Critically analyse a life story in relation to theories of lifespan development.
-the domains of development (physical, cognitive, emotional, socio-cutural and/ or moral)
-the biological and environmental influences on development, including examples that demonstrate understanding of the nature and nurture argument.
Human development can be defined as a process of progressive changes and stabilities of people that happens from a birth of a baby till death (Berk, 2009). The changes are divided into five different domains; physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and moral (Mpofu, 2010). Also, the changes are happening all the time in people’s lives and affect the others as people grow through their life (Sigelman& Rider, 2006). In the IDN, I will explain the five domains of development and the biological and environmental influences on the development throughout my lifespan by using a number of theories including that of nature nurture.
My parents had me when they were 30 years old and I was the first girl offspring in the entire family. My uncles loved me very much and they came back to home early to see me. When I was born, my grandmother was much surprised because I looked thoroughly like my father. Since my parents are relatively tall and well-built, my weight and height were more than other babies. Physical development is the growth of body, brain and genes inherited from parents. It relates to changes in body size, compositions, looks, and abilities of body organizations (Berk, 2009; Rice, 2001).Surprisingly, on the back of my father’s right hand, there is a blue mole and I also have the same sized and coloured mole on the same side of my right hand (genetic and biological influence). In accordance with my paternal grandmother, my appearance and size of body totally took after my father’s side.Those can be fully explained by the dynamic system theory of influence of motor development which indicates the capability of motor skill (Berk, 2009). Whenever my father had me in his arms, other people said that I looked exactly like my father. A few months later, I started standing up, crawling and speaking more rapidly than other babies of the same age.
Jean Piaget, one of the powerful theorists focusing on children’s cognitive development, indicated that children acquire constantly through experiences. He used a systematic model to describe and define individual development according to the basic cognitive development in four typical categories; sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational (Berk, 2009). During infancy, I started scanning objects and grabbing them by myself with advanced motor and perceptual skills. Also I liked to go and be with my mum and I could distinguish people, places and objects and also was able to feel the fear whenever I was with strangers, and not with my parents. At this stage, babies can grow trust and mistrust. They are much closer to caregivers who are emotionally related. It can be explained through theories given by Berk in 2009 and Rice in 2001 on knowing other people through changes in emotional communication, personality, friendships and intimate relationships. I began playing with toys alone by grabbing and mouthing and fitting certain shapes of block to holes that matched the shapes. In addition, while I was 8 months old, I finally spoke words such as “mama” and “papa” and sometimes, I solved problems like getting a toy by standing on a lower chair. According to my mother, I became stubborn from this stage, and this made her so stressful. It can be explained through the analysis of the sensorimotor stage (0-2 years) of the cognitive development. Cognitive development is connected with alteration of intellectual stages of thinking such as language, problem solving, reasoning, imagination, memory and logical thinking. It accounts for the different perspective about the same theory and includes perceiving, learning, remembering and thinking. (Berk, 2007; Rice, 2001). When I was 4 years old, my mother was pregnant and I got a pretty little sister. My father and mother only focused on the baby and I was not given much importance. Sometime I bothered the baby or cried out and yelled out intentionally to receive a lot of attention and affection from them.At that time, I think that my emotion development was not fully in progress. When I was around 5 or 6 years, I used to play mothers and fathers with my younger sister and brother, which was my sole comfort. From the age of 6 I started going to kindergarten at least twice a week. However, I could easily draw simple things like an apple and wrote my name and my parent’s names. This is an example of preoperational stage (2-6 years) of the cognitive development and at this stage children develop presenting something with some words and images that they know (Berk, 2009). At the age of 6 I did learn playing piano and drawing. And the age of 7, with the aid of my mother, and also, I could symbolise some objects with some words that I liked. A year later, I went to primary school. I could now develop the category of numbers and symbols while playing card games with my friends. At this stage, children can perform logical thinking and they can classify objects into groups with mathematical transformations (Berk, 2009). This stage is referred to as concrete operational stage (7-11 years). When I was 7 years old, I found a cell phone on a street. In my mind, I really wanted to have the one because I did not have any cell phone. I did not tell anyone about the phone and I had a mental and inner conflict. Finally, I told my grandmother and we went to a police station to hand it over. When I told her about it, I was scolded by her but I learnt from the incident that I should not take what does not belong to me and till now I am following the principle of not claiming what is not mine. Moral development includes judgment that requires behaviours and emotions to decide about the social standards of right and wrong that happens in the realm of daily life. Across the lifespan, moral development is initiated and aided by parents, siblings and teachers and influenced by changes in social, cognitive, emotional and behavioural aspects (Mpofu, 2010). From the primary school to middle school, I was able to understand the academic classes easily without any visual aid or experimental tasks in history and chemistry classes. At the Formal operational stage (over 12 years) children think logically about abstractions, which contain hypothetical concepts, such as thinking about possibilities of logical outcomes. Moreover, at this stage individuals become able to have reflections on their own thoughts and potentiality of moral reasoning (Berk, 2009).
