Child Development

Author(s): Laura E. Berk

Child Development


Read by more than half a million students worldwide, Berk’s Child Development has been the standard for 20 years. Now, this 20th anniversary edition builds on its long and successful history with the most cutting-edge research, pedagogy, and supplements package available! Laura Berk has taught thousands of students with diverse majors, future goals, interests, and needs. Her work is continually at the forefront of changes in the field. The Eighth Edition includes the most up-to-date scholarship while retaining all the hallmark features for which Laura Berk’s texts are known — unique story-telling, practical applications, meticulous research, and much more!

New To This Edition

  • Updated! Meticulously researched material, including more than 1,500 new reference citations as well as the latest research and findings, is conveyed to the student in a clear, story-like fashion that humanizes the complex developmental process.

  • New! Take a Moment…, an active-learning pedagogical feature, built into the text narrative, asks the reader to “take a moment” to think about an important point, integrate information on children’s development, or engage in an exercise or an application to clarify a challenging concept. Take a Moment . . . actively engages the student in learning and inspires critical thinking.

  • New Supplement! Classroom Kits Volume 1 and 2 are packed with instructor materials including: Instructor’s Resource Manual, Test Bank, Grade Aid and PowerPoint Slides with notes.

  • New and Extensively Revised Videos! Over four hours of footage, including scripted and unscripted observation segments that illustrate the many theories, concepts, and milestones of child development. Content includes an extensive library of 2- to 5-minute segments specially designed for efficient classroom use, including new content on child abuse intervention, peer acceptance and developmental consequences, development of children's drawings, and much more.


Chapter 1 Key Changes

  • Updated Biology and Environment box on resilience

  • New, applied examples of the contributions of behaviorism and social learning theory

  • Introduction to developmental cognitive neuroscience as a new area of investigation

  • Updated section on public policies and child development

  • 67 new reference citations

Chapter 2 Key Changes

  • New examples of research using systematic observation, structured interviews, and correlational designs

  • Expanded and updated section on psychophysiological methods of assessing brain functioning, including EEG, ERPs, fMRI, PET, and NIROT and a table summarizing these techniques

  • New Biology and Environment box on prenatal iron deficiency, brain development, and memory impairments in infants of diabetic mothers, illustrating the use of ERP to study atypical brain and cognitive functioning

  • Revised and updated Cultural Influences box on immigrant youths

  • Revised section on sequential designs, including a new example and visual illustration

  • Expanded discussion of the use of deception in research with children, including a new example illustrating ethical dilemmas

  • 43 new reference citations

Chapter 3 Key Changes

  • Updated discussion of basic genetics, including incomplete dominance

  • New evidence on the changing proportion of male to female births

  • Inclusion of both germline and somatic mutation, with implications for modifiability of the genotype and gene-environment interaction

  • New evidence on genetic treatment of disease

  • Updated research on fetal sensory and behavioral capacities

  • Discussion of the risks of stimulating the fetus to promote cognitive skills

  • Updated Biology and Environment box on the prenatal environment and health in later life

  • Expanded and updated consideration of a wide range of teratogens

  • Inclusion of the new designation for harmful effects of prenatal alcohol exposure–fetal alcohol spectrum disorder–and its associated three diagnoses: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), partial fetal alcohol syndrome (PFAS), and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND)

  • Enhanced discussion of the impact of maternal infectious disease on the developing organism, with special attention to AIDS, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex 2

  • New evidence on the long-term consequences of emotional stress during pregnancy

  • New research on natural childbirth practices, including positions for delivery and water birth

  • New findings on oxygen deprivation during childbirth, head-cooling treatment to reduce brain injury, and developmental consequences

  • Updated discussion of preterm and low-birth-weight infants, including long-term developmental outcomes for very low-birth-weight babies

  • Updated Social Issues: Health box on health care and other policies for parents and newborn babies, including cross-national infant mortality rates and the importance of generous parental leave

  • Enhanced consideration of the benefits of “kangaroo care” for preterm babies

  • Enhanced discussion of environmental influences on gene expression

  • 174 new references

Chapter 4 Key Changes

  • New findings on contributions of sleep to infant learning and memory

  • Updated Cultural Influences box on cultural variation in infant sleeping arrangements

  • Updated Biology and Environment box on sudden infant death syndrome, including protective sleeping practices

  • New research on infant crying, including a nurse home-visiting program to reduce colic

  • Enhanced attention to the contribution of independent locomotion to development of more flexible memory in infancy

  • Expanded and updated section on newborn imitation, including the role of mirror neurons in the human capacity for imitation and other social abilities.

