PSYC 101 LU Psychology Human Development Adolescence Essay

Question Description

I’m working on a psychology discussion question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn.

Imagine that you are an expert in human development who has been tasked

with the following:
? Choose a life stage (i.e., infancy, early childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, etc.) and
domain (physical, cognitive, socioemotional).
? Using information from the “Developmental Psychology” chapter, describe the primary
need(s) of individuals in that stage of life.
? Suggest at least three activities that would foster healthy developmental outcomes based
on the need(s) you have described.

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Developmental psychology is defined as the scientific study of change throughout
the lifespan. As the definition implies, developmental psychology is a vast
scientific discipline that can examine virtually any phenomenon from a
developmental perspective. We will see that change can be studied across various
domains and developmental periods. It is evident that development can be studied
because there is an order to God’s universe, and He has designed us to develop in
a predictable sequence over time. Although there are variations from person to
person, all people are born, experience growth and decline, and eventually die.
It is common for developmental psychologists to organize development into three
broad domains: Physical development, cognitive development, and
socioemotional development. Physical development includes growth during the
early part of life, such as an embryo’s development of organs or puberty during
adolescence. It also consists of the physical declines we experience with aging.
Genetics, motor skills, sexual maturation, hormonal changes, and brain chemistry
are just a few changes within this category. Cognitive development has to do with
our thinking and intellectual abilities. It includes language development, moral
reasoning, and abstract and concrete thought. It also involves cognitive decline,
dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Socioemotional development considers our
feelings and relationships. Attachment, temperament, interpersonal skills,
identity, self-esteem, and even social media are just a few topics considered.
Finally, we will end the chapter by briefly looking at spiritual development , which
concerns religious and spiritual beliefs and experiences. It includes faith
development and meaning-making and studying how spirituality and
religiousness influence individual factors like identity, attitudes, motivation, or
Although it can be helpful to organize development into distinct categories,
change is a complex process that involves the interrelationship of all the domains.
It also happens over time and is a lifelong process. Consequently, it can be
challenging to organize development in multiple domains across the lifespan in a
logical and understandable way. Usually, human development is organized by
domain or by developmental periods. We have arranged this chapter by domain
in the following order: physical development, cognitive development,
socioemotional development, and spiritual development. As we explore each
domain, we will look at development during major developmental periods. Below
we have divided the lifespan into periods by approximate age ranges.
Recall that development occurs throughout the entire lifespan. However, a
common misconception that is held today is that developmental psychologists
only study infants and children. Although this may have been the case many years
ago, the 20thcentury saw research expand beyond childhood. Technological
advances have allowed us to study prenatal development in ways that were not
possible until recently. Furthermore, with people living longer, studies during late
adulthood have become much more common, and there is a rapidly growing body
of literature on aging. Childhood and adolescence continue to be significant
focuses of developmental research. In fact, the recent COVID-19 pandemic opened
critical new areas of study in childhood and adolescent development. For years to
come, scientists will be studying the effects of isolation and quarantines, social
distancing, mask mandates, vaccines, and potential long-term physical health
consequences of contracting the virus. Likewise, technology continues to change
the way we engage with the world. Developmental research is being conducted
from childhood through adulthood on the influence of social media, virtual reality,
smartphones, distance/virtual learning, and more.
As you can see in Table 3.1, scientists study from conception, when life begins,
until death, or as some have said, “From the womb to the tomb.” Consequently,
throughout this chapter, we will look at each major developmental period
across the lifespan. As a general framework, we will begin each developmental
domain with the prenatal period (from conception to birth) or infancy (birth
through 1 year), continue through childhood (birth through approximately age
12) and adolescence (age 12 through 21), and finally adulthood (age 21 through
death). However, before moving on, some issues need to be briefly addressed.
Specifically, we will discuss integration, standard research methods used in
developmental psychology, and some of the theoretical questions that frame
developmental research.
Table 3.1
Periods of Development across the Lifespan
Period of Development
Approximate Age Range
Birth–1 year
1–3 years
Early Childhood
3–6 years
Middle Childhood
6–12 years
12–21 years
Emerging Adulthood
21–25 years
Early Adulthood
21–40 years
Middle Adulthood
40-65 years
Late Adulthood
65 years until death
As we noted previously, developmental psychology is a very broad discipline.
Although we have attempted to integrate the Bible at numerous points in this
chapter, it is impossible to cover it comprehensively. What we can offer, however,
