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The Life Span Developmental Perspective Psychology Essay

The Life Span Developmental Perspective Psychology Essay

The first chapter was very interesting from start to finish. However, out of all the concepts covered in this chapter the original sin, tabula rasa, and innate goodness views were the concepts that really fascinated me. The reason for this is that I am a Roman Catholic, therefore as part of my faith I am supposed to believe that we are all born with original sin. After reading the Tabula Rasa View and dwelling on my basic knowledge of human behavior, I leaned more towards English philosopher John Locke’s theory. I believe that children are not born innately bad. It has been said that a child’s brain is like a sponge therefore it absorbs everything. With that being said, it is obvious that a child develops characteristics through experience. This would also mean that I agree with nurture as oppose to Nature for child development. However, I do believe that genetics and disorders such as mental illness that one might acquire through birth can impact the way they are developed. Chapter 1 gave me a basic understanding of Life Span Developmental Psychology as well as an idea of what I can expect to learn and study in later chapters.

Chapter 2 :

The Science of Life Span Development introduced me to theories of development, such as Psychoanalytic, Cognitive, and Ethological. In addition, the different research methods used by scientists such as standard tests and correlation research. As well as the challenges ethics, gender, and culture have on the research. This chapter also informed me on the different theories developed by scientists such as Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, and B.F. Skinner and the impact they had and still do have on life span development.

As chapter 1 grabbed my interest with the ideas and concepts of Life Span Development being predominantly environmental as oppose to biological, so did chapter 2. Not only did I agree with the view of Social Cognitive Theory being that behavior, environment, and cognition are the key factors in development, I was fascinated on how the book related Bandura’s model to a college student’s achievement behavior. The example stated that a college student who studies hard and gets good grades produces positivity in their thoughts and abilities. If the college provides a study skill class and the students succeed, then this is an example on how environment influenced behavior. In return, if the college expanded their study skills program based on the success of its past students, then this is an example of behavior changing the environment.

The most interesting part of Chapter 2 was the role ethics play in Life Span Development research. Obviously people are entitled to rights of privacy and do not like the intrusive vibes that some researchers might give off during an experiment. However I do believe that in order to obtain the greatest amount of useful information, flexibility and professionalism by the scientists and subjects are needed to produce the best result.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Biological Beginnings examined the concepts of evolution and the early stages of Life Span Development. Genetics, DNA, chromosomes, and the effects of biological make up have on development were introduced. In addition, the relationship and importance of hereditary and environmental interaction were examined. Essentially, this chapter was everything you would have learned from fifth grade sexual education, but on a larger more in depth scale.

I am one of six children and hope to be a father someday. With that being said, I found the section on infertility the most interesting as well as the most useful concept revealed in this chapter. I was already aware of the fact that drugs such as cocaine and marijuana can affect the sperm count in men, but I was not aware that it was reversible after approximately one year. With all the shows on TV such as John and Kate Plus Eight or the Octo-Mom craze, it was interesting to learn how infertility drugs have caused super ovulation, meaning to produce three or more babies at a time.

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While the infertility section was useful and informative, I would have liked to learn more about preventative actions that could be used against problems such as immobile sperm, and Pituitary or ovarian tumors. The chapter only covered possible causes and treatments for fertility disorders, not the acts that could save someone from the pain, suffering, and expense that infertility brings. Even if it were small common known facts like wearing boxers over briefs. It’s a simple yet effective way of eliminating low sperm count and ultimately infertility. I feel that this type of information could decrease the ten to fifteen percent of couples who face infertility in the United States as stated by the book.

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Prenatal Development and Birth covered anything and everything there is to know about pregnancy before, during, and after. Prenatal developmental subjects such as cultural beliefs, teratology and prenatal hazards were introduced as well as the three periods of prenatal development. These three periods are germinal, embryonic, and fetal. Following the three periods of prenatal development, the book described the three stages of birth which are contractions, movement of the baby’s head to the cervix, and finally the afterbirth where the placenta and umbilical cord are removed. The chapter ended with the post-partum period, where the woman returns to pre-pregnancy state as well as her adjustments and relationship with the baby.

