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Child Development

Context, Culture, and Cascades

Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda

Publication Date - 09 November 2021

ISBN: 9780190216900

800 pages
8 1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

A new child development text that presents a contemporary understanding of development today. Written by an active researcher this text is informed by the importance of socio-cultural context, the interconnectedness of developmental domains and a focus on contemporary research.


Child Development: Context, Culture, and Cascades seeks to convey the wonder and awe of child development. Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda aims to inspire students to understand the process of change and to think about change through the eyes of a developmental scientist.

To appreciate child development requires understanding the basics: What is changing and why? Accordingly, each chapter describes changes in a select domain of development at a specific time in childhood (the what), and considers the many forces that spur changes in children (the how). Within and across chapters, students will learn about interactions between biology and environment; the role of contexts (e.g., family, school, community, and so on) in development; and how cultural views and practices infuse children's everyday lives. Finally, because the path of a river is affected by the flowing waters that preceded it, students will come to appreciate how small changes can exert downstream effects on development in the process of developmental cascades. Changing children swim in ever-changing waters. However, beyond providing the fundamentals of child development, the ultimate message of this book runs much deeper than words on a page. Students will see that answers to the "whats" and "hows" of change are both fundamental to science and hold a key to improving the lives of children and families around the world.

Child Development: Context, Culture, and Cascades is available with Oxford Insight. Oxford Insight pairs best-in-class OUP content with curated media resources, activities, and gradable assessment, in a guided learning environment that delivers performance analytics, drives student engagement, and improves student outcomes.


  • "Developmental Cascades" capture the idea that changes in one domain of development can reverberate across other domains and time.
  • "Check Your Understanding Questions" test students' understanding of content related to learning objective sections.
  • "Learning Objectives" connect to the major subheadings of the chapter and cue students to what they should be able to know and/or do after reading.
  • "The Developmentalist's Toolbox" recaps the research methods discussed in the chapter, briefly describing the method and its purpose, to reinforce students' research understanding.
  • "Bulleted Chapter Summary" summarizes the contents of main sections.
  • "Thinking Like a Developmentalist Questions" present students with hypothetical situations to engage them in the application of chapter information.
  • "Concepts in Action Videos" highlight important concepts in child development, bringing methods and concepts to life.
  • "Data in Action" enable students to manipulate independent and dependent variables relevant to chapter topics to see associations change in real time.
  • "Research in Action Videos" explore classic and current research in child development.
  • "Author Context and Culture Videos" complement selected context and culture sections in chapters to emphasize key points.
  • "Author Cascades Videos" complement end-of-chapter sections on Developmental Cascades, emphasizing key points related to these important concepts.
  • "Oxford Insight, available separately" is designed to optimize student success by providing a personalized and engaging learning experience.

About the Author(s)

Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda is Professor of Developmental Psychology, in the Department of Applied Psychology at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, where she directs the Play & Language Lab. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society and has served in various capacities (past and current) such as President of the International Congress of Infant Studies; member of the Governing Council of the Society for Research on Child Development; associate editor of Infancy and Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; reviewer on editorial boards of several journals and panels of federal and foundation funding agencies. Tamis-LeMonda's research focuses on infant and child language, communication, object play, literacy, and motor skill, and the roles of language input, home experiences, parenting, and culture in infant learning and development across domains. Tamis-LeMonda's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Mental Health, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, the LEGO Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Robinhood Foundation. She has over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books, and co-edited the volumes Child Psychology: A Handbook of Contemporary Issues, 1st 2nd 3rd Editions (Psychology Press, 1999, 2006, 2016), Handbook of Father Involvement: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Psychology Press, 2002; 2013), The Development of Social Cognition and Communication (Psychology Press, 2005), and the Handbook of Infant Development (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Her husband Richard, children Brittany, Christopher, and Michael; grandchildren Lila and Zoe; and dog Lucy are a constant source of joy and continual reminder to always find the time to take a break, go for a walk, host a holiday, do some cooking, and relish time with family.


