Darwin’s resolve to understand evolution gave way to the study of lifespan development. It can hence be said that Darwin is among the first pioneer who spearheaded the study of lifespan development. By definition, we can term lifespan as the period of time beginning with conception and ending with death.
In this text, I will come up with a definition of lifespan development and describe the characteristics of lifespan perspective. I will also identify the human development domains as well as periods and examine at least two contemporary concerns related to lifespan development.
Lifespan development can be said to be the process whose beginning is marked by birth and whose end is marked by death. This process is characterized by changes within an individual as he or she advances in age (Boyd et al. 2006). Conception is marked by the fetus emerging from an organism that is made up of one cell.
Boyd et al. (2006) notes that an individual’s life cycle is characterized by about four cycles. Each of these periods lasts for about 25 years. He goes on to give four stages of development that include early childhood, adolescence, early adulthood and lastly late adulthood. Each of these periods involves a substantial transformation of an individual’s character.
A description of the characteristics of lifespan development perspective
According to lifespan perspective, in the period of development, several substantial changes are evidenced. In this perspective, the development of an individual can be said to be mainly comprised of growth, maintenance as well as regulation. The various changes in this perspective are usually interpreted within their occurrences context of as well as culture. Sigelman et al. (2008) notes that throughout their lives, human beings are programmed to adapt to changes in the various environmental challenges.
The domains and periods of human development
Scientists have come up with categories that characterize the development of humans. These categories are referred to as domains of human development. These domains are; physical, cognitive and social categories. The physical category or domain is concerned with the physical changes and growth of human beings. It concerns itself mainly with two periods namely childhood as well as adolescence. Other things looked into in this domain include how an individual views the world as he progresses with development. The physical category concerns itself with the way learning takes place and why during old age, memory seems to deteriorate. On the social category, issues looked into include the development of social skills and abilities to relate and form relationships. It is good to note that these domains do not operate in isolation and instead, they complement each other (Boyd et al. 2006).
The human development periods include the prenatal period, early childhood period, the middle childhood period and the late childhood period. On progression from childhood to adulthood, we have the adolescence period, early adulthood period, middle adulthood period and the late adulthood period. In that respect the three most dominant theories explaining the various periods of development are cognitive, learning as well as psychoanalytic theories (Sigelman et al. 2008).
Contemporary concerns related to lifespan development
According to Sigelman et al. (2008), one of the contemporary concerns in relation to lifespan development is nature vs. nature. These concerns address the development basis. This concern looks at how development is affected by the environment and other related issues.
Boyd et al. (2006) gives the other contemporary concern in relation to lifespan development as continuity and discontinuity. This concern addresses issues to do with relationship development within the context of lifespan development. With regard to continuity and discontinuity, the issue is on age related change and its correlation with amount or type (Boyd et al. 2006).
Today and probably for many days to come, scientists will continue to be interested by the concept of lifespan development that was pioneered by Darwin. Psychologists also continue to be intrigued by the way individuals develop with their efforts being directed to the physical, cognitive as well as social domains. It is good to note that these domains are set within the development stages comprising of the prenatal, childhood as well as adulthood.
It is expected that with the expansion of this field, the contemporary concerns related to lifespan development will continue to intrigue many professionals in this particular field.
Boyd, D., & Bee, H. (2006). Lifespan development, 4th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Sigelman, C.K., Rider, E.A. (2008). Life-Span Human Development, 6th Edition. Cengage Learning