Developmental Science and Applied Developmental Psychology
Welcome to the Division of Developmental Science and Applied Developmental Psychology!
The division was founded in April, 2004.
The main areas of focus for the division’s research and teaching activities are:
- Developmental Science and
- Applied Developmental Psychology.
Room JK 25/122c
What is Developmental Science?
“Developmental science is dedicated to examining the biopsychosocial mechanisms that underlie both deviant and normal development. This field is not limited to simply describing deviant behavior at a specific age, but rather examines the dynamic interplay of biopsychosocial risk and protective conditions in the course of development over an individual’s lifespan. The field takes an interdisciplinary approach in order to be able to capture the complexity of adjusted and maladjusted development appropriately. These activities focus on mental and behavioral phenomena. Physical diseases and disabilities, the course of their emergence, and general physical development are considered to the extent that they exert an influence on adjusted and maladjusted cognitive, emotional, and/or social development.”
(Definition from Petermann, Niebank & Scheithauer . Entwicklungswissenschaft. Heidelberg: Springer.)
Developmental science thus extends beyond the traditional purview of developmental psychology, integrating aspects of genetics, neuropsychology, and neuroanatomy as well as clinical psychology into its studies. It also overlaps with developmental psychopathology in some areas.
The areas of focus of the division’s fundamental research on developmental psychology and educational psychology include
- Preschool education, health, and development of social and emotional abilities and social skills,
- Examination of gender differences in the development of non-prototypical forms of aggressive behavior (such as indirect, relational aggression) in childhood and youth,
- Examination of bullying among schoolchildren and bullying directed at teachers.
The projects conducted in these areas of focus are implemented in cooperation and collaboration with various institutes and institutions.
What is Applied Developmental Psychology?
Within our division, applied developmental psychology puts findings and information from developmental science into practice in concrete, application-oriented fields (such as prevention).
For example, development-related findings are included in the design of development-oriented measures aimed at preventing aggression and violence in preschool and school settings, and in the development-oriented design of psychotherapeutic interventions.
Applied developmental psychology refers in particular to the competencies involved in:
- Planning and implementing research and evaluation activities concerning application-oriented, practical problems that arise under real conditions,
- Developing and applying developmentally and culturally aware data collection strategies and tools that cover developmental risks as well as strengths and resources,
- Conceptualizing, developing, implementing, and evaluating development-oriented interventions and preventive measures as well as approaches to advising and counseling,
- Preparing fundamental knowledge regarding lifelong development and providing it to practitioners, organizations, and political decision makers, especially with regard to the fields of child development, family, and health.
The application-oriented foci of research in the division include:
- Development-oriented addiction and violence prevention in preschools (cultivation of social and emotional competencies and prevention of behavioral problems in preschools, such as in the Papilio approach),
- Delinquency and violence prevention in schools and among youth (cultivation of social and emotional competencies along with integrity and moral courage among youth, e.g., the fairplayer program), and
- Prevention of severe, directed forms of violence at schools.