Social Development throughout the Life Span

To understand this we need to look at whether development Is due to nature or nurture. Nature refers to our genetic make-up and nurture refers to the environmental influences. As we discuss different empirical studies we will touch upon the nature vs.. Nurture debate. Most of the research done in this branch of psychology Is done through the longitudinal method as researchers are Interested In participants over a period of time. However this Is a time consuming method and often cannot be generalized but it does remove the problem of participant variability.

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Due to the problem of longitudinal method taking to much time researchers often use a cross-sectional design. This means comparing two groups on a participant variable hence they can use different participants to represents different variables for instance age however it carries the problem of participant variability hence questioning the validity of the data. Social development continuing throughout lifespan is a topic that can be explored through many aspects. Firstly it is important for the child to develop a gender Identity.

Many psychologists like Money believe that a child Is gender neutral at birth. Its biological sex Is decided by the chromosomal construction. However gender identity is formed through a process of colonization. Once the child is identified as a boy or a girl they are treated differently. Once the child Itself learns the concept of gender constancy it behaves in a manner that Is expected by Its gender role in society. Hence It starts at birth and continues throughout ones life as one is constantly trying to form an identity and live by the expected roles.

It is commonly known that during middle adulthood one faces mid- life crisis showing how we are constantly developing. By looking at the attachment hurry by Bowl and Insinuators we can see how social development Is a life long process because even though a child’s experiences influence their future they can always change their schema to include new experiences. They believe that the drive to be attached is innate but the process is based on experience. They looked at the strange situation and concluded that children form an Internal working model, which is a mental representation of its first attachment relationship.

This internal working model determines the child’s relationship with others in the future I. E. Ambivalent, avoiding or securely attached. Hence leaning on the social development not being a lifelong process. However they also concluded that the Internal working model Is flexible as It can assimilate experiences. Hence experiences are constantly helping develop a person. This is neither on the nature or nurture side, as it believes 1 OFF nurture, but it also depends on the infant’s temperament which is nature.

Through his psychosocial stage theory, Erik Erikson showed us how development occurs during the entire lifespan of a person. A person goes through eight discreet stages from infancy to adulthood and faces crisis in each stage. Only if the crisis is loved can the person come out feeling more confident. He believed the first stage was the trust vs.. Mistrust stage, which takes place from birth to about 12-18 months of age. In this stage the child is looking for love from its parents and only if it does receive that will it learn to trust others.

He believed in middle adulthood we went through a stage of generality vs.. Stagnation. This phase of our life included many concerns from adjusting to the new physical changes to making sure our children receive the love and care they require. This stage is often referred to as the mid-life crisis stage. The last crisis we face which is generally above the age of 65 is the integrity vs.. Despair. Where one either feels he is contributing to society and the generation after him or a sense of purposelessness. However his theory is often question as many believe the age range he provides is inaccurate.

However his study shows how we are constantly developing throughout life and the earlier we resolve crisis in adolescence the easier it will be to resolve crisis in adulthood, as shown by James Maraca. Biological approach, which lies on the nature side, believes development is biological and we are who we are due to our genetic make-up. They believe in the role of heredity and believe our life is a sequence of genetically determined changes. They believe our personality is shaped by our temperament that is innate (Rotator, 1981).

Taking this approach we can deduce that social development only continues till the time one’s genetic make up is unfolded. However we can also say that development continues throughout lifespan due to biological factors as during middle adulthood women experience menopause and men the equivalent of that known as undrapes. In this stage they experience a hormone change, which affects them psychologically which influences their social placement. After a certain age the body starts deteriorating which also affects ones development as they start deteriorating both mentally and physically so they often are unable to communicate.

Our genetic make up determines our developmental potential but does the environment influence it in any way? On the other hand in the environmental learning framework we can see how development takes place throughout the life span as the environment influences it. Since we are what we learn we are constantly changing and social development is taking place. We can deduce that development takes place throughout the lifespan by looking at the tidies conducted by Router et al, (2001). He showed how consequences of adversities depend on the nature of the subsequent life experiences.

If development stopped after the first to decades then the subsequent experiences wouldn’t influence a person in any way. Since this is a complete deterministic view life is a chain of cause and effect hence we are constantly developing with each new experience throughout our life. A million external factors influence us daily hence social development is a lifelong process. By taking a psychodrama approach we can say it social development is not a life-long process. Freud believed that our childhood affects the rest of our life and all the development happens during then.

Through his incompletion of drive energy in any stage leads to regression later on in life. Hence we act in a manner, which is predictable due to our childhood. He believed after puberty we spent the rest of our life trying to gratify our drives in a socially acceptable manner. However his theories have been criticized heavily. By looking at the study done by Leviers and the stage theory he developed we can see how a person continues to develop throughout lifespan. He believed we were constantly owing through a process known as individuation.

This refers to the changing relationship between self and the external world throughout the life course. He also mentions how social development progress occurs due to changing relationships between family and friends throughout life. In conclusion I believe social development continues throughout lifespan as we are influenced strongly by our surroundings. The environment is changing constantly and so are we. Even in terms of the biological approach the body is constantly renewing itself and due to the stages of menopause and then deterioration we are constantly developing.