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Specificity Principle

In life-span development, many experiences (such as meaningful involvement with family, friends, and community groups) have broad implications (such as mitigating cognitive declines, improving emotional well-being, and even diminishing the likelihood of early demise). Even so, as life proceeds, advantages and disadvantages cumulate to increase the heterogeneity of individual’s experiences—so much so, that some scholars argue that variability and so specificity inevitably increase across the life course. That is, the development of specific biological or psychological characteristics in specific individuals is affected in specific ways by specific experiences that occur at specific times. This is the specificity principle in life-span human development. To complement analysis of universals, understanding life-span human development often looks to what is developing in whom, how, and when. Parsing the specificity ...

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