Infants, Children, and Adolescents

Laura E. Berk / Adena B. Meyers  
Total pages
March 2015
Related Titles



For courses in Child Development

Visit the Showcase Website to see sample chapters, get information on the supplements (including sample videos and on-line simulations), and much more.

A best-selling, chronologically organized child development text, Berk and Meyers’ Infants, Children, and Adolescents is relied on in classrooms worldwide for its clear, engaging writing style, exceptional multicultural and cross-cultural focus, rich examples, and long-standing commitment to presenting the most up-to-date scholarship while also offering students research-based, practical applications that they can relate to their personal and professional lives. The authors take an integrated approach to presenting development in the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social domains; emphasize the complex interchanges between heredity and environment; and provide exceptional attention to culture.

Renowned professor, researcher, and author Laura Berk is joined by new coauthor Adena Meyers. As faculty colleagues in the Department of Psychology at Illinois State University, they have collaborated on numerous projects, and their distinct areas of specialization and tremendous expertise make them a great team for coauthoring this new edition. Together, they present the latest theories and findings in the field to students in a manageable and relevant way. Berk and Meyers’ signature story-like, conversational style invites students to actively learn beside the text’s “characters,” who experience real issues in development, including physical, cognitive, and peer challenges, as well as parenting and educational concerns. Berk and Meyers also help students connect their learning to their personal and professional areas of interest, speaking directly about issues students will face in their future pursuits as parents, educators, health care providers, social workers, and researchers. As members of a global and diverse human community, students are called on to intelligently approach the responsibility of understanding and responding to the needs and concerns of children.  

While carefully considering the complexities of child development, the authors present classic and emerging theories in an especially clear, engaging writing style, with a multitude of research-based, real-world, cross-cultural, and multicultural examples. Strengthening the connections among developmental domains and of theory and research with applications, this edition's extensive revision brings forth the most recent scholarship, representing the changing field of child development.

This book is also available in an abridged paperbound version, Infants and Children: Prenatal Through Middle Childhood, comprising the complete Chapters 1—13.

Infants, Children, and Adolescents, Eighth Edition is also available via REVEL™, an immersive learning experience designed for the way today's students read, think, and learn. Learn more.



Thoroughly Engaging Writing Style: Berk and Meyers make the study of child development both involving and pleasurable for students. Infants, Children, and Adolescents is written in an engaging, personal style -- one that is highly accessible -- and contains real-life human-interest stories. The authors encourage students to relate what they read to their own lives.

Unparalleled Breadth and Depth of Research
: Meticulously researched material, including over nearly 2,000 new reference citations, as well as the latest research and findings, reflects major changes and discoveries in the field, and is conveyed to the student in a clear, story-like fashion that humanizes the complex developmental process.

Appealing and Meaningful Applications, integrated throughout the text, show students how their learning relates to real-world situations. Applications are relevant to students pursuing a variety of fields, including psychology, education, health sciences, sociology, anthropology, family studies, and social services.


The Look and Listen feature promotes active learning, asking students to observe what real individuals say and do, speak with or observe parents, teachers, or other professionals, and inquire into community programs and practices that influence children and adolescents.

Exceptional Integration of Culture and Diversity:
Multicultural and cross-cultural material is presented not only in the text’s research and in many positive and diverse examples, but also through rich photos and figures, which enhance student interest and understanding.

Outstanding Pedagogical Features support students' mastery of the subject matter, inspire critical thinking, and help students engage with information on child development, applying it to the real world.


Stories and Vignettes of Real Children, a Berk signature feature, open each chapter and continue throughout the text to illustrate developmental principles and teach through engaging narrative.  This book “teaches while it tells a story.”

Take a Moment…, an active-learning feature built into the text narrative, asks the reader to "take a moment" to think about an important point, integrate information on children's development, or engage in an exercise or an application to clarify a challenging concept. Take a Moment... actively engages the student in learning, and in inspiring critical thinking.

Look and Listen: This active-learning feature presents students with opportunities to see everyday illustrations of development by observing what real children say and do or by attending to influences on children in their everyday environments. Look and Listen experiences are tied to relevant text sections, with the goal of making the study of development more authentic and meaningful.

“Ask Yourself” critical thinking questions have been thoroughly revised and expanded into a unique pedagogical feature that promotes four approaches to connecting with the subject matter.  The questions encourage students to review information they have just read, apply it to new situations, connect it to other age periods and domains of development, and reflect on how theory and research are personally relevant in their own lives. Each question is answered on the text’s MyDevelopmentLab website.  

“Applying What We Know” tables provide practical real-life applications based on theory and research findings. Berk and Meyers speak directly to students, offering real-world advice on how to provide sensitive, responsible care for children, both as parents and through the pursuit of a variety of careers and areas of study, including psychology, health care, teaching, social work, and counseling.  

