Human Growth and Development

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Human Growth and Development
Peter Nyarkoh
PSY/280
July 17, 2010
Khurshid Khan

Human Growth and Development
Human growth and the life span perspective begin from the day of conception and continue throughout the life span. It is a lifelong process which involves periods and domains of very great importance. Psychologist, sociologist, and others have done many researches into the life span of humans and have made various conclusions as to how humans behave at any given time in the life span. According to experts, the life span perspective of human development involves three key developmental domains (Hernandez, 2008). These are the physical domain, the cognitive domain, and the social domain. The physical domain deals with the physical changes that a person goes through. For example, height, shape changes, weight fluctuations, and puberty can all be described as changes that happen in the physical domain. Thinking, the decision making process and memory can also be identified as cognitive domain. The social domain deals with social life, which includes changes in variables that are associated with a person’s relationship with others (Hernandez, 2008). Now let us discuss how all these changes affect a person throughout the development process. It is also important to analyze some of the developmental theories and identify how they relate to human growth. Moreover, heredity and the environment are two important factors that affect the growth and development of every individual. Therefore it is of great benefit to examine how these factors influence human development, from the day of conception though the entire life span. Theories of Human Growth and Development

There are six main theories related to human growth and development. All the theories point to some specific behaviors and attitudes that happen throughout the life span. Some of these theories are not in agreement due to the fact that they are based on the findings of different researchers. Nevertheless, they all include information that people need to know in order to understand the behavior of others. Let us discuss three of the six theories; these are the psychodynamic (psychoanalytic), the cognitive, and the learning development theories. Psychoanalytic theory

The psychoanalytic development theory is primarily based on the fact that, all humans have some kind of inner conflicts that goes on throughout the life span. It also maintains that humans always act based upon sexual urges and aggressive instincts (Ojiem, 2008). This theory was introduced by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Freud stated that there are three different parts of human psyche that always conflicts throughout human development. He calls these the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is the aspect of one’s personality that is selfish and always wants to do every bad thing. The ego is the inner self that determines whether to do something or not. And the superego acts as a monitor and evaluator of the ego functioning, and comparing every act with values and standards. Freud also discussed the five stages of human psycho-sexual development, which include the oral stage, the anal stage, the phallic stage, the latency stage, and the genital stage. Cognitive theory

This theory focuses on information processing and how they affect human development. The theory is associated with Jean Piaget (1896-1980). He also proposed the existence of four major stages, during which children and adolescents master their ability to use symbols and to reason in abstract ways. He believed that all humans develop in the mind based on current development and as humans grow and exposed to different ideas, they act according to present circumstances. Learning theory

This theory examines the effects of experience and the role of environment on development. According to the learning theory, our behaviors, personalities, and thoughts are shaped by the different experience we encounter. The theorists argue that we...
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