  • Updated evidence on how environmental supports contribute to development of motor skills, with special attention to stair climbing

  • Updated section on development of reaching

  • New research on fetal and newborn pain perception

  • New findings on babies’ capacity to statistically analyze the speech stream

  • New Biology and Environment box on “tuning in” to familiar speech, faces, and music during

  • Updated evidence on babies’ developing sensitivity to depth cues

  • Expanded and updated consideration of early pattern and face perception

  • Expanded and updated section on intermodal perception, including its contributions to all aspects of psychological development

  • New research on infants born with cataracts and children adopted from Romanian orphanages, bearing on the question of whether infancy is a sensitive period of development

  • 98 new reference citations

Chapter 5 Key Changes

  • Updated findings on youth sports, including gender differences in participation and consequences for development

  • New statistics and evidence on teenage use of performance-enhancing drupgs

  • Expanded treatment of brain development in childhood and adolescence, with emphasis on developing connections between the frontal lobes and other brain structures

  • New findings on development of handedness

  • Revised and updated section on overweight and obesity, including rapid increase in developing nations, contributing factors–low education and income, parental feeding practices, childhood sleep, television viewing, physical activity, and the broader cultural environment–and prevention and treatment

  • Updated statistics on childhood immunization in the United States, Canada, and other industrialized nations

  • New Biology and Environment box on low-level lead exposure and children’s development

  • New research on the contribution of parent-teenage relationships to adolescent mood

  • New evidence on implications of pubertal timing for psychological adjustment in adolescence and adulthood

  • Discussion of the Internet as a hazardous “sex educator,” including adolescents’ exposure to pornography on the Internet

  • Updated statistics and evidence on sexually transmitted disease, including international comparisons and teenagers’ understanding of modes of transmission

  • New findings on programs, including components of sex education, that reduce adolescent unprotected sexual activity and pregnancy

  • New evidence on the long-term consequences of adolescent parenthood and on prevention strategies

  • New Social Issues box on intergenerational continuity in adolescent parenthood

  • 192 new references

Chapter 6  Key Changes 

  • New research on deferred imitation in infancy and toddlerhood, including generalization of modeled behaviors and rational imitation, by inferring models’ intentions

  • New evidence on infants’ understanding of object permanence, including brain-wave findings

  • New research on development of categorization, with special attention to the animate—inanimate distinction in toddlerhood and to preschoolers’ capacity to infer underlying, nonobservable characteristics shared by category members

  • New findings on cultural influences on development of drawing, operational thought, and cognitive maps

  • New findings on the influence of schooling on development of propositional thought

  • Updated findings on relationships of the imaginary audience and personal fable to adolescent adjustment

  • Expanded and updated research on adolescent decision making

  • Enhanced discussion of infants’ physical in relation to the core knowledge perspective, with emphasis on sensitivity to basic principles of object support

  • New research on the controversy over whether babies have basic number concepts, including brain-wave findings and cross-cultural evidence

  • Expanded consideration of preschoolers’ biological knowledge, including growth, inheritance, illness, and death

  • New evidence on the development and significance of children’s private speech

  • 89 new reference citations

Chapter 7  Key Changes

  • Updated coverage of connectionism, including constructivist connectionist models, which simulate infants’ and children’s rapid learning more effectively

  • Expanded and updated consideration of Siegler’s model of strategy choice, with new findings on children’s strategy experimentation and task performance

  • New findings on development of selective attention on everyday tasks

  • New Social Issues box on Enhancing Cognitive Control Through Preschool Education

