There has been an increasing interest in the application of dynamical systems to the study of development over the last decade. The explosion of the dynamical systems framework in the physical and biological sciences has opened the door to a new Zeitgeist for studying development. This appeal to dynamical systems by developmentalists is natural given the intuitive links between the established fundamental problems of development and the conceptual and operational scope of nonlinear dynamical systems. This promise of a new approach and framework within which to study development has led to some progress in recent years but also a growing appreciation of the difficulty of both fully examining the new metaphor and realizing its potential.
Divided into 4 parts, this book is a result of a recent conference on dynamical systems and development held at Pennsylvania State University. The first 3 parts focus on the content domains of development that have given most theoretical and empirical attention to the potential applications of dynamical systems--physical growth and movement, cognition, and communication. These parts show that a range of nonlinear models have been applied to a host of developmental phenomena. Part 4 highlights two particular methodological issues that hold important implications for the modeling of developmental phenomena with dynamical systems techniques.
Contents: Preface. K.M. Newell, P.C.M. Molenaar, Introduction: Modeling Development as Dynamical Systems. Part I: Physical Growth and Motor Development. M. Lampl, M.L. Johnson, Normal Human Growth as Saltatory: Adaptation Through Irregularity. P. Fitzpatrick, Modeling Coordination Dynamics in Development. K.M. Newell, Degrees of Freedom and the Development of Postural Center of Pressure Profiles. Part II: Cognitive Development. R.W. Thatcher, A Predator-Prey Model of Human Cerebral Development. P. van Geert, Dynamic Modeling of Cognitive and Language Development: From Growth Processes to Sudden Jumps and Multimodality. H.L.J. van der Maas, The Dynamical and Statistical Properties of Cognitive Strategies: Relations Between Strategies, Attractors, and Latent Classes. Part III: Development of Communication. P.H. Been, Nonlinear Dynamics of Brain Regions and the Design of Neuronal Growth-Cycle-Based Cognitive Tasks. D. Newtson, Dynamical Systems and the Structure of Behavior. R.C. Schmidt, B. O'Brien, Modeling Interpersonal Coordination Dynamics: Implications for a Dynamical Theory of Developing Systems. Part IV: Methods in Dynamical Systems and Development. S.M. Pincus, Approximate Entropy (ApEn) as a Regularity Measure. P.C.M. Molenaar, M.E.J. Raymakers, Fitting Nonlinear Dynamical Models Directly to Observed Time Series.