is based on social and contextual factors such as norms or goals). She also explains how language and communication are influenced by various factors, such as maturation (the biological readiness), experience (the exposure and learning), education (the instruction and training), culture (the values and norms), and environment (the availability and quality). She then discusses some of the problems that can affect language and communication development, such as aphasia (the loss or impairment of language due to brain damage), stuttering (the disruption or repetition of speech sounds), mutism (the inability or refusal to speak), autism (the disorder of social and communicative development), and deafness (the loss or reduction of hearing).


Chapter 8: The Development of Personality and Emotions




In this chapter, Hurlock examines the development of personality and emotions in humans. She defines personality as the unique and consistent pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that characterize an individual. She defines emotions as the subjective and physiological reactions to stimuli that involve pleasant or unpleasant feelings. She distinguishes between two types of personality: temperament (the innate and stable traits that influence how one reacts to situations) and character (the learned and flexible traits that influence how one behaves in situations). She also distinguishes between two aspects of emotions: affect (the feeling component of emotions) and mood (the lasting state of emotions).


(the repetitive or irrational action or behavior), and personality disorder (the abnormal or dysfunctional pattern of personality).


Chapter 9: The Development of Social Behavior




In this chapter, Hurlock explores the development of social behavior in humans. She defines social behavior as the interaction and relationship between individuals and groups. She distinguishes between two types of social behavior: prosocial behavior (the positive or cooperative behavior that benefits others) and antisocial behavior (the negative or harmful behavior that hurts others). She also distinguishes between two aspects of social behavior: social cognition (the mental processes that involve understanding and interpreting social situations) and social skills (the behavioral abilities that involve performing and responding to social situations).


She then describes the development of social behavior in humans from birth to adulthood. She explains how social behavior develops through four stages: attachment stage (from birth to two years, when social behavior is based on forming and maintaining emotional bonds with caregivers), play stage (from two to six years, when social behavior is based on engaging and learning with peers), group stage (from six to twelve years, when social behavior is based on belonging and conforming to groups), and role stage (from twelve years onward, when social behavior is based on assuming and fulfilling roles in society). She also explains how social behavior is influenced by various factors, such as maturation (the biological readiness), experience (the exposure and learning), education (the instruction and training), culture (the values and norms), and environment (the availability and quality). She then discusses some of the problems that can affect social behavior development, such as attachment disorder (the difficulty in forming or maintaining emotional bonds with others), isolation (the lack or withdrawal of social contact with others), rejection (the refusal or denial of acceptance by others), bullying (the intentional or repeated use of power or aggression to hurt others), delinquency (the violation or disregard of laws or norms by minors), and crime (the violation or disregard of laws or norms by adults).


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