Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Developmental psychopathology is an integrative scientific discipline that strives to unify contributions from multiple fields of inquiry with the goal of understanding the mutual interplay between the study of normative adaptation and mental illness (Cicchetti, 2006). Whereas traditional viewpoints portray maladaptation and mental disorder as inherent to the individual, the developmental psychopathology framework places them in the dynamic relation between the individual and his/her internal and external contexts. An examination of the historical roots of the discipline of developmental psychopathology reveals that ethology and experimental and physiological psychology, three fields where scientists predominantly conduct their research with a variety of animal species, including monkeys, were seminal in its evolution into a mature science (Cicchetti, 1990). The influence of diverse disciplines on the field of developmental psychopathology illustrates the manner in which advances in our knowledge of the operation of developmental processes within particular scientific domains mutually inform each other. As such, the ethological case study on infant abuse in rhesus macaques, co-authored by M. Mar Sánchez, Kai McCormack, and Dario Maestripieri, addresses a highly significant topic in developmental psychopathology. Through their research on infant abuse, a naturally occurring problem in nonhuman primates, the authors make important contributions to understanding the etiology and developmental sequelae of human child maltreatment. The notion of an average expectable environment for promoting development proposes that there are species-specific ranges of environmental conditions that elicit normative developmental processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFormative Experiences
Subtitle of host publicationThe Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780511711879
ISBN (Print)9780521895033
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2010.


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