are some guiding principles to help integrate the Bible as you read through this
chapter or encounter the virtually limitless topics covered across developmental
domains and periods in the future.
You will recall from Chapter 1 that Scripture can be broken into the four
separate major historical epochs of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. The
Grand Narrative of Scripture allows us to connect development with the
overarching story of Scripture and gives us a simple interpretive framework for
every topic presented in this chapter.
In the beginning, God created everything and declared it good (Genesis 1). This
included the physical universe and human beings. The first man God created had
a body formed from the dust of the ground, and God breathed life into him
(physical and spiritual domains). Adam and Eve were created in knowledge,
righteousness, and holiness after the image of God. Being made in the image of
God, humans are rational (cognitive domain) and relational beings
(socioemotional domain). Adam and Eve had perfect communion with God, and
the universe operated as it was originally designed to function.
The effects of the fall were catastrophic. Things are no longer the way they should
be. When sin entered our world, it brought decay and death to our bodies. Our
bodies make visible the invisible reality of sin’s destructive power as we suffer
from sickness, disease, pain, and death. We now witness people age and decline
and babies born with chromosomal abnormalities and developmental delays; we
see people suffer from addictions and mental health disorders.
Under the curse of sin, the image of God in man is marred but not gone.
Cognitively, we experience the noetic effects of sin, which leave our minds
darkened, and futility in our thinking. Our ability to reason is clouded, so we
suppress the truth, leaving us plagued with doubt and unbelief. We see good as
evil and evil as good because of our moral depravity and bondage to sin.
Our relational and emotional struggles reflect the socioemotional effects of sin.
Scripture provides a salient example of this in the story of Cain and Abel. Within
one generation of sin entering the world, we see anger lead Cain to kill his brother
Abel (Genesis 4).
Spiritually, we are separated from God. When sin entered the world, Adam and
Eve were removed from the garden where they had previously had perfect
fellowship and communion with God.
Redemption is the work of Christ in restoring things to their original order and
purpose. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus Christ conquered sin
and death, and we can now experience redemption and reconciliation through
faith in His atoning work. Although believers are released from their bondage to
sin, they continue to experience the effects of sin during their lifetime and will
eventually experience physical death (unless Jesus comes before we die). Until
then, we can experience the redeeming work of Christ in physical, cognitive,
socioemotional, and spiritual domains.
As it relates to our physical bodies, Scripture tells us they were bought by Christ
and become a temple of the Spirit. We can honor God with our bodies. We do that
through our obedience, worship, and by presenting our bodies to God as a living
sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).
Cognitively, He is transforming us by the renewing of our minds. We no longer
suppress the truth but instead can offer worship to our creator. Being released
from the slavery of sin, we become slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:15-23). We
are able to discern God’s will and can know good from evil.
Socioemotionally, we are reconciled to God through Christ and are united to
other believers by the Holy Spirit and our union with Christ. Being members of
Jesus’ body, we experience sweet fellowship with other believers as we worship
the Lord and serve each other. We bear one another’s burdens and comfort others
as we have been comforted by God. We also experience peace with God, who calls
us His children and who we call Father.
Although we continue to struggle with sin and all of creation suffers under sin’s
curse, all creation will be restored to its original design one day. In this new heaven
and new Earth, there will be no more pain, no more crying, and no more death. We
will be fully conformed to the image and likeness of Christ, and just as we share in
His sufferings, we will share in His Glory!
As we seek to promote growth and development that leads to wholeness with
Christ, let us not forget that our Lord and Savior condescended to us by becoming
incarnate. In His humanity, He experienced development. He went through the
fetal period, infancy, childhood, and adolescence and was an adult when He died
on the cross for our sins. Although we can only speculate about His life before His
ministry, Luke 2:52 gives us a small glimpse into Jesus’s development as a 12-yearold: “Jesus increased in wisdom (cognitive domain) and in stature (physical
domain) and in favor with God (Spiritual domain) and man (socioemotional
Scientists can study development because people generally follow predictable
patterns of growth and decline. Still, there can be variations from person to person,
generation to generation, and even across cultures. Psychologists try to determine
typical development during a particular period, which provides a good starting
point for comparing individuals and determining whether their development is
occurring along a normal continuum or if development is atypical.
As discussed in Chapter 1, using the scientific method to study human behavior
is complicated. Studying behavioral change across the lifespan further complicates
the research, so unique methods are required. Quasi-experimental designs are
commonly used to understand possible mechanisms of change at different points
in one’s development. Instead of randomization, participant groups are defined by
the non-manipulated subject variable of age. We will talk about the three
