PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology
Unit 5: Development
The physical, mental, and emotional changes that an individual undergoes over the course of his or her lifetime raise a number of questions about who we are and how we develop as human beings. One such question is whether our traits are stable or changeable throughout our lifetime; another is whether development is a continuous, gradual process or a set of discrete stages. Though these questions remain unresolved, this unit will provide you with ways to think critically about these issues. It will also provide you with an overview of human development, from infancy to old age.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- categorize famous psychologists according to their studies and theories of development, including Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, John Bowlby, Lev Vygotsky, and Harry Harlow;
- differentiate among the major theories of human development;
- identify the major milestones of each period of lifespan development;
- discuss disorders of childhood, such as ADHD and autism; and
- describe the stages of human prenatal development and influences during pregnancy.
Watch this video on prenatal development. Pay attention to how the fetus develops in the mother's womb.
Watch this video for an overview of the basic theories of lifespan development. What concepts are central to all theories of development? Contrast the four theories discussed.
Read the Introduction and four sections of Chapter 9, which discusses lifespan development. This chapter's scope is broad, and touches on a wide range of topics that address how people grow and change through the course of life.
Read this section regarding adolescence and think about the major biological and emotional changes that occur to a person during this stage in life. Think about the challenges faced and supports needed.
Think about the limitations of Freud's theory as you watch this lecture on Freud and psychosexual development.
Read the subheading about Erik Erikson to learn about his well-supported theory of psychosocial development.
Watch this video to learn the stages and conflicts in Erikson's model.
Watch this video. You should be able to identify and explain Piaget's stages of cognitive development.
Compare and contrast Piaget's notion that children's' development must necessarily precede their learning with Vygotsky's idea that "learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function".
Read this article and think about how our early attachment experiences with our primary caregiver influence the adult that we become.
These experiences forge our patterns of communication, emotional experience, intimate relationships, and way of living in the world. If our early attachments are secure, we learn to access and communicate adaptive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. In contrast, if our early attachment experiences are insecure, we may struggle with dysregulated, maladaptive emotions and have difficulties in our intimate relationships – leading to anxiety, depression, and excessive or misdirected anger.
As you move forward with this reading, think about how cultural contexts and socialization, such as warmth and contingency, beginning in the early stages of human development impact a person over their lifetime.
Watch this lecture from Dr. Alison Gopnik's "Developmental Psychology" course at the University of California, Berkeley.
Read this article. What does it mean to "grow old"? Which psychological processes change in later life and which do not?
Read this section, which reviews psychological disorders commonly diagnosed in childhood. While children can have similar mental health problems that adults have, like anxiety or depression, children may have difficulty with changes associated with growing up, such as beginning school. They may lag behind in comparison to how other children their age are progressing, or during stressful times, they may behave like a younger child would. Even when children do have problems that also appear in adults, the problem tends to look different in a child. Think about the differences and similarities in childhood psychological problems as those compared with adults.
Watch this video to learn about autism spectrum disorders.
Read this article to learn more about childhood behavior disorders, especially ADHD, from the perspective of different phases of typical child development. Think about the similarities and differences between children and adults in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders.
Take this assessment to check your understanding of the materials presented in this unit.
- There is no minimum required score to pass this assessment, and your score on this assessment will not factor into your overall course grade.
- This assessment is designed to prepare you for the Final Exam that will determine your course grade. Upon submission of your assessment you will be provided with the correct answers and/or other feedback meant to help in your understanding of the topics being assessed.
- You may attempt this assessment as many times as needed, whenever you would like.