The question most central to developmental science is also the field’s most elusive: How does human development work? In brief, how do new structures, patterns and levels of organization arise in human development? This question of how—targeting as it does the dynamics of development and the means by which development proceeds—is one that classic systems approaches to psychological development (such as Piaget’s) began to address in the first decades of the 20th century. For much of the 20th century, however, developmental science routinely sidestepped dynamic questions, as the field grew increasingly reductionist in its orientation. Nonetheless, recent decades have witnessed a steady revival of emphasis on taking the question of dynamics seriously, yielding a focus on the embodied and embedded activity of individuals in time and context. This entails an understanding of how the real-time activities of people arise from the complex, dynamic relations of body, brain, and environment and of how these real-time activities yield developmental-time changes in people’s psychological organization. It involves, in other words, a focus on self-organization and emergence, on nonlinearity and variability. The invited program for JPS 2018 will provide a survey of perspectives on how to think about and study the dynamics of development.
PLENARY SPEAKERS Paul van Geert (University of Groningen) presenting the Dynamic Systems perspective Karen Adolph (New York University) presenting the Ecological/Gibsonian perspective Mark Bickhard (Lehigh University) presenting the Interactivist perspective Ezequiel Di Paolo (Ikerbasque) presenting the Enactive perspective INVITED SYMPOSIA Chaired by Thomas Bidell & Michael Mascolo, Ellen Hamaker, Tom Hollenstein, and Jeremy Burman, will cover Dynamic Skills theory, conceptual and methodological grounds for the study of intra-individual variation, and historical considerations relevant to current work in developmental dynamics.