Developmental Psychology

WHAT IS IT?

As humans, we go through many stages of our lives. From our childhood to old age, we undergo different changes, physically and mentally. Developmental psychology is the branch of psychology that focuses on “...human growth and changes across the lifespan.”(Pursuing a Career in Developmental Psychology), and developmental psychologists often focus on human growth and development, especially in social, physical, and cognitive factors. This field dates back all the way to the Industrial Revolution in England, as a greater need for intelligent workers lead to curiosity in the brain’s functions and the changes it occurs throughout one’s lifespan.


WHO ARE DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGISTS?

Developmental psychologists concern themselves with both research and hands-on work regarding growth in humans, and can work in a variety of settings, including health care, government agencies, schools, and offices. Often, their setting determines the type of work they do; for example, those working in colleges and offices often focus on research and teaching, whereas those working in health care facilities help to assess, evaluate, and treat those with developmental disabilities. They can also conduct research and hand-on treatment at the same time, often when committing to applied research within nursing homes and other situations. As a result of the diversity of options, there are many job opportunities in this field.


Developmental psychologists help patients of all ages and types. For example, a developmental psychologist can work with parents and doctors to understand, detect, and treat underlying psychological and health issues impeding a baby’s development at very young ages. By the same token, they can also assist the elderly. As people age, they face biological and social changes that can affect their mental and physical states. Using their knowledge, developmental psychologists can identify strategies for older people to get accustomed to such changes and maintain a positive outlook on life. Developmental psychologists can also engage in counseling, and help children and families with communication issues, learning disorders, and addiction treatments. They are even hired by companies in order to determine if products are age and developmentally appropriate. For example, a toy company may meet with developmental psychologists to determine which ages a toy is appropriate for.


Developmental psychologists can also indirectly affect the lives of many people through the research they conduct. Many developmental psychologists conduct applied research that considers social, historical, and cultural influences on the changes that a human goes through in their lifetime. The results of these studies allow us to understand human behavior and apply it to practical settings. For example, developmental psychologists can research the relationship between education and the social environment of the school, and can find social influences that may positively or negatively impact a student's education. Researchers may spend their entire life conducting studies and cooperating with different individuals in order to establish results that may change current processes in schools.

By studying the stages of development and the implications on the human body, developmental psychologists enlarge our understanding of human growth in many areas, including relationships, maturation, and more. Developmental psychologists like Jean Piaget helped us understand how a baby matures, and modern developmental psychologists can help parents and their babies as they develop. Developmental psychologists also play a key role in assisting people in all stages of life as they grapple with different issues. Without developmental psychologists, many children and their parents would be rudderless in understanding how they should proceed with their lives, and what they should do while facing a problem of large magnitude.


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