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Processes and Theories of Human Development


Title: Processes and Theories of Human Development Author: Steven Ross Last modified by: Steven Ross Created Date: 3/31/2009 5:57:58 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Processes and Theories of Human Development

Processes and Theories of Human Development
  • Introduction

  • Development Sequence of age-related changes
    that occur as a person progresses from conception
    to death.
  • 4 broad periods
  • 1.) Prenatal Development (between conception and
  • 2.) Childhood
  • 3.) Adolescence
  • 4.) Adulthood

1.) Prenatal Development
  • Begins with conception, ends with birth
  • Fertilization creates a zygote- one celled
    organism resulting from union of sperm and egg
  • All other body cells develop from this single
  • Development is rapid during this period
  • What would happen if this speed of development
    continued after birth?

3 Phases of Prenatal Development
  • a.) Germinal
  • b.) Embryonic
  • c.) Fetal

a.) Germinal Stage
  • Conception first 2 weeks of life
  • Zygote is created
  • It becomes a microscopic mass of multiplying
  • Migrates from fallopian tube to uterus
  • On 7th day the zygote implants on the uterine
  • Placenta forms during this process
  • Placenta- Structure allowing oxygen and nutrients
    to pass into fetus from mothers bloodstream and
    bodily wastes to pass out to mother

b.) Embryonic Stage
  • 2 weeks end of second month
  • Vital organs and bodily systems begin to form
  • Heart, spine, brain gradually emerge
  • Arms, legs, hands, feet becoming noticeable
  • Developing organism now called embryo
  • Highly vulnerable period

c.) Fetal Stage
  • 2 months birth
  • Organism now called fetus
  • Capable of physical movement, organs are growing
    and beginning to function
  • Final 3 months
  • Brain cells multiply
  • Respiratory, digestive systems mature

Environmental Factors Prenatal Development
  • Importance of maternal nutrition
  • Malnutrition
  • Effect of drug consumption
  • Tobacco use
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Collection of congenital
    problems associated with excessive alcohol use
    during pregnancy
  • STDs

2.) Childhood
  • Reality of childhood orderly, predictable,
    gradual progression
  • Motor Development- Progression of muscular
    coordination required for physical activity
  • Grasping, crawling, running, etc.
  • Older view of Motor Development
  • Maturation development reflects a gradual
    unfolding of ones genetic blueprint
  • New View
  • Motor abilities develop as result of infants
    ongoing exploration of own world

  • Developmental Norms- Typical (Median) age at
    which individuals display behaviors and
  • Important to realize these are group averages
  • Cultural Variations
  • Culture we are raised in (environment) can alter
    how quickly we reach developmental norms as
  • Ex.) Kipsigis

  • Attachment- Close emotional bond between infant
    and caregiver (usually mother)
  • Attachment is not instantaneous
  • Separation Anxiety- Emotional Distress seen in
    many infants when they are separated from
  • Ex study
  • Explanations for attachment
  • Behaviorists-
  • Monkey study-
  • Biological Explanation-

Patterns of Attachment
  • Mary Ainsworth outlined 3 attachment types
    between infant and caregiver
  • 1.) Secure attachment children play and explore
    comfortably with mom present upset when she
    leaves and calm upon return
  • Mothers are responsive
  • 2.) Anxious- Ambivalent Anxious when mom is
    near protest when she leaves not particularly
    comforted upon return
  • 3.) Avoidant- Seek little contact with mothers
    and not distressed when she leaves
  • These are dependent on role of mother
  • These affect later relationships with others

Piaget and Cognitive Development
  • Jean Piaget Theory
  • Piaget developed stage theory of how thinking
    develops in children
  • 4 stages
  • 1.) Sensorimotor Stage
  • 2.) Preoperational Stage
  • 3.) Concrete Operational Stage
  • 4.) Formal Operational Stage

  • 1.) Sensorimotor Stage- Birth to age 2
  • Children have some symbolic thought by end of
  • Children begin to coordinate senses with movement
  • Towards end of stage
  • Object Permanence Child recognizes that objects
    continue to exist even when invisible
  • Demo
  • 2.) Preoperational Stage Age 2- 7
  • Symbolic thought more fully developed with flaws
  • Centration Focus on only one feature of a
  • Irreversibility Inability to envision reversing
    an action
  • Egocentrism Limited ability to see others
  • Animism Belief all things are living