"This fascinating, state-of-the-art textbook by Tamis-LeMonda (New York Univ.) on child development is a massive compendium of the latest research about the influences on and obstacles to healthy growth from infancy to adolescence." -- S. A. Mason, CHOICE

Table of Contents



    Chapter 1: Goals, Theories, and Methods
    The Goals of Developmental Science
    Describing Development
    Quantitative vs. Qualitative Change: Coral Reef Fish or Frogs?
    Differences among Children in Development
    Developmental Stability

    Explaining Development
    Genes and Environment: The Nature-Nurture See-Saw
    Developmental Cascades

    Applying Developmental Science
    Raising Children
    Programs and Policies
    Theoretical Orientations
    Foundational Theories
    Evolutionary Theory
    Psychodynamic Theories
    Constructivism: Piaget's Stage Theory
    Lev Vygotsky and the Origins of Socio-Cultural Theory

    Contemporary Theories
    Nativist Approaches
    Social Learning
    Information Processing Theories
    Dynamic Systems Theories
    Bio-Ecological Theories
    Sociocultural Theories

    Research in Developmental Science
    Conducting Research
    Hypothesis-Driven Research and the Scientific Method
    Discovery-Based Science
    Methods: Gathering Data
    Study Designs

    Ensuring Scientific Rigor and Integrity
    Scientific Replicability and Transparency
    Ethics in Research

    Closing Thoughts: Setting the Stage

    Chapter 2: Heredity, Environment, and the Brain

    Genetics and the Environment
    Genetic Foundations
    Chromosomes, DNA, and Genes
    From Gametes to Human Beings
    Decoding the Genome
    The Microbiome

    Contexts of Environmental Influences on Gene Expression
    How Do Genes and Environment Interact?
    Epigenetic Principles: From Animals to Humans
    Summing Up: The Library Metaphor

    The Brain
    Brain Anatomy and Function
    Midbrain and Hindbrain
    Neurons and Glial Cells
    New Ways to Study the Brain

    Brain Development
    How the Brain Changes
    Periods of Brain Development

    Contexts and the Brain
    Experience-Expectant Plasticity
    Experience-Dependent Plasticity
    Timing of Experience
    Looking to the Future

    Developmental Cascades
    Responding to Experiences: Dandelions and Orchids
    Susceptibility to Addiction
    Response to Maltreatment

    Closing Thoughts: Dismantling the Nature Nurture Controversy

    Chapter 3: Prenatal and Postnatal Health and Physical
    Conception and Prenatal Development
    Influences on Conception
    Fertility Treatments

    Prenatal Development
    Germinal Period
    Embryonic Period
    Fetal Period

    Contextual Influences on Prenatal Development
    Toxic Substances
    Maternal Nutrition and Exercise
    Maternal Prenatal Care
    Maternal Psychological Functioning

    Birth and Infant Health
    Labor and Birth
    Stages of Labor
    Neonatal Health
    Birth Complications
    Contextual Influences on Infant Mortality and Birth Weight
    Infant Brain Development

    Infant Sleep and Nutrition
    Cultural Influences on Infant Sleep
    Nutrition and Breastfeeding
    Contextual Influences on Breastfeeding

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Fetal
    Cascades from Fetal Auditory Experiences
    Cascades from Maternal Stress
    Cascades from Infant Birth Weight
    Cascades from Parenting and Protective Factors

    Closing Thoughts: The Dynamics of Development


    Chapter 4: Perceptual and Motor Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood
    Perceptual Development
    The Study of Perception in Infants
    Early Theories
    The Ecological Theory of Perception
    Methods for Studying Infant Perception

    Tasting and Smelling
    Taste and Odor Preferences
    Contexts of Taste Perception

    Acuity and Contrast
    Perceiving Colors
    Shape and Size Constancy
    Perceiving Objects as “Whole”
    Tracking Motion and Actions
    Perceiving Depth
    Contexts of Face Perception

    Loudness and Pitch
    Perceiving Music
    Perceiving Speech

    From Perception to Meaning: Categorization and Integration
    Perceptual Integration
    Perceptual Categorization

    Motor Development
    The Study of Motor Development in Infants
    Gesell and the Concept of Motor Milestones
    Myrtle McGraw and Motor Practice
    Esther Thelen and Dynamic Systems

    Developments in Infant Motor Skill
    Reaching, Grasping, and Tool Use
    Locomoting: Crawling, Cruising, Walking

    Contexts of Motor Development
    Home Context of Motor Development
    Cultural Context of Motor Development

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Perceptual Development
    Cascades from Motor Development

    Closing Thoughts: The Engines of Learning and Development

    Chapter 5: Cognitive Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood

    Learning about the Physical World
    Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
    Sensorimotor Substages 1-5
    Mental Representation (Sensorimotor Substage 6): 18-24 Months
    Challenges to Piaget That Inspired New Theoretical Orientations

