Behavioural Science Blog

The Science of Human Behaviour

Posts Tagged ‘development

Behavioural Science Blog development

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Dear reader,

I started this blog about two years ago, on September 27th, 2009  with the article Why Evolutionary Psychology is a Valid Approach for Studying Human Behaviour. Since then the blog has grown to 45 postings, which are mostly text-based (and relatively long). The stats show 14,241 hits in total, and if I look at the stats there seem to be about 40 visitors per day now (however there are quite huge fluctuations). Ever since I have reached (within a few month) Page Rank 4  I have been hanging around at 2nd position in Google for the search term “Behavioural Science”. To my big surprise I managed to beat the Journal of Behavioural Science, Master of Behavioural Science, you name it – I outrank it. Only Wikipedia will be 1rst winner forever (I guess).

A few month ago the requests for guest posts started rolling in. I now get one or two offers a week and they have mostly been disappointing. It has been a lot of fun observing what people would like me to post in order to get a link back to “their” site (which is mostly full of boring affiliate links). The one I liked the most was starting with “Behavioural Psychoanalysis is the Science of…” – I did not read on. My girlfriend had to sooth my pain after I fell of the chair laughing. Marvellous!

However there have also been very interesting discussions with people I admire. Tom, Andrew, Henrik,the people from the Linked-in group, facebook, twitter (just to name a few) – thank you for your input and your motivation. It has been a joy to publish your ideas.

I am still looking for good ideas and interesting networks. If you come across one, please post a link or write me an email. My plan for the future is to recruit more Behavioural-Science-Geeks like me. It would be awesome if we could have a broader perspective on this blog. Just to inspire you: My text were not all thought through very well – it does not have to be 100% prefect. I know that scientists have some obsessive-compulsive thing going on that they only want the world to see articles that are ready to be published. Forget it – the new times ask for new behaviour. You need to open-source and share your ideas if you want ot be successful in Science 2.0.

I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone that has contributed to the success of the blog, by reading, commenting, writing or just by suggesting a topic. If you like what you read –  get involved – leave a comment – introduce yourself!

Kind regards

Martin Metzmacher

Written by Martin Metzmacher

September 17, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Developmental Psychopathology

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The study of developmental psychopathology is a multidisciplinary approach for studying factors that contribute or impede mental health. These factors can be internal (for example genes) or external (environment) and are conceptualized not as directly influencing mental health, but as building vulnerabilities or enhance adaptation. It is assumed these factors differ in their mechanics according to age. Data about the risk factors and protective factors is recorded by the means of longitudinal studies and then analyzed with their regard to adaptive versus maladaptive developmental outcome. Psychopathology is expected to be found in individuals that are exposed to many risk factors during their development, without access to protective factors that can counteract maladaptive development.

Most studies conducted within the field of psychopathology employ a framework of several factors that spread through multiple levels (macro, exo, micro, intogenetic) from society to the individual. Normal development is studied next to pathological development in order to better understand the processes at hand and their interaction with each other.

Research so far has stressed the influence of the microsystem (family, school and work) for the development of the child. Especially factors related to the quality of parenting have shown to exert much influence on the individual development as either source of or buffer against stress. A well functioning microsystem might be the cause why some children who grow up under bad conditions never develop psychopathology and why children who seem to have perfect premises for a good development do develop psychopathology.

Early inadequate treatment in parent-child interactions might play an important role in maladaptive developmental path, as maltreated children show difficulties in dealing with emotional stimuli. Research supports a sensitization model that leads to stronger emotional reactions with repeated exposure. Biological effects of this developmental path might be connected to altered activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical-system.

As the toddler grows affect regulation is transferred from the parents to the child. If the emotional system is not able to handle the stress of this transition the child will regard internal affective information as a threat and start to avoid this information. This will impair further development as affect regulation is regarded to be a central process in successfully achieve later developmental stages.

This is especially evident when in kindergarten or primary school peers start to become more important as social interaction partners. Maladaptive development in earlier stages often leads to aggression and/or social withdrawal. Maladaptive social interaction not only keep others from becoming important protective factors, it can also be a source of tremendous stress.

Studying extreme maladaptive development might enable us to understand developmental processes that usually are too subtle and gradual to be observed by the current methodology.

While most social sciences try to reduce reality to a few variables for any given hypothesis, developmental psychopathology often deals with massive amount of data to get as close to reality as possible. New methodological analysis such as structural equation modeling are often used to identify effects that go beyond simple cause and effect relations between to factors, as bidirectional influences between the child and his environment are considered to be an important process.

Written by Martin Metzmacher

April 1, 2008 at 1:02 am