The Nature Of Human Development Essay

The Nature Of Human Development Essay

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Human development can be divided into three major areas: physical, cognitive, and affective. Physical development pertains to growth and change of the human body over time (Charlesworth, 2011). Cognitive development involves how learning takes place (Charlesworth, 2011). Affective development deals with the psychological maturation of an individual (Charlesworth, 2011). The nature versus nurture debate seeks to establish the extent of the role that inherited and environmental factors play in a person’s development in each of these areas.
Developmental theories tend to support the nature view. They hold that as individuals age, they progress through distinct stages of development (Charlesworth, 2011). Although there may be variation in the amount of time an individual spends at any particular stage, all individuals will move through the same set of stages (Charlesworth, 2011). This sequential and global view of development is based on biological principles and represents the nature side of the debate. Conversely, behavior theories support the nurture side. They maintain that environmental stimuli are the driving force behind development (Charlesworth, 2011). Their focus on external influences informs the nurture point of view. This paper will explore the nature versus nurture question by examining the theories of prominent developmentalists and behaviorists in the context of the major areas of human development.
Physical Development
Arnold Gesell is known for his maturationist theory (Guddemi et al., 2014). In the early part of the twentieth century he studied the development of many young children and noticed that they tended to master physical skills (i.e. rolling over, walking, etc.) at about the same age (Fausto-Sterling, 2014...


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...al agents as being the primary determinants of personal development while Freud and Erikson center their attention on naturally-occurring readiness factors. This sums up the nature versus nurture debate.
Conclusion
The argument over nature and nurture has existed for quite some time. Presently, most recognize that both inherited and environmental influences are essential when studying human development. However, that doesn’t mean that the theories that support one view or the other are insignificant. On the contrary, because as humans we are biological beings made up of inherited traits and because we exist in a world ripe with social, cultural, and political influences, it is obvious that these factors will collide to affect each and every one of us in unique ways. Developmental and behavioral theories give us a framework by which to study what it means to be human.

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