Baltes' lifetime view stresses lifelong, multifaceted, multidirectional, malleable, contextual, and transdisciplinary development. Consider how your personal growth fits into each of these notions as you learn more about the words.
1. Life is progressive. A baby's growth is linear: it gets bigger over time. An adult's growth is progressive: there are highs and lows, increases and decreases in physical ability and competence.
2. Growth is never finished. Even at birth, a baby starts off small for its age. At any time in life, if we look around us, we can see that some people are younger than others, even if they were born later or earlier than us. This is because nobody stays the same size; we all grow somewhere between babies and adults.
3. Growth is individual. We each reach our developmental potential to a certain extent, but also because we make choices about what we do with our lives and how we feel about ourselves and others.
4. Growth is dynamic. It is not fixed once we have reached our maximum possible height or weighed-in weight. The brain keeps developing well into old age, and learning continues forever under the right conditions.
5. Growth is multidisciplinary.
Baltes contends that seven key features influence human development across the life span: (1) development occurs throughout one's life; (2) multidirectionality and multidimensionality; (3) development as growth and decline; (4) the role of plasticity in development; and (5) the influence of socioeconomic factors. These themes are discussed further under each principle.
Developmental psychology is the study of how individuals develop during their lifetime. This field of research has been dominated by a lifespan perspective since its inception in the early 20th century. The central concept in this context is "development," which can be defined as "the process of changing into what we are capable of becoming." (Erikson, 1958, p. 3)
According to Erikson, eight different stages of development can be identified: (1) infancy (0-1 years); (2) toddlerhood (2-4 years); (3) childhood (5-12 years); (4) adolescence (13-19 years); (5) young adulthood (20-29 years); (6) middle age (30-59 years); and (7) old age (60+ years). Each stage is characterized by certain psychological tasks that have to be accomplished for the next stage to begin.
The eight stages of development were originally based on observations made by Edward Thorndike and Lewis Terman on children from the lower classes of American society.
The study of how we change and grow from conception to death is known as life span development. Developmental psychologists research this area of psychology. They consider development to be a lifetime process that can be scientifically investigated in three domains: physical development, cognitive development, and psychosocial development.
Physical development includes the growth and maturation of the body. Physical development is what gives rise to health problems and increases your risk for diseases such as cancer. It also leads to changes which allow you to better cope with the stress of daily life (for example, through learning how to drive). Your body goes through many changes during its lifespan. These changes are called morphological transformations. For example, when you were born, you were covered in skin-like material called ectoderm. This layer will eventually become bone, but it has other ways of changing too. For example, when you were born, your brain was also mostly made of ectodermal tissue. It too will one day be replaced by bone, but for now it can be seen through medical imaging technology. Brain anatomy is among the most dynamic in nature; it can be affected by experience!
Your brain is where all your thoughts and feelings reside. Thus, it is not surprising that it is also the site of many changes throughout your life. One region of the brain in particular - the prefrontal cortex - shows significant growth during early adulthood before beginning to shrink back again as you age.
The lifetime view, the learning perspective, the humanistic perspective, the ecological perspective, the sociocultural perspective, and the positive youth development perspective are the ones to consider. These theories have much in common with one another, but they also differ in certain ways.
Adolescence is viewed as a unique developmental period that occurs between childhood and adulthood. Adolescents are said to experience a series of important changes called "maturational processes" that affect their bodies and brains. These changes include increased intelligence, decreased muscle mass, increased bone density, and various other physiological developments.
Adolescents are believed to be more prone to risk-taking behaviors because of these biological changes. It is thought that adolescents need to test out these behaviors to see what works for them and what doesn't. This is why many risky decisions are made during this time period; it is how individuals learn what behaviors lead to success or failure.
In addition to these biological changes, adolescents are known for their need to establish independence from parents and caregivers. They may feel a need to try on different roles and responsibilities to see which one fits them best. This is why many teenagers leave home to live on their own; they want to find the right job and create a stable life for themselves.