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Developmental Psychology: Cognitive development · Development of the self · Emotional development · Language development · Moral development · Perceptual development · Personality development · Psychosocial development · Social development · Developmental measures

One of the major controversies in developmental psychology centres around whether development is continuous or discontinous[1]. For example stage theories of development rest on the assumption that development is a discontinuous process involving distinct stages which are characterised by qualitative differences in behaviour [2]. Stage theories can be contrasted with continuous theories, which posit that development is a incremental process [3].

Human development itself is sometimes viewed as occurring in stages:

Developmental stage theories

There are many stage theories in developmental psychology including:

While some of these theories focus primarily on the healthy development of children, others propose stages that are characterized by a maturity rarely reached before old age.

Physical development

Stages in physical development that have been studied by psychologists include:

See also


  1. White, F., Hayes, B., & Livesey, D. (2005). Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to Adulthood. NSW:Pearson Education Australia
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.

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