Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lifespan Perspective Paper

Lifespan Perspective Paper

A person’s lifespan is from the moment of conception through death. Lifespan development is the different stages a person passes through as he or she develops. Perspective of lifespan development understands the changes that occur in development. Freud and Piaget have very different theories of lifespan development. Freud’s theory is a basis of id, ego, and superego, whereas Piaget’s is a cognitive development that occurs over a person’s lifetime. Nature and Nurture are more than perspectives in lifespan development they influence how and who a person will be. Lifespan development is the time from conception to death as a person develops and grows; the perspective in relationship to human development is lifelong, and theories of lifespan development can be seen in Freud, and Piaget, while the influences of a person life is nature and nurture.

What is Lifespan Development

A person’s lifespan begins as a fetus and as it develops and grows for nine months in the womb becoming a person either male or female will continue through stages in a his or her life. The study of human development is a science seeking to understand how humans change over their lifetime (Berger, 2008). The changes a person goes through as he or she grows can be linear-gradual, predictable, steady, but normally they are none of these. The common stages are birth, infancy, adolescence, adulthood, old age, and the ending death. To define lifespan development is also to mention that humans in their lifetime learn to communicate, to work, love, learn from relationships. All of these developments go into the perspective of development.

Lifespan Perspective of Development

Lifespan perspective is in relationship with human development, and is lifelong. This study within psychology is continuous. Lifespan perspective has three developmental domains. These domains are physical domain, cognitive domain, and social domain. Physical development refers to the growth of the body, organs, physical systems, signs of aging, change in motor abilities, and all physical changes (Sigelman & Rider, 2009). The next development has problem-solving, mental process, memory, perception, language, and learning from the cognitive development. The last developmental stage is psychosocial stage; this stage handles the personal and interpersonal aspect of development. The developmental aspects for psychosocial are: emotions, personality traits, interpersonal skills, motives, family roles, relationships, and society.

Lifespan development also has five characteristics useful for understanding any age of human development (Berger, 2008). Multidirectional characteristics accounts for change in every direction, as change do not have to be in a straight line. Embedding in lives of human’s context can include constraints, family patterns, and historical conditions this characteristic refers to multicontextual characteristics. Another aspect that determines a person is the person’s cultural, and in lifespan development is multicultural. Academic fields can also contribute data and insights to human growth such fields of study are: religion, anthropology, genetics, neuroscience, sociology, psychology, biology, along with many others in the multidisciplinary characters of development. The last of the five developmental characteristics is plasticity, which states that every person has traits that can be altered at any point in life, and change is ongoing (Berger, 2008). These different characteristics come from different theories in lifespan development two such theories come from Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget.

Theories of Lifespan Development

According to Berger (2008), a developmental theory is systematic statement of principles they provide a generalization of coherent framework for understanding the changes of people as they grow older.


Sigmund Freud is responsible for many controversial theories, and lifespan development is one of these. His belief is the first six years of development occurs in three stages, each stage deals with sexual pleasure centered on a particular body parts. Infancy is the oral stage, early childhood is the anal stage, and preschool years is the phallic stage a source of pride and fear among boys and reason for sadness and envy in girls (Berger, 2008). Psychoanalytic interpretation of an adult stuck in an unconscious struggle would be from childhood stages.


Cognitive theory on development comes from Piaget. Piaget’s theory puts emphasizes in structure and development of thought processes. This theory has dominated psychology since 1980, and has brained into many versions, each adds insights about human development (Berger, 2008). Piaget realized that children are curious and thoughtful, that cognitive development occurs in four stages: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational. Each stage is age-related sensorimotor is from birth to age two when the infant uses motor and senses to understand the world. Preoperational is from age two through six; children use language to understand the world. Concrete operational stage happens in ages of six to 11, and the child can understand and use logical operations, principles, to interpret and experience. The last stage is the formal operational and happens from age 12 through adulthood, in this stage both adolescents and adults think about abstraction and hypothetical concepts and reason analytically not just emotionally.

Both Freud’s and Piaget’s theory depend on the role of nature and nurture in development.

Nature and Nurture in Development

The age old question is, “which has more influence in development nature or nurture?” This debate is more about the relative influence of nature and nurture on the developing person from birth to death. Both nature and nurture play a role in shaping a person. Nature is genes passed down from one generation to the next, biological determinism that a person has evolved predispositions that go beyond the influence of environment (Guest, 2011). Nature is a person’s appearance, abilities, and temperaments. Nature includes height, eye color, a person’s abilities, also temperament. Nurture refers to the environment that a person is brought up in. The person’s surrounding also have an influence in whom he or she will be. Environment refers to; friends, schooling, interaction with others, religion, and home setting. The way a parent nurtures a baby also has an effect on a child’s development. Both nature and nurture occur in early development, and is most crucial time for the child.


In conclusion lifespan development is a psychological scientific study from conception until death in humans. Lifespan perspective is the relationship in development and is seen in three development domains and five characteristics stages. Freud and Piaget had different theories on developmental stages; Freud theory had three stages each has a different sexual pleasure, while Piaget’s was cognitive and happens in four stages. Nature and nurture has an influence in all of life’s stages.


Berger, K. S. (2008). The developing person through the life span (7th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Guest, A. (2011). Taking sides: Clashing views in life-span development (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Sigelman, C.K., & Rider, E.A. (2009). Life-Span Human Development (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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