Milestones tables summarize major physical, cognitive, language, emotional, and social achievements of each age period.  In addition to offering an overview of change, each entry is page-referenced to provide the student with a convenient tool for review.  
Chapter Openers, illustrated with exceptionally beautiful and unique children’s art, prepare students for what they will learn through both a prose description and an outline, which provides a quick look at major topics to be covered.

Chapter summaries, organized by learning objectives and major section headings, encourage active and focused student review.
Beautiful artwork, graphics, and photographs are visually stunning, effectively illustrate major points, and enhance student interest and understanding.

Four Types of Thematic Boxes complement the text:


Biology and Environment boxes highlight the growing attention to the complex, bidirectional relationship between biology and environment.
Cultural Influences boxes deepen the attention to culture threaded throughout the text and accentuate both multicultural and cross-cultural variations in development.
Social Issues boxes discuss the impact of social conditions on children and emphasize the need for sensitive social and public policies to ensure their well-being. They are divided into two types:
Social Issues: Health boxes address values and practices relevant to children’s physical and mental health.
Social Issues: Education boxes focus on home, school, and community influences on children’s learning.

New to this Edition


Known for staying current, Infants, Children, and Adolescents presents the most relevant research and applications in Child Development today. Many new topics have been introduced or enhanced throughout the eighth edition, including:

Impact of poverty on development, and interventions aimed at helping children surmount developmental risks
Neighborhood influences on physical and mental health
Epigenesis, environmental influences on gene expression, including the role of methylation
Fetal sensory capacities and behavior
Brain development and experiences that enhance or undermine it
Consequences of chronic stress, including prenatal evidence and findings on institutionalized infants and young children
Intergenerational transmission of low birth weight
Role of sleep in young children’s learning and memory
Motor development as a dynamic system, with emphasis on infant crawling, walking, reaching, and grasping
Symbolic understanding in infancy and toddlerhood, including learning from TV and video
Development of executive function, including attention, inhibition, working memory, flexible thinking, planning, and self-regulation
Infantile amnesia, and factors influencing the formation of a stable, long-term memory
Deaf children of hearing parents and language development
SES variations in early vocabulary development, emergent literacy, and math knowledge and impact on later school success
Temperamentally negative, emotionally reactive children, and the power parenting to affect adjustment
Fathers’ sensitive caregiving and infant attachment security
Childhood unintentional injuries and parenting practices
Preschoolers’ natural and supernatural beliefs
Children with autism and theory of mind
High-quality child care, preschool intervention, universal pre-K, and academic and social development
Impact of screen media on children’s academic learning and emotional and social development
Sociodramatic play and early childhood social competence
Corporal punishment and children’s adjustment
Parent training programs for intervening with aggressive children
Children’s gender stereotyping through mother–child conversations and peer experiences
Childhood overweight and obesity, including contributing factors, developmental consequences, and effective interventions
Drawing and reading maps in middle childhood
The Flynn effect: massive generational gains in IQ
Child abuse and central nervous system damage
Bullying and peer victimization, including cyberbulling
Children’s racial and ethnic prejudice, and strategies for reducing prejudice
Adolescent brain development, and teenagers’ reward-seeking, emotional reactivity, and risk-taking
Adolescent early sexual activity, including contributing factors and consequences
Adolescent decision making
Gender differences in spatial and mathematical abilities, including training spatial skills
Academic achievement in adolescence and the importance of teacher and peer support
Parent–adolescent relationships and implications for development of autonomy
Adolescent Internet friendships and use of social networking sites
Moral identity in adolescence and consequences for moral behavior
Adolescent dating relationships, including influences of parenting and friendships
Emerging Adulthood concluding mini-chapter thoroughly revised!
Identity development, exploring in-depth and in-breadth
Romantic relationships, including online dating
Quality of college education and post-college employment
Racial and ethnic biases in career opportunities
Civic and political commitments, with implications for emerging adults as “generation me” or “generation we”
Religion and spirituality and implications for adjustment
Factors the distinguish between flourishing and floundering in emerging adulthood
Debate over emerging adulthood as a distinct developmental period

Table of Contents



1. History, Theory, and Research Strategies
The Field of Child Development
Basic Issues
Historical Foundations
Mid-Twentieth-Century Theories
Recent Theoretical Perspectives
Comparing Child Development Theories
Studying the Child


2. Biological and Environmental Foundations
Genetic Foundations
Reproductive Choices
Environmental Contexts for Development
Understanding the Relationship Between Heredity and Environment

3. Prenatal Development
Motivations for Parenthood
Prenatal Development
Prenatal Environmental Influences
Preparing for Parenthood