developmental designs below.
In a longitudinal design , data is collected on individuals repeatedly over time,
often for many years or even decades. For example, researchers investigating the
effects of aging on cognition may interview the same group of individuals yearly
from 50 years old until 60 years old. Since researchers can collect data on variables
in the same group of individuals as they grow older, they can draw conclusions
about changes that occur in individuals as they age. This provides valuable data on
regular developmental patterns.
However, there are some disadvantages to using longitudinal studies. First,
they can be very costly and time-consuming. It is also difficult to track and
maintain participants since these studies can last for many years. In our example
above, we can see how attrition could be a problem due to the participants’ age
and potential health issues. Another disadvantage is the potential for practice
effects . Practice effects are when repeated testing of the same variables results in
a change in behavior or performance. For these reasons, most researchers use a
cross-sectional design.
In contrast to longitudinal designs, cross-sectional designs collect data on
individuals, of different chronological ages, at the same point in time. Using the
same example as above, researchers investigating the effects of aging on cognition
may interview a group of 50-year-olds, a different group of 55-year-olds, and
another group of 60-year-olds, at the same time. This design allows the
researchers to compare different age groups in a shorter period and at a much
lower cost. However, cross-sectional designs have their disadvantages as well.
A disadvantage of this design is that differences between groups may be
attributed to cohort effects rather than age alone. Development occurs within a
historical and sociocultural context, so each generation, or birth cohort ,
experiences different societal, cultural, and familial influences that can confound
age-related changes and differences. This makes it difficult to determine if age or
birth cohort is responsible, especially in studies with significant age gaps.
Finally, there are sequential designs , which are sometimes called crosssequential designs . Sequential designs have elements of both longitudinal and
cross-sectional designs. Using the example above, researchers could study the
effects of aging on cognition by interviewing a group of 50-year-olds, a group of
55-year-olds, and another group of 60-year-olds at the same time, then
reinterview each group yearly for the next 10 years. Sequential designs have the
advantage of being able to examine change in numerous age groups in a shorter
period of time compared to longitudinal designs. Additionally, it allows
researchers to test for cohort effects. Among the potential disadvantages are
attrition and practice effects.
Several major theoretical assumptions in developmental psychology need to be
considered. These assumptions are important because they help guide much of the
research in the discipline and have been the center of much debate. We will briefly
address the following four areas:
• Nature versus Nurture
• Stability versus Change
• Continuity versus Stages
• Passive versus Active Processes
One of the oldest debates in psychology is nature versus nurture . In
developmental psychology, the nature-nurture debate centers on the degree to
which our genetics and other biological factors (nature ) and environmental
factors or experiences (nurture ) influence development. Stability versus change
concerns which traits present at birth and early childhood remain stable over time
or if they change. In continuity versus stages , continuity refers to gradual,
measurable changes over time, whereas stages refer to discrete changes that are
categorically different. Finally, the passive versus active processes debate is
concerned with the role of the individual in development. Are there external
factors that determine development, or is it something innate in each child? Those
who hold to passive processes of development argue that the environment and
personal experiences shape development and that humans are largely passive in
the process. In contrast, those who hold to active processes believe that people
help shape their experiences by their active engagement in the environment and
regulating their behaviors.
Most of the current research reflects a move away from extreme positions on
either side of these issues, and there is a growing interest in understanding how
the interaction of both influence development across the lifespan. This has
practical implications, and as you read through the rest of the chapter, you will
want to keep these approaches in mind. To summarize, development is a lifelong
process of growth and decline across multiple domains and within multiple
Physical development is foundational to the other domains of development.
Although many of the external changes associated with physical development are
obvious, internal changes are also occurring that are not as apparent. In this
section, we will look at some of the major areas of physical development, some
obvious and some not so obvious, from conception until death.
Physical Development in the Prenatal Period
The study of human development begins at the moment of conception when
life begins. The 9-month period from conception to birth is called prenatal
development , and it is divided into three periods: the germinal period (conception
to about two weeks), the embryonic period (2 weeks to 8 weeks), and the fetal
period (8 weeks until birth). It truly is an extraordinary and unparalleled period
of rapid, complex growth and development. What starts as a microscopic onecelled organism will be a fully formed baby in only nine months. Yet, each period
is affected by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In the section
that follows, we will briefly look at both.
The Germinal Period
