Life Span Perspective Paper Mihaela Ciobanu-Osborne PSY/375 12/09/11 Instructor: Dr. Lisa Holbert Life Span Perspective Paper In order to get a good perspective of the life span of a human being, a person first needs to understand changes that take place. The life span perspective is mostly about knowing the different stages in life and when they occur. These changes should be viewed as the outcome of culture and the specific situations that are in play at the time of the change. There are several traits that describe what life span perspective is in the human development process.
First, life span perspective is an ongoing process that is not controlled by any one age period. Second, the life span perspective consists of three different domains. The three domains are physical, cognitive, and social. The three domains illustrate smooth strokes not rigid edges of the life span perspective. The three domains are used to organize the research of human development. The physical domain of life span perspective looks at the psychological changes that take place over a lifetime. These changes include, but are not limited to, puberty, menopause, and bone loss.
The cognitive domain of life span perspective is researched the mental changes that occur throughout an individual’s lifetime. These changes include thinking, problem solving, and memory. The cognitive domain has to do with many things starting with how children learn to read to memory loss that comes with old age. The social domain of life span perspective analyzes cultural and environmental development throughout an individual’s life. Third, some aspects of life span perspective increase while other aspects seem to decrease (Stantrock, 2003). This particular perspective is called plastic. Finally, life span perspective is contextual.
This means that the person consistently responds to and acts on context that includes several different context. These contexts include an individual’s biological makeup, physical environments, and social, historical, and cultural contexts (Stantrock, 2003). There have been many theories that have generated over time on the life span development of a human. Some of these theories were just theories that were built on top of other theories. Charles Darwin brought about the theory of evolutionary stages. With that already in place, during the 19th century, G. Stanley Hall from Clark University was able to form his theory of norms.
This theory hypothesizes that human development can be separated into specific phases. This theory led Arnold Gesell to his theory of maturation. This theory basically depended on genetic predisposition (Berger, 2008). Just as there are different domains in life span perspective, there are also different periods in life that people experience that are all their own. When people are talking about specific areas or times in their lives they generally refer to it as a stage. There are eight different developmental stages that are discussed in the life span perspective (Berger, 2008).
The first stage is the trust vs. mistrust which is the birth to one year stage. The stage of trust vs. mistrust can be a very critical point in an individual’s life. This concept suggests that there could be specific periods in development where a person is especially sensitive to a kind of presence of an experience of a specific kind (Berger, 2008). The second stage is autonomy vs. shame and doubt for children one to three years of age (childhood). This is where the individual develops more physical skills and the ability to make more choices on their own.
This growth will lead to giving the child a will of his/her own. The third stage is initiative vs. guilt stage for children that are age three to six (middle childhood). This stage teaches goal orientation through the putting together of activities. Stage four is industry vs. inferiority age six to 12 (late childhood). During this stage the individual is learning the normality’s in cultural differences. The fifth stage is identity vs. role confusion age 12 to 18 (adolescence). During this stage individuals begin to experience puberty changes, which generally lead to a more mature outlook on life.
The sixth stage is intimacy verses isolation age 18 to 30 (early adulthood). During this stage the individual decides to marry and settle down or live on their own. The seventh stage is generatively versus stagnation age 30-55 or 65 (middle to late adulthood). This is the stage where individuals are more focused on caring for their children and loved ones than anything. The eighth stage is integrity verses despair age 50 or 60-death (late adulthood). This is the stage where individuals become accepting of them and are wise with experiences they have lived through.
Change is a continuous process and a large part of everyday life changes. Comprehending the changes through interpretation of a person’s life and cultural background is getting a handle on life span perspective of human development. With everything that has been discussed, one can begin to understand human development. References: Berger, K. (2008). The Developing Person Through the Life Span (7th ed. ). New York: Worth Publishers. Stantrock, J. (2003). Life Span Psychology: Theory and Application to Intellectual Functioning. Annual Review of Psychology, 50(1), 471.