Multigenerational Interview Paper and Presentation
Human development is identified as the continuities and systematic changes of an individual and occurs from the time of birth to the time they die. Development of a person is marked with changes, and the description of these changes as systematic implies that they do not just happen but instead follow an orderly pattern. The changes are also said to be relatively enduring, meaning that they do not fleet and are not unpredictable. Development of human beings involve continuities, which is a reflection of ways in which we do not change, or a continuation of a reflection of past lives.
Domains of Human Development
The systematic transformations and continuities of interest are categorized in three major areas which include the physical, cognitive, and psychological developments. Physical development refers to the growth of the body, its organs, and how the physiological systems function (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). It also comprises the changes in motor abilities and the reflections of physical signs of aging. Cognitive aspects of development include the transformations and continuities in language, perception, memory, learning, solving problems, and other processes of the mind (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). Psychological development, on the other hand, refers to the carryover and changes in both interpersonal and personal aspects. These elements of change include emotions, motives, relationships and interpersonal skills, personality traits, and the role one has to their family and the entire community (Sigelman & Rider, 2017).
Researchers who focus on theories of human development tend to specialize on one of the domains but at the same time give credit to the fact that humans are whole beings whereby a change in one aspect affects the entire system. For instance, when a baby develops the ability to crawl, they expose themselves to other opportunities of development such as the growth of the mind through exploration of the kitchen cabinets (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). In the same way, they hone their social skills by trailing the adult’s movements.
Conceptualization of the Lifespan
Conceptualization of the lifespan refers to the manner in which life is categorized into stages. The first period of life is the prenatal period which happens at the age range from conception to birth (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The second one is the infancy stage which is identified during the first two years after an infant is born (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The ages of two to six years old are defined as the preschool period while the middle childhood is marked by ages between six to 12 years old (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The young age, on the other hand, is characterized by individuals aged between 12 and 20 years old. 20 to 40 years mark the early adulthood period while the middle adulthood is identified by persons aged 40 to 65 years old (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). In this paper, the conceptualization will go up to the middle adulthood stage for the two individuals aged 28 and 45.
Lifespan Development Theories
Lifespan development theories explain and organize facts related to human development. However, these theories have to meet certain criteria for them to be adequate. The conditions they have to meet include that they must be supported by data, be falsifiable, and be internally consistent (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The major issues addressed by the development theories include nurture and nature, the badness and goodness associated with the human nature, passivity and activity, universality and content specificity, and continuity and discontinuity (Sigelman & Rider, 2017).
Freud: Psychoanalytic Theory
The psychoanalytic theory suggests that people are irrational and are driven by biological instincts. According to Freud, the instincts provide the mental energy that avail the explanation of how an individual behaves (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). As one grows, psychic energy is divided into separate components which include the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. During birth, the mental strength of an infant resides at the id, also identified as the irrational or impulsive part of the personality (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The main aim of the id is to seek instant gratification even when the biological instincts are not appropriately met. The ego comes second and assumes the rational aspect of an individual and attempts to explore the rational ways of gratifying the biological instincts. The third and final part is the superego. Here, an individual has already internalized the moral standards (Sigelman & Rider, 2017).
Erikson: Neo-Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory
Erikson’s theory is founded on the theory of Freud and also proposed the human development and personality evolve through systematic transformations. He, however, differed from Freud in some ways. For instance, instead of focusing sexual urges as the forces of development, he emphasized on the social aspects as drivers of development such as teachers, schools, peers, and the broader culture (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). Equally important, Erikson did not emphasize on the irrational id but rather on the adaptive powers of the ego. In brief, Erikson put more emphasis on the outward nature of human beings, in this case, the social world, specifically, after the adolescence stage (Sigelman & Rider, 2017).
In the analysis of the human development nature between the 28-year-old classmate and the 45-year-old neighbor, Erikson’s theory applies because the developmental stages involve individuals above the adolescent age (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The classmate falls under the intimacy versus isolation stage of development which embraces a bracket age of between 20 to 40 years of age. In this stage, a person seeks to establish a shared identity with a colleague but in fear of intimacy and as a result experience isolation and loneliness. The 45-year-old neighbor, on the other hand, falls under the generativity versus the stagnation stage and affects individuals between the ages of 40 to 65 years of age (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). In this stage, the middle-aged adult in question seeks to feel a sense of worth by producing something they can hold onto as their success. Most people in this group are either workers or have families to take care of, and without this, they would become self-centered and stagnant. Attributes mentioned at this stage reflect my neighbor’s behavior and character because they have a family and businesses to take care of (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The final stage according to Erikson is the integrity versus despair level which affects individuals aged 65 years and above. People at this stage must have accomplished their goals and can face death with no fear.
Additional Lifespan-Related Concerns
Nature and Nurture
The aspect of nature and nurture suggest that the development of a human being results from both biological forces (nature), and environmental forces (nurture). The concept of nature and nurture is the most complex in explaining the development of a human being (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). A person who believes in nature attributes the differences in human growth to a person’s genetic makeup, the predispositions built into genes over the evolution course that is based on biology, the gene-guided universal maturational processes among other biological influences (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). They would, therefore, claim that provided that all children are normal, they should achieve the same levels of development at the same times because of the forces of maturation. Additionally, proponents of nature argue that people who develop changes in late adulthood and the difference that exist between adults and children are based on biology. That is, there exist differences in physiology and genetic makeup.
On the other hand, proponents of nurture attribute the differences in human development to the environment. In this case, nurture does not only consist of influences that result from the physical environment, for example, pollution and crowded places, but also the social aspect of the environment (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). Te social aspect is composed of issues such as the methods used to bringing up a child, the experiences of learning, the cultural environment under which one is brought up from, and societal changes (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). In brief, proponents of nurture argue that the development of a human being can assume many forms that are dependent on what an individual has experienced in their lifetime.