  • Revised and updated Biology and Environment box on children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Enhanced consideration of fuzzy trace theory, gains in gist memory, and why certain memory inaccuracies increase while others decrease with age

  • Revised and updated discussion of development of autobiographical memory, with new research on cultural variations in parent—child conversations about past events

  • Updated Biology and Environment box on infantile amnesia

  • New research on factors that affect the accuracy of children’s eyewitness memory

  • New findings on development of metacognition, including age-related gains in ability to discriminate good from bad reasoning

  • Updated evidence on contributions of phonological awareness to emergent literacy and reading progress

  • Updated research on early development of counting and math concepts, including estimation

  • Recent research on factors that support scientific reasoning–coordination of theory with evidence

  • 80 new references

Chapter 8  Key Changes 

  • New chapter-opening story

  • New findings on aspects of information-processing that underlie children’s intelligence test performance

  • Updated From Research to Practice box on Emotional Intelligence

  • Inclusion of the most recent edition of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III)

  • Updated evidence on IQ as a predictor of occupational attainment and psychological adjustment

  • Updated consideration of adoption studies confirming the joint contributions of heredity and environment to IQ

  • New findings on cultural bias in testing, with special attention to adult communication styles

  • Revised and expanded Social Issues box on high-stakes testing

  • Updated evidence on the contribution of parental expectations for educational attainment to children’s academic performance

  • New research on early intervention for low-income children, including Early Head Start

  • Updated evidence on cost-effectiveness of excellent intervention

  • Summary of factors contributing to the enduring impact of outstanding early intervention programs–the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project, the Chicago Child—Parent Centers, and the Carolina Abecedarian Project

  • 83 new references

Chapter 9 Key Changes 

  • New evidence on factors accounting for the sensitive period, or younger-age advantage, for language learning

  • Expanded attention to information-processing theories of language development, including  connectionist models

  • New evidence on visual language discrimination by English-learning and French/English-learning infants, with implications for bilingual development

  • New research on the facilitating role of child-directed speech in early language progress

  • Impact of cochlear implants on language development in deaf-born babies

  • Updated findings on the contributions of joint attention, infant pointing, and other preverbal gestures to early language development

  • New findings on the relationship between toddlers’ language comprehension and production

  • New evidence on toddlers’ fast-mapping of new words

  • Updated research on individual differences in early language development, including effects of temperament and SES

  • Expanded and updated evidence on young children’s strategies for word learning, including the shape bias

  • Inclusion of the emergentist coalition model, an new account of how children draw on diverse cues to figure out word meanings

  • New research on toddlers’ sensitivity to grammatical structures in comprehension

  • New evidence on English-learning children’s mastery of question form

  • Updated research on the impact of parents’ reformulations of children’s errors on grammatical development

  • Enhanced discussion of narrative development, including the supportive role of make-believe play

  • New findings on adolescents’ improved capacity to adapt language style to social contexts

  • Expanded section on bilingual development, including code-switching

  • Updated research on effects of bilingualism on brain and cognitive development

  • 114 new references

Chapter 10 Key Changes

  • Updated section on emotions and cognitive processing, including the impact of traumatic events on children’s memory

  • Revised and updated Biology and Environment box on parental depression and child development, including both maternal and paternal depression

  • Updated section on emotions and health, with expanded coverage of stress reactivity, cortisol levels, and problematic physical, emotional, and social development among Romanian orphanage children

  • New research on development of emotional self-regulation, including the influence of infant care giving, effective techniques for managing toddler temper tantrums, and parent—child conversations that suggest emotion-regulation strategies

  • New research on school-age children’s capacity to distinguish between feeling and expressing emotions, with implications for emotional self-regulation

  • Expanded treatment of social referencing, including new findings on infants’ sensitivity to the adult’s voice

  • New research on the self-regulatory dimension of temperament–effortful control–and consequences for children’s cognitive and social competence

  • Enhanced attention to contributions of secure attachment to parent—child conversations about emotion and, in turn, to preschoolers’ emotion vocabulary and understanding

  • Expanded consideration of parenting influences on development of empathy and sympathy

