Lifespan Perspective on Human Development Essay

1178 WordsOct 24, 20135 Pages
What are the most important years in life for human development? Human development is a complicated and controversial subject. In the past, childhood has been attributed a majority of the concentration in regards to the development of a human being, and in some cases, adulthood has gotten all of the attention. However there is one perspective that considers all phases of life, known as the life-span perspective, which is universally accepted by most psychologists and implicated into their own respective theories. This perspective was originally introduced by Paul and Margaret Baltes, and was monumental as it considered all phases of life, rather than just childhood or adulthood (Berger 2010). There are five insights which are focused on to describe the context under which development occurs. According to the life-span perspective, development is multidirectional, multicontextual, multicultural, multidisciplinary, and plastic (Berger 2010). Let’s begin with multidirectional. Multidirectional means that human qualities change in all directions. A more traditional belief was that development took place up until the age of 20, becomes stagnant, and then declines. Life-span research has refuted this claim (Berger 2010). For example, when an elderly person’s spouse passes, the newly single elderly person can either lose motivation to live, or expand their social surroundings. Regardless of the outcome, development occurred even in these elderly years. The belief that development occurs in stages is held by many people and supported by many popular theorists. For example, Freud’s Psychosexual Theory consists of an Oral Stage, an Anal Stage, and a Phallic Stage throughout the first six years, in this order. These stages are named after the anatomical portion of the body in which the child feels pleasure. From six to eleven years, the child experiences a stage which sexual

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