While not taking sides, both my neighbor and classmates have been influenced by these aspects. For example, the 28-year-old male has lagged behind regarding development, and this can be attributed the environmental factors he has been exposed. He seemed to comprehend every social trend that I had no ideas about. He was aware of the environment he lived in, and this was an advantage because he was able to interact with almost every student in class. The experiences he had had in life had influenced the way he interacted with people, on the other hand, my neighbor, a 45-year-old male, had to deceive features. If a person did not know o their age, one would confuse them with a 20-year-old individual, and though am not a proponent of nature, I agree that genetic makeup had influenced their development.
The Goodness and Badness of Human Nature
The concept of goodness and badness of a human nature seeks to answer the question on whether people are inherently bad, good, or neither. The philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries, long before the modern theories of human development were proposed took stands regarding the human nature (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). For example, Thomas Hobbes suggested that every person is born as a bad person and that it was the responsibility of the society to instill civilized behaviors. On the contrary, Jean-Jacques Rousseau proposed that we are born good, with the ability to distinguish that which is good or wrong (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). Further, people would develop in the right direction provided that the society did not interfere with the natural tendency (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). John Locke, on the other hand, proposed an entirely different concept, which is that people are neither born innately good or bad, instead, they have the potential to develop in either direction depending on the experiences they go through (Sigelman & Rider, 2017).
The different perceptions expressed above concerning the nature of human beings have different implications on how parents are supposed to bring up their children. For examples, most adults question their tendencies to be selfish and if they should battle it at every step of the way even in teaching their children in sharing what they have with others (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). However, some recent evidence based on biological tendencies regarding the good and bad nature of human beings have challenged the idea that human beings are born neither good nor bad and have no biological predispositions that determine who they want to be (Sigelman & Rider, 2017).
Regarding the concept of good and bad human nature, my 28-year-old friend displays mixed reactions. For example, at times, he utterly good to the strangers he comes across and meeting him at the first time would create an impression that he is harmless and an ever understanding individual. Other friends have proposed that the manner in which he is brought up has influenced his god nature, yet others argued that he is innately good. However, on closer talk with him, he opens up that he has undergone and lived with people whom he likened with monsters and that because of these experiences; he made a personal decision to be good. On the other hand, the 45-year-old neighbor is a complete opposite of good. Though a neighbor, he rarely engages in conversations, not only with me but to the entire neighborhood. Looking into the matter further, people give their opinions where they state that he is innately bad and that he should not be judged, but rather respect his personality.
Universality and Context Specificity
The developers of theories that seek to address the nature of human beings differ on the issue of universality and context specificity. These problems include the degree in which changes of development are common to everybody (universal), or these changes vary from one person to another (content specific) (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). For example, theorists who believe that human development advances in stages propose that most adults at a certain age where they question their direction in life. On reaching this stage, the development of the said human being proceeds in a particular direction (Sigelman & Rider, 2017).
Other theorists come up with a different proposal where they believe that the development of a person varies from one person to another. That is, different cultures have different paths of human development (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). Human development is affected by both context specificity and universality, and this can be reflected by the words of Mark Van Doren, an American poet, who quote, “there are two statements about human beings that are true: that all human are different, and that all human are alike.” The two statements are true, for instance, the one asserting that all human are the same (universality) points that everybody goes through a transition stage such as from adolescent stage to early adulthood (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The change has been experienced by both the 28 and 45-year-old individuals.
Identify lens for the 28 and 45-year-olds is based on Levinson’s stages of human development. Each stage has an age bracket and is accompanied by distinct characteristics. The first stage is the early adult transition which takes place between the ages of 17 to 21. Young individuals transition to the early adulthood stage where they explore possibilities related to the adult identity. It is at this stage that they determine their goals in life. The second stage is identified as the entering the adult world stage characterized by people with n age bracket of 22 to 28 (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). Here, career choices are tested, and marriages take place. The third stage is referred as the age 3o transition and embraces individuals aged between 28 – 33 years of age. Here, people review the decisions they have made in life such as their marriages and career choices and make adjustments (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). The 28-year-old classmate falls in this bracket though they had delayed having no kids and not completed their career. The settling down stage accommodates individuals aged 33 – 40 (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). Here, people realize their dreams and lead a life with a new structure. The 45-year-old neighbor falls in the last stage identified as the midlife transition (40 – 45 years of age) which is marked with a lot of questioning (Sigelman & Rider, 2017). Those who have made it in life question if the dreams they had formulated when they were young was worth achieving while those who have not achieved them accept the reality and come to terms that they might never achieve them.
Reflection Evidence and Critical Thinking about the Conceptualization Experience
Reflecting on the concept of a lifespan, the development theorists have developed a solid foundation for the development stages putting into consideration the different ways through which the society label these changes. For instance, some societies stratify the development stages regarding age groups and age sets where people included in these groups are assigned to tasks. Such methods of developing life stages are a hindrance to personal identification.
Developments of human beings involve continuities, which is a reflection of ways in which we do not change, or a continuation of a reflection of past lives. The concept of the stages of development of human being has been addressed by many individuals including Erikson and Freud. The psychoanalytic theory, according to Freud, suggests that human beings are irrational and are driven by biological instincts. Erikson shares the same sentiment with Freud but differs in some ways. For instance, instead of focusing sexual urges as the forces of development, he emphasized on the social aspects as drivers of development such as teachers, schools, peers, and the broader culture.
Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2017). Life-span human development. Boston, MA : Cengage Learning