    Nativist Tests of Infant Core Capacities
    Infant Understanding of Object Permanence
    Infant Understanding of Solidity and Substance
    Infant Understanding of Gravity and Support
    Testing Core Capacity for Understanding Number
    Challenges to Nativism

    Dynamic Systems Insights into Cognitive Performance
    Modifying the A-Not-B Task
    Changing Sensory Feedback

    Information Processing: Attention in Cognition
    Phases of Attention
    Selective Attention
    Processing Information

    Contexts of Cognitive Development
    Home Context of Cognitive Development
    Socio-Economic Context of Cognitive Development
    Cultural Context of Cognitive Development

    Learning about the Social World
    Understanding Others' Attention
    Looking, Gaze, and Joint Attention

    Understanding Others' Actions, Knowledge, and Beliefs
    Interpreting Actions
    Imitating Actions
    Inferring Knowledge and Beliefs

    Contexts of Social Cognition
    Home Context of Social Cognition
    Cultural Context of Social Cognition

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Cognitive Development
    Cascades from Social Cognition

    Closing Thoughts: Looking into the Mind of a Child

    Chapter 6: Language Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood
    Describing Language Development
    Phonological Development: Learning Speech Sounds
    Perceiving and Discriminating among the Phonemes of One's Language
    Identifying the Phonemes that Comprise Words
    Producing Sounds

    Semantic Development: Learning Word Meaning
    Receptive Language
    Productive Language

    Syntactic Development: Putting Words Together
    Understanding Sentences and Syntactic Bootstrapping
    The Path to Producing Sentences

    Pragmatic Development: Learning Communication Norms
    Turn Taking
    Attention to Nonverbal Social Cues

    Explaining Language Development
    Nativist Accounts of Language Development
    Universal Grammar and the LAD
    Deaf Children and Sign Language
    Critical Periods and the Case of "Genie"

    Connectionist and Dynamic Systems Theory
    Connectionist Theory
    Dynamic Systems Theory

    Sociocultural Theory
    Can Infants Learn Language from Media?

    Contexts of Language Development
    Family Context of Language Development
    Socioeconomic Context of Language Development
    Childcare Context of Language Development
    Multilingual Context of Language Development
    Cultural Context of Language Development

    Developmental Cascades
    Language Development Influences Cognitive Development
    Language Development Influences Later School Success

    Closing Thoughts: Language Development is Much More than Language

    Chapter 7: Emotional and Social
    Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood
    Emotional Development
    Evolutionary Theory and the Functions of Emotions
    Are Emotions Universal?
    Are Emotions Adaptive?

    Expressing Emotions
    Infant Positive Emotions
    Infant Negative Emotions

    Understanding Emotions
    Discriminating Emotions
    Using Emotional Information

    Regulating Emotions
    Development in Infant Emotion Regulation
    Effortful Control

    The History of Temperament Studies
    Contemporary Models of Temperament
    Stability in Temperament

    Social and Cultural Contexts of Emotional Development and Temperament
    Contexts of Infant Temperament and Goodness-of-Fit
    Parenting Context of Emotional Development
    Cultural Context of Emotional Development

    Social Development
    Evolutionary Views of Attachment
    Ainsworth and the Strange Situation

    Contexts of Attachment
    Parenting Context of Attachment
    Cultural Context of Attachment

    Peer Relations and the Origins of Morality
    Prosocial Behaviors
    Moral Development and Aggression

    Aspects of Self
    The Ecological and Interpersonal Selves
    The Objective Self

    Contexts of Self-Identity
    Gender Socialization: Home Context
    Gender Socialization: Cultural Context

    Developmental Cascades
    Emotion Regulation and Language Learning
    Emotion Regulation and Preschool Learning
    Emotion Regulation and Later Social Functioning
    Attachment and Later Adjustment

    Closing Thoughts: Cultivating Emotional and Social Competence


    Chapter 8: Physical Development and Health in Early Childhood
    Physical Development
    Brain, Physical, and Motor Development
    Brain Development
    Physical and Motor Development
    Home Context of Brain Development
    Cultural and Historical Context of Physical Growth

    Food Acceptance and Healthy Diets
    Childhood Obesity
    Family Context of Nutrition

    Developmental Changes in Sleep Patterns
    How Much Sleep Do Young Children Need?
    Family Context of Sleep

