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Understanding Developmental Psychology Analytical Essay

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Updated: Dec 23rd, 2019


With the increasing social, environmental and economic complexity in the world, there is need to understand developmental psychology. This paper recaps the highlights of the proposed research study.

By bringing out the application and benefits of psychology, this paper argues that developmental psychology need to be addressed in various developmental programs.

It begins by defining developmental psychology; then it examines some of the application of developmental psychology in life and completes by reviewing the benefits of developmental psychology.

Definition of developmental psychology

In this section, the study will review some of definition of developmental psychology then incorporate these definition into one common definition. The study will base on Cooker-Greauter’s (2004) description of developmental psychology as a horizontal development and vertical development.

According to him, horizontal development is a gradual accumulation of new knowledge and skills. It happens without universal overview of changes or people making meaning. Vertical development consists of the literal transformation of people’s perception of reality.

As Kegan (2002) notes, as individual learns to think and look, they experience a “quantitative shift in the very shape of the window or lens” (p.148) from the universal perspective.

Variables such as worldviews, stages of development, level of consciousness, logical actions and organizing principals are used as a measure to understand how people make meaning (McCauley et al., 2006, p.636).

Application of developmental psychology in life

Development psychology can be used to explain how leaders and managers interact with their environmental setting and their logical actions thus having a significant implication for leadership and management theories.

Mainly, developmental psychology provides the most granular view to date how managers and leaders think and behave with respect to complex changing environment.

Given the difficulty of societal, environmental and economic challenges faced in the world, there is an increasing need to develop capable leaders to help lead humanity into sustainable future. Therefore, considerable work using developmental psychology need to be addressed in developmental programs for tomorrow leaders.

Besides the development of leaders, this section will examine some of the written literatures on different application of developmental psychology. The aim of this is to understand how developmental psychology can be applied in different life dimensions.

Benefits of developmental psychology

This section of the proposed study will basically focus on benefit of personal growth and development as a concept in developmental psychology. When people make a meaningful structural growth, they emerge into a new and improved capabilities.

Developmental stages unfold into concrete, logical, invariant sequence from birth to adulthood. Each successive stage surpasses and incorporates the previous phase. The movement is often likened to an ever-widening spiral development (McCauley et al., 2006, p.636). In other words, people do not regress.

Once a developmental order is constructed, the previous order loses its developmental functions yet remains as a considered perspective. People’s developmental stage influence how people notice and become aware of things and henceforth, what they define, reflect on, express, alter and impact (McCauley et al., 2006, p.636).


Cairns, R. B. (1992). The making of a developmental science: the contribution and intellectual heritage of James Mark Baldwin. Developmental Psychology, 28(1), 1-21.

Colman, A. M. (2009). A dictionary of psychology (3rd ed.). Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.

Cooker-Greuter, S.R. (2004). Making the case for a developmental perspective. Industrial and Commercial Training, 36(7), 270-280.

Kochanska, G. (2002). Committed compliance, moral self, and internalization: a mediational model. Developmental Psychology, 38(3), 339-351.

McCauley, C.D., Drath, W.H., Palus, C.J., O’Connor, P.M.G., & Baker, B.A. (2006). The use of constructive developmental theory to advance the understanding of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 629-640.

Nielsen, M. (2006). Copying actions and copying outcomes: Social learning through the second year. Developmental Psychology, 42(3), 555-565.

Riggs, N. R., Jahromi, L. B., Razza, R. P., Dillworth-Bart, J. E., & Mueller, U. (2006). Executive function and the promotion of social-emotional competence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27(4), 300-309.

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