With such an informative and interesting chapter, it is difficult for me to choose a topic that intrigued me more or left me with doubt and unanswered questions. Perhaps the section that I absorbed the most information from was the post-partum period. The information given about the physical, emotional, and psychological adjustments that a woman goes through after pregnancy will be useful for me with the future mother of my children. A part of post child birth that this chapter exposed me to that I never really gave much thought, was the fact that the men go through difficult adjustments in the post-partum period as well. Apparently, men suffer from a jealousy of the baby’s attention which I felt was ridiculous. However, I do believe that time set aside for the couple is very important for their sanity and will ultimately lead to better parenting. So if my wife is suffering from excessive worrying, depression, extreme changes in appetite, crying spells or inability to sleep, I will know from chapter 4 of Life Span Developmental Psychology, that she might require professional help.

Chapter 5

As stated in the title, chapter 5 covered the Physical Development in Infancy. The physical growth aspects of infancy such as Cephalocaudal and Proximodistal patterns, height weight, nutrition, and even toilet training were described. Following the physical developments, motor, sensory and perceptual development was defined through definitions such as sensation, when information interacts with sensory receptors, and the five different forms of reflexes.

Chapter 5 alone can be a useful tool for parents who have any questions on the development of an infant. Out of the many topics covered in this chapter, I of course identified most with the toilet training. For years I had pride myself on the notion that I was some sort of baby genius because I learned to “potty train” at the age of four. After reading that children have the physical and motor skills to use the toilet as oppose to their pants, I realized that I was not a baby genius but a late bloomer.

Besides destroying my ego, I did learn that one of the main reasons I have been underweight my whole life is due to the fact that I was not breast fed. The book states the breast feeding allows appropriate weight gain, fewer allergies, less diaherria and many other benefits that I did not have the opportunity to experience. This chapter had me realize how the physical development in infancy can affect the physical developments of adolescence and adult hood. Ultimately, this chapter reinforced the importance of proper nutrition, continuous stimulation of the mind and body are crucial during infant development.

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Chapter 6

The memory, sensory, and language of infants were all described in Chapter 6 Cognitive Development in Infancy. A name that was mentioned numerous times throughout the chapter was psychologist Jean Piaget. Piaget developed a theory on Cognitive Development after meticulously observing of his own children; Laurent, Lucienne, and Jacqueline. Piaget believed that a child passes through different stages of thought from birth to adolescence. An important concept of his theory is scheme, which helps individuals organize and understand their experiences.

The most fascinating part of chapter six for me was the defining, of language and a child’s development of vocabulary. An interesting fact I learned was that children all over the world reach language milestones at about the same time developmentally despite vast variation in language input. The chapter also offered helpful strategies to develop an infant’s language and those are recasting, echoing, expanding, and labeling. An example for recasting is if the baby says “the bell rang” the parent should respond by saying “where did the bell ring”. This allows the infant to learn the language by elaborating on an interest they had already stated. Perhaps the most common method is labeling, which is just basically naming objects and having the baby repeat them such eyes, and ears.

The chapter ended by stating that parents should not use any deliberate method to teach their children to talk and that if the child is a slow learner intervention should happen naturally with the goal of being able to convey a meaning.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Socioemotional Development in Infancy defined what emotional and personality development are in addition to the definition of attachment and infants in social contexts. The vast emotions an infant contains from crying to smiling were detailed such as the differences between an anger cry and a pain cry, as well as the difference between a reflexive smile and a social smile. Other concepts introduced were defining temperament, which psychiatrist have argued that there are three types an easy, difficult, and slow-to-warm-up child. The chapter ended focusing on the importance of a child’s surrounding such as family and day care. These concepts were the transition to parenthood, the family as a system, and maternal/parental infant care giving.