  • Expanded discussion of methods of assessing attachment, including adaptation of the Strange Situation for preschoolers

  • Enhanced consideration of cultural variations in sensitive caregiving, with implications for attachment security

  • New research on the joint contribution of infant characteristics and parental sensitivity to attachment security

  • Enhanced consideration of the impact of family circumstances on security of attachment,

  • Expanded section on fathers’ involvement with infants, including cultural variations

  • Enhanced discussion of the influence of attachment quality on later development, including early emergence of internal working models and the facilitating role of parent—child narratives in children’s construction of broader, more complex attachment representations

  • Updated Social Issues box on the influence of quality of child care and long child-care hours on attachment and later development

  • 158 new reference citations

Chapter 11 Key Changes

  • Updated section on development of self-awareness and self-recognition in the first two years, with new research on cultural variations

  • New evidence on preschoolers’ developing awareness of an enduring self—a self persisting over time

  • New findings on social experiences contributing to young children’s theory of mind, with special emphasis on parent–child conversations about mental states

  • Updated Biology and Environment box on “mindblindnesss” and autism, including explanations for a deficient theory of mind among children with autism

  • Updated section on development of self-concept, including contributions of parent–child communication, cultural differences, and new examples of adolescent self-descriptions

  • New research on cultural and gender differences in children’s self-esteem

  • New evidence on cultural variations in parental feedback about task performance, with implications for children’s achievement-related attributions

  • New research on identity statuses, cognitive styles, and adjustment

  • New evidence on cultural variations in construction of a sense of self-continuity in adolescence

  • Revised Social Issues box on adolescent suicide, with evidence on the impact of cultural disintegration and community powerlessness on high suicide rates among Native American and Canadian Aboriginal youths

  • Updated Cultural Influences box on identity development among ethnic minority youths

  • New findings on development of racial and ethnic prejudices and strategies for reducing children’s prejudices

  • New research on training social problem solving, using comprehensive social-cognitive intervention

  • 106 new reference citations

Chapter 12 Key Changes

  • Expanded treatment of the biological roots of human morality, with special attention to an evolved prosocial capacity resulting from our evolutionary history of group living

  • New research on parenting, child temperament, and conscience development

  • Updated Cultural Influences box on ethnic differences in the consequences of physical punishment

  • Updated statistics on the prevalence of corporal punishment of children in the United States and Canada

  • Updated research on cultural variations in considering an actor’s intentions in judging the morality of truthfulness and lying

  • Updated evidence on age-related changes in progress through Kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning

  • Revised evaluation of Kohlberg’s stages, including issues raised by a pragmatic approach to moral judgment

  • New research on situational influences on care-based moral reasoning

  • Enhanced consideration of experiences that promote moral self-relevance

  • Revised and expanded section on the domain approach to moral understanding, including coordination of moral, social-conventional, and personal concerns during middle childhood and adolescence

  • Expanded consideration of parenting practices and development of morally relevant self-control

  • New research on the distinction between proactive and reactive aggression

  • Updated findings on gender differences in aggression from toddlerhood to adolescence

  • New findings on the implications of proactive and reactive aggression for social-cognitive deficits and distortions, which act to sustain aggression

  • Updated statistics on the prevalence of adolescent delinquency, including arrests for violent crimes in the United States and Canada

  • Evaluations of zero tolerance policies in schools, including consideration of why they fail to reduce youth aggression and other forms of misconduct

  • Updated Social Issues box on development of civic responsibility

  • Updated Biology and Environment box on two routes to adolescent antisocial behavior

  • 99 new reference citations

Chapter 13 Key Changes 

  • New research on the rigidity of gender stereotypes in early childhood and increasing gender-stereotype flexibility during the school years

  • Expanded consideration of exceptional sexual development, including gender-typed behavior of children with androgen insensitivity syndrome

  • New findings of parents differential communication with boys and girls in gender-stereotyped activities

  • New research on cultural variations in gender typing within gender-segregated peer groups

  • Updated evidence on gender-typing in the media, with special attention to young children’s picture books

