chapter appears to be divided into five main sections. The first section describes three viewpoints,
or metamodels, that guide developmental research – mechanistic, organismic, and
contextual. Each viewpoint has its own
way of looking at the role played by the organism and by the environment during
development. Then the key propositions
of the lifespan developmental perspective are listed, followed by a discussion
of the proportion of developmental gains and losses over the life span.
second section of the chapter on developmental research discusses the age
variable, which is organismic, and the issue of age boundaries when an older
age group is included in a research study.
Three basic factors must be considered when conducting developmental research:
age, cohort, and time of measurement.
The latter two factors are discussed in detail and examples are
given. Three research designs are
described. The cross-sectional design,
the most commonly used and most efficient, confounds age and cohort. The longitudinal design follows individuals
over time and confounds age and time of measurement. The time-lag design focuses on only one
chronological age group and confounds cohort and time of measurement. Shay’s sequential research designs attempt to
disentangle confounded factors and determine which ones are significant.
third section of the chapter covers measurement issues. Reliability refers to the dependability of
research instruments as well as the consistency of results obtained in research
studies. Once reliability is
established, the concern is with validity.
Validity has to do with whether we are measuring what we think we are
measuring. There are several kinds of
validity (internal, external, and ecological) and each is described. Other issues discussed are the meaning of
heterotypic continuity and the importance of sampling for the validity of a
research study.
fourth section covers approaches to conducting aging research. With the experimental approach, studies have
independent and dependent variables, study participants are randomly assigned
to different levels of the manipulated independent variable, the outcome is
measured by the dependent variable, and cause-and-effect statements can be
made. Quasi-experimental studies appear
to have the same form as experimental studies, but study participants are not
randomly assigned to levels of an “independent†variable, so cause-and-effect
statements cannot be made. An example is
given for how each approach can be used to study activity level and memory in
older adults. Experimental and
quasi-experimental approaches can have single-factor or multi-factor
designs. A third, descriptive, approach
involves collecting data on variables of interest and measuring the
relationship between them. This
relationship is computed statistically using correlations, which range from
-1.0 to 0 to +1.0. The strongest
relationships occurring (in either direction) the further the point is away
from 0.
fifth section of the chapter discusses ethics in research on human aging and
the history of what has lead to the safeguards we have today. These include having study participants sign
a consent form, maintaining their confidentiality, and insuring that a participation
in a study will have benefits and no long-term negative effects.

1. A
developmental scientist with a mechanistic metamodel ______.
a. emphasizes
that development is multidirectional and adaptive
b. views
development as a series of stages
c. focuses
on quantitative differences between age groups
d. emphasizes
that the w hole is greater than the sum of the parts

2. Which
metamodel places the heaviest emphasis on the nurture (extrinsic, or
environmental) side of the nature–nurture debate?
a. Mechanistic
b. Organismic
c. Contextual

3. Which
metamodel views development as a progressive sequence of stages which are
internally generated?
a. Mechanistic
b. Organismic
c. Contextual

4. Which
metamodel views the organism and the environment as being in continuous
a. Mechanistic
b. Organismic
c. Contextual

5. According
to which metamodel might the individual act rather react to the environment?
a. Mechanistic
b. Organismic
c. Contextual

6. Which of
the following is NOT an important aspect of the lifespan developmental
a. Development
is plastic.
b. Development
is embedded in historical, social, and cultural contexts.
c. Development
continues throughout life
d. Development
proceeds in only one direction.
7. Which
statement is closest to the lifespan development perspective?
a. There are
gains and losses over the life span with a shift in proportion in older
adulthood toward more gains than losses.
b. Up to the
point of young adulthood there are only gains, after which there are losses in
every aspect of functioning.
c. People
make steady gains from young to older adulthood and there are never any losses.
d. There are
gains and losses over the life span with a shift in older adulthood toward a
greater proportion of losses than of gains.

8. Age is
a(n)________ variable.
a. independent
b. dependent
c. experimental
d. organismic

9. In
studies with an extreme age groups design, ________.
a. young
adults are compared with adolescents.
b. young
adults are compared with older adults.
c. young-old
adults are compared with old-old adults.
d. young,
middle-aged, and older adults are compared.

10. Which
developmental research design confounds (is unable to separate) age and cohort?
a. Longitudinal
b. Cross-sectional
c. Independent
d. Time-lag

11. The most
commonly used developmental research design that attempts to study age-related
differences is ________.
a. time-lag
b. longitudinal
c. cross-sectional
d. cohort-sequential

12. The
longitudinal research design confounds (is unable to separate) ________.
a. age and
time of measurement
b. age and
c. cohort
and time of measurement
d. age,
cohort, and time of measurement

13. In which
research design is attrition the most obvious issue to consider?
a. Longitudinal
b. Cross-sectional
c. Time-lag
d. Experimental

14. Professor
Gish wants to conduct a study on a sample of 60-year-old adults who expect to
retire from their jobs in five years. He will administer a questionnaire that
asks them what they plan to do once they do retire. Then he will locate these
same people every five years (until they are age 75) to find out whether they
followed their original plans for retirement. Which research design is
Professor Gish using for his study?
a. Cross-sectional
b. time-lag
c. Experimental
d. Longitudinal

15. Professor
Gish is interested in comparing the attitude today’s 70-year-old adults have
toward using computers with the attitude that 70-year-old adults had 10 years
ago. Which type of research design might Professor Gish use for this study?
a. Longitudinal
b. Time-lag
c. Cross-sectional

16. Which two
factors are confounded (unable to be separated) when measures of computer
attitudes made today on a sample of 70-year-olds today are compared with
measures of computer attitudes made 10 years ago on a sample of 70-year-olds?
a. Cohort
and time of measurement
b. Cohort
and age

17. Sequential
designs are used in order to ________________.
a. complete
research studies quickly and efficiently
b. disentangle
the effects of age, cohort, and time of measurement

18. When a
measurement instrument is reliable that means it is _________.
a. valid
b. consistent

19. The
_______ of a study refers to whether there can be accurate identification and
interpretation of the factor(s) responsible for an observation.
a. external
b. internal

20. Being able
to generalize the findings obtained from a sample of research participants to
the population from which this sample was drawn refers to the ___________ of a
research study.
a. internal
b. external

21. Which
type of study is best for identifying cause and effect?
a. A
correlation study
b. A
cross-sectional study
c. An
experimental study

22. In which
kind of research studies are participants randomly assigned to levels of an
independent variable?
a. Correlation
b. Quasi-experimental
c. Experimental

23. Which
correlation shows the strongest association between two variables?
a. .55
b. .20
c. -.75

24. As far as
the ethics of conducting research, which guideline(s) is (are) important?
a. Obtaining
informed consent from study participants or their caretakers if they are unable
to give it.
b. Safeguarding
the privacy of the study participants.
c. Insuring
that the benefits of the findings outweigh any temporary discomforts
participants may experience.
d. All of
the above

25. Regarding
the SOC and ECO theoretical models and their relationship to the metamodels,
the contextual model would have the closest fit in that both conceptualize
development bi-directionally between the individual and environment. More specifically to the ECO model and
research designs, the longitudinal method holds usefulness in determining:
a. whether
there are any changes in strategies one might use to maintain level of
b. which
level of environment challenges most likely insures the highest level of
c. whether
losses of functioning had been compensated by gains during this period at
various points of adult life span
d. A and B
e. None the
f. All of
the above

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