Lifespan Development

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Lifespan development, also known as human development, is a field of study that is devoted to understanding constancy and change throughout a person’s lifespan (Berk, 2010). Lifespan development begins with infancy and looks at several points in a person’s life in which significant change takes place. The study of children did not begin until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Berk, 2010). Throughout the years, there was much speculation about how people grow and change and when combined with research, theories of development surfaced. These theories were vital and provided organized frameworks for observations of people and they are verified by research and provide a basis for practical action (Berk, 2010).

Many theories developed to study the development of infants and children through out life and these theories continue to have an impact on society and research today. There are many notable development researchers and schools of thought such as Locke, Rousseau, Arnold Gesell, Ivan Pavlov, Lawrence Kohlberg, Social Learning Theory, Stages of Moral Development, and Ethiological Theories just to name a few (Crain, 2005). There are some researchers and schools of thought who still have an impact today such as Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, Jean Piaget and his Cognitive-Developmental theory, and the Psychoanalytic theory first developed by Sigmund Freud.

Charles Darwin is significant to developmental studies today because it was he who paved the way, or opened the door for the many schools of thought that followed. Darwin is known as the forefather of scientific child study (Berk, 2010). Darwin was a naturalist who observed the variation among plant and animal species but along with that, he also noticed that within a specific species, no two individuals were alike (Berk, 2010). Darwin developed his theory which emphasized the principles of natural selection and survival of the fittest. Darwin’s theory stated that certain...
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