4. Birth and the Newborn Baby

The Stages of Childbirth
Approaches to Childbirth
Medical Interventions
Birth Complications
Precious Moments After Birth
The Newborn Baby's Capacities
The Transition to Parenthood


5. Physical Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood
Body Growth
Brain Development
Influences on Early Physical Growth
Learning Capacities
Motor Development
Perceptual Development

6. Cognitive Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood
Piaget's Cognitive-Developmental Theory
Information Processing
The Social Context of Early Cognitive Development
Individual Differences in Early Mental Development
Language Development

7. Emotional and Social Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood
Erikson's Theory of Infant and Toddler Personality
Emotional Development
Temperament and Development
Development of Attachment


8. Physical Development in Early Childhood
Body Growth
Influences on Physical Growth and Health
Motor Development

9. Cognitive Development in Early Childhood
Piaget's Theory: The Preoperational Stage
Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory
Information Processing
Individual Differences in Mental Development
Language Development

10. Emotional and Social Development in Early Childhood
Erikson's Theory: Initiative vs. Guilt
Emotional Development
Peer Relations
Foundations of Morality
Gender Typing
Child Rearing and Emotional and Social Development


11. Physical Development in Middle Childhood
Body Growth
Common Health Problems
Health Education
Motor Development and Play

12. Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood
Piaget's Theory: The Concrete Operational Stage
Information Processing
Individual Differences in Mental Development
Language Development
Children's Learning in School

13. Emotional and Social Development in Middle Childhood
Erikson's Theory
Emotional Development
Understanding Others: Perspective Taking
Moral Development
Peer Relations
Gender Typing
Family Influences
Some Common Problems of Development


14. Physical Development in Adolescence  
Conceptions of Adolescence
Puberty: The Physical Transition to Adulthood
The Psychological Impact of Pubertal Events
Health Issues

15. Cognitive Development in Adolescence
Piaget's Theory
An Information-Processing View of Adolescent Cognitive Development
Consequences of Abstract Thought
Sex Differences in Mental Abilities
Language Development
Learning in School
Vocational Development

16. Emotional and Social Development in Adolescence
Erikson's Theory: Identity versus Identity Confusion
Moral Development
Gender Typing
The Family
Peer Relations
Problems of Development
At the Threshold

17. Emerging Adulthood
A Period of Unprecedented Exploration
Cultural Change, Cultural Variation, and Emerging Adulthood
Development in Emerging Adulthood
Risk and Resilience in Emerging Adulthood



Bestselling author Laura Berk is joined by new coauthor Adena Meyers. “Our distinct areas of specialization make us a great team for coauthoring,” says Berk. Berk and Meyers’ teaching, research and practical experience bring tremendous expertise and insight to this new edition.

Berk and Meyers are faculty colleagues in the Department of Psychology at Illinois State University. They have collaborated on numerous projects, most recently coauthoring the chapter on make-believe play and self-regulation for the Sage Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood.

Laura E. Berk is a distinguished professor of psychology at Illinois State University, where she has taught child, adolescent, and lifespan development for more than three decades. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in child development and educational psychology from the University of Chicago.

Berk has been a visiting scholar at Cornell University, UCLA, Stanford University, and the University of South Australia. She has published widely on effects of school environments on children’s development, the development of children’s private speech, and the role of make-believe play in development. She has been featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and in Parents Magazine, Wondertime, and Readers’ Digest, and has contributed to Psychology Today and Scientific American.

In addition to Infants, Children, and Adolescents, Berk's best-selling texts include Child Development, Development Through the Lifespan, and Exploring Lifespan Development, published by Pearson. Her other books include Private Speech: From Social Interaction to Self-Regulation; Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education; Awakening Children’s Minds: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference; and A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool: Presenting the Evidence.

Berk is active in work for children’s causes. She recently completed nine years of service on the national board of Jumpstart for Young Children and currently serves on the governing board of the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 7: Developmental Psychology.

Adena B. Meyers is a professor of psychology and member of the school psychology faculty at Illinois State University. She received her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from Brown University and her doctoral degree in clinical-community psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is a licensed clinical psychologist.

Meyers' areas of specialization include contextual influences on child and adolescent development, with an emphasis on family-, school-, and community-based interventions that promote children’s social and emotional functioning. She has served as a consultant to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and as a supervisor of mental health consultants working in Head Start preschool settings. She also supervises clinicians providing mental health services to elementary and secondary school students.

Meyers' publications have focused on school-based consultation; adolescent pregnancy, parenthood, and sexual development; school-based preventive interventions; and the role of pretend play in child development. Her clinical interests include therapeutic interventions related to stress and trauma and mindfulness-based stress reduction. She has taught a wide variety of courses, including introductory psychology, child and adolescent development, human sexuality, introduction to women’s studies, and statistics for the social sciences.