  • New findings on implications of the cognitive changes that lead up to gender constancy (gender stability and gender consistency) for children’s gender stereotyping

  • Discussion of the contemporary debate over how best to help children who feel gender atypical

  • Updated research on sex differences in verbal, spatial, and mathematical abilities, including contributing factors

  • New research on the widening gender gap in writing achievement, including possible contributing factors

  • Updated evidence on sex differences in depression, with special attention to the role of a feminine gender identity

  • 71 new references

Chapter 14 Key Changes

  • New findings on the harmful impact of parental psychological control on children’s adjustment

  • Expanded and updated section on parenting and adolescent autonomy

  • New findings on special challenges in parenting adolescents in immigrant families and in risky neighborhoods

  • Expanded consideration of ethnic variations in child-rearing beliefs and practices

  • New research on effects of parenting on sibling relationships in middle childhood

  • Updated evidence on changes in sibling relationships in adolescence

  • New evidence on development of children in gay and lesbian families

  • Updated sections on divorce and remarriage and children’s development

  • Expanded and updated section on consequences of child maltreatment, including new findings on central nervous system damage

  • 130 new reference citations

Chapter 15 Key Changes

  • Updated research on cultural variations in early childhood peer sociability

  • New findings on friendship, including resemblance between friends and contributions of friendship to adjustment

  • Updated findings on peer acceptance, including its implications for friendship formation and for bullying and victimization

  • Revised and updated Social Issues box on bullies and their victims

  • Expanded discussion of peer groups, including school-age children’s judgments about peer exclusion, and consequences of exclusion for adjustment

  • New findings on implications of attachment to parents for quality of friendship and romantic ties

  • Updated research on peer pressure and conformity, with implications for adolescent adjustment

  • Reorganized and updated section on media influences, including updated statistics on TV and computer use by North American children and adolescents

  • Updated evidence on relationship of heavy TV viewing in childhood and early adolescence to later aggressive acts

  • New findings on impact TV viewing on children and adolescents’ gender stereotyped attitude and behaviors

  • New evidence on children’s developing understanding of the Internet’s technical complexity, with consequences for their knowledge of its social risks

  • Expanded treatment of the impact of computer use on academic achievement, with special attention to Web access

  • New research on adolescents’ use of the Internet for communication, including benefits and risks

  • Revised and expanded section on regulating media use

  • New research on short- and long-term benefits of adolescent extracurricular participation

  • New findings on gains in academic and social skills associated with Montessori preschool education

  • New Social Issues box on benefits of school recess

  • New evidence on contributions of social maturity to school readiness

  • New research on inclusive classrooms and children with learning difficulties

  • Updated cross-national comparisons of U.S. and Canadian students’ academic achievement

  • 178 new references

Features and Benefits

Meticulously researched material, including more than 1,500 new reference citations as well as the latest research and findings, is conveyed to the student in a clear, story-like fashion that humanizes the complex developmental process.


Practical applications are integrated into the discussion throughout the text to show students how sound practice stems

from theory and research.


Visually stunning artwork, graphics, and photographs effectively illustrate major points and enhance student interest and understanding.


Outstanding pedagogical features support students’ mastery of the subject matter:

• New! Take a Moment…, an active-learning pedagogical feature, built into the text narrative, asks the reader to “take a moment” to think about an important point, integrate information on children’s development, or engage in an exercise or an application to clarify a challenging concept.

Take a Moment . . . actively engages the student in learning and inspires critical thinking.

• Stories and vignettes of real children, a Berk signature feature, open each chapter and continue throughout the text to illustrate developmental principles and teach through engaging narrative. This book “teaches while it tells a story.”

• In-Text Highlighting of Key Terms and Definitions permits students to review important terms and concepts in context, thereby promoting deeper and more thorough learning. An end-of-chapter term list with page references is also included.

• “Milestones” tables summarize major physical, cognitive, language, emotional, and social achievements of development.

• “Ask Yourself” critical thinking questions have been thoroughly revised and expanded into a unique pedagogical feature that promotes four approaches to connecting with the subject matter. The questions encourage students to Review information they have just read, Apply it to new situations, Connect it to other age periods and domains of development, and Reflect on how theory and research are personally relevant in their own lives.

