Scientists usually study peculiarities of human development from birth to adolescence.
However, there are researchers that investigate the development of a person during the whole life. Moreover, they distinguished certain characteristics of life-span perspective and factors that are able to influence the process. In addition, scientists researched concerns that influence the life-span perspective.
To start with, Paul Baltes characterized life-span development as lifelong, multidimensional, plastic, multidisciplinary, multidirectional, contextual process that involves growth, maintenance, and regulation of loss.
Development is lifelong. That means that people change not only physically, but also psychologically during the whole life. Apart from that, development consists of cognitive, biological, and socioemotional dimensions. Each of these dimensions is divided in many components; for instance, cognitive one includes attention, memory, social intelligence, etc. In addition, all those dimensions and their components tend to expand or reduce. For example, children have more abilities to learn foreign languages as well as older people. On the other hand, older people are usually wiser due to their experience. However, older adults process the information more slowly than people of other ages. Overall, all those examples prove that development is multidirectional. Besides, development is plastic that means it has the ability to change. For example, people are able to improve their intellect when they are seventy years old. However, some scientists say that younger adults have more abilities to change than older ones. Apart from that, development is multidisciplinary that presupposes involving psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and medical researchers in studying the following issue.
Another important characteristic of development is that it is contextual. It means that all the changes happen within a certain context. Those contexts include families, countries, cities, universities, etc. In addition, the contexts are influenced by historical, economic, social, and cultural factors. Moreover, contexts continuously change as people. Consequently, those changes lead to the emergence of three types of influences that affect the contexts. They are normative age-graded, normative history-graded influences, and non-normative of highly individualized events of life. Each of these influences has a biological or an environmental influence on the development. However, they have distinctive features. First, normative age-graded influences are influences the same for humans of a certain age. Second, normative history-graded influences usually are similar for people of a certain generation due to historical circumstances. Finally, non-normative life events define the effluence of unusual life situations.
Lastly, development involves growth, maintenance, and regulation of loss. They usually have different importance for people depending on their age. For example, young adults tend to grow their capacities whereas old individuals primary try not to lose their abilities.
In addition, development is also a co-construction of biological, cultural, and the individual factors that work together. For instance, the brain forms culture. On the other hand, it is also influenced by culture and personal experiences. Therefore, a human is able to choose the way for his development even if the genetic heritage and environmental conditions are not favourable.
Scientists use the life-span perspective to analyse many topics of contemporary concern.
For instance, researchers investigated the roles of health and well-being, parenting, education, socio-cultural contexts, and social policy. Thus, they concluded that lifestyles and psychological states influence health and well-being. Apart from that, researchers stated that the way of child care, divorce, intergenerational relationships, early childhood education, bilingual education have an impact on life-span development too. Besides, researchers prove that health, parenting, and education are shaped by sociocultural contexts and diversity. To analyze this context, four concepts are necessary: culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. Culture involves behaviour patterns, habits, beliefs that are shared by people of a certain group and are passed from generation to generation. Ethnicity is a characteristic that is based on cultural heritage, religion, race, etc. The examples of ethnic groups in the United States are African-Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and so on. Socioeconomic status deals with a person’s position within society, which is based on different occupational, educational, and economic characteristics. Therefore, people have unequal opportunities for their development. Finally, gender refers to the features of people as males and females. Social policy refers to the government’s actions that are aimed at improving the welfare of its citizens. For instance, improving of living conditions of poor children is able to influence their life-span development.
To sum up, the emerging of life-span perspective gives the opportunity to investigate ways of more effective development of people of all ages. In addition, those theoretical concepts are applicable to contemporary concerns such as health and well-being, parenting, education, and social policy. Besides, scientists made useful conclusion that life-span development depends on the range of factors such as biological, sociocultural, and individual matters. Therefore, people that have unfavorable genetic heritage and environment now have the evidence that they have capability to develop in the way they want. Moreover, findings of researchers demonstrate to the government what actions should be taken in social policy. Apart from that, older adults now have proof that they are able to improve their skills and abilities like younger people.
Logan Riley is a talented writer at https://writessay.org
. He likes to express his thoughts on paper.