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This 1999 book examines how individuals influence and organize their life course.
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Human behavior is very flexible, capable of influencing a huge variety of developmental paths. Therefore, development in the life course needs to be regulated. The life-span theory of control proposes that control of one's environment is the key to adaptive functioning throughout the life span. This theory identifies the evolutionary roots and the life-span developmental course of human striving to control the environment (primary control) and the self (secondary control). Primary control is directed at producing effects in the external world, while secondary control influences the internal world so as to optimize the motivational resources for primary control. A series of studies illustrates the rich repertoire of the human control system to master developmental challenges in various age periods and developmental ecologies. Researchers in social and developmental psychology, sociology, and anthropology will welcome this new addition to the literature.
About the Author
Jutta Heckhausen grew up in Germany and did her graduate work and Ph.D. at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland where she studied the way in which infants' development is promoted by interaction and joint activities with their mothers. In 1984, Dr Heckhausen joined the Center for Life-Span Psychology at the Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development in Berlin, where she became a senior scientist with her own research group. In the 1980s and 90s, she expanded her research area to include development in adulthood and old age, formulated the life-span theory of control with her collaborator Dr Richard Schulz, and launched a research program to test its propositions and applicability to developmental regulation in adulthood. In 1995 6, she was a fellow at the Center for Social and Behavioral Science at Stanford. In 2000, Dr Heckhausen joined the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior at UC Irvine and constituted the research laboratory on Life-Span Development and Motivation. Her current research focuses on motivation and agency in life-span development, particularly during developmental transitions.
1. "Heckhausen's book is a highly significant event in the publication of life span developmental psychology theory and research. It is a persuasive and illuminating presentation of the ontogenic import of human plasticity and of the significant implications for theory and application of knowledge of adaptive human actions across life." Richard M. Lerner, Contemporary Psychology
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