As the Carolina Consortium on Human Development enters its 30th year, we will take the fall semester to reflect on the contributions of Developmental Science during this time and where we are headed as a field. We return to core tenets of developmental science systems theories that address issues such as change and continuity over time, context as an inextricable part of human experience and transacting neurobiological influences on individually specific outcomes as well as the application of such tenants to current societal challenges and opportunities in human development. Our goal is both to generate productive discourse around these topics, share insights across members of the consortium, and to invite insights from leaders in the field from around the country.
Over the course of the semester, we will be guided by the following questions.
- What are the key findings that have significantly moved the needle on our standing of human development from the past 30 years? What methodological advances have supported these findings? What societal issues have compelled them? And in what ways have these findings been translated into program that support health or well-being, broadly construed?
- Compared to 30 years ago, are there ideas about how human development takes place that have been disproved, replaced, significantly altered, fallen out of favor, or are no longer considered useful? Do these changes illuminate how we build a cumulative science and a body of knowledge that is useful, ethical, and responsible for a dynamically changing field? How do or should Developmental Scientists engage with the broader community to stay current, co-create a cutting-edge understanding of human development, and disseminate current knowledge to stakeholders engaged in translational efforts?
- To what extent has the promise of Developmental Science as a lens for understanding human development been realized since the 1980s? What markers of that success? What are relevant impediments?
- Relatedly, what are key challenges that we continue to face in the field of Developmental Science? What do Developmental Scientists, and the field at large, need in order to face these challenges in terms of tools, resources, knowledge, methods, training, etc..? What are the next key entry points into complex systems models that will help advance our understanding of human development?
- Developmental Science has made significant contributions over the past 30 years to such areas as autism spectrum disorders, peer relationships, and emotion regulation. To what applied problems do you see Developmental Science as having made the strongest and most successful impact. To what areas could the application of Developmental Science have the most impact in the next 30 years to come?
- What should early career Developmental Scientists be doing to prepare for the changes in this field to come? What are important training opportunities (that exist or need to exist), research experiences, and educational platforms that you would recommend?