What captivated my attention the most from this chapter was the section on attachment, because it is something that I believe is very crucial in a child’s development, however there are many different ideas and methods that can sometime cause debate or conflict between parents. Something I learned new about attachment from the chapter was that attachment does not emerge suddenly but rather develops in a series of phases.

The first phase starts from birth to two months where infants are instinctively directing their attention to any human being, family or stranger. The second phase is from two to seven months in which the attachment becomes focused on one figure usually the primary caregiver, and learns the difference between familiar and unfamiliar faces. From seven to twenty-four months in phase three the infant makes specific attachments to their main caregivers. Finally, in phase four a “goal corrected partnership is formed which the child becomes aware of others and takes this into account when deciding their actions.

Chapter 8

The early childhood section of the book started in Chapter 8 Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood. The physical development was defined by body growth and change, motor development, nutrition, and illness/death. The concepts described in the cognitive development, were Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories of development, information processing, language development, and early childhood education. In addition, to information processing, language development, and early childhood education.

The most alarming information listed in this chapter was the leading causes of illness and death for young children in the united states. Out of all the diseases that could potentially harm a child, accidents are still the leading cause of child fatality. Accidents such as motor vehicle, drowning, falls, and poisoning are higher risks than cancer, meningitis, measles, and even chicken pox.

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One of the many useful tips listed in this chapter were the descriptions of young children’s education programs. Such as the difference between Montessori and child centered kindergarten. In kindergarten, the instructor focuses on the process of learning, rather than what is actually being learned. Montessori instructors serve as more of a facilitator allowing children to practice freedom and spontaneity. I learned that Montessori offers way more than what I thought was just a glorified day care. Studies have shown that while early childhood education is good, it is important to not add too much stress on a child early, for they can develop a pattern of stress.

Chapter 9

The theme for chapter 9 was Socioemotional Development in early childhood development. This included emotional and personality development, families and peer evaluations. The emotional and personality development covered self understanding, emotional development, moral development and gender identity. The family section of this chapter consisted of different styles of parenting which included authoritarian, authorative, neglectful, and indulgent. In addition to sibling influence, relationship, and the affect working parents have on a child’s development. Finally, the funnest part of the chapter was all about the different aspects of child’s play such as games and television.

As I stated earlier, I really enjoyed the different descriptions of child playing listed in this chapter. According to Mildred Parten, there are four classifications of children’s play which include unoccupied, solitary, onlooker, parallel, associative, and cooperative. Each different classification offers the child different skills of learning and drawbacks. Unoccupied play, solitary, onlooker, and parallel play are generally practiced by children between the ages of 3 to 7, preschool kindergarten years. Associative and cooperative play is generally more structured and is aimed towards competition and winning therefore they are aimed for 7 years and beyond.

A shocking statistic that the book offered was the effects of television on Children’s Aggression and prosocial behavior. In on longitudinal study, the amount of violence viewed on television at age 8 was significantly related to the seriousness of criminal acts performed as an adult. The chapter contained a chart that exposed the percentage of 9 year old children who report watching more than five hours of television per weekday, the chart revealed that the United States led all countries in the 21.3 percentile.

Chapter 10

Chapter 10 opened section 5 of the book which covers middle and late childhood. The chapter covered the Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle and Late Childhood. The physical development section covered body growth and proportion, motor development, exercise and sports, health, illness, diseases, and children with disabilities. The cognitive development section consisted of Piaget’s theory, information processing, intelligence, creativity, and language development.

Being a firm believer in the importance of exercise and sports, I identified with that aspect of the chapter. As I was completely already aware of, the book stated that American children do not receive enough exercise in their development. According to a 1997 study, only 22 percent of children between the ages of 9 to 12 participate in thirty minutes of physical activity a day. The parents of the other 78 percent said their children were too busy playing video games, watching TV, or wasting time on the computer.

