By: Lisa Meadows
Southside Virginia Community College
In this essay I will discuss the five major theories of human development over one’s life span. Although these are just theories this small amount of information on such a large topic is enough to make you think about how you developed to be the person you are or what will have an effect on making you the person you will be.
There are five main theories of human development, in this essay I will briefly discuss each one. We must first define what a theory is. A theory is an interrelated, coherent set of ideas that helps to explain phenomena and facilitate predictions.
Psychoanalytic Theories describe development as primarily unconscious and influenced by emotion. Theorists stress that early stages with ones parents shape ones development immensely. To understand psychoanalytic theorist believe that behavior is just a characteristic and the inner workings of the mind and the meaning of the behavior must be analyzed. Freud and Erikson though both psychoanalytical theorists, had different ideas of development. Freud believed there were five stages of psychosexual development while Erikson believed there were eight stages of development that unfolds throughout one’s lifetime.
Cognitive Theories opposite of psychoanalytic emphasize conscious thought. The main idea behind this theory is basically a person becomes what he thinks. Behavior is the result of your internal thought therefore can be controlled. With this theory if there is something about you as in your personality that you would like to change, you can with the right thought process.
Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories, behaviorism is that we can study only what can be directly observed and measured. This theory therefore states that development is something that is learned through experience with the environment including the people in the environment. Social Cognitive theory holds that behavior, environment, and cognition are the key factors in one’s development.
Ethological Theory stresses that behavior is influenced by biology and is tied to evolution and characterized by critical or