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I review half-a-century of research in strategic and autobiographical memory, spanning Peter Ornstein’s scientific career (so far), highlighting Ornstein’s contributions to these literatures. I document advances in theory, understanding underlying processes, and application of memory development over the past 50 years, as well as the field’s substantial contribution to understanding cognitive development writ large, including issues of capacity, representation, intentionality, knowledge, and social context.
In this introduction to The Development of Children’s Memory: The Scientific Contributions of Peter A. Ornstein, we provide biographical information for Professor Ornstein and identify some contextual influences on his work. We then examine the four distinct but interrelated programs of research he conducted that form the structure for this volume. Next, we briefly describe the chapters that are included in the review of each research program and introduce the authors. Ornstein’s scientific development over his 50 years in research is depicted as moving from the study of age-related changes in memory performance to an increasing emphasis on the developmental processes that result in skilled remembering in children. This transition both reflected and contributed to the emergence of a developmental science of memory.
This book provides an understanding of memory development through an examination of the scientific contributions of eminent developmental scientist Peter A. Ornstein. His fifty-year career not only coincided with but also contributed to a period of extraordinary progress in the understanding of children's memory. The volume describes this historical context, constructs a theoretical structure for understanding memory development, and emphasizes research applications for educational and forensic practice. Organized around Ornstein's four influential research programs in children's memory strategies, children's event memory, family socialization of memory, and classroom socialization of memory, the chapters examine contemporary directions in each area, with commentaries addressing each program provided by internationally renowned developmental psychologists. The book presents a comprehensive overview of memory development for psychologists and educators at all levels of training and practice, and also provides a model of a generative life in science.
Natural selection has operated as strongly or more so on the early stages of the lifespan as on adulthood. One evolved feature of human childhood is high levels of behavioral, cognitive, and neural plasticity, permitting children to adapt to a wide range of physical and social environments. Taking an evolutionary perspective on infancy and childhood provides a better understanding of contemporary human development, predicting and understanding adult behavior, and explaining how changes in the early development of our ancestors produced contemporary Homo sapiens.
Evolutionary developmental psychology examines development through the lens of evolutionary theory. We first discuss adaptations of infancy and childhood, including ontogenetic, deferred, and conditional adaptations. The important ontogenetic adaptations reviewed include neonatal imitation and cognitive immaturity during childhood. Sex differences in play style as deferred adaptations are also discussed. Conditional adaptations, with children adjusting their developmental trajectory as a function of early life conditions, are examined from the perspective of life history theory. We then provide a framework for how adaptations develop, discussing evolved probabilistic cognitive mechanisms, evolved information-processing mechanisms that are expressed in a probabilistic fashion in each individual in a generation based on the continuous and bidirectional interaction over time at all levels of organization, from the genetic through the cultural. We provide examples of evolved probabilistic cognitive mechanisms from the domains of infant face perception, social learning, prepared fears, and tool use. Adaptations are central to an evolutionary psychological explication, and understanding how such adaptations develop enhances our understanding of adaptations.