I really liked how the chapter brought up the issue of school sports programs not facing enough moral questioning. I am a firm believer in the costiveness that sports have on students. I believe it raises their confidence, teaches them to work hard and push themselves. However, often times the school sport programs interfere with a child’s academic, which is by far the most important aspect of human development. There needs to be better regulation of these programs to ensure the success of its student-athletes.

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Chapter 11

The Socioemotional Development in Middle and Late Childhood. The following concepts were Emotional and Personality development, families, peers, and schools. Like in previous chapters, emotional and personality development consisted of the self, emotional, moral and gender identity and development. Family section covered parent child issues such as the issue of changes in discipline. The peers section dealt with concepts of peer statuses, bullying, social cognition, and friendship.

I enjoyed the peer section of this chapter. It was interesting to read their definition, and reasoning behind social statuses such as popular children, neglected children, rejected children, and controversial children. According to the book, popular children are frequently nominated as a best friend and are rarely disliked by their peers. Popular children give out reinforcements, listen carefully, maintain open lines of communication with peers, are happy, act like them, show enthusiasm and concern for others, and are self-confident without being conceited. I disagree with this definition. From my understanding, popular children are usually popular based on superior athletic abilities, good looks, charm and charisma. Most of the time they are very conceited and show very little concern for others, speaking as a former popular child, I was an asshole.

The section on bullying was very informative. I particularly enjoyed their suggestions on the reducing of bullying which were to get older peers to serve as monitors for bullying and intervene when they see it taking place, form friendship groups for adolescents who are regularly bullied by peers, incorporate the message of the anti-bullying program into church, school, and other community activates where adolescents are involved.

Chapter 12

Section 6 Adolescents opened up with Chapter 12 Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence. The concepts covered in this chapter were the nature of adolescence, puberty, adolescent sexuality, adolescent problems and health, adolescent cognition, and schools. Puberty was defined by puberty’s boundaries and determinants, hormonal changes, height, weight, sexual maturation, body image, early and late maturation. Adolescent sexuality consisted of developing a sexual identity, the progression of adolescent sexual behaviors, risk factors for sexual problems, contraceptive use, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Adolescent health and problems covered substance use and abuse, eating disorders, and general adolescent health. Adolescent cognition was defined by Piaget’s theory, egocentrism, and information processing. Finally schools impact on adolescence went over the transition of middle school, effective schools, high school dropouts, and moral education.

Without a doubt chapter 12 was by far the most interesting and informational chapter yet. With such well written, intelligent facts on the changes that adolescence brings, I almost felt as if I was reliving that time in development myself after reading this chapter. Perhaps one of the more interesting facts listed was the progression of adolescent sexual behavior. According to a survey done in 1998, the majority of adolescent females first voluntary sexual partner are 27 percent of the time to be 3 or four times older and 12 percent are 5 or more years older. The average age children lose their virginity is 17, this means that 12 percent of the time, 22 year olds or older are engaging in sexual intercourse with teenagers. I found that to be very distributing.

Chapter 13

Following the books typical pattern, the second chapter in the section of Adolescence dealt with the Socioemotional Development in Adolescence. The chapter’s concepts were identity, families, peers, culture and adolescent development, and adolescent problems. Identity discussed contemporary thoughts about identity, identity statuses and development, family influences on identity, cultural and ethnic aspects of identity. The Families section had two major concepts which were autonomy and attachment as well as parent adolescent conflict. The peers section was defined the three concepts of Peer groups, friendships, and dating/romantic relationships. Culture and adolescent development consisted of the cross cultural comparisons and rites of passage and ethnicity concept. Finally, the adolescent problems section of the chapter discussed concepts of juvenile delinquency, depression and suicide, in addition to the interrelation of problems and successful prevention/ intervention programs.

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After reading this chapter I realized that I am more intrigued by the Adolescent development stage rather than early childhood. I think this could be because I am closer to it age wise, but mostly due to the fact that it is such an intense, and complex part of a person’s life that it can affect their future. Speaking from a former delinquent, I felt that the chapter described the causes of delinquency being partially hereditary, identity problems, community influences, and family experiences all just factors.

