Chapter One: Understanding Life-Span Human Development
This chapter defines development and explains how people should think about development. It conceptualizes what life-span means and how issues of nature should be framed in order to attach the requisite meaning. To achieve this, the chapter consists of a developmental research, which includes data from behavioral observations, verbal reports, and psychological measurements. Indeed, the chapter sets the pace ready as it provides a comprehensive background about human development to enable one have a sufficient foundation on the subject. The chapter begins with an inspiring story of Ella Miller aged 116 years old. The author uses her to address cardinal questions that require answers in the study of human development. There are three significant broad domains of development. These are physical, psychological and cognitive development. It sums up development as systematic changes and continuities over the life span. These changes may be neutral or involving gaining and losses. Different life-span perspectives are also discussed including development is a lifelong process, multidirectional, involving both gains and losses and characterized by lifelong plasticity among others mainstream perspectives.
Chapter Two: Theories of Human Development
This chapter presents a theoretical analysis of the process of development. In encompasses different theoretical explanations by distinguished professors and scholars in thearena of human development. The chapter defines a theory asset of proposed ideas which seek to explain a certain phenomenon. The psychoanalytical theory, as expounded by Sigmund Freud, stipulates that humans are driven by inborn instincts that are unconscious. However, Erikson’s version of the theory is largely socially oriented. According to him, there are eight stages of development that are significant and fundamental in the process of development. During these stages whereby an individual learns to trust or mistrust people, instincts or the behavior of some people. The chapter also examines the theoretical underpinning of learning theories. These hold that environmental conditions are significant to the development of a human being. The different theories discussed in the chapter all with an objective to explain the phenomenon of development illustrate how the complicated scholars find the process of development.
The chapter addresses three issues that are significant in the development of humans. These are the hereditary characteristics of human beings, which is made possible by the presence of genes. The environment and the ecosystem that supports human life is also another critical area. More significantly, the chapter uses the study by Charles Darwin, popularly known as the evolution theory to canvas various elements of development. Indeed, all humans have an individual heredity acquired at conception when the sperm fertilizes the egg in the fallopian tube of a female. Despite the fact that the study of genetics is still unexhausted there is overwhelming knowledge available to support the argument that genes, together with various environmental factors, immensely contribute to the development of the human being. Inheritance has threemechanisms. These include polygenic, sex-linked and single pair inheritance mechanisms. The life-span of an individual, therefore, heavily relies on environmental and genes influences. However, it is cardinal to note that environmental factors are majorly significant during the early stages of life.
Chapter Four: Prenatal Development and Birth
This chapter seeks to examine the process of development and the life-span of human development from the time of conception to the time a mother gives birth. Indeed, prenatal development entails the process commencing at conception and going through the stages of embryonic, fetal and germinal periods of development. While the development of humans is defined to mean all conditions within the physical and social environments, there exists a variety of teratogens which significantly affect the human development. Drugs and diseases are some forms of teratogens. The prenatal environment in this sense is that surrounding the baby within the womb. Childbirth has three stages, which include delivery labour and delivery of the placenta. These stages are critical are part of the prenatal development. Mothers nearing delivery are usually very scared. However, for most of them, the process usually turns out to be a positive one. It is cardinal to note that the treatment and support accorded to mothers who have just given birth varies from culture to culture. In most cultures, there are taken care off by the society and supported both socially and spiritually, which is significant for personal growth.
Chapter Five: The Physical Self
This chapter touches on the overall growth of the human body. It describes development in the infant, the child, the adolescent and the adult. More fundamentally, the chapter canvases various systems on the human body and illustrates their structure, appearance, structure, functioning, health and psychological implications among others. These systems have their own life-spans. They develop at their own rate and age at their own rate. The human body is functional when all the systems are working properly and efficiently. The nervous system is an integral part of the human body. It supports and facilitates any form of communication in the body. It is mainly composed of the spinal cord and the brain. The adolescent stage is also another crucial stage for the development of boys and girls. At this stage, they undergo pubertal and emotional changes. It is also an age of experimentation with teenage trying out new things in an attempt to comprehend their bodies. Adulthood also presents its challenges and developmental stages. Aging people suffer problems of system breakdown such a nervous breakdown. Diseases and drugs also weak the human body making systems weak.
