ERIC Number: EJ939796
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 12
U-Shaped Functions: Artifact or Hallmark of Development?
Marcovitch, Stuart; Lewkowicz, David J.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v5 n1 p113-118 2004
The articles in this collection consider one very interesting puzzle of development: U-shaped developmental functions. At some point during development, an organism might exhibit what seems like a regression from its expected developmental trajectory and, according to continuity models of development, this is aberrant. In this special issue, apparent regressions in behavior across a wide range of developmental phenomena are discussed. In line with the contributors, the authors' main thesis is that regressions in the developmental trajectory of particular behavioral traits are, if anything, the quintessential hallmark of the "developmental process" rather than mere artifacts of development. The main premise of their thesis is based upon a rejection of the old idea that development is a continuous process whose endpoint defines everything that comes before it. This kind of adultomorphic perspective forces one to view earlier behaviors and functions as immature versions of the adult functions. The authors believe that this kind of thinking is wrong-headed mainly because it leads one away from understanding the very processes that underlie development. As the contributors to the current collection have shown and as the authors have argued in this paper, it is necessary to shift one's theoretical focus away from the phenomena themselves towards a focus on the mechanisms and processes underlying developmental change. The authors believe that such a shift will ultimately have to incorporate an understanding of both proximal and distal influences on the development of behavior. (Contains 1 footnote.)
Descriptors: Developmental Psychology, Individual Development, Cognitive Development, Child Development, Infants, Visual Perception, Nonverbal Communication, Language Acquisition, Cognitive Processes, Habituation, Child Behavior, Adults
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
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