Developmental psychology, also known as Human Development, is the scientific study of progressive psychological changes that occur in human beings as they age. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescence and more recently, Aging and the entire life span. This field examines change across a broad range of topics including motor skills and other psycho-physiological processes, problem solving abilities, conceptual understanding, acquisition of language, moral understanding, and identity formation.
Developmental psychologists investigate key questions, such as whether children are qualitatively different from adults or simply lack the experience that adults draw upon. Other issues that they deal with is the question of whether development occurs through the gradual accumulation of knowledge or through shifts from one stage of thinking to another; or if children are born with innate knowledge or figure things out through experience; and whether development is driven by the social context or by something inside each child.
Developmental psychology informs several applied fields, including: educational psychology, child psychopathology and Forensic developmental psychology. Developmental psychology complements several other basic research fields in psychology including social psychology, cognitive psychology, cognitive development, and comparative psychology.