Finding a way out: Why developmental science does not need another “ism”

John P. Spencer, Aaron T. Buss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Neoconstructivism is a new approach in developmental science that sheds light on the processes underlying change over time. The present commentary evaluates this new approach in the context of existing theories of development and nine central tenets of neoconstructivism proposed by Newcombe (2011). For inspiration, Hull’s evaluation of psychological theory in 1935 is discussed. Hull noted a proliferation of theories that he attributed to poorly specified concepts and a lack of rigorous theoretical work. Noting a similar proliferation of “isms” in developmental science, the commentary concludes that existing theories have much to offer and suggests that what is needed is not a new “ism” but a rigorous evaluation and integration of modern developmental concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-168
Number of pages3
JournalChild Development Perspectives
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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