Dynamic systems methods in the study of development
A practice-oriented approach

Heymans Institute

Download lecture slides

We would like to thank the speakers and all participants for a very successful symposium! The handouts for the lectures can be downloaded here.


We made a powerpoint presentation with pictures from the symposium. Download it here.


May 14-15-16, 2007

Dynamic systems theory is an approach that is very well suited to the study of development and it is increasingly gaining interest and attention within developmental psychology. It provides tools and methods to study processes of change and stability across development. These tools and methods relate to principles of model building and simulation, empirical design and statistical data processing.
According to dynamic systems theory, developing individuals are embedded in a rich variety of interacting contextual forces that continuously alter the individual's organizational structure (Granic, Dishion & Hollenstein, 2003). The context is not seen as a static or independent variable but as being created and shaped by its interactions with individuals. Therefore, individuals and contexts cannot be conceptualized as dependent and independent factors, as is the case in most of the classical statistical designs and methods. These traditional approaches inform us about associations among certain variables across - usually large - samples of individuals, but they do not give us insight into the mechanisms of developmental processes, that is into the principles of developmental time evolution. With the inclusion of time as one of the most important aspects of development and with this the conceptualization of development as an iterative process, dynamic systems methods provide tools to capture the non-linear changes and transitions which characterize development. By doing so, they can make a considerable contribution to our understanding of developmental processes (Van Geert, 1994; Thelen & Smith, 1994; Van der Maas & Molenaar, 1992).
This symposium offers young researchers in this blooming field a chance to further their knowledge of dynamic systems theory as well as a platform to discuss one another's research. The symposium combines lectures by three leading scholars with a poster session and a workshop in which participants get to learn some of the tools provided by dynamic systems theory under the supervision of the invited speakers.


Three-day symposium, comprising:


May 14, 15 and 16, 2007
See programme


Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences
Research group Developmental Processes
Heymans Institute, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1
9712 TS Groningen,
The Netherlands

Contact Information

Contact: Marieke Visser
Telephone: +31 (0)50 363??