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2.4: How can the description of stability be part of the goals of developmental science?

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  • Sometimes it may seem surprising that developmentalists would be interested in identifying time windows during which phenomena are stable or unchanging. Doesn't it seem like stable phenomena would be left to non-developmental scientists to study? Such questions makes sense if one subscribes to certain assumptions, namely, the assumption that stability is the default state of all phenomena; if so, then of interest are states that differ from this default, namely, states of change. However, it is also possible to assume that the natural state of affairs is movement, flux, or change; from this perspective, it is important to describe not only the qualities and directions of these changes, but also to document states that manage to differ from this default, namely, periods of stability, continuity, or constancy.