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major theories of human development

THEORIES

Now that you have read and reviewed theories of development, take your learning a step further by testing your critical thinking skills on this scientific reasoning exercise. 

Five (5) major theories of human development are described, compared, and evaluated in this section. These are the psychoanalytic theories of Freud and Erikson; the behaviorism of Pavlov and Skinner and the social learning theory of Bandura; humanism and evolutionary theory; Piaget’s cognitive theory; and Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. Although each theory is too restricted to account solely for the tremendous diversity in human development, each has made an important contribution to developmental psychology.

To help clarify your understanding of the major developmental theories, this exercise asks you to focus on the similar, contradictory, and complementary aspects of the five (5) theories. Please answer these questions, and submit your answers on this forum.

1. Which of the major developmental theories are stage theories? Which are not?

2. Which theories emphasize individual conscious organization of experience? unconscious urges? observable behavior? the interaction of nature and nurture?

3. Which theories emphasize the impact of early experience on development?

4. How does each theory view the child?

5. How do the theories view adult development?

6. Do the theories use the same methodology? How does each make use of the scientific method?

7. Which theories have been criticized for being too subjective? too mechanistic? too deterministic? for neglecting the role of biological maturation in guiding development?

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