1st Edition

Developmental Psychology
A Student's Handbook

ISBN 9781841691923
Published June 28, 2002 by Psychology Press
384 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

Developmental Psychology: A Student's Handbook is a major textbook that provides an up-to-date account of theory and research in the rapidly-changing field of child development. Margaret Harris and George Butterworth have produced an outstanding volume that includes recent research from Britain, Europe, and the USA.
The text is designed for undergraduate students who have little or no prior knowledge of developmental psychology.

Key features include:

  • Specially designed textbook features, such as key term definitions, chapter summaries, and annotated further reading sections
  • Over 95 figures and tables, to illustrate principles described in the text
  • Additional boxed material, to add further insight and aid understanding
  • Clear, user-friendly layout, to make topics easy to locate

The book places developmental psychology in its historical context, tracing the emergence of the field as an independent discipline at the end of the 19th century, and following the radical changes that have occurred in our understanding of children's development since then. The development of the child is covered in sequence: through conception, pre-natal development, birth, infancy, and the pre-school years, to the achievements of the school years, and the changes that occur during adolescence. Each period is addressed in terms of cognitive, social, and linguistic development, including discussion of reading, spelling, and mathematical development. There is also consideration of comparative research concerning the development of cognitive abilities in other primates.

Developmental Psychology: A Student's Handbook is essential reading for all undergraduate students of developmental psychology. It will also be of interest to those in education and healthcare studying child development.

Table of Contents

Part 1. A Framework for Developmental Psychology. Chapter 1. A Brief History of Developmental Psychology. The Developmental Principle. The Evolution of Development. The Emergence of Developmental Psychology. Fundamental Questions in Developmental Psychology. Chapter 2. Developmental Psychology in the 20th Century. Learning or Maturation: The Rise of Opposing Schools. Jean Piaget (1896-1980). Lev Semeonovich Vygotsky (1896-1934). John Bowlby (1907-1990). Chapter 3. Observing and Modelling Developmental Change. The Epigenetic Landscape. Stage Theories of Development. The Dynamic Systems Approach. The Connectionist Approach. Information-processing Approaches. Carrying Out Research in Developmental Psychology. Methods of Data Collection. Part 2. Early Development. Chapter 4. Development from Conception to Birth. Stages in Prenatal Development. Behaviour in the Foetus. Evolution and Development of the Brain. Sitting, Standing, and Walking. The Sensory Capacities of the Neonate. Childbirth. Chapter 5. Cognitive Development in Infancy. Piaget's Theory of Infant Cognition. Piaget's Account of the Development of the Object Concept. Infants' Perception of Objects: An Alternative to Piaget. Memory in Infancy. Reaching and Grasping. Chapter 6. Early Social Development. Recognising Oneself. Recognising Other People. Smiling and Social Recognition. Imitating Other People. Play. The Development of Attachment. Responses to Emotions. Differences in Interaction with Boys and Girls. Chapter 7. The Beginnings of Language Development. The Perception of Speech Sounds. The Development of Babbling. Learning to Say Words. The Social Context of Early Language Development. Part 3. The Preschool Years. Chapter 8. Language Development in the Preschool Years. Combining Words. Morphological Development. Inside-out Theories. Outside-in Theories. The Role of Language Input. Experimental Studies of Early Grammatical Understanding. The Language Abilities of Chimpanzees. Vocabulary Development in the School Years. Chapter 9. Cognitive Development in the Preschool Years. Piaget's Theory of Preoperational Reasoning. Criticisms of Piaget's Tests of Preoperational Thinking. Problem Solving. Reasoning by Analogy. Appearance and Reality. Children's Drawing. Chapter 10. Social Development in the Preschool Years. The Continuing Development of Self-recognition. The Development of Pretend Play. Fantasy and Imagination. Gender Differences in Play. The Development of Gender Identity. Social Cognition and Theory of Mind. Prosocial Behaviour. The Formation of Friendships. Part 4. The School Years. Chapter 11. Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood. Social and Biological Markers of Middle Childhood. Piaget's Theory of Concrete Operational Reasoning. Criticisms of Piaget's Account of Concrete Operational Reasoning. Developmental Changes in Problem Solving. Chapter 12. Learning to Read and Spell. Orthographic Regularity. Theories of Learning to Read. Learning to Read Alphabetic Scripts. Learning to Read Non-alphabetic Scripts. Predictors of Reading Success. Learning to Spell. Learning to Read and Write Braille. Difficulties with Learning to Read and Spell. Chapter 13. Learning to do Mathematics. Early Knowledge of Numbers. Learning to Count. Adding and Subtracting Objects. Adding and Subtracting Numbers. Cross-cultural Differences in Mathematical Ability. Chapter 14. Social Development in the School Years. Interactions with Other Children. Friendships. Bullying. Piagetian and neo-Piagetian Accounts of Moral Reasoning. Alternative Accounts of Moral Development. Emotional Development. Chapter 15. Adolescence. Social and Biological Markers of Adolescence.

