The Study of Development


Development is a complex process of growth, change, and progress that occurs over time. It includes many different aspects of life, including social, emotional, mental, and physical growth. The study of development is a broad and multidisciplinary field that encompasses the theories, research methods, and knowledge bases of several academic disciplines.

There are several different ways to define what it means for a country or culture to be developed. One common definition involves economic growth and progress, such as increased levels of wealth or higher levels of education. Another common definition involves a high quality of life, such as higher literacy rates or higher levels of access to medical care and public services.

The process of development is influenced by the broader cultural and historical contexts in which it occurs. For example, lifespan researchers are interested in the way in which development is shaped by the social, cultural, and historical contexts of a person’s lifetime.

It is also important to consider how much of a role people play in their own development. Some theorists, like Piaget and his constructivist theory of cognitive development, argue that humans are active participants in their own developmental path. Other theorists, however, believe that humans are mostly passive in their own development and are at the whim of their genetic inheritance and the environment around them. This type of theorist is sometimes referred to as a behaviorist or a maturational meta-theorist. These types of theorists are often associated with ideas such as the search for a “mood gene,” or claims that certain behaviors, such as aggression, are genetically predisposed.