Comparative and Psychobiological Perspectives on Development
This chapter undertakes a necessary, but difficult task. It seeks to examine the conceptual and theoretical assumptions that define developmental psychobiology, and, further, to examine the contribution of the developmental psychobiologist to understanding the ontogeny of behavior. As a research area, developmental psychobiology has never been formalized; it does not consist of a specific theory, nor is it a specific discipline in the sense that it has a single focus of study. In fact, what makes it difficult to evaluate the contributions of developmental psychobiology to the understanding of behavioral development is that it does cover an enormous range of content areas. In spite of these problems, there is one very basic assumption that underlies the biological approach to behavioral development; that is, that an understanding of behavioral development is not possible without a fuller understanding of the functional and structural aspects of the organism's physiology.