An empiricist perspective would argue that those processes are acquired in interaction with the environment. Today developmental psychologists rarely take such polarised positions with regard to most aspects of development; rather they investigate, among many other things, the relationship between innate and environmental influences. One of the ways this relationship has been explored in recent years is through the emerging field of .
A significant issue in developmental psychology is the relationship between innateness and environmental influence in regard to any particular aspect of development. This is often referred to as "" or versus . A nativist account of development would argue that the processes in question are innate, that is, they are specified by the organism's .
Evolutionary developmental psychology is a research paradigm that applies the basic principles of Darwinian , particularly , to understand the development of human behavior and cognition. It involves the study of both the and environmental mechanisms that underlie the of social and competencies, as well as the () processes that adapt these competencies to local conditions.
Receiving such a diagnosis can often feel both confusing and frightening, particularly when it is your own child who is affected. Once you or your loved one has received a diagnosis of a developmental issue, spend some time learning as much as you can about the diagnosis and available treatments. Prepare a list of questions and concerns you may have and be sure to discuss these issues with your doctor, developmental psychologist, and other healthcare professionals who may be part of your treatment team. By taking an active role in the process, you will feel better informed and equipped to tackle the next steps in the treatment process.
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To determine if a developmental problem is present, a psychologist or other highly trained professional may administer either a developmental screening or evaluation. For children, such an evaluation typically involves interviews with parents and other caregivers to learn about behaviors they may have observed, a review of a child's medical history, and standardized testing to measure functioning in terms of communication, social/emotional skills, physical/motor development, and cognitive skills. If a problem is found to be present, the patient may then be referred to a specialist such as a speech-language pathologist, physical therapist, or occupational therapist.
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Another parental factor often debated in terms of its effects on child development is divorce. Divorce in itself is not a determining factor of negative child outcomes. In fact, the majority of children from divorcing families fall into the normal range on measures of psychological and cognitive functioning. A number of mediating factors play a role in determining the effects divorce has on a child, for example, divorcing families with young children often face harsher consequences in terms of demographic, social, and economic changes than do families with older children. Positive coparenting after divorce is part of a pattern associated with positive child coping, while hostile parenting behaviors lead to a destructive pattern leaving children at risk. Additionally, direct parental relationship with the child also affects the development of a child after a divorce. Overall, protective factors facilitating positive child development after a divorce are maternal warmth, positive father-child relationship, and cooperation between parents.
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From birth until the first year, the child is referred to as an . Developmental psychologists vary widely in their assessment of infant psychology, and the influence the outside world has upon it, but certain aspects are relatively clear.