Nature vs. Nurture – to what extent is development a function of innate biological processes, environmental conditions, or some interaction of the two?
Stability vs. Flexibility – are there critical periods in which a child must have certain social or cognitive experiences (developmental milestones) in order to develop normally? Are developmental processes highly vulnerable and open to change at any point in the course of development?
Continuity vs. Discontinuity – Is development a continuous process that occurs gradually in small increments? Is development a series of discrete stages that represent major and abrupt transformation in functioning?
Passive vs. Active Child – What is a child’s role in the developmental process? Is the child a passive organism that is simply shaped by genetic or environmental influences? Are children active agents who shape, control, and direct their own development?
Endpoint vs. No Endpoint (pinnacle? / maximum/optimal point for development?)– What is it that develops? Is there an endpoint to development? Do all children follow a universal sequence of development?