    Childhood Illness, Injury, and Maltreatment
    Infectious Diseases
    Chronic Diseases
    Unintentional Childhood Injury
    Maltreatment and Exposure to Violence
    Family Context of Childhood Illness,
    Injury, and Maltreatment
    Neighborhood Context and Lead Exposure
    Cultural Context of Childhood Illness, Injury, and Maltreatment

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Sleep Deprivation
    Cascades from Childhood Illness, Injury, and Maltreatment

    Closing Thoughts: Promotion and Prevention

    Chapter 10: Emotional and Social Development in Early Childhood
    Emotional Development
    Emotional Understanding
    Complex and Mixed Emotions
    The Causes and Consequences of Emotions

    Emotion Regulation and Temperament
    Emotion and Behavior Regulation
    Individual Differences and Temperament

    Contexts of Emotional Development
    Parenting Context of Emotional Development
    Sibling Context of Emotional Development
    School Context of Emotional
    Cultural Context of Emotional Development

    Social Development
    Attachment and Caregiver-Child Relationship Quality
    Assessment of Attachment in Young Children
    Attachment and Quality of Parenting

    Peers and Friends
    Play with Peers and Friends
    Family Context of Social Skills and Aggression
    Cultural Context of Social Development

    Identity Development
    Gender Identity
    Family Context of Gender Development
    Biological Context of Gender Development
    Ethnic and Racial Identity
    Family Context and Racial and Ethnic Identity

    Moral Development
    Psychodynamic View: Freud and the Id
    Cognitive Developmental View: Piaget and Kohlberg
    Social Domain View
    Family Context of Moral Development
    Cultural Context of Moral
    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Emotional Understanding
    Cascades from Emotional Regulation
    Cascades from Attachment
    Cascades from Peer Relationships
    Cascades from Moral Development

    Closing Thoughts: Development Starts Small


    Chapter 11: Physical Development and Health in Middle Childhood
    Brain and Physical Development
    Brain Development
    Changes to White and Gray Matter
    Changes to Brain Networks
    Coordination Across Brain Regions
    Family Context and Brain Development

    Physical Development
    Gross Motor Skills
    Fine Motor Skills
    Sex Differences in Physical Growth and Motor Skills
    Contexts of Physical Development

    Food Insecurity
    Contexts of Nutrition

    How Much Sleep do Children Need?
    Sleep Problems in Children
    Family Context of Sleep

    Injury and Illness
    Infectious Illnesses
    Chronic Diseases

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Brain Development
    Cascades from Physical Activity
    Cascades from Food Insufficiency and Malnutrition
    Cascades from Obesity
    Cascades from Sleep
    Cascades from Chronic Disease

    Closing Thoughts: Stability and Change

    Chapter 12: Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood
    Cognitive Development

    Piagetian Theory
    Concrete Operational Thought
    Limitations in Concrete Operational Thought

    Information Processing
    Working Memory and Processing
    Metacognition and Memory Strategies
    Semantic Memory: A Growing Knowledge Base
    Episodic and Autobiographical Memory

    Intelligence and Individual Differences
    Defining Intelligence
    A Single Mental Ability
    Multiple Abilities

    Measuring Intelligence
    The History of Intelligence Testing
    Reliability, Validity, and Bias of Intelligence Tests
    Nature and Nurture in Intelligence
    The Heritability of Intelligence
    Environmental Influences on Intelligence

    Academic Skills
    Language, Literacy, and Math
    Vocabulary and Grammar
    Reading and Writing

    Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
    Views of Intelligence

    Contexts of Cognitive Development and Academic Achievement
    Family Context and Cognitive Development
    School Context and Cognitive Development
    Cultural Context and Cognitive Development

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Academics to Later School Performance
    Cascades from Academics to Social Relationships
    Cascading Effects in Children with Disabilities

    Closing Thoughts: Thinking about Thinking

    Chapter 13: Emotional and Social Development in Middle Childhood
    Emotional Development
    Understanding Emotions
    Self-Conscious Emotions: Pride, Shame, and Guilt
    The Causes and Consequences of Emotions
    Theory of Mind and Moral Reasoning

    Expressing and Regulating Emotions
    Display Rules and Regulating Emotions
    Emotional Coping

    Contexts of Emotional Development
    Family Context of Emotional Development
    Peer Context of Emotional Development
    Cultural Context of Emotional Development

    Social Development
    Self-Identity Development
    Erik Erikson's Theory
    Evaluating Self
    Gender Identity
    Ethnicity and Race
    Inter-Group Relations and Moral Development