Chapter Six: Perception
This chapter explains the assessment perceptual abilities of the human body. This entails examining the vision, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling capacities of the human being. Perception is made possible by sensory nerves and five senses that a human being possesses. The chapter defines sensation as the detection of sensory stimulation. There are various methods of studying perception in infants and adults. Perception is extremely significant as it enables humans communicate and adapt to their environment. It is also instrumental in enabling humans choose their habitants or alter them to suit their perceptions. The visual system is always in a good working condition since the time of birth while the auditory sense is developed at birth. The adolescence period enables teenagers to increase their levels of attention. Children lose their attention very fast making it easy to distract them. During puberty, the ability to have some level of consistent in the attention of the teenager significantly increases. However, the trend reverses during adulthood. The ability to maintain and sustain perception begins a gradual decline. This explains why very old people often lose their sight or hearing ability.
Chapter Seven: Cognition
The chapter begins by examining what intelligence is all about and continues by explaining various stages of cognitive development. According to Piaget, there are four cardinal stages of cognitive development. These stages are experienced by children as they mature and become adults. It is through the process of adaptation and organization that children are able to adapt to the worldly environment. They are able to do this by using cognition to assimilate new phenomena and experiences with the help of their understanding and knowledge that has already been acquired. Piaget made significant steps of development in the sphere of human development. He interrogated the role of the language and other natural social interactions in the arena of cognitive development. Other scholars have also canvased the role of the society and culture in enabling and facilitating cognitive development. Indeed, this is a vital sphere of knowledge that enables youngster to adapt and fit into the world. Cognitive development is, therefore, an area that deserves much attention to ascertain how man can sustain the continuity of the human race.
Chapter Eight: Memory and Information Processing
It begins by discussing the information-processing approach. This chapter deals with the development of the human brain and specifically the part that concerns the human memory. The chapter examines the memory, problem-solving capabilities and aging elements of the human brain. Computer analysis is employed to display how the mind process data. To illustrate development infants are not able to recall from birth. However, after a few months the process significantly develops with the aid of simples cues. Memory continues to improve as the process of learning ameliorates. While children use systematic process to solve challenges, adults use complicate ones. During puberty, adolescents learn to utilize multiplestrategies to learn and remember thinks. One of the most traditional methods of facilitating memory is note-taking. Adults are usually experts at retaining memory because of experiences that they have gone through. However, older adults begin losing the memory abilities due to old age and teratogens.
Chapter Nine: Intelligence and Creativity
The Chapter begins by addressing the topic of intelligence. It uses the psychometric approach, Gardner’stheory of multiple intelligence and Sternberg’s triarchic theories to canvas the topic of intelligence and creativity. While modern schools of thought have placed more emphasis on the psychometric approach in the study of intelligence, the other two still retain a fundamental role in the field. Common intelligence tests involve determining the capabilities and abilities of individual performance on a number of cognitive tasks. Mental growth which is extremely significant happens rapidly and can only be measured by DQs. However, the IQ measure of an infant does not necessarily articulate the later IQ measures of the person. People develop different levels of IQ. The significant cause of this phenomenon is the existing intellectually stimulating qualities and the genetic factors of the person. Creativity, on the other hand, denotes the ability to develop or produce novel works that are socially acceptable.
Chapter Ten: Language and Education
This chapter focuses on the development and mastery of language not only by the infant and teenagers, but also the adults. The chapter discusses what must be prioritized. It also projects the cause of language development beginning with the first words, telegraphic speech. The development of language appears prima facie to be effortless. This is because it happens through daily interactions of the infant and the rest of the society. Language is an extremely cardinal component of development. This is because it facilitates communication which is mandatory for any form of meaningful interaction.Indeed, students who learn in advantaged homes or schools usually outperform the rest because of their surrounding background. However, during adolescence period, the learning process significantly drops because of the various challenges that the teenagers goes through. However, as the adolescence periods wears off, the level of achievement starts to increase. This develops until adulthood. Those who are slow to learn continue with the literacy struggle to adulthood.
Chapter Eleven: Self and Personality
The chapter on self and personality deals with conceptualizing the self and the personality of an individual. This is a critical process of development as it determines how the person thinks of him or herself and how he/she conducts his/her affairs. The chapter uses the social leaning, trait and psychoanalytical theories to canvas this stage of development. Each person has a unique personality. Different attributes unique to an individual culminate in shaping the unique personality of a person. The self, on the other hand, is how the individual perceives their attributes and personality. This informs the way they value themselves, a concept known as self-esteem. Attributes that determine the personality of an individual undergo multiple changes; previous personalities determine the individual’s subsequent personality. The personality of the individuals and the self, determine how the person interacts with others and the society at large. There are many factors that affect the stability of a personality. Some of these include the genetic makeup, environment and early experiences among others.
