Development is change that produces growth, progress and positive change in a nation or individual. It is a process that includes economic, environmental, social and demographic changes. It is a long term undertaking to improve the standard of living of people around the world and to protect the environment. It is considered one of the UN’s primary goals along with poverty eradication and peace in the world.
Different meta-theories have different assumptions about the causes of development. They differ about whether the changes are caused by nature (like genes or biology) or nurture (environment and learning). They also differ about whether development occurs as a continuous progression or in discontinuous qualitatively different stages (like caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly).
Some of the most important assumptions about development include the ways that people interact with each other and their environment. Some theorists, like Piaget, believed that humans play a more active role in their own development than others, such as behaviorists who believed that people are passive and react to external forces.
Other researchers, such as Erikson, have emphasized that human beings go through developmental crises or thresholds. These are times in life when a person must learn to take responsibility for his or her actions, develop a sense of purpose and achieve emotional maturity. The goal of developmental science is to understand these changes in order to help people overcome them. The way that a person’s cultural context influences his or her development is another critical assumption.