Exploring the Dynamics of Human Development
Researchers and students in developmental psychology have pointed out that the numerous findings from research about human development seem disconnected and that it is difficult to fit fragmented bits of information together. Studies of separate domains of functioning (e.g., cognition, emotion, language, social relationships, identity) divide the field and there are increasing calls for integrative conceptions of human development. In Exploring the Dynamics of Human Development, Dr. Catherine Raeff constructs a theoretical framework that enables readers to reconcile seemingly disparate information by thinking systematically about dynamic developmental processes. This approach integrates systems theory, organismic-developmental theory, and sociocultural theory, as well as research across cultures and the life span Raeff brings developmental processes into coherence by building a unified theoretical framework that is organized around the following questions: What develops during development?; What happens during development?; and How does development happen?
Using a wide range of illustrative empirical examples, Raeff conceptualizes what happens during development in terms of differentiation and integration and explains how development happens through individual, social, and cultural processes. The framework helps to overcome confusion in the field and explore issues such as individual and cultural variability, looking beyond age-based changed to understand development, and resolving fragmentation by starting with whole person functioning. The framework also opens up new directions for research. This book will be useful to developmentalists, graduate students, upper level undergraduates, and others who seek an integrative understanding of the field as a whole and a systematic way of thinking about and investigating human action and development.