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Human Development: Key Aspects

The ecological, psychoanalytic, and biological perspective of development

The ecological perspective studies humans from an environmental standpoint, which includes social, emotional, and biological influences. They aim to explain how human interaction affects people in the setting they have been born and raised in. Spencer Rathus states that ecological systems theory is “the view that explains child development in terms of the reciprocal influences between children and environmental settings.”

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The psychoanalytic perspective is a result of compiled works of several famous psychologists, the basis for which was created by Sigmund Freud and his views on the development process. His theory views humans as instinct-driven creatures that are influenced by external forces and try to maintain minimum resistance from them in order to achieve the satisfaction of their primary instincts. However, modern psychologists disagree with his emphasis on such motivations, and Freud’s theory on human development has been reviewed by his students in order to include social factors and desires. They portray people as less selfish in their core and more social.

The biological perspective concerns all physical development processes and factors that affect humans. It touches themes about the mechanisms behind brain development, hormonal functions, and studies on heredity. Hormones play a crucial role in this discussion, as they are thought to be affecting future behavior the most in accordance with feminine or masculine stereotypes. The biological perspective includes the effects that instincts might have on human behavior.

Heredity and The Environment (with examples)

The underlying causes of various aspects of human life are heredity and the environment. Heredity refers to the genetic code that cells use to create an organism. Rathus states that “our heredity is governed by 20,000 to 25,000 genes.” However, it is only a part of the big picture, as the other significant influence comes from the environment a human was born and raised in. None of these two parts is more important than the other, and it is vital for people to discover all the relations for these influences.

There are numerous examples that show that connection, such as studies that suggest that heredity determines IQ, but the environment also plays its part. Moreover, for example, both heredity and environmental factors lie at the basis of several health issues, such as excessive weight or diabetes. They can be caused by genetic factors as well as the behavior that a person observes and absorbs from his or her relatives.

Imitation: The mirror effect

Imitation is a vital source of essential knowledge for children. Through observation of their parent’s behavior, children begin to attempt simple actions, such as mimicry, themselves. Throughout their growth, infants rapidly develop cognitive abilities that allow them to project a mental image of themselves and apply necessary components of observed actions to it, which they then attempt to imitate. Spencer states that “at about 18 months, children may also use imitation to symbolize or stand for a plan of action.” It shows that the development process of mental capabilities requires a constant source of material in the form of parental assistance. Imitation lies in the foundation of learning, as children begin to study the world around them through it.

Sensory and Perceptual Development

The development of sensory capabilities begins before birth, as it has been discovered that an unborn child can hear sounds while in the womb. The development of other sensory organs, while also occurring prior to birth, has more prominent importance after it. An infant gains a major portion of information from skin contacts, taste, and smell. Perception and visual connections begin to develop after the initial period after birth, and their importance increases over time, diminishing other senses. Complex sensory abilities, such as depth perception and sharpness of an image, occur even later. During the development, an infant gains preferences which are created via senses, such as the preference of sweet taste over sour, and preference of complex visual objects, such as the human face, over geometrical figures.

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