Chapter 14

Section 7 Early Adulthood was opened with Chapter 14 Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Adulthood. The chapter dealt with the transition from adolescence to adulthood, physical development, sexuality, cognitive development, careers and work. The section on the transition from adolescence to adulthood consisted of two concepts being the criteria for becoming an adult, and the transition from high school to college. Physical development included the peak and slowdown in physical performance, eating and weight, regular exercise, and substance abuse. The sexuality section was defined by sexual orientation, sexually transmitted diseases, forcible sexual behavior and sexual harassment. Cognitive Development focused on cognitive stages and creativity. The most intense section was careers and work because it consisted of the following concepts; developmental changes, personality types, values and careers, monitoring the occupational handbook, the skills employers want, finding the right career, and just work in general.

Since I could be considered an early adult, I found this chapter to be very relatable and interesting. Of course the most interesting section of this chapter was sexuality. What was so interesting about this section were once again the survey’s results. According to this survey Americans tend to fall into three categories, one third have sex twice a week or more, one third have a few times a month, and the other third has it a few times a year or less. A result from the essay I did not agree with or thought perhaps is out dated, was that America believes strongly in sexual behavior between married couples and monogamy. There have been many other studies and surveys that proved opposite that we are one of the many non-monogamous countries in the world today.

Chapter 15

Socioemotional Development in Early Adulthood was what was covered in chapter 15. Topics included Continuity and Discontinuity from Childhood to Adulthood, Attraction, Love and Close friendships, Marriage/Family, The Diversity of Adult Lifestyles, Gender, Relationships, and Self Development. Temperament and Attachment were covered in the Continuity and Discontinuity from Childhood section of the chapter. Attraction, Love and Close Friendships was divided into three sections of attraction, the faces of love, and loneliness. Marriage and Family consisted of the family life cycle, marriage in general, the aspects of gender and emotion in Marriage, as well as parental roles. Single, cohabiting, divorced, remarried, gay and lesbian adults were examined in the diversity of adult lifestyles section of this chapter. The last section, Gender, Relationships, and Self-development consisted on the development of men and women.

I enjoyed the section on marital expectations and myths because it gave me a good sense of what I can expect if I ever do get married. According to the book, the reason for our nation’s high divorce and dissatisfaction of marriage is due to the fact that we have too high of expectations. We expect our spouse to simultaneously be a lover, friend, a confidant, a counselor, a career person, and a parent. The myths of marriage were the most interesting part of this concept. Apparently, avoiding conflict does not save marriages, sex is not the main cause of affairs, and men aren’t all philanderers. After reading this chapter all I could say was, AMEN! Tools that make marriage work are establishing love maps, nurturing fondness and admiration, Turning toward each other instead of away, letting your partner influence you, and solving solvable conflicts. Useful tool were provided in this chapter.

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Chapter 16

Section 8 Middle Adulthood began as all other sections with Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Adulthood. Topics included in chapter 16 were changing middle age, physical development, cognitive development, careers, work, and leisure, religion and meaning of life. Physical development included physical changes, health and diseases, culture, personality, relationships and health, morality rates and sexuality. Cognitive development was described through the concepts of intelligence and information processing. Job satisfaction, career challenges and changes, and leisure were what was covered in the careers, work and leisure section. Finally, Religion and meaning of life consisted of the affect religion has on the health and psychological development of middle adult hood.

This chapter was kind of depressing to read. It made me realize that middle adult hood is usually spent wishing that you were still in early adult hood and are constantly fearing for late adulthood. With middle adult hood comes a terrible physical change like wrinkles, aging spots, decrease in height, increase in weight and the more likelihood of containing a serious disease or illness such as cardio vascular disease.