Chapter Twelve: Gender Roles and Sexuality
The significant themes recurring throughout the chapter include gender norms, stereotypes, gender differences and sexuality. This course of development is discussed from the early age to adulthood. Indeed, the developmental changes between females and males can be ascertained through examination of physical, social and psychological realms. The biology of the two is different and most socially acceptable roles have also been categorized along these lines. While toddlers developed along the same lines, they soon begin learning gender stereotypes. However, this is slightly interfered with as teenagers become intolerant to gender-role deviations. During the human development life-span, sexuality is an extremely critical component. In fact, teenagers are usually curious about their sexualities with many experimenting with their bodies as they experience changes. Adults, on the other hand, enter the institution of marriage or have regular coitus. There are various factors such as environmental, societal or health conditions that may affect sexual activity of an adult.
Chapter Thirteen: Social Cognition and Moral Development
Social cognition consists of all social behavior including those that are concerned moral. At infancy, the mind guides ones`behavior. This has often been illustrated as belief-desire psychology. Children are usually preoccupied with their physical characteristics and activities going on around them. They are neither concerned nor aware of activities beyond areas that they can perceive. In contrast, moral cognitive development has three cardinal components. These include behavioral, cognitive and affective components. Therefore, the individual must have the ability to determine what is right and what is wrong between the available choices. Morality also has the ability to bring up emotions acquired from previous experiences. Adolescents experience a shift in preconvention to conventional moral reasoning. Morality gets incorporated to the personality of an individual. The person develops the ability to change between right and wrong. Adults also experience a shift from conventional to post-conventional mode of thinking. Most of them have advanced levels of moral thinking, which is characterized by elements of wisdom and spirituality.
Chapter Fourteen: Attachment and social Relationships
Social relationships are significantly responsible to human development. For any form of development to occur, it must have the requisite support and a conducive environment. Human development has been made possible by the fact the social relationships always present to support and facilitate it. Attachments, on the other hand, develop through human interactions and are built around human species. Peer relations are also significant to development as they facilitate numerous angles of experimentation and growth. It has been argues that biologically based emotions like fear and anger appear to a toddler. Human beings are social beings and they thrive in social relations. Therefore, social relationships are not only desirable, but rather essential as they enable humans feel comfortable and live in harmony.Caregivers are essential in the regulation of such emotions. The quality of the parent-infant attachment will also determine whether the child lives a secure life or there are consistently hesitant in most things. Indeed, attachment is mostly associated with responsible parenting which supports the interests of the child.
Chapter Fifteen: The Family
There are two types of families. These include the nuclear family and the extended family. However, the best view of the family is embedded in the larger social systems. From the moment infants are born, they are not only affected by their families, but they also affect the family. Child rearing is a cumbersome task that is extremely demanding. It, therefore, requires a responsible family that accepts the child. The child requires and demands constant attention. This is where when a second child is born in a family, the first born finds the case extremely stressful and care must be taken to help them adjust. This is also the same case when people wed. They become attached to each other but their intimacy, attention and interactions are watered down by the arrival of the first-born. Children also have sibling rivalry amongst themselves. The tensions are heightened during the teenage years but soon diminish with time and are finally replaced with emotional attachment.
Chapter Sixteen: Developmental Psychopathology
The chapter addresses the cardinal components of development and defects that can emerge as development occurs. The chapter extensively discusses the development issues including how to diagnose such issues and treatment. To diagnose psychological disorders,developmental issues like maladpativeness, personal stress and statistical deviance take center stage. Autism consists of deviant social responses, repetitive behavior and communication deficits. Indeed, children who have been emotionally starved or malnourished from attachment figures like parents or guardians can easily become depressed. Bad parenting skills can also cause severe problems which can cause psychological issues in the future of the child.However, adolescents are more vulnerable than children in terms of emotional wellbeing.Good health is vital if an individual has to undergo the various stages of development. Teenagers are constantlylooking for validation and acceptable whether it is within the peer group or within the family. Adults are also prone to depression among other psychological disorders if and when their experience strains in life.
Chapter Seventeen: Final Challenge: Death and Dying
This is the final chapter of the book. It seeks to conclude the process of development of the human being. The chapter is an anti-climax as it is concerning with the death and dying of human, which in the contemporary world is not viewed as a form of development. The chapter defines death as a biological process that leads to the total brain death. This is adopted from the Harvard definition which has been a subject over a lot of hyped controversies. The expectancy of children depends on the place of birth. The chances of survival are higher in developed countries than in developing countries. Some scholars have come up with different stages of dying. However, there has been no consensus on the issue. There are also different perspectives to study death and dying. It has become customary to associate oneself with positive thoughts about a deceased. In fact, intense grieving is usually associated with those that developed early attachments.
Sigelman , Carol K and Elizabeth A Rider. Life-Span Human Development. New York: Thomson Learning, Inc., 2006.