Life Span Perspective

Topics: Psychosexual development, Developmental psychology, Sigmund Freud Pages: 6 (1075 words) Published: May 4, 2014

Life Span Perspective

Life Span Perspective
An understanding of the developmental process through generations of living is an important characteristic in developing a life span perspective. Life span development is the process in which each individual go through from the time of conception to the time of death, but it is the time in between that is primarily studied. The developmental stages of an individual’s life are an important factor in regards to determining human behavior; this is studied through looking at heredity (nature), and the environmental (nurture) effects that both play significant roles. For many years there has been a great deal of debate over perspectives of the human life span and its development; in this paper, two of these perspectives, or theories, will be discussed (Berger, 2011). A Life Span Perspective of Development

In order for researchers to study the development of human life, it is necessary, if not critical, to gain a “life span” perspective. Life span perspectives may differ in particular viewpoints, but they all are focused on the study of human development, from the time of conception, up until the time of death. Life span development is referring to the many faceted layers of human growth; these layers are characterized through multi-cultural, multi-contextual, multi-disciplinary, multi-directional, and plasticity. Each of these characteristics of development brings about their own implications (Berger, 2011). Life span development is multi-cultural, meaning that there is a system of development within cultures; each culture, be it a nation, an ethnic group, or a society, plays an important role in individual development (Berger, 2011). Life span development is multi-contextual, meaning that there are multiple contexts in an individual’s life span that play a role in their development. These include an individual’s climate, surrounding sounds, population, family patterns, and historical conditions which are ingrained into an individual’s life (Berger, 2011). Life span development is multi-disciplinary, which means that there are many different disciples, or concepts related to the developmental process of an individual. Some of these disciplines include psychology, biology, sociology, anthropology, historical, and education. All these forms of discipline, or domains, have significant roles in individual development. Life span development is multi-directional; this means that there is no straight forward solution, or pre-determined route in which an individual develops through life. In life, there are many directions, or courses that an individual may take, whether it’s consciously, or sub-consciously. There are many directions throughout life that have an influence on individual development; continuity and discontinuity, loses and gains, as well as any other life altering event that may take place in an individual’s life time (Berger, 2011). Life span development is plasticity, as is having the characteristics and durability of plastic molded materials. This perspective of development is with the belief that individual development is molded, yet an individual still holds on to their individuality, much akin to the processes of molding plastic (Berger, 2011). Life Span Theories of Development

Through the years, there have been a number of psychological theories pertaining to life span development; two of these theories were purposed by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud, and Erik Erikson. Freud’s concept of life span development is better known as the psychosexual theory, which is centered on the sexual drives of an individual. This theory was not favored by the general population of its time, but none the less, it paved the road for many theorists afterwards. Freud’s belief was that an individual’s personality developed through a series of events during childhood, three elements known as Id, Ego, and Super-Ego, are the primary components of Freud’s...

References: Berger, K. S. (2011). The Developing Person Through the Life Span (8th Ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.
Cherry, K. (2012). Psychology. Retrieved from
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