Developmental psychology is the scientific study of the psychological changes that occur throughout an individual’s life span. Developmental psychologists study a wide range of topics, including physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Developmental psychology is a relatively new field, having only emerged as a distinct discipline in the early twentieth century.
One of the most influential theories in developmental psychology is Psychosexual Development theory, which was first proposed by Sigmund Freud. Freud’s theory posits that there are three major stages of psychosexual development- oral, anal, and phallic- which correspond to different erogenous zones on the body. Each stage is characterized by a different conflict that must be resolved in order for healthy development to occur.
While Freud’s theory is no longer as widely accepted as it once was, it has nonetheless had a lasting impact on the field of developmental psychology. Developmental psychologists continue to build on Freud’s work, investigating the many factors that contribute to an individual’s development over the course of their life span.
Development starts at birth and does not end until we die. According to Smith (1999, para 4), “A key factor of development is change – that it entails movement from one state to another.” This could be physical, mental, or both; but all people go through transitions as they journey through the various life stages.
Developmental psychology is the scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life. Developmental psychologists study different aspects of development, such as physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development (“Developmental Psychology,” n.d.). Developmental psychologists typically specialize in one particular area of development.
The lifespan perspective is an approach to studying human development that takes into account the entire lifespan from conception to death (Cherry, n.d.). The lifespan perspective emphasizes the importance of both nature and nurture in human Development. This means that Development is influenced by both genetic/biological factors and environmental factors.
The field of developmental psychology has three main goals: to describe Development, to explain Development, and to optimize Development (“Developmental Psychology,” n.d.). Developmental psychologists use a variety of research methods to study Development, including case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation, and experiments.
During the earliest stage of Development, from conception to about 2 years old, infants go through a period of rapid physical growth and sensory development. This is followed by a period of slower physical growth from 2 to 6 years old. At around 6 or 7 years old, children begin to develop more advanced cognitive skills such as language acquisition and processing (“Developmental Psychology,” n.d.).
Middle childhood is generally considered to be the period from 6 or 7 years old until puberty. During this time, children continue to develop their cognitive skills and begin to develop more sophisticated social skills. They also start to develop a sense of self-identity and begin to form friendships (“Developmental Psychology,” n.d.).
Puberty is the transition from childhood to adolescence, marked by physical changes such as the development of secondary sex characteristics and the onset of puberty. Adolescence is generally considered to be the period from puberty until young adulthood, which is around the age of 20 or 21 years old.
During adolescence, individuals go through a number of physical, cognitive, and social changes. They experience a rapid growth spurt, their brains mature, and they begin to think more abstractly. They also become more aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and they start to develop a sense of self-identity. Adolescents also begin to form more intimate relationships and explore their sexual identities (“Developmental Psychology,” n.d.).
Young adulthood is generally considered to be the period from 20 or 21 years old until around 40 years old. During this time, individuals are typically established in their careers and are starting families of their own. They continue to develop their social skills and personal relationships, and they may also experience major life transitions such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child (“Developmental Psychology,” n.d.).
As humans, we typically go through several stages of development: childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood and late adulthood. Several factors influence how each person develops differently as they progress from one stage to the next. These include aspects such as culture, genetics and environmental influences.
Developmental psychology is a field of study that looks at how humans grow and change over the course of their lives. Developmental psychologists often study different developmental stages, such as childhood or adolescence, to better understand how people grow and change during those times.
Developmental psychology is a relatively new field of study. One of the earliest developmental psychologists was Sigmund Freud, who developed his theory of psychosexual development. Freud believed that human beings go through several stages of development, each characterized by a different focus of pleasure.
According to Freud, these stages are: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. Developmental psychologists have since expanded on Freud’s work and have identified other important stages of development, such as Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. Developmental psychology is an important field of study because it can help us better understand how humans grow and change over time, and it can also provide insight into the factors that influence our development.
The life span perspective of development is a view that focuses on the stages of growth that individuals go through over their lifetimes. The life span perspective of development does not limit its consideration to any one particular age or stage in life, which is one of its most important features. This viewpoint is further characterized by the fact that things can change at a social, cognitive, or physical level (Smith, 1999).
The life span perspective of development is a relatively new field in the study of psychology. Developmental psychologists who take this perspective often study how different aspects of an individual’s life (such as their family, education, and work) impact their overall development (Smith, 1999).
The first principle, multidirectional, considers the fluctuations that occur throughout one’s life span as a result of developmental progress. The primary feature of the multidirectional theory is that change is ultimately unpredictable; as a result, these developmental changes may go in any direction at any moment during one’s life span.
The second principle, plasticity, focuses on the idea that changes throughout development are malleable and can be influenced by various biological and environmental factors. The third and final principle of the life span perspective is the impact of time and place.
This last principle emphasizes that an individual’s development is greatly impacted by when and where they grow up and live. Developmental psychologists who adhere to the life span perspective believe that all three of these principles must be taken into account when studying human development (Santrock, 2013).