The Science of Development
Development is the process of growth, progress or positive change. Development can occur in many areas such as business, economics, the environment and human. Development can also refer to a country becoming more developed and building relationships with other countries around the world through trade or culture.
The science of human development is a broad and diverse field that examines changes and stability across multiple domains of psychological and social functioning. It includes physical, neurophysiological, cognitive, language, emotion and personality development as well as our relationships with others. The study of development requires the expertise, research methods and knowledge bases of numerous academic disciplines.
Development theories are guided by assumptions that researchers have about the nature of human beings. These assumptions are called meta-theories. Meta-theories can be formulated in any number of ways, but they usually include some version of genetics, evolutionary, ethological, temperament or personality theories. They may also include assumptions about the role of nature vs. nurture – whether traits, characteristics and experiences from early life have permanent effects, or if they are malleable and open to change throughout the lifetime.
Another important assumption in developmental theory is the importance of culture. The cultural context in which an individual grows can greatly impact his or her development. For example, a person’s culture will influence how he or she views the value of achievement in education, work and relationships. Cultural differences can make it difficult to compare one person’s level of development to that of another person from a different culture.