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Life Span Perspective of Development Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 1st, 2021


Human beings are constantly developing and changing; psychological and biological heritage are an integral part of stages and changes people pas through. Life span development is a process of changes lasting from the moment of birth till the death. It is necessary to state that understanding change is considered to be the principle aspect in human development; thus, lifespan perspective can be identified as the changes understanding occurring in the development period being perceived as the product of specific culture and psychology.

Main body

Lifespan development is a genetic program contributing to the growth and mental alterations of every human being. The process of human development covers the following stages:

  • Childhood and adolescence – 0-20;
  • Adulthood – 17-45;
  • Middle adulthood – 40-65;
  • Late adulthood – after 65.

It should be noted that the periods of lifespan development are characterized by special attempts and tasks aimed at modifying and building human life structure. One of the principle characteristics is considered to be the process of individuation identifying relationships between external world and individual in the development system.

It covers the modifying and terminating process of a person with animate and inanimate objects; it is also characterized by mentor, occupational, family and love relationships leading to the development of “attachment concept”. Attachment in its broad sense can be identified as the concept encompassing the forces which link person and the environment he lives in. According to Levinson, the great rate of individuation development influences the separation from the world making the person more self generating and independent. (Smith, 1999)

There is a number of characteristics identifying lifespan perspective concerning human development; first of all it is multidirectional and plastic. According to Santrock, 1999, the aspects of the development can decrease while others increase. Paul Bates, the specialist in lifespan perspective of development, states that plasticity or positive change in accordance with environmental demands can be observed during the whole lifespan period.

Lifespan perspective is considered to be historically embedded being under the impact of the past. It is studied in various scientific areas such as anthropology and psychology; so, it is possible to call it multidisciplinary. Besides, lifespan perspective has contextual meaning; human beings usually act and respond to the contexts covering their biological makeup, social and historical contexts and physical environment.

The periods in the development process are the following:

  • Biological (the development of physical state and brain activities );
  • Cognitive (it covers mental development and social, cultural and metacognition changes in lifespan process);
  • Psychological (this stage covers inner psychological process influencing human socialization, environment perception and relationships with family).

The lifespan perspective includes the following key domains in the development process: biological, cognitive and psychological:

Biological domain covers maturation, bodily changes and growth. It deals with such changes as puberty, shape and weight fluctuations experienced by the individual during his development.

Cognitive domain covers cognitive issues such as mental processes – reasoning, imagining, perceiving and problem solving; all the cognitive functions are referred to this type of domain.

Psychological domain is connected with personality, emotions and social interactions; it is associated with the formation of relationships between the individual and others. (Hernandez, 2008)

Basic concerns as to lifespan development are connected with the following aspects:

  • Nature vs. Nurture;
  • Continuity vs. Discontinuity.

Researchers have been examining these issues for years covering the examination of biological and experimental factors. Some scientists believe that people are born with the formed inborn features of behavior; they explain it by genetic heritage and prenatal environment as people are not born on an equal genetic level. Contradicting point is explained by the fact that individual’s perception is formed through certain experience and its effects.

The second concern is connected with the concept of continuity and discontinuity; the problem is centralized on the basis of age-related changes and the factors influencing and stimulating them. It was found out that such differences are characterized as universal and individual changes being closely connected with progress in cognitive development. Some researchers connect this aspect with historical and cultural experience characterizing it as the group specific change. (Life Span Development. 2001)


So, life span development is a central issue for many sciences as it covers a number of mental, psychological, physical and biological processes. The stages and domains of lifespan development are of extreme importance for understanding a complicated process of individual’s life changes.


Hernandez, Ch. (2008). Lifespan Perspective on Human Development. Psychology Journal, Vol. 65.

Life Span Development. (2001). Discovering Psychology. Web.

Smith, M. (1999). Life-Span Development and Lifelong Learning. Web.

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