ERIC Number: EJ939799
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 14
The Shape and Direction of Development: Teleologically but Erratically Lifted up or Timely Harmonious?
Demetriou, Andreas; Raftopoulos, Athanasios
Journal of Cognition and Development, v5 n1 p89-95 2004
Developmental psychologists have been preoccupied with the shape or form of development since the early days of developmental psychology. One of their main concerns has been to specify the developmental function of the characteristics (i.e., behaviors, traits, abilities, processes, etc.) that are of interest to them. This is equivalent to saying that they try to specify how a given characteristic varies with age (Wohlwill, 1973). Underlying this concern are some fundamental ontological assumptions about the nature of development and some methodological assumptions about the science of development. The main ontological assumption underlying developmental theories is that the direction of development is known. That is, it is assumed that development is teleologically driven to an ultimate end that is equated with an, ideally, error-free state of functioning of every possible characteristic that may be considered. This fundamental ontological assumption constrains how developmental data are generated or interpreted. In this article, the authors consider three examples that are prototypical and, implicitly or explicitly, influential, so that everyone may beware of them.
Descriptors: Psychologists, Developmental Psychology, Individual Characteristics, Differences, Time Perspective, Goal Orientation, Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A