Personal Theory of Human Development

January 10, 2017

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Human nature is the most mysterious issue that people have ever been interested in throughout human history. People try to understand their nature in the context of various sciences. Today, many questions remain unanswered, and a lot of effort was made by numerous psychologists in search of those answers.. There are many psychological theories of personality, proposed by the various researchers (Newman & Newman, 2007). The purpose of the psychology of personality is to find a scientific display and show different approaches towards understanding the human nature, which could help a person to find answers to the questions and solutions to the problems he/she faces.

Every person goes through stages of the psychological development from his/her birth till the death. The aim of any development is to find answers to the questions that arise, however, the term development can be also viewed as irreversible, natural and directed process. The progress of human mental development is subjected to a purpose, to content of this purpose determines the content of the development process. The goal of psychological developmental can be viewed in the comprehension of psychological phenomena by comprehending of their genesis (origin).

Various directions of the psychological changes can be observed through the psychophysical changes during development of individual. Psychophysical development includes external (height and weight) and internal (bone, muscle, brain, prostate, the senses, the constitution, neuro- and psychodynamics, psychomotor) changes in the human body. These changes in the organism of individual lead to changes in the psychosocial behavior of the person. Psychosocial changes envisage modification of the emotional and personal spheres. At this stage the importance of interpersonal relationships for the formation of self-concept and self-identity increases. The third aspect of the human development is his/her cognitive changes, which cover all aspects of cognitive development, and development of skills, including mental ones.

It is evident that the ontogeny of humans unfolds in the cultural (wider – social) environment. At the same time, feedback also has an impact on an individual, as it may be used not only for the purpose of adaptation, but also to transform the individual changes of the surrounding environment. This is evidenced by the facts of creative activity. The process of this interaction gives a rise to a certain relationship between the individual and the environment. The last can be viewed as a specific context in which there is a “sweep” of genotype and which has a corresponding effect on it. Conditions as a system of relations between the individual and the environment may be favorable or unfavorable to the process of individual development. Consequently, the results will mainly depend on the specific conditions under which a given individual performs. First and foremost, it will have an effect on the formation of the psychological structures that are laid down in the genotype. Thus, it becomes clear that the relationship between individual and surrounding environment plays a vital role in the mental development of the person.

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Mechanism of mental development is the so-called social situation in which the individual is performing. This is the particular form of impact on human relations, between individual and the surrounding reality (especially the social one) in a particular period of his/her life. The social situation of development is the beginning of all the dynamic changes occurring throughout the development of the individual. It completely defines the shape and the development of human activities, which acquired new properties and mental qualities. The image of one person’s life is based on the nature of the social situation and existing system of relations between individuals.

Each age is characterized by specific and unique social situation of development. Only after the evaluation of the social situation it can be possible to figure out and understand how certain psychological formations emerged and developed. In the framework of the social development situation, a leading type of activity that the person experiences throughout the life arises and develops. Training is the flagship activity and it leads to the development of all mental functions of the child, which, in turn, ultimately leads to their qualitative changes. The growing mental capabilities of a child are naturally a source of controversy in his/her relationships with older children. These contradictions are reflected in form of non-compliance of new psychological situation of the child with his old form of relationships with other people.

In the early development of the person, he/she processes all the information that is coming from the external world. The role of the experiences acquired by children at the early age, such as mastery of subject-manipulative activity, speech, communication with adults and peers lay the foundation for visual-figurative thinking; while the ability to act on the internal level, the creative imagination and fantasy, mastery of social skills, appearance new cognitive and communicative needs contribute to a deeper knowledge of self. Therefore, the experiences of the child that were gained at the early stages of development play a crucial role in the future formation of the psychological development. Decisions that children made in the early age while trying to solve some problem, will form future life position of a child. Some of the examples of how it works are provided below.

The first basic solution is the answer to a question that a person asks him/herself “What is Life (World)?” The response to it comes, consciously or unconsciously, at the expense of his or her own life experience. There are two possible answers that the child can find. The first one is that life is something beautiful, interesting and safe. The second one is that life is dangerous. In the first case, such a person is more likely to be successful in life, as he/she applies the principle “you get what you give.” In the second case, a person is guided by a negative personal experience obtained in the family (for example, frequent and intense moral and physical aggression, which may be between members of the family or directed towards the child). With such a negative view of the world in his/her adult life, a person will unconsciously feel the fear of life or aggression towards it. It can subsequently be expressed in the human desire to run away from his/her life through the alcohol or drug abuse, illness, job, virtual reality, etc., or in the manifestation of life in relation to aggression (anti-social behavior, “Napoleon Complex, ” etc.). These people, because of their negative thinking patterns, can experience such intense negative emotions as fear and resentment, with all the consequences to themselves and others (physical illness, relationship problems with other people, society and oneself, etc.). This example proves that the perceptions of the world and oneself during the stages of development depend heavily on the social situation, which a child was growing in.

Continuous development of a child’s mind is quite a complicated process. The maturation and increasing complexity of mental functions of a person are directly influenced by certain factors. These are not only biological and social factors (education, training, environmental influences), because development of child psychology is the continuous process. Typically, the development has stages, where the periods of slow growth with a gradual maturation are replaced by the periods of rapid development. Each age period is characterized by specific anatomical, physical and psychological characteristics of the child; therefore, emerged social needs appeared based on the relationship of the child with the surrounding environment.

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Age crises are relatively brief time periods in the transition to a new age development of specific qualitative phase, characterized by sharp psychological changes. Age crises lead primarily to the destruction of the traditional social situation of development and the emergence of another one, which is more in line with the new level of human psychological development. Shape, duration and severity of age-flow crises can vary considerably depending on the individual characteristics of human, social and microsocial conditions, as well as family education and educational system in general. While going through crisis, a person changes his/her attitudes. In addition, the individual’s status in relation to a society, as well as to himself, changes too. The main thing that will help to overcome psychological difficulties of any age crises is to learn to perceive him/herself as a new/changed individual with a positive attitude.

There is a range of risks that can occur during different stages of the development of an individual. Generally, all of them are connected with the decisions that a person makes in his/her lifetime. In such a way, his or her future happiness may depend on those decisions. However, a complete rethink of the past experience can prevent depressive moods for wasted years. Therefore, during every crisis of human development it is necessary to keep developing personality and following the same path and avoids any radical changes in the view of the world.

Currently, there exist various alternative theories, which describe the person as an integrating unit and at the same time explain the differences between people. There is no agreement as to which personality approach is most effective for an explanation of the basic facts of human behavior. However, understanding of human development is still one of the most important and interesting for the scientific researches.