Reader Review(s)

 “Throughout my eight years at Crowder College, I’ve tried out different editions of books for various classes, but one book I have not altered is Berk’s Infants and Children. The information continues to strike a balance between breadth and depth, which is not an easy feat.”

Nathan Gandy, Crowder College


“I really enjoyed the read. I didn't catch myself reading the same sentence more than once, like I usually do. The chapter kept me curious and willing to keep reading.”

Student, Arizona State University 


“Berk has made teaching and learning about infants and children a joy with her engaging writing style, pulling me and students into the text. Thank you for a great textbook.”

Chance Bell, Florida State University


“I really liked the examples used to describe perceptual development. The explanations given, paired with the descriptions of the experiments used, helped me to understand the information in ways I wouldn't otherwise have been able to.”

Student, University of Alabama Birmingham 


“I have enthusiastically used Infants, Children, and Adolescents for over twenty years. Not only does Berk consistently include the most up-to-date research in each edition, but she presents it in a student-focused, engaging manner. As someone who has taught an extraordinarily diverse set of students in my career, I would recommend this text for any student interested in studying the dynamic process of child and adolescent development.”

Michael Hall, SUNY Dutchess


“I really enjoyed the Look and Listen feature embedded in the reading itself. I find that relating information to real-life scenarios helps me not only to recall the information, but also aids in critical-thinking skills.”

— Student, Kishwaukee College


“I have been using this author’s texts in several of my developmental courses for the past 15+ years ...[I] can't say enough positive words to describe my experience with her textbooks. My students have even commented on how well written the textbooks are and that they can really relate to the applications.”

Amy Carrigan-Smith, University of Saint Francis


“I am most impressed with how this edition has been updated with more recent cultural information, and not just in the U.S. I also like that it is even more cross-disciplinary.”

Diane Cook, University of North Georgia


“Berk provides a clear and concise text to introduce topics and make them meaningful to students.”

Kristin Watson, Northwest Mississippi Community College


“Dr. Berk combines superb scholarship, powerful writing, and a keen sense of organization to produce near perfection . . . Students . . . could not ask for a more informative textbook.”

Murray Krantz, Florida State University


“Berk carefully and seamlessly introduces culturally diverse research findings to create a holistic and accurate understanding of development and its many nuances.”

Maggie Renken, Georgia State University


“The research is presented with a great depth of understanding, not watered down or presented superficially, as in many texts, yet is described and structured in a way that helps students construct an overall, personally relevant understanding of development during childhood.”

Joan E. Test, Missouri State University


“I love the way the narrative keeps the reader’s attention and constantly motivates the information. It is not simply a catalog of facts, but a story about how children develop.”

Dara Musher-Eisenman, Bowling Green State University


“No other textbook covering child development does so as thoroughly as Berk’s Infants, Children and Adolescents in terms of research reviewed and incorporated, exemplary photos, and instructor resources.”

Kate Fogarty, University of Florida


“There is excellent coverage of diversity, and delicate but appropriate discussions on apparent differences between various socioeconomic groups and cultures.”

Stuart Marcovitch, University of North Carolina Greensboro


“Instead of reporting cut-and-dry research findings, the chapters also include applied information relevant to everyday lives in different cultures and ethnic statuses. The colorful tables and pictures not only attract attention, but also [offer the] best illustrations.”

Hiu-Chin Hsu, University of Georgia


“I find most valuable the relevance, currency and integration of research throughout the text, with an interesting and entertaining narrative that makes the research results come alive for beginning students in child development.” 

Joan E. Test, Missouri State University


“Although I have been teaching Child Development for more than 40 years, I found myself learning new concepts from Dr. Berk’s insightful presentation [with] the best research literature on virtually every topic, excellent organization and sequence, and Dr. Berk’s captivating writing style.”

Murray Krantz, Florida State University


“I am impressed by the “Ask yourself” sections; this is the exact way in which I try to encourage my students to approach the material, and I particularly appreciate the emphasis on evidence-based answers rather than opinions.”

Janet J. Boseovski, University of North Carolina Greensboro


“I was very impressed with the attention to diversity issues.”

Dara Musher-Eisenman, Bowling Green State University


“The text does an excellent job of simplifying complex cognitive phenomena in a way that makes them easy to understand. The text makes clear connections that illustrate how developmental research informs–or can inform–education and child-rearing practices.”

Maggie Renken, Georgia State University


 “Empirical studies and their findings are woven into the prose efficiently and with clarity. Classic theories are presented along with more cutting-edge research.”

Sarah Kollat, Pennsylvania State University


“Berk’s books on child development are the quintessential texts for all serious students of child development.”

Dominic Gullo, Drexel University