Development Across the Life Span (5th Edition)
This book tells a story: the story of our lives, and our parents’ lives, and the lives of our children. It is the story of human beings and how they get to be the way they are. Unlike any other area of study, lifespan development speaks to us in a very per-sonal sense. It covers the range of human existence from its beginnings at con-ception to its inevitable ending at death. It is a discipline that deals with ideas and concepts and theories, but one that above all has at its heart people—our fathers and mothers, our friends and acquaintances, our very selves.
Development Across the Life Span seeks to capture the discipline in a way that sparks, nur-tures, and shapes readers’ interest. It is meant to excite students about the field, to draw them into its way of looking at the world, and to build their understanding of developmental issues. By exposing readers to both the current content and the promise inherent in lifespan develop-ment, the text is designed to keep interest in the discipline alive long after students’ formal study of the field has ended.
Overview of the Fifth Edition
Development Across the Life Span, Fifth Edition—like its predecessors—provides a broad overview of the field of human development. It covers the entire range of the human life, from the moment of conception through death. The text furnishes a broad, comprehensive intro-duction to the field, covering basic theories and research findings as well as highlighting cur-rent applications outside the laboratory. It covers the life span chronologically, encompassing the prenatal period, infancy and toddlerhood, the preschool years, middle childhood, adoles-cence, early and middle adulthood, and late adulthood. Within these periods, it focuses on physical, cognitive, and social and personality development.
The book seeks to accomplish the following four major goals:
• First and foremost, the book is designed to provide a broad, balanced overview of the field of lifespan development. It introduces readers to the theories, research, and applications that constitute the discipline, examining both the traditional areas of the field as well as more recent innovations. It pays particular attention to the applications developed by lifespan development specialists, demonstrating how lifespan developmentalists use theory, research, and applications to help solve significant social problems.
• The second goal of the text is to explicitly tie development to students’ lives. Findings from the study of lifespan development have a significant degree of relevance to students, and this text illustrates how these findings can be applied in a meaningful, practical sense. Applica-tions are presented in a contemporaneous framework, including current news items, time-ly world events, and contemporary uses of lifespan development that draw readers into the field. Numerous descriptive scenarios and vignettes reflect everyday situations in people’s lives, explaining how they relate to the field.
• The third goal is to highlight both the commonalities and diversity of today’s multicultur-al society. Consequently, the book incorporates material relevant to diversity in all its forms— racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and cultural diversit —throughout every chapter. In addition, every chapter has at least one “Developmental Diversity” section. These features explicitly consider how cultural factors relevant to development both unite and diversify our contemporary, global society.
• Finally, the fourth goal is one that is implicit in the other three: making the field of lifespan development engaging, accessible, and interesting to students. Lifespan development is a joy both to study and teach, because so much of it has direct, immediate meaning to our lives. Because all of us are involved in our own developmental paths, we are tied in very personal
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