The first and shortest stage of prenatal development is the germinal period . It
begins at conception and lasts roughly two weeks. Conception (or fertilization)
occurs when a single sperm penetrates an egg allowing the sperm nucleus and the
egg nucleus to fuse to create a single-celled organism called a zygote . During this
fusion, 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 chromosomes from the mother
combine, giving the zygote 46 chromosomes and a unique genome . This unique
zygote made from a man and a woman is the literal fulfillment of two becoming
one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4; Ephesians 5:3) and is a new life made in
the image of God. It has all the genetic information needed to become a fully
formed baby. Sex is already determined as well as many other physical and
psychological traits.
Within 36 hours, the zygote begins to divide into more cells in a process called
mitosis . The cells will divide until it becomes a mass of cells called morula on day
four or five and then a blastocyst around day six or seven. At the same time, it has
been migrating from the fallopian tube toward the uterus. Once the blastocyst has
descended into the uterus, it will burrow into the lining of the uterine wall. During
this process, called implantation , the blastocyst’s outer cells attach to the wall and
begin to form the placenta, which will deliver needed oxygen and nutrients and
excrete waste throughout pregnancy. The outer cells will also begin to develop the
amniotic sac and umbilical cord, while the inner cells form the embryo. Not all
implantations are successful, but if successful, it signifies pregnancy and initiates
the embryonic stage.
Figure 3.1
Human Development from Ovulation to Implantation
What Does the Bible Say?
What does the Bible say about prenatal development? When we look through
Scripture, it is clear that prenatal development is important and that a person is
important to God even before birth.
Psalm 139:13-16 reads:
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed
in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for
when as yet there was none of them.
In the book of Jeremiah, we read that Jeremiah was called to be a prophet while
still in his mother’s womb. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I
knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet
to the nations.” Similarly, Isaiah was appointed by God while he was being formed
in his mother’s womb. Isaiah 49:1 says, “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give
attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the
body of my mother; he named my name.”
Furthermore, Ephesians 1 tells us that God chose us in Christ before the
foundations of the world, and 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “before the ages began…” Before
God created space and time, He knew us and loved us in Christ Jesus.
It is also worth mentioning that in the New Testament, the Greek word used for
an unborn child (ß??f??/brephos) is the same word used for an infant. It seems
that Scripture makes no distinction between a born or unborn child and that both
are seen as God’s image bearers.
Although there continues to be much debate in the world about when an
individual is “human” and has rights to life, God’s Word is very clear. Within the
womb, and even before conception, God has known each person, and they are His
image bearers.
Embryonic Period
Weeks 2 through 8 are the embryonic period . It is during this time that the
most rapid and critical development occurs. Cells continue to divide,
differentiating into layers that will take on specialized functions. All of the major
structures (i.e., heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, limbs, genitals, etc.) and systems (i.e.,
central nervous, circulatory, respiratory, skeletal, etc.) begin to develop during
this time. When the embryo is about 3 weeks old and only a sixth of an inch long,
a heartbeat can already be detected using a transvaginal ultrasound. By week four,
the brain and spinal cord begin to develop along with neurons and synapses. As
the brain grows in utero, it will generate new neurons at the rate of 250,000 per
minute and will reach more than 100 billion neurons by birth. By the end of this
period, spontaneous movements are noted; all the basic structures for vital organs
have been formed; and the embryo’s face, limbs, and digits are discernable, giving
it a much more human-like appearance.
During this time of rapid development, the embryo is also most vulnerable.
Exposure to toxins, substances like drugs and alcohol, infectious diseases, stress,
or poor nutrition can have devastating consequences on the developing embryo,
and abnormalities are most likely to occur during this period. We will take a closer
look at the environmental threats to development later in this chapter.
Fetal Period
The last and longest stage of prenatal development is the fetal period . It is
marked by rapid growth and maturation. During this seven-month period, all the
structures and systems that began to develop during the embryonic stage begin to
function. Muscles and bones form and strengthen, reflexes appear, and the fetus
becomes capable of making movements by the sixteenth week.
As early as week 18, hearing starts to develop, and by week 24, the fetus may
respond to its mother’s voice. Organs have formed enough that they can now
survive outside the womb. During the last few months of pregnancy, brain cells
multiply rapidly, and the fetus gains considerable weight and size, including a
layer of fat as it prepares for birth.
Figure 3.2
The Embryonic and Fetal Periods
Most healthy pregnancies will go full-term (38 to 42 weeks) before the onset of
labor. The three-stage process of labor and delivery begins with regular
contractions of the uterus, which causes the cervix to dilate (open) and efface
(shorten). As contractions intensify and the baby descends toward the birth canal,
most women will feel a strong desire to push. The second stage of labor occurs
