Developmental Plasticity - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780122896200, 9780323157209

Developmental Plasticity

1st Edition

Behavioral and Biological Aspects of Variations in Development

Editors: Eugene Gollin
eBook ISBN: 9780323157209
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th January 1981
Page Count: 296
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Developmental Plasticity: Behavioral and Biological Aspects of Variations in Development explores the behavioral and biological aspects of variations in development from a variety of theoretical viewpoints and research contexts. Topics covered include evolution and genetic variability; sensory bases of infant perception; and learning and ethology. The infancy of human learning processes is also discussed, along with epistemology and developmental psychology. Comprised of eight chapters, this book opens with a review of the broad evolutionary landscape and the specific genetic mechanisms implicated in biological and behavioral development. It then describes the sensory apparatus available to neonatal human beings and analyzes the similarities and differences between ethological theory and learning theory. Developmental plasticity is also examined in interdisciplinary contexts, while the acquisition of behavior patterns during early postnatal development is explored from a traditional learning theory point of view. The remaining chapters focus on the role played by asymmetry in general and by cerebral asymmetry in particular in the generation of individuality; cultural and biological instances of plasticity in development; and the barriers separating epistemology from developmental psychology and psycholinguistics. This monograph will be a useful resource for developmental psychologists and other professionals devoted to child development and learning, as well as those in the fields of genetics and behavioral and biological sciences.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors


I Evolutionary and Genetic Background

1 Evolution and Genetic Variability


Contemporary Variability between Species

Evolutionary Variability

Sources of Variability

Variability within Species

Molecules and Variability

Polygenic Systems

Developmental Variability within the Organism




II The Sensory Base

2 The Infancy of Human Sensory Systems


Prenatal Origins of Sensory Development

Sensory Bases of Infant Perception



III Learning and Ethology

3 Learning Theory, Ethological Theory, and Developmental Plasticity


Problems Raised by the Goal-Directedness of Behavior

Learning Theory

Ethological Theory

Developmental Plasticity in the Perspectives of Learning and Instinct Theory

Evolution of Developmental Plasticity: Implications for the Analysis of Immediate Causation

The Confluence of Ideas: Emergence of Interest in Animal Perception


4 The Infancy of Human Learning Processes


The Pleasures of Sensation as Incentives for Infant Learning

The Infant as Learner

The Functions of Early Human Learning



5 Innate Programs for Perceptual Development: An Ethological View


Perceptual Adaptations to Local Conditions: Honeybees

Sensitive Periods for Perceptual Change: Chick Pecking

Imprinting and Perceptual Development: Birds

Configurational Features and Sign Stimuli: The Herring Gull

Innate Constraints on Vocal Imitation: Birdsong

Species-Specific Processing of Vocal Stimuli: Macaques

Color Vision, Naming, and Preferences

The Ontogeny of Speech Perception

Conclusions on the Ethology of Perceptual Development


IV Asymmetries and Variation

6 Lateralization and Its Implications for Variation in Development

The Origins of Asymmetry

Lateralization of the Brain

Development of the Hand-Brain Relationship

Sex Differences in Cerebral Asymmetry

Why Variation?


V Epistemology, Theory, and Method

7 Development and Plasticity


Developmental Perspectives

Developmental Perspective and Plasticity

The Roles of Experience

Multimodal and Polyphasic Development

Theoretical and Methodological Implications of a Multimodal-Polyphasic Model

Cultural and Biological Instances of Plasticity in Development



8 Epistemology and Developmental Psychology


Does Mental Development Have a Unique Destination?

The Grounds for Skepticism about Any Universal Destination

The Need for an Alternative Approach

Alternative Developmental Destinations and Trajectories


Author Index

Subject Index


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© Academic Press 1981
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

Eugene Gollin

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