Development is the study of changes and stability across multiple domains of human functioning: physical and neurophysiological processes, cognition, language, personality, and morality. Often called lifespan development or human development, it also studies how people develop and interact with others throughout life.
There are many different theories about what causes or predicts developmental change. One of the most prevalent is the life-span perspective. This theory, which fought its way through the dominant perspectives in child psychology (e.g., that development ends at age 18) in the 1980s, is one of the main meta-theories guiding development science today.
Lifespan theorists assume that all development occurs in social contexts and that people play active roles in their own development. They also assume that development is multifactorial, influenced by biological and environmental factors. This perspective differs from other developmental theories, such as Erikson’s model of development, which focuses on specific crises that occur during adolescence and adulthood.
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