From birth to the day we die, humans are constantly changing and developing. Making choices and growing both mentally and physically. The choices we make everyday are based on a few factors including nature versus nurture. The majority of human life changes and stages we undergo are based upon common biological and psychological characteristics of our heritage and things that are shared by all people. The life span perspective is about how change occurs in every period of development for a human being.
Some characteristics of life span perspective include life-long, multi-dimensional, multidirectional, plastic, historically-embedded, multidisciplinary and contextual. Life-long simply means the perspective of time is continuous and not controlled by any time periods. Multi-dimensional can be described as development that consists of biological, cognitive, socioemotional and spiritual dimensions. Multidirectional means that some aspects of development increase, while others decrease.
Plastic development is that an individuals life conditions and development can take multiple paths. Historicaly-embedded is a key that many fields of medical and biological studies including neuroscientists, anthropologists, socialogists and psychologists share a concern for researching development throughout human development periods. Contextual development is when a human responds and acts on things around them to include a person’s biological makeup, environment and historical contexts.
With all of these perspectives working together humans are able to grow and develop while psychologists and scientists are able to more clearly understand the life span stages and development of humans in these stages. Knowing what develops as humans and in what time period is important to better the development of humans. The more we understand and about our life span perspectives the better we can focus on areas that need attention for growth. The lifespan perspective consists of three key developmental domains.
Physical changes that a human goes through with their body is defined as the physical domain. Weight, size, shape and puberty are all physical changes and fit into the physical domain. How a person perceives the world and the things around them also fall under this domain. The second domain is cognitive domain which deals issues of thinking, mental choice, and memory. The third and final domain is the social domain. This domain includes changes in variables that are associated with a humans relationships. Personality and social skills are classified in the social domain.
There are eight developmental periods within the lifespan perspective which range from birth to death of a human. The beginning stage is classified as critical and is called the trust versus mistrust stage. In this stage is where a newborn develops trust or mistrust in his or her self. The second stage is early childhood which occurs between ages one and three. This is classified as autonomy versus shame and doubt and is where the child realizes and develops on choices. Initiative versus guilt is the third stage and ranges from ages three to six years old.
Goal orientation is learned in this stage through organization and activities with others. Age six to twelve is when the industry versus inferiority stage occurs. In this stage children develop competence and acceptance. The fifth stage is called identity versus role confusion and occurs between the ages of twelve to eighteen. This stage is where an individual experiences puberty change and is able to have a more mature outlook on life. The choices made in this stage help an individual realizes their personal values.
Intimacy versus isolation is the next stage of development which occurs between eighteen and thirty. In this stage a human may develop intimate relationships and decide to marry and make more in-depth choices about their future. The seventh stage is called generativity versus stagnation stage. In this near last development stage, caring and outlook for success on life is the center point. The last stage is called the integrity versus despair stage and is when a person becomes wise due to their life experiences and are self-accepting.