Objective Measurement of Subjective Phenomena

4. Nature of the Construct

Dimension 6: Developmental course

The developmental course of many behaviors involves both growth, development, and regulation during the early years of life and aging declines or disintegration during the later stages of life (Horn & Hofer, 1992; Soto, John, Gosling, & Potter, 2008; Srivastava, John, Gosling, & Potter, 2003). Examples of each are given below.

Example 15

Growth examples:

  1. Height from infancy through early adulthood - After fairly steady increases in height, most adolescents show a rapid growth spurt closely associated with puberty, after which growth slows and is usually complete by early adulthood.
  2. Mental age - The concept of mental age presumes that intelligence increases steadily with age during the developmental period.

Example 16

Decline examples:

  1. Memory performance - On both long-term memory and short-term memory tasks, adults tend to show systematic declines in performance after the age of 40 or 50 years.
  2. Speed of response - Speed of response tends to decline sooner that most other mental skills, declining notably and systematically after age 30.
Horn, J. L., & Hofer, S. M. (1992). Major abilities and development in the adult period. In R. J. Sternberg & C. A. Berg (Eds.), Intellectual development (pp. 44-99). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Srivastava, S., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2003). Development of personality in early and middle adulthood: Set like plaster or persistent change? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 1041-1053.