    Contexts of Self-Identity Development
    Family Context and Gender Self-Identity
    Family and School Contexts and Racial Self-Identity
    Peer and Media Contexts and Gender Self-Identity

    Relationships with Parents
    Parenting Styles

    Relationships with Peers
    Peer Acceptance and Rejection
    The Pain of Exclusion

    Contexts of Social Development
    Family and School Context of Social Development
    Social Media Context of Social
    Cultural Context of Social Development

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Emotional Development
    Cascades from Self-Identity
    Cascades from Gender Self-Identity
    Cascades from Peer Acceptance and Rejection
    Cascades as Illustrated through a 20-year Study

    Closing Thoughts: Vulnerabilities and Strengths


    Chapter 14: Physical Development and Health in Adolescence
    Physical and Brain Development
    Brain Development
    Synaptogenesis, Pruning, and Myelination
    Asymmetry in Brain Development

    Primary and Secondary Sex Characteristics
    The Growth Spurt
    Stages of Puberty
    Home Context of Puberty
    Cultural Context of Puberty

    Emergence of Sexual Behavior
    Learning about Sexuality and Engaging in Sex
    Peer Context of Sexuality
    Cultural Context of Sexuality

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy
    Sexually Transmitted Infections
    Pregnancy and Parenthood in Adolescence
    Contexts of Adolescent Pregnancy

    Eating Disorders
    Overweight or Obese
    Contexts of Eating Disorders and Obesity

    Circadian Rhythms
    Too Little Sleep
    Poor Quality Sleep
    Contexts of Sleep

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Brain Development
    Cascades from Pubertal Timing
    Cascades from Obesity

    Closing Thoughts: Primed to Learn

    Chapter 15: Cognitive Development in Adolescence
    Cognitive Development
    Piagetian Theory
    Abstract and Propositional Thinking
    Hypothetical-Deductive Reasoning
    Rethinking the Formal Operational Stage

    Information Processing
    Selective Attention and Flexibility
    Working Memory and Processing Speed
    Memory Strategies and Metacognition

    Social Cognition
    Adolescent Egocentrism
    Moral Reasoning
    Moral Behavior

    Cultural Context of Adolescent Cognitive Development
    Cultural Tools and Activities
    Culture and Schooling

    Language, Literacy, and Academic Skills
    Language and Literacy Development
    Vocabulary and Grammar
    Reading and Writing
    Male and Female Differences in Academic Proficiencies

    School Engagement and Motivation
    Components of School Engagement
    Academic Motivation and Performance

    Explaining Motivation

    Contexts of Academic Achievement
    Family and Peer Context of Academic Achievement
    School Context of Academic Achievement
    Neighborhood Context of Academic Achievement

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascading Effects of Cognitive Development on Civic Engagement
    Cascading Effects of Academic Motivation on Life Trajectories
    Cascading Effects of School Drop Out
    Preventing School Drop Out

    Closing Thoughts: The Blurred Boundary between Ability and Performance

    Chapter 16: Emotional and Social Development in Adolescence
    Emotional Development
    Emotional Experiences
    Emotional Reactivity
    Emotional Valence
    Adolescent Depression

    Development of Adolescent Self-Regulation
    Development of Risk Taking

    Contexts in Emotional Development
    Family and Peer Contexts of Emotional Development
    School and Neighborhood Contexts of Emotional Development

    Erik Erikson's Theory
    Identity Achievement versus Role Confusion
    The Psychosocial Moratorium

    James Marcia and Identity Statuses
    Marcia's Identity Statuses
    Adolescent Self-esteem

    Ethnic Identity
    Development of Ethnic Identity
    Navigating Two Identities

    Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
    Gender Identity
    Sexual Orientation
    Romantic Relationships

    Contexts of Self-Identity
    Family Context of Self-Identity
    School Context of Self-Identity
    Cultural Context of Self-Identity

    Social Relationships
    Relationships with Parents and Siblings
    Closeness and Attachment to Parent
    Conflict with Parents
    Parental Monitoring and Adolescent Disclosure
    Immigrant Context of the Adolescent-Parent Relationship

    Relationships with Peers
    Cliques and Crowds

    Social Media
    Benefits of Social Media Use
    Overuse of Social Media
    Disclosing Too Much Information

    Developmental Cascades
    Cascades from Adolescent Depression and Self-Esteem
    Cascades from Relationships with Parents
    Cascades from Relationships with Peers

    Closing Thoughts: Positive Cascades