  • 3.) Concrete Operational Stage- Age 7 11
  • Flaws of previous stage corrected
  • Reversibility, decentration
  • Conservation Awareness that physical quantities
    remain constant in spite of changes in shape or
  • Example conservation task
  • 4.) Formal Operational Stage- 11 Adulthood
  • Abstract thought develops
  • Able to envision hypothetical possibilities
    related to love, justice free will

Moral Reasoning
  • Kohlberg Theory of Moral Reasoning
  • When we are younger
  • Acts are right or wrong because of rewards or
  • Laws are finite rules, no exceptions
  • As we become older
  • Understand laws are necessary for social order
  • However, more flexibility in morals

3.) Adolescence
  • Changes accompanying adolescence
  • Growth Spurt
  • Puberty
  • Secondary sex characteristics facial hair,
    muscle growth
  • Primary sex characteristics- structures necessary
    for reproduction
  • Females begin puberty at earlier age today
  • Why?
  • Who experiences most emotional difficulty?
  • Girls maturing early or late?
  • Boys maturing early or late?

Time of Turmoil?
  • Consensus among experts is that adolescence is
    not a particularly difficult period.
  • Not all experience storm and stress
  • However, it is the most common here than all
    other ages
  • Class thoughts?

Search for Identity in Adolescence
  • Main challenge of adolescence is to form clear
    sense of identity
  • People experiment with identities
  • Examples
  • Make decisions about how present selves to world
  • Fashion, interests, facebook wall

4.) Adulthood
  • As people get older, tend to decline in
  • Extroversion, neuroticism, openness in experience
  • As people get older, tend to increase in
  • Agreeableness
  • Question of Midlife Crisis
  • Debate whether this turbulent period of doubt and
    reappraisal of ones life is typical
  • What does research suggest?

4.) Adulthood
  • Transitions in Family Life
  • postponing marriage to lage 20s/early thirties
    is increasing
  • Why?
  • Adjusting to Marriage
  • Difficulties may arise from substantial
    differences in role expectations
  • Adjusting to Parenthood
  • choosing to remain childless increasing
  • Vast majority still have children, though
  • New child can disrupt routines, and lead to
    postpartum distress
  • Research on marital satisfaction for couples with

4.) Adulthood
  • Adjusting to the empty nest
  • Empty nest- when children leave the home
  • Most adjust effectively
  • When do problems arise?
  • Age-Related Changes
  • Hair grays, hairline recedes, baldness
  • Proportion of body fat increases, visual acuity
  • Hearing sensitivity declines
  • Women reach menopause
  • Memory loss is moderate
  • Speed in problem solving and information
    processing declines

Eriksons Lifelong Stage Theory
  • Erik Erikson believed we progress through 8
    stages during life.
  • He felt we must resolve a crisis in each stage
  • 8 stages
  • 1.) Trust vs. Mistrust
  • 2.) Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
  • 3.) Initiative vs. Guilt
  • 4.) Industry vs. Inferiority
  • 5.) Identity vs. Role Confusion
  • 6.) Intimacy vs. Isolation
  • 7.) Generativity vs. Self-Absorption
  • 8.) Integrity vs. Despair

  • 1.) Trust vs. Mistrust (to age 1)
  • Are our needs met from adults caring for us?
  • 2.) Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (2-3)
  • Is child able to take some personal
    responsibility for feeding, dressing?
  • 3.) Initiative vs. Guilt (3-6)
  • Is child able to function socially in families?
  • 4.) Industry vs. Inferiority (6- puberty)
  • Can child function socially in school and

  • 5.) Identity vs. Role Confusion- Adolescence
  • Does adolescent find sense of self?
  • 6.) Intimacy vs. Isolation early adulthood
  • Does individual find capacity to share intimacy
    with others?
  • 7.) Generativity vs. Self-Absorption- middle
  • Does individual show concern for future
  • 8.) Integrity vs. Despair Retirement years
  • Does individual find meaning from life or
    bitterly dwell on past?