Lifespan psychology: From developmental contextualism to developmental biocultural co-constructivism

Lifespan psychology has always been associated with a family of scripts about development and aging. An initial set of scripts included proposals about developmental contextualism at the macro-level (e.g., age-graded, history-graded, and nonnormative influences). Recent theoretical efforts to link evolutionary and ontogenetic perspectives engendered an additional set of interrelated scripts about the nature and consequences of human development. Proposals about the biocultural architecture of the lifespan highlight its inherent incompleteness and aging-based increase in incompleteness and vulnerability. Age-related differences in the overall allocation of resources (from growth to maintenance and the regulation of loss) as well as the general-purpose mechanisms of selection, optimization, and compensation orchestrate adaptive development and aging within the constraints of the biocultural architecture. We argue that this package of conceptions converges with the notion of developmental biocultural co-constructivism and specifies the zone within which human development can be expressed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the journal abstract)