Human Development

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Historically, human development was seen as taking place in infancy and childhood, thus assuming that further development is not very interesting. Most personality characteristics (e.g., intelligence, social competence) were seen as fully developed by young adulthood without undergoing significant changes thereafter. With more refined empirical studies on human development it became obvious that individual behavior can significantly change until very old age (Baltes, Staudinger, & Lindenberger, 1999). Therefore, an important issue of modern developmental psychology is to study stabilities and change of human development over the life span. Changes in human behavior over the life span include biological processes (e.g., hormonal production in…show more content…
Little attention was paid to the processes underlying the influences, such as biologically-rooted conditions for learning in relation to influences of the environment and in relation to the needs and the ability of the child, or the individual differences with respect to ways the child internalizes cultural values or develops specific competences. In the meantime, more refined theorizing has modified this simple eco-cultural model of development. Whiting and Whiting (1975) in their famous Six Cultures Study and more specifically Bronfenbrenner (1979) differentiated between various levels of contexts (e.g., micro-, exo-, and mesolevel), assuming that they are interrelated, and they affect and are affected by the individual development. Different from the eco-cultural models (the simple and the refined), Super and Harkness (1997) suggest that the child grows up in a developmental niche which consists of three components: Physical and social setting, customs and child-rearing practices and caretaker psychology (i.e., parents’ cultural belief…show more content…
Cultural values and parental beliefs are seen as part of the developmental context which can be changed by activities of the child. Direction and processes of relevant influences are not specified in this model. Both the eco-cultural model and the model of the developmental niche have strengths and weaknesses which let us assume that an integrative model may be more fruitful (Trommsdorff, 2007; Trommsdorff & Dasen, 2001). Such an integration may be possible when taking into account context variables such as the socio-economic system, religion, the family system, and so forth with respect to their specific meaning for

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