when the mother pushes the baby through the birth canal, and it is born. The final
stage of labor is the delivery of the placenta. (See Figure 3.3.)
Figure 3.3
The Stages of Childbirth
At 1 and 5 minutes after birth, babies are assessed using the APGAR Scale
(Bregman, 2005). This scale gives medical providers a quick and easy method to
evaluate the baby to determine how well it tolerated the delivery process (1minute) and how it is acclimating to being outside the womb (5- minutes). This
allows medical providers to provide the necessary support if the baby is
experiencing any crises, especially around cardiac (i.e., heart) or pulmonary (i.e.,
breathing) issues (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2015).
The baby’s appearance (skin color), pulse (heart rate), grimace (reflexes), activity
(muscle tone), and respiration (breathing) receive a score of 0, 1, or 2. Scores
between 7 and 10 are considered reassuring or within the normal range. A score
between 4 and 6 is moderately normal, and some medical intervention may be
needed. Scores between 0 and 3 are concerning and indicate that immediate
medical intervention is needed.
Risks during Prenatal Development
Development is guided every step of the way by the genetic information passed
on from the mother and father. However, environmental factors can change the
way genes are expressed. These gene-environment interactions are directly
related to the nature versus nurture debate described earlier in this chapter. There
are an estimated 8,000 diseases that are connected to mutations in single genes
(Kaplan, 2002). Thankfully, improved prenatal care and advances in medical
technology have reduced many of the risk factors associated with complications
during birth and congenital abnormalities. For instance, the availability of prenatal
vitamins and foods fortified with folic acid has reduced folate deficiencies in
women, which can cause neural tube defects (NTDs) like anencephaly and spina
bifida in their babies.
Likewise, much has been learned about prenatal development in recent years
because of advancements in imaging technology, especially ultrasounds.
Ultrasounds allow for relatively detailed pictures and videos (sonograms) and are
even capable of providing three-dimensional (3-D) and four-dimensional (4-D)
imaging. This has given us the ability to see fetal development and movement as
we have never seen it before, and through ultrasounds, doctors can monitor
growth, identify sex, and determine abnormal development and physical defects.
Blood tests can screen for chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome
(Trisomy 21), Patau syndrome (Trisomy 13), or Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18)
in the first and second trimesters. Other available screenings include
amniocentesis which tests fetal cells from amniotic fluid and chorionic villus
sampling which tests fetal cells from the placenta. Unfortunately, abortion rates
are very high for babies diagnosed with chromosomal abnormalities in utero.
Estimates suggest that 67% to 91% of babies diagnosed with chromosomal
disorders are aborted (Mansfield et al., 1999; Natoli1 et al., 2012). In fact, down
syndrome, which is one of the most common chromosomal disorders, has nearly
been eradicated in Iceland (Quinones & Lajka, 2017).
Figure 3.4
The Stages of Embryo Development
Throughout the prenatal period, the baby is relatively safe in its mother’s
womb. As it floats in amniotic fluid, it is protected from injuries and changes in
temperature. The placenta also filters out many potentially harmful substances.
However, there are many environmental factors that pose a risk to the developing
A teratogen is an environmental agent that causes damage to a developing
embryo or fetus. Since the baby is connected to its mother through the placenta,
these agents can be anything the mother ingests, feels, or experiences. Ultimately,
the impact of teratogens on prenatal development depends on the type and extent
of exposure, the period of development, and genetic susceptibility. Exposure
during the most critical periods of development can lead to serious and often
irreparable health problems, congenital defects, and/or deficits in adaptive
Teratogenic agents can include infectious agents and diseases (e.g., measles,
rubella, chickenpox, herpes simplex, toxoplasma, syphilis, etc.); maternal factors
(e.g., genetics, health, stress, aging, and malnutrition); environmental agents (e.g.,
mercury, radiation, lead, herbicides, industrial solvents, etc.), metabolic
conditions (e.g., diabetes, maternal phenylketonuria); and drugs (e.g., over-thecounter, prescription, recreational, alcohol, tobacco/nicotine) (Genetic Alliance,
Some of the leading preventable causes of birth defects and developmental
disabilities are a result of drug exposure. Mothers who consume substances, like
alcohol, during sensitive periods put their unborn children at risk for brain
damage and other impairment. Facial abnormalities, for example, are most likely
to arise from mothers’ drinking in the first 2 months of pregnancy. Pregnant
women also put their children at risk by smoking or vaping, particularly in the
second half of pregnancy. Smoking and recreational drug use during pregnancy
increase the risk of miscarriage, premature births, low birth weight, and sudden
infant death syndrome (SIDS). Perinatal (the period of weeks directly before and
after birth) drug exposure symptoms include the following (Jansson et al., 2009;
Minnes et al., 2011):
Pregnancy complications
Decreased weight and length
Decreased head circumference
Small g

Needs help with similar assignment?

We are available 24x7 to deliver the best services and assignment ready within 6-12 hours? Order a custom-written, plagiarism-free paper

Order Over WhatsApp Place an Order Online

Do you have an upcoming essay or assignment due?

All of our assignments are originally produced, unique, and free of plagiarism.

If yes Order Similar Paper