Self improvementPsychology

Basic methods of age psychology

Age psychology is engaged in studying the features of the development of human mental functions at each stage of development. In this regard, it identifies the three largest blocks (or sections). Childhood psychology deals with the study of the human psyche from birth to the onset of adulthood (about 18 years). The psychology of adults considers the characteristics of the mental development of adults and mature individuals. And, finally, gerontopsigology studies the mental development of older people. Since a person throughout his life is involved in a variety of relationships, the methods of age psychology borrow knowledge from related fields: general psychology, pedagogical, differential, social.

Features of the category "age"

The study of such a phenomenon as age, involves some difficulties. In particular, there are difficulties with its definition. Chronological (reflecting the number of lived years), biological (physiological indicators of the body at the moment) and psychological age (the level of development of the psyche, including intellectual and psychosexual development) are distinguished. These categories define the subject and methods of age-related psychology. However, the subject of its study is not only the concept of age. This includes also those changes that the psyche undergoes at each stage of development. Changes in the transition of a subject from one age category to another can be different (quantitative, qualitative, evolutionary and revolutionary, as well as situational).

Empirical methods

Methods of age psychology are diverse. Almost all of them are borrowed from related disciplines and are used for a comprehensive study of the changes taking place in the human psyche at the moment of his life. The methods of research in age psychology are selected depending on the goals and strategy of the study.


The most common method (coming from general psychology) is observation. The researcher records the facts and disposes them in chronological order. Observation is indispensable when working with young children. Despite the apparent simplicity, it is quite difficult to implement. All methods of age-related psychology should contribute to the attainment of the goal. Observation should be objective, schematic, systematic and inconspicuous for the observed.


Interrogative methods of age psychology include questioning, conversation, the execution of test tasks, the analysis of products of activity. Here the subject is actively involved in the research process.


Here the goal is set, the plan is drawn up, the experiment itself is conducted, then data collection and analysis follows. The subject may or may not know about the research. During the experiment special conditions are created so that the researcher can study the specific qualities of the subject.


All the listed methods of age psychology can refer to the following groups of methods: the method of transverse shearing (the qualities of the subject are studied once in order to establish certain facts about age) and the longitudinal method (the subject is subjected to research over time to identify dynamic changes in the development process).

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