The lifespan development study came as a result of Charles Darwin’s aspiration to appreciate the concept of evolution. Stanley Hall published the first study of children; his book pioneered the models and adolescence to scientists (Boyd & Bee, 2006). Lifespan involves the period from conception all through to death. This essay tends to describe the growth and development of human beings during the lifespan period at the same time describing each stage’s attributes consistent with the lifespan perceptions. The various human development domains and periods are acknowledged and modern apprehensions as connected to lifespan development are also identified.
Lifespan development is a course commencing at conception, carrying on to, and ends at death. The development begins with the appearance of a foetus following mitosis and meiosis processes of a one-celled organism known as zygote. As the infant comes into the world, the surroundings, where the child lives, starts to manipulate the infant’s growth (WGBH, 2001). Therefore, Lifespan development can be described as a systematic, intra-personal alteration connected to developments analogous to age. This development advances in a way linking the intensity of its operation. Consistent with Levinson, the life phase entail four 25-year periods. The major developmental phases are early to Late Childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood, and End of Life. Each period’s changeover engages an indispensable adjustment in the nature of the person’s life and at times involves up to six years finalizing a solitary change (Smith, 2009). This study of human development commenced with Darwin. He considered if he studied human development, he might additionally establish his theory of evolution (Boyd & Bee, 2006). This research gives an outlook on the biological, cognitive, and psychosocial progresses that occur from birth across the life span. Therefore, how do inborn and ecological issues interact? What affiliations exist amid development in one era of life and expansion in another? How could the disparities in culture and societal class shape the route of development?
The lifespan perception rows that noteworthy changes occur during growth. The perception comprises a progression of individuals that is multidimensional, multidirectional, plastic, multidisciplinary, and contextual (Smith, 2009). It claims that development engages growth, preservation, and control. Adjustments that transpire ought to be construed in a way that regards the background and framework of the incidences. In accordance with Paul Baltes, individuals have the ability of flexibility or optimistic alteration to surrounding problems during life. He also subscribed to the comprehending of the constructive features of becoming old for example discovering systems to compensate and conquer (Boyd & Bee, 2006). However, the outlook understandings of the alterations of adulthood have achieved as much significance as those happening in childhood, a comprehension as of other subjects consecutively have augmented significance in human development.
The development domains are groupings employed by scientists. These groups incorporate cognitive, physical, and social domains that exemplify human growth. The cognitive domain is entails how learning happens and why recollection declines with old age (Levinson, 1978). The social domain includes alteration in variables inside a social circumstance for example social skills, character research, and budding relationships. How individuals develop and transform physically, particularly all through childhood, and adolescence categorize the physical domain. This domain comprises how individuals analyse the world as growth develops as a result of budding vision. Alterations in the manner the world is observed as the body grows are also embraced in this domain. All the domains function jointly and are influenced by each other (Boyd & Bee, 2006).
Human Development Periods
Human development periods cover the existence from conception to the end of life. These eras are as follows, prenatal, early, middle and late childhood. As the child develops and advances to adulthood the phases are adolescence, early, middle, and late adulthood. Several theories about the phases of growth and the progress from one phase to the next subsist. Different theories endeavour to describe how progress from one stage to the next stage of development transpires. The three key theories include psychoanalytic, learning, and cognitive theories (Boyd & Bee, 2006).
Stages of development
People are perceived as making methodical evolution in a definite order via a sequence of stages. Systematically they shift nearer to some structure of adult rank. This progress can be perceived as concerning transformations in logical and physical influences, for instance, around alterations in intellect, proficiency and capacity to reason, and the impact of life occurrences and incidents. Many theories have been brought forward; with Aristotle suggesting a three-stage form, Solon proposing a nine-seven year phases, Confucius recognizing six stages, and Shakespeare suggesting seven stages (Tennant and Pogson, 1995).
According to Levinson, the life cycle encompasses a series of four periods, each fixed for roughly twenty-five years (1978). He recognizes a figure of developmental stages inside these periods, focused on early and middle adulthood. The stages include:
Early to Late Childhood
This is a stage involving ages from birth to the age of twelve.
The stage is characterized by Brain growth, which reaches 90% of its adult weight by age of five. Overall, Physical strength augments and body percentages become more adult like. At the ages of 10-12, puberty begins to set in with rising hormone levels, as girls and boys start showing variations depending on the gender specific physical changes.
This stage basically constitutes language acquisitions and mental processes. The Use of mental illustrations and representations, for instance words begins,with thoughts about the world becoming rather unreasonable to the ages of 5- 12. Language capabilities develop speedily, consequential, on average, in a 14,000-phrase vocabulary and widespread grammatical awareness by age 6(Levinson, 1978).Social relationss with parents and playmates educate them about the world. This stage is also characterized by metacognition; the capacity to reflect on ideas.
Transformations in figure, cognitive operation, sexuality, and cultural management might confront sense of self. Moreover, appreciation of link between ethical decrees and societal principles strengthens. Peer groups frequently split into cliques; Peer group develops into a more noteworthy issue as reliance moves to comrades for aid, allegiance, and involvement of shared concerns. They also develop awareness of and as participation in external world augment realization of, political conditions, economic, and family.
This entails individuals between the age of 13 -19.