• Chapter Openers, illustrated with exceptionally beautiful and unique children’s art, prepare students for what they will learn through both a prose description and an outline, which provides a quick look at major topics to be covered.

• Chapter summaries include bolded terms, organized by learning objectives and major section headings, as well as a page-referenced terms list for convenient and focused student review.

• “Applying What We Know” tables provide practical real-life applications based on the results of theory and research. Berk speaks directly to students, offering real-world advice on how to provide sensitive, responsible care for children, both as parents and through the pursuit of a variety of careers and areas of study, including psychology, health care, teaching, social work, guidance counseling, and others.

• Four types of thematic boxes complement the text:

1. “Social Issues” boxes underscore the influence of social and public policies on all aspects of development.

2. “Cultural Influences” boxes emphasize multicultural and cross-cultural variations in development.

3. “Biology and Environment” boxes highlight the growing attention in the field to complex, bidirectional relationships between biological and environmental influences.

4. “From Research to Practice” boxes integrate theory, research, and applications on topics relevant to teachers, students, educators, and professionals.

• Extensive international content helps students learn more about social and cultural contexts for development and the powerful impact for public policies—especially in the realms of health and education—on children’s lives. Comprehensive Canadian research and examples are included throughout.



Table of Contents


1. History, Theory, and Applied Directions.

2. Research Strategies.



3. Biological Foundations, Prenatal Development, and Birth.

4. Infancy: Early Learning, Motor Skills, and Perceptual Capacities.

5. Physical Growth.



6. Cognitive Development: Piagetian, Core Knowledge, and Vygotskian Perspectives.

7. Cognitive Development: An Information-Processing Perspective.

8. Intelligence.

9. Language Development.



10. Emotional Development.

11. Self and Social Understanding.

12. Moral Development.

13. Development of Sex Differences and Gender Roles.



14. The Family.

15. Peers, Media, and Schooling.

Product Information

Laura E. Berk is a distinguished professor of psychology at Illinois State University, where she has taught child and human development to both undergraduate and graduate students for more than three decades. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in child development and educational psychology from the University of Chicago. She has been a visiting scholar at Cornell University, UCLA, Stanford University, and the University of South Australia.


Berk has published widely on the effects of school environments on children’s development, the development of private speech, and most recently, the role of makebelieve play in development. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Office of Education and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. It has appeared in many prominent journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology,Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Development and Psychopathology, and Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Her empirical studies have attracted the attention of the general public, leading to contributions to Psychology Today and Scientific American.


Berk has served as research editor for Young Children and consulting editor for Early Childhood Research Quarterly and the Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology. She is a frequent contributor to edited volumes on early childhood development, having recently authored chapters on the importance of parenting, on make-believe play and self-regulation, and on the kindergarten child. She has also written the chapter on development for The Many Faces of Psychological Research in the Twenty-First Century (Society for the Teaching of Psychology), the chapter on social development for The Chicago Companion to the Child, the article on Vygotsky for the Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, and the chapter on storytelling as a teaching strategy for Voices of Experience: Memorable Talks from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (Association for Psychological Science). Berk’s books include Private Speech: From Social Interaction to Self-Regulation, Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education, and Landscapes of Development: An Anthology of Readings. In addition to Infants, Children, and Adolescents, she is author of the best-selling texts Child Development and Development Through the Lifespan, published by Allyn and Bacon. Her book for parents and teachers is Awakening Children’s Minds: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference.


Berk is active in work for children’s causes. In addition to service in her home community, she is a member of the national board of directors of Jumpstart, a nonprofit organization that provides early literacy intervention to thousands of low-income preschoolers across the United States, using college and university students as interveners. Berk is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division, 7: Developmental Psychology.

General Fields

  • : 9780205507061
  • : Pearson Education, Limited
  • : Pearson Education, Limited
  • : 1.52
  • : July 2008
  • : 2.7 Centimeters X 21.3 Centimeters X 27 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Laura E. Berk
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 305.231
  • : 800