Saturday, September 6, 2014

There is no general psychological structure

I was reminded of this post today, from Fischer and Mascalo, “The dynamic of development of thinking, feeling, and acting over the lifespan,” in The Handbook of Lifespan Development, Wiley and Sons, 2010. Some edited excerpts:

"To speak of the development of psychological structures is not the same as speaking about the development of a person. There are no general or 'all purpose' psychological structures. Although they undergo massive development over the lifespan, psychological structures consist of localized skills that are tied to particular situational demands, psychological demands and social contexts. [...] It is not appropriate to say that an individual functions at a single developmental level, even for a particular skill. Instead it is more appropriate to say that an individual's skills function at a range of levels depending on context, domain, time of day, emotional state and other variables" (17, 35-36).

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