Intended as supplemental reading in courses on theories of development, this book augments traditional core texts by providing students with more depth on about two dozen recent and emerging theories that have appeared over the past 20 years. This period has seen a decline of the traditional "grand" theories that attempt to apply to all people all the time in favor of "micro theories" that focus more on individual differences, so a book like this actually points the way toward the future rather than dryly reviewing the past. In addition, the author inspects the changing ways in which the concept of "theory" itself has been interpreted during this period, and he concludes with a chapter suggesting future directions.

A Potpourri of Theories

A potpourri of theories

This chapter describes five theory types that did not fit conveniently into any of the previous chapters but were ones I thought deserved attention. Each model illustrates a different set of problems in relation to development, a different type of development, and/or a different approach to theory construction. The first example focuses on the age-old problem of determinism, now clad in modern garb. The second concerns how people mentally represent events. The third proposes stages through which friendships evolve. The fourth is designed to explain personality development over the lifespan. The fifth centers attention on what its authors characterize as a “neglected function of play.”

Determinism, Indeterminism, Chaos, and Complexity

A never-settled issue in the sciences and humanities is the ...

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