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Discussion of Life-Span Theory Exploration

The theory of four stages of Cognitive development was developed by Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, in the 1920s. Through the process of observing children’s cognitive development, Piaget defined four significant stages of intellectual development. The stages included the sensorimotor stage from the child’s birth to the development of language skills, the pre-operational stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage. The aspects of the theory that relate to the biological perspective are that biological contexts influence cognitive development.

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The biological perspective suggests that nature and genetics define life-span development. All children experience the biological perspective of the life-span development because, through the sensorimotor and pre-operational stage, children explore what activities suit their physical state and develop the skills that define their future interests. For example, during the pre-operational stage of development, I was not confident in games that involved physical activities. Still, with an increased level of motor skills, I developed logic skills and felt more confident in solving riddles during the formal operational stage.

John Watson’s behaviorism theory was founded on an observation approach to psychology. Behaviorism implies that an individual’s behavior is sourced from his interactions with the environment. Thus, according to behaviorism theory, an individual’s learning process could be based on the process of conditioning or the system of rewards and punishments. The psychological perspective of behaviorism is related to the multidimensional aspect of life-span development theory that suggests that emotional factors contribute to the individual’s development through one’s life. Therefore, punishments such as prison sentences are used in adulthood to prevent individuals from further committing crimes.

System of punishments and rewards are widely used in organizational systems to provide control and order. Even though I was never punished in school, I have encountered other students being issued detention for lateness. The punishment system, in this case, works to promote punctuality and prevent the students from lateness in other cases, where lateness could result in negative consequences, such as firing from a job.

The theory of eight stages of psychosocial development conducted by Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, was established on Freud’s theory of developmental stages. Unlike Freud’s theory, Erikson’s stages of development focused on the psychosocial aspect in which he explored how an individual interacts with other people through different stages of life. Moreover, Freud’s theory was established on adults’ recollections of their childhood, while Erikson used observations of children and adolescents (Newman, B. & Newman, P., 2020). Erikson’s theory suggests that individuals face conflicts that act as a push to further development during every stage. As the theory is based on human interactions and relationships, the theory closely relates to the social perspective of life-span development.

The social perspective of life-span development implies that the environment, interactions, and relationships with other people contribute to the individual’s development through the course of his life. Thus, Erikson’s theory stages are separated into the school period, adolescence, young adulthood, etc. In my understanding, the social perspective could explain how people could sometimes change during adulthood. Thus, in my experience, I met friends that introduced new perspectives to my understanding of the world and provided me an opportunity to continue developing my identity.

Analyzing the life span from a combined biological, psychological, and social perspective provides a complex understanding of human development. Moreover, it allows a broader perception of factors that contribute to the life span of human development, compared to theories that focus on the early stages of human development. Even though early development significantly influences the development process, it does not explain an individual’s activities during adulthood, as human development is influenced by external factors other than nature and genetics. Analyzing the life span from several perspectives allows the perception of human development as continuous progress with an opportunity to feature several influential factors.

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Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2020). Theories of adolescent development. Academic Press.

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