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By Marc H. Bornstein, Michael E. Lamb

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Extra resources for Development in Infancy: An Introduction, Fourth Edition

Example text

Puberty, for example, is a major milestone in biological and psychosocial development, yet it typically begins a decade after birth. The third myth is the assumption that biologically based behaviors must remain stable over time and are not susceptible to change. In fact, some proclivities or tendencies change in childhood, either in response to particular experiences or as a result of genetically preprogrammed variations. Thus, both heritable and species-typical traits can be shaped by experience.

Observing the status and origins of behavior and the dramatic developmental processes that occur in infancy motivates scholars to ask about the sources of change, and attempts at answers inevitably lead to speculations about heredity and experience, nature and nurture. It seems reasonable in this connection to let more modern American theorists speak for themselves, for they give us the best flavor of their views on the origins and determinants of life in infancy. Thus, Gesell (1954, p. 354), the 9 10 1.

Clearly, many of the reasons that motivate cross-cultural developmental research with infants are descriptive, but cross-cultural studies also affect the development of theory. Stability and Continuity Beyond questions of heredity and experience, developmental scientists often ask about the extent to which infant behavior and development are consistent and stable over time. The term stability is used to describe consistency over time in the relative ranking of individuals in a group on some dimension or aspect of development.

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