Human development is a process that starts from conception and continues until death. Physical growth occurs from childhood to adulthood. But cognitive development does not stop throughout life. What are the main theories of periodization of the human life cycle?
Human development in terms of biology
Different theories and stages of human development are developed in accordance with certain criteria that are taken to determine life stages. In biology, the first of these factors is the fertilization of the egg. The scientific name for human development is ontogeny. The fusion of the egg and sperm gives rise to ontogeny. Since its primary stages occur in the female body, ontogeny is divided into prenatal and postnatal.
The prenatal period is divided into embryonic (from conception to 2 months) and fetal (from the 3rd to the 9th month). During the embryonic period, there is an increasing increase in the number of cells that take on various functions in the future organism. During the second month of development, internal organs begin to form. The head, neck, torso, limbs are being formed.
The birth of every child is considered a miracle. Despite the fact that this miracle happens all over the world every moment, there are many interesting features associated with it. For example, about 300 million male spermatozoa take part in the race before conception. About the same is the number of people living in the United States of America. By the time of birth, a baby's brain is already supplied with ten million nerve cells.
The development of the body from the womb to old age. Growth spurts
From the third month of intrauterine development, an increase in the body occurs, which continues after the birth of the child. And from the moment of birth, the process of adaptation of the body to environmental conditions begins. The child acquires new skills that are layered on his heredity. Accelerated growth of the body is observed during several stages: this is the period of early childhood (from one to three years), from 5 to 7 years, and also during puberty (from 11 to 16 years). By the age of 20-25, the growth of the human body is coming to an end. Now comes a relatively stable period in the life cycle - maturity. After 55-60 years, the human body begins to gradually age.
In biology, there is the Haeckel-Muller law, or the biogenetic law. It says that each individual in his development to some extent repeats the stages that his ancestors went through. In other words, a person from his conception goes through those stagesthe evolution of living organisms that unfolded throughout history. This law was first derived by the scientist Ernst Haeckel in 1866.
Psychological development of a person from childhood to adulthood
For the first time in domestic science, the stages of human development began to be considered at the beginning of the 20th century. When dividing the life cycle, factors such as physical growth, spiritual and psychological development were taken into account. Prominent Russian scientists worked on the division of this period into phases: N. I. Pirogov, L. S. Vygotsky, K. D. Ushinsky. According to tradition, several stages were distinguished: the period of intrauterine development, childhood, adolescence and adolescence.
Intrauterine development, in turn, was divided into several stages. The first of them is pre-embryonic. Its duration is 2 weeks from conception. The next stage is called embryonic and lasts two months. This is followed by the fetal stage, which continues until the birth of the child.
According to the criteria of scientists, childhood is also divided into several important stages. These are infancy (from 0 to a year), early age (1-3 years), preschool age (3-7 years), as well as primary school age (from 6-7 to 10-11 years). These periods are also characterized by various stages in the development of self-education in humans. An important role is played by the leading activity characteristic of a certain age. For example, the so-called subject-manipulative activity is characteristic of early childhood. The child learns to use the objects that surround him. BUTfor younger students, for example, such an activity is educational. Children begin to master theoretical forms of thinking. They learn to learn and use the theoretical knowledge they have received.
What happens in childhood?
The early stages of a person's development is the time when his socialization takes place and he becomes a full-fledged member of society. Childhood is considered the age at which the psychological maturity of the individual is formed. Interestingly, the duration of childhood in our era is not equal to the time that was previously allotted for this stage of human life. In different eras, periods of childhood lasted for different times, and therefore age periodization is always considered a product of a particular culture and civilization. For example, at the beginning of the 20th c. the period of adolescence ended very quickly - already at the age of 13-14, many children began to work on an equal basis with adults. The stages of development of human society determine the boundaries of the age periods characteristic of their era.
Adolescence and youth
The next period of development is adolescence. This includes the teenage stage, or puberty (it lasts on average up to 15 years), as well as youthful (lasting up to 22-23 years). At this time, adolescents begin to form a certain picture of the world, an idea of their place in society.
Different researchers differently define the stages of development of a person's life, in particular adolescence and youth. Some scientists distinguish early youth (from 15 to 18 years old), as well as late youth (from 18 to 23 years old). Soor otherwise, by the end of the period of youth, the physiological formation of a person ends. At this time, his self-awareness finally takes shape, questions of professional self-realization come to the fore. In the early stages of adolescence, interests, plans for the future, the need for work are formed, a person’s independence, including financial independence, is affirmed.
The next step in the human life cycle is adulthood. It is also the longest stage. In developed countries, for example, adulthood takes up to three-quarters of total life expectancy. At this stage, three periods are distinguished: early adulthood, or youth; average adulthood; as well as late adulthood (this includes aging and old age).
The main feature that is characteristic of the period of old age is the wisdom accumulated over a lifetime. What will be the old age of a person, largely depends on his lifestyle in adulthood. The main need of the elderly is not only the care of loved ones, but also the opportunity to share experience.
Life Acquisitions in Adulthood
Scientists emphasize that adulthood and maturity are not equivalent concepts. Unlike the previous stages in which physical maturation occurs, the period of adulthood is more associated with cognitive development. At this stage, people learn to take responsibility for their decisions. A person develops certain character traits. These are, for example, firmness, honesty, ability tocompassion. Scientist E. Erickson argues that at this stage of human development, the formation of identity to oneself takes place. Adulthood, the researcher notes, is the age at which important acts are performed. The main features of this period are productivity, creativity, as well as some restlessness. A person strives to reach heights in his professional field, to become a better parent, to support loved ones.
Work and care are signs of an adult. If an individual calms down in relation to any area of his life, stagnation and even degradation can occur here. These negative phenomena manifest themselves in preoccupation with one's own problems and self-pity. Such problems are overcome by forming attitudes to overcome problems, and not by constantly complaining about an evil fate.
Stages of human development according to Freud
Classical psychoanalysis does not lose its relevance today. Currently, Freud's theories are one of the fundamental concepts of personality. From his point of view, human development is a process of adaptation to the external conditions of the world. The scientist singled out three layers of the human psyche - the so-called "It", or "Id"; "I" or "Ego"; as well as "Super-I" - "Superego". The id is the unconscious or primitive part of the personality. The ego is the conscious and rational part. "Super-Ego" is a certain ideal to which a person aspires, his conscience is also included here. This partin the process of development, parental attitudes take root, as well as social norms accepted in society.
Currently, many theories and stages of human evolution, especially in psychology, include the information received by Freud. He believed that the main stages of human development are oral (from birth to one and a half years), anal (from one year to 3 years), phallic (from 3 to 6 years), latent (from 6-7 to 12 years), and also genital (12-18 years). The Austrian scientist believed that the stages of development are a kind of steps for a person, on any of which he can “get stuck” even until the very end of life. Then certain components of childhood sexuality will be included in the neurotic complex of an adult.