Development in Psychology
Childhood and Adolescent Development
Watching children grow is one of life's biggest joys, especially when the children are yours ans you can take certain notices of the milestones that occur from a personal perspective. But one thing people don't often acknowledge are the deep, inter-workings that actually occur during development, such as the psychological processes that take place. In obvious developmental stages such as physical and mental, we can see a lot about children and adolescents – but it is the theories of development that explain the most, and give us better perception and understanding of what goes on during development, even when there are issues.
To begin, one must be aware that there are three different ways in which development occurs; physical, cognitive, and psychosocial. Physical development adheres to development concerning strength, speed, coordination, traits, and other characteristics. Physical appearance and development is determined by the passing of genes from parents to child and “Physical development includes the biological changes evident during puberty and is also concerned with variables related to health and illness” (Mossler, 2011). Physical development also includes the term maturation – which refers to the course of development. Cognitive development involves thinking, language, intelligence, problem solving abilities, memory and eventually the ability to plan for the future. Last but not least, psychosocial development pertains to that of personality, social interaction, understanding of emotion, identity, self-control and other self concepts, like self esteem. Moral behavior and styles of attachment also occurs during this domain of development. It is these three stages that one must consider not only separately, but together as well. There are many theories that are centered around development that looks into how some of these entities play a role in development.
Amid these theories lies the cognitive perspective, which appeals to the thinking process and the way information flows in and out along with the thinking patterns that are involved as well. This perspective also refers to intelligence and that which is contained, as well as that which can be learned – along with when and how. Two theorists who have worked and made notable mentions in the field of the cognitive perspective are Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. It was Piaget who believed that development happens at discontinuous stages. He also believed that “...children learn as a result of the way they interact with and manipulate the world” (Mossler, 2011). Piaget stated that he believed there are four stages of progression, one preparing for the next and that it is biology which rules and predetermines this. Piaget's Stages of Development are that of the sensorimotor stage, from ages of birth to age two, the preoperational stage from ages two to seven, the concrete operations stage from ages seven to twelve, and the formal operations stage, from ages 12 until, and throughout adulthood.
Through this theory, Piaget attempts to map out the milestones by explaining first, the stage he called the sensorimotor stage which covers basic coordination, which can be explained by the connections that happen between the body and the brain. Second, Piaget looks at the preoperational stage which is demonstrated through a child's ability to pretend and play through the imagination. This moves us into the next stage, the concrete operation stage, and within this stage of development, Piaget believes that “...children become able to sort using complex classification systems” (Mossler, 2011). It is in this stage that children also become able to see things from more than one perspective. Lastly, Piaget speaks of the formal operations stage, and this includes abstract thinking, along with the ability experience ideas like love and not only repeat them, but...
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