An interesting part of the chapter was the description of leisure in middle adult hood. Leisure refers to the pleasant times after work when individuals are free to pursue activities and interests of their own choosing. One aspect of middle adulthood to look forward to be the fact that most adults have more money therefore they can do hobbies such as traveling. He book states that traveling is very important to the well being of a middle adult because it gives them a chance to distress and get away from the typical routine aspects of life. Adults who vacation can live up to nine years longer than those who don’t.

Chapter 17

Chapter 17 was about the Socioemotional Development in Middle Adulthood. Personality theories and development in middle adult hood, which consisted of adult stage theories, the life events approach, and contexts of midlife development, were the first section of this chapter. Stability and Change was described by two concepts of longitudinal studies and conclusions. The last part of the chapter discussed close relationships which was described by love/marriage at midlife, the empty nest and its refilling, parenting conceptions, sibling relationships and friends, and intergenerational relationships.

My mother’s relationships with her siblings and parents are complex. Therefore the sibling relationships and friendships section of this book was what I felt I could identify with the most because I wanted to learn more about the dynamics of those relationships and how they change when you reach midlife. Unfortunately, the chapter didn’t really cover anything it just said some stay close some grow apart. I would have like to know why some siblings stay close and some grow apart. In addition to maybe some strategies to keep those relationships close would have been nice.

One interesting aspect of this chapter was the empty nest syndrome. According to the book the empty nest syndrome is the marital satisfaction decreases because parents derive considerable satisfaction from their children and the children’s departure leaves parents with empty feelings. Parents who live vicariously through their children suffer from emptiness syndrome. On the other hand, other couples greater marriage satisfaction when the children leave because they are able to live as they did before there was children, like more time for each other and other pursuits.

Chapter 18

Finally I’ve reached the last section which is the inevitable Late Adulthood. As always, The physical Development in Late Adulthood was examined first. The topics were Longevity, The course of physical development in late adulthood, and health. Longevity consisted of life expectancy, life span, the young old, the old old, and the oldest old and biological theories of aging. The course of physical development in late adulthood is the aging brain, physical appearance, sensory development, the circulatory system, the respiratory system, and sexuality development. As if all that wasn’t enough, the book discussed late adulthood health, with topics of health problems, the robust oldest old, exercise, nutrition, weight, and finally health treatment. This chapter was depressing, informative, and interesting all at once.

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The depressing aspect of this chapter was the descriptions of the physical changes you face with late adulthood development. You become more vulnerable to diseases, we lose considerable muscle mass, contain a more “sagging” look, as well as loss of hearing, smell, taste and just about every other aspect of our physical being is worsen. Not to mention you become more asexual, due to diseases such as erectile dysfunction and societal views of disgust towards senior citizens engaging in such acts.

Some of the more informative information in this chapter was the growing controversy over vitamins and aging. My grandparents take several vitamins because they were instructed that it was crucial to their health. According to the book, some researchers believe that just a balance diet is all that is needed to achieve health at an old age. Why this is true and important, other studies have shown that other factors such as pollution, smoking, and poor food quality can make it difficult, therefore those who took antioxidants like vitamin E reduced their chance of heart disease.

Chapter 19

Chapter 19 was the Cognitive Development in Late Adulthood. The topics Cognitive functioning in older adults, work and retirement, the mental health of older adults, and religion in late adulthood were discussed. Cognitive functioning in older Adults consisted of the descriptions of the multidimensional, multidirectional nature of cognition, education, work, and health links to cognitive functioning, the “use it or lose it” approach, and the training of cognitive skills. Work and retirement talked about work for senior citizens in general, retirement in the united states and other countries and their adjustment to it. The mental health of older adults discussed its nature, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other afflictions. As well as fear of victimization, crime, elder maltreatment, and meeting the mental health needs of older adults.

I was very intrigued by the story of ninety-two year old Russell “Bob” Harrell. Apparently, this man puts in twelve hour days at Sieco Consulting Engineers in Columbus Indiana, as a highway and bridge engineer designing and planning roads. I



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