Boys' development surge peaks and growth is mainly absolute by conclusion of this phase. The boys grow deeper voices and models of facial hair, and characteristically grow taller than their female counterparts grow. Girls are inclined to develop broader hips, as breast growth carries on for some years. The Girls' motor performance peaks, while boys' continues to progress.
Here formal functioning reasoning, the capability for abstract, scientific consideration materializes. Thinking develops into a more idealistic, self-conscious, and significant manner. There is further development of metacognition and self-regulation. Linguistic vocabulary develops to comprise abstract words as comprehension and grasping of multifaceted grammar goes on to develop. Capacity to grasp the notion of irony and sarcasm also grows.
Questions of identity appear, probably resulting to predicament in the sense of self. In addition, there are emergences of Sexual orientations. This stage is also characterized by strives for independence relative to family with parent-child disagreements more probable to happen. Friendships have better importance on closeness and allegiance as conformity to peer pressure augments.
This involves the ages seventeen to forty-five.
Physical operation amplifies through the 20's and heightens at 30; however, it could be upheld via exercise. The Body outline transforms, with slow increases in mass and body fat, as there are declines in lean muscle mass. Effectiveness of many organ structures starts to lessen. Sexual receptiveness stays high during this phase, with a little dawdling in men. Physical form alters; gray hair and wrinkles increase toward conclusion of this time.
Thinking becomes realistic and dialectical to acclimatize to the discrepancies and complications in every day occurrences. Temporary memory peaks as wisdom and proficiency start to increase. Language and awareness carry on growing via work dealings and daily difficulties solving.
Concerns of identity and closeness heighten by the age of 30. There is intense requirement for association crammed by friends and frequently a matrimonial partner. Comradeships turn into a mainly significant issue for single people. Need for accomplishment is frequently met via reasonable work in agreement with character and capabilities.
Involves ages forty to sixty-five
Steady alterations carry on in the manifestation of body shape, hair, and skin. In addition, the alterations take place in hearing and vision, including presbyopia1. In women, there is the onset of Menopause.
The fluid astuteness diminishes as crystallized intellect stays fixed or amplifies. Scholarly aptitude reliant on swiftness and originality diminishes, while capacities concerning information on the world and vocabulary amplify. There is an overall reduction in reaction time and mental dispensation. Cognitive capacities connected to familiarity and aptitudes thrive, resulting to additional configuration of capability. Social class influences preservation of cognitive talents in addition to occasions for logical augmentation.
Mid-life crisis happens in a minute marginal of cases, since most individuals undergo steady changeovers in logic of self and in affiliation with the humanity. Character attributes are inclined to stay constant. Companionship and marriage keep on as principal bases of connection. Preservation stage in occupation might permit for maximum efficiency at work, might also bring about exhaustion. It is also characterized with experiences of facing age discrimination.
Late adulthood and end of life
This is between the ages sixty to end of life.
The brain physically reduces in size and tends to function slower. Slow alterations carry on in manifestation, together with waning of the sense organs and other key body schemes. Reduction in immune coordination processes and in general muscle potency place older adults in danger of constant and severe sickness. Short-term memory might demur, but vigorous work out of mental aptitudes facilitates its operation. The Age-related alterations influence sexual operation, however not delight.
Capability to assemble information, accumulate it in memory, and put in order and construe it reduces. There is also some significant decline in a few temporary memory aptitudes; however, means can aid recompense for memory failure and sluggish thinking. Artistic, theoretical, or religious concerns also strengthen. Language capacities based on reminiscence and dispensation speed decline, however, in general vocabulary carries on growing. Dynamic-related capacities reliant on information-dispensation speed reduce, as dexterities rooted in occurrence amplify. Acumen, experience-rooted problem deciphering, and semantic awareness amplify.
It is characterized by retirement occurrences formed by the social class and gender features, as well as health, amount of previous planning, and income. Aptitudes to deal with strain, decrease negative sensations, and supervise personal rapports enhance wider perception on life. Prejudiced sagacity of welfare is inclined to be greater than at all preceding phases. Contentment with existence mostly is reliant on family participation. End-of-life care that integrates pain supervision and emotional backing significantly manipulates their welfare.
To conclude, Lifespan Development was originally established by Darwin and has continued to intrigue experts. A comprehension of how individuals grow entails the domains of physical, cognitive, and social approaches. These domains happen all through prenatal, childhood and adult development. Adjustment all through life counts on how each person confers the inner and outer features that improve or restrain their aptitude to arrive at their full prospective. The fundamental nature of life span development is in how one builds on the strengths to rise above these restrictions over time. Many theories have been put forward to help experts understand this development and as discussed above show how some cultural, environmental factors influence the development.
Baltes, P. B., Reese, H. and Lipsett, L. (1978) ‘Lifespan developmental psychology’, Annual Review of Pyschology 31: 65 – 110
Boyd, D., & Bee, H. (2006). Lifespan development (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Levinson, D. (1978) The Seasons of a Man’s Life, New York: Knopf
Smith, M. (2009). Life span development and lifelong learning. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from http://www.infed.org/biblio/lifecourse_development.htm
WGBH Educational Foundation (2001). Life span development our amazing capacity for change. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from http://www.learner.org/discoveringpsychology/development/