Biological (Genetic)/Nature Influences
Genetic and biological factors are significant contributors to individual development along with a variety of natural features. There are no inherited diseases like cancers and diabetes in my family history. In terms of my paternal family members, they are blunt but calm and warm-hearted. Average height is around 188 cm and I am relatively taller than the girls of my age residing within the same country where I belong. On the other hand, as of my maternal side, they are little bit overweighed but social and have calm personality. I definitely believe that I look similar to my father, especially in respect of appearance and characteristic because both of us are timid and indecisive persons. Surprisingly, on the back of my father’s right hand, there is a blue mole and I also have the same sized and coloured mole on the same side of my right hand. This can be totally explained as some genetic influences on the skin.
My father has double eyelids, my mother has single eyelids, and thus I have single eyelids, which can be explained by the theory of dominant-recessive inheritance. Dominant characteristic refers to the allele effects, and recessive means that the allele does not affect. Recessive characteristic is only seen when both parents give the recessive allele (Berk, 2009). For an example that my mother rendered the dominant allele to me, hence I got the dominant feature (single eyelids) from her.
Environmental factors are one of the contributors to human developments. UrieBronfenbrenner’s ecological theory conveys that people are close to social context that has influences on children’s developments. He paid attention to interaction with five different kinds of contexts that relate to the individual children, based on the social context of human development. In this category, it has been defined from the smallest model to the biggest model; individual person, microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem and macrosystem (Drewery&Bird, 2004; Berk 2009).
Figure 1.5 (Berk, 2009, p20)
The microsystem refers to interaction with intimate people or close environment such as family members and classmates (Drewery& Bird, 2004). For instance, When I was a little child, I spent most of my time with my grandparents, especially with my grandmother until I was a high school student. My personality and values have been significantly affected by her. When she was angry with something, she tried to relieve the stress by reading a book or cooking. And being seriously influenced by her, I get rid of a considerable amount of stress by cooking. I think that positive thinking is the most important thing in my life, and this value has been passed from my grandparents.
The mesosystem refers to a system that is linked to microsystem and the relationship between home and school which plays a pivotal role in the category (Berk, 2009). For instance, at primary school and middle school, I could meet diverse people and learn myriads of differences between people. In addition, I learnt to respect my classmates and teachers. I firmly believe that it was a good time for me to broaden my perspectives.
Berk indicated (“Exploring lifespan development”, 2009) that the exosystem refers to people and larger social groups such as community, mass media, neighbours and welfare services. For an example, when I was around 14, the impact of mass media was dominant in my country, especially of singers and movie stars. I followed what super stars do and was usually hanging out with community members who were fans of particular superstars. My dream was to be a wife of a particular super star. At that moment, I was crazy about the super star and my studies were kept aside.
According to Drewery& Bird (“Human development in Aotearoa: A journey through life”,2000) and Berk (“Exploring lifespan development”, 2009) the macrosystem refers to large culture such as language, values, customs and law. As everybody knows, most Asian countries’ cultures are based upon Confucianism, including my country, South Korea. Some of the Confucian traditions continue to this day in my country. When I was in my adolescence, I learnt the Confucian ideas from my great grandparents. And as per the tradition, I was not allowed to wear short skirt and sleeveless shirts and also it was prohibited by law. However, as time passed and with the adoption western culture, I was let free to wear them without asking for anyone’s permission.
Please make some argument between nature and nurture.
There are myriads of stages through which the motor and cognitive developments within an individual take place. There are different theories of cognitive development but the most significant one is of Piaget’s. Moreover, the process of development is also influenced by several genetic factors which are independent of external factors or influences. But there are several other external factors that can be considered as significant contributors to the type and process of individual development. Furthermore, apart from some common influences including the influence of proper upbringing, the influence of the natural and artificial environment on the development process of an individual should be considered as an important factor.
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Drewery, W., & Bird, L. (2000).Human development in Aotearoa: A journey through life.
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Mpofu, C (2010). Psychology and lifespan development: an introductory text for health
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Rice, F. P. (2001). Human development: A life-span approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2006).Life-span human development. (5th ed.). Belmont,
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