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Margaret Harris was educated at Northampton School for Girls and Kettering High School. She gained her BSc in Psychology at Bedford College and her PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London. Margaret lectured at Birkbeck College and then became a Senior Lecturer and subsequently a Reader at Royal Holloway University of London. Her main research interests are in language development and reading, with an emphasis on the cognitive development of deaf children.

Margaret is involved in several research projects investigating the early language development of children with severe/profound deafness. Her research has looked at the development of successful communication between deaf infants and their mothers and the implications of this for early sign and oral language development. She is particularly interested in the development of visual attention between deaf infants and their mothers and how this relates to early language development.

George Butterworth (1946-2000) completed a D.Phil at Oxford University after which he took up a teaching post at Southampton University. This was followed by a Chair in Psychology at Stirling University. He became a Professor at Sussex University in 1991.

George was an authority on infant development and the origins of thought and perception in infants. His research interests were broad, encompassing topics as varied as the origins of self-awareness in human development and evolution, and children's understanding of geographical features of the earth.

George founded both the British Infancy Research Group and the journal Developmental Science. He was the first president of the European Society for Developmental Psychology and a former president of the British Psychological Society, Developmental Section. He was internationally respected for his scholarship and commitment to research.


"An up-to-date account of developmental psychology written by two major authorities in the field ... All in all, it is an authoritative and clear treatment of developmental psychology that will appeal to undergraduates who are just beginning to study developmental psychology, as well as those who already have some grounding in the subject." - Dr Gavin Bremner, Lancaster University, UK

"Developmental Psychology is an exciting and fast-moving subject, but one that is hard to summarise because it involves such a variety of questions, and hypotheses, and research methods. Yet Margaret Harris and George Butterworth have been completely successful in producing a coherent and wonderfully stimulating account of the subject as a whole. Undergraduate students will learn a great deal from this book, and they will enjoy reading it as well. So will parents, teachers and any one else interested in childhood." - Professor Peter Bryant FRS, Oxford University, UK

"A useful developmental textbook ideally pitched at undergraduate level developmental psychology. The writing style is clear and easy to read with the right level of detail when describing influential empirical work." - Dr Alyson Davis, University of Surrey, UK

"This is an impressive book. It is a beautifully written, up-to-date, and well balanced account of the development of the child from conception to adolescence." - Dr Alan Slater, University of Exeter, UK

Support Material


  • CD-ROM

    Resources for Teaching Developmental Psychology

    This CD-ROM contains supplementary material for teachers of developmental psychology using Margaret Harris and George Butterworth's Developmental Psychology: A Student's Handbook. It contains:

    • interactive multiple-choice questions, with data analysis facility
    • multiple-choice questions presented in a format suitable for generating hard copies
    • 100 diagrams, flow charts, and graphs presented as chapter-by-chapter PowerPoint presentations
    • 100 overhead projection master sheets showing diagrams, flow charts, and graphs from the book presented in a format suitable for printing out onto OHP acetates

    List of contributors:

    Multiple-choice questions
    Andy Bremner and Sarah Squire

    Design and programming
    Eamon Fulcher

    This CD-ROM is available free of charge to qualifying adopters of Developmental Psychology: A Student's Handbook. For more information please contact Psychology Press Customer Services on +44 (0)20 7017 7747 or fill out the contact form stating the educational institute you currently teach with and the number of students on our course.

Companion Website

Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.