The life span perspective of human development is made up of different theories of how a human develops from birth to death. Though there are many theories to show this there are only three that best explain human growth and development through the human life span. They are Psychoanalytic Theory, Social Learning Theory, and Cognitive theory.
Psychoanalytic theory was originally develop by Sigmund Freud, who theorized that development occurred in five stages. The stages were characterized by sexual pleasure on a particular part of the body during each stage. The stages consisted of oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital stage. The oral stages was thought to happen between birt-1year which consist of sensual pleasures of the lips, tongue, and gums, where baby are stimulated when feeding. The anal stage is thought to take place during 1-3 years. This consisted of sensual pleasure from the anus where babies are toilet trained.
The phallic stage happens between years three trough six in which the sensual pleasure is the penis and girls wonder why they don’t have one. Latency is from six to eleven years in which it’s not considered a stage really but sexual need and desires have not quit formed so the child focuses on school and other things. Genital stage is thought to start in adolescents and carry on through the adulthood life. In this stage the child seeks out sexual pleasure and satisfaction. There are many environmental factors can effect theses stages of development. If the child lives in a third world country they may not have access to food and provisions as easily as other countries children do. This can affect how the child will trust others and whether or not the child will remain in a mode of survival instinct.
The second theory is Social Learning Theory which was formed by Albert Bandura. Albert Bandura theorized that humans learn by observe other people. This theory suggest that we model ourselves after the people we observe. Though perception of what is witnessed can be interpreted differently. Environment factors such as an abusive home environment could effect on how a child deals with aggression if a child witnesses a father hitting their mother they might in turn see themselves as their father and show more aggression towards others, or be very passive aggressive like the mother. As said earlier each child has their own interpretation of what they observe.
The most famous theorist for Cognitive theory was Jean Piaget. The theory was believed that thought shaped are attitude, beliefs, and behaviors. James Piaget formed four stages which describe how human development occurs and changes with thought. The four stages are Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, and Formal operational. Sensorimotor takes place between birth and 2 years of age. In this stage the child develops their motor abilities and senses to better understand the world around them. The preoperational stage takes place between the ages of two and six years of age. During this stage the child thinks magically or egocentric causing the child to view the world from their own perspective.
The concrete operational stage take place between the ages of six to eleven years of age. During this stage children apply logical operations to interpret their experiences. Their thinking is limited to what they can see, hear, feel and experience. Formal operational takes place from 12 years through adulthood. During this stage the adolescents and adults think about abstracts and hypothesis. During the different stages environmental effects can vary for instance a vacuum could be a dragon to a child in the preoperational stage.
In conclusion the three stages that influence the life span of Human growth and development are Psychoanalytic Theory, Social Learning Theory, and Cognitive theory. Each one shows different views on how human development can take place. Each one has unique environmental aspects that can affect the growth and development of a human. Through these theories one can look back through someone’s development and understand what was effective in helping healthy development and what was ineffective or should be avoided to prevent unhealthy development.