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The life span approach to human development can be described as the different changes that appear in the course of life of a person. The changes range from the behavioral changes to the physical growth of a person. The physical changes can be either internal or external. However, they are all in the body of the human being (Berger, 2011). It should be noted that the lifespan approach to human development only describes the time when one is born until the time he or she dies. It is within this time that people exhibits several changes in both physical growth and behaviour. In this approach, several important characteristics describe it.

            The first characteristic is the lifelong of a person. This is where based on the period of time a human being lives there is no one time age dominates the development. This means that age does not decide how long development will take. The other characteristic is the multi-dimensional. In these characteristics, there are four dimensions. The first is the biological dimension where the different biological or physical changes occur in the body of human being (Berger, 2011). The second one is the cognitive dimension that describes the growth in the human thinking in all the levels of the human life span. The third dimension is the social emotional dimension. In the human lifespan, at different periods or ages a person experiences different emotions. Lastly, it is the spiritual dimension (Berger, 2011).

            The other characteristic is the plastic characteristic. This depends mainly on the conditions of a human being. This means that people are subjected to different conditions, which leads to the different in the paths a person follows in development in his or her entire lifespan. Another characteristic is the historical-embedded characteristic where the development is influenced by what happened in the past. In this case, development tries to emulate or take the course of what has happened in the past. Contextual characteristic is the last characteristic where development is likely to respond based on the different biological physical, environmental social or cultural contexts. By using the above characteristics of lifespan to human development, one can easily understand the different theories and stages of human development.

Question two

            In human development, there are three major controversies that many researchers tend to differ amongst themselves. One of the controversies is whether development is continuous or discontinuous. In the case of continuous, they argue that development does not stop. This means that it does not end like in the form of a stage where one has to stop so that the other can be begins to develop (Berger, 2011). In the case of discontinuous, the researchers argue that human development takes the form of stages. This is where the stages have to end so that another stage can start. This means that there are series of discontinuation in human development.

            The other controversy is the passive or active. In such a situation, the different researchers do not know whether development is passive or active . This where some researchers think that development among the children is passive. This is because parents are known to mould the course of development in which there child will take. On the other hand, other researchers think that development active because the environment in development affects children. This is because no parent would wish his or her child to become a thief and yet there are thieves.

            The last controversy is that of nature nurture controversy. In this case, the different researchers argue that people develop alone with the aid of others or the nature is left to take its course. Those researchers that argue that nature helps in development are often say that there are those things that one has to discover him or herself. In this case, one has to let nature take its cause in the human development. On the other hand, there are those people that argue that there are those things that people have to be taught. This means they have to be helped so that they can be able to understand them. Therefore, they have to be nurtured so that they can be able to develop.

Question three

There are six major theoretical approaches to the study of human development:

  1. Psychodynamic perspective. This where development takes the conscious and unconscious perspectives. These are also known as the psychological stages. In most cases, it is about the thing of the mind and the society.
  2. Cognitive perspective. This where development takes the perspective of the human thinking. The different stages in development based on this perspective are as a result of information processing (Graf & Ohta, 2002).
  3. Learning perspective. This is where development is controlled. This means that it is conditional and people have to be taught for a steady cause of development to take place. It is self-efficacy.
  4. Humanistic perspective. It is believed that each human has a heart. In this case, development takes the perspective where people have to survive. In the process of survival, people go through different development stages.
  5. Biological perspective. In the lifespan of a human being, different people have to undergo different physical changes. Additionally, in this physical growth there are changes that people go throw in their bodies. These stages are categorized in different stages of a human being (Schechter & Francis, 2010).
  6. Contextual perspective. This is where the different stages of human development are based on the effects of the environmental factors, cultural factors, social and emotional factors.

Question four

  1. Using the psychodynamic theory, psychologically, little children are often afraid by small insects or animals, which they do recognize most likely they will be afraid. Therefore in the case of little miss Muffet, she was either recognized the spider or she did not recognize the spider and became afraid thus, she ran away.
  2. Using the cognitive theory, the ability of the children to process information is very different from that of the adult. In the case of little miss Muffet, she had to run away after seeing the spider. However, if it were for a grown adult, probably he or she would have killed it.
  3. In the situation of the learning theory, children often respond to things based on what they have been taught by their parents. Therefore, in such a situation, little miss Muffet responded according to what her parents had told her about spiders.
  4. In the case of the human theory, it is where the different children tend to survive so that they do not get heart. Therefore, in the case of little miss Muffet, she ran because she did not want to get heart. This meant that she was running to save her life.
  5. Biological theory is where the child will tend to be afraid and run away because of being afraid by the small animals. In the situation of little miss Muffet, she had to ran away because she is expected to do so as a child. On the other hand, a teenage or an adult is not expected to run away instead she is expected to kill the spider. This is based on the biological development.
  6. Contextual theory is when a child responds to something based on what he or she has learned from the society. In the case of little miss Muffet, she ran away because she has learnt that from the environment spider are bad. Additionally, she might have learnt from other experiences she witnessed of children running away due to spiders.

Question five

            The theory that I lean towards is the cognitive theory. The theory is about the development of human intelligence. This is where people are believed to develop their thinking capacity as they grow up. Therefore, in the case of little miss Muffet, it is very logical to say that she did not have the capability to think that instead of running away she could kill the spider. This is because she is a young girl. On the contrary, an adult would have been able to kill the spider without even thinking twice. This shows that are different levels of information processing between a child and an adult. Therefore, I tend to lean on the cognitive theory of development.

            The theory that I tend to go against is the contextual theory of development. This is because of the fact that the development process follows what the society and the environment dictates. Mainly it is based on the situation or the experiences the different people have witnessed. I do not believe it is true based on the case of little Miss Muffet. This is because little Miss Muffet is too young to learn from the environmental or the society. The assumption is that the word little means that Miss Muffet is a young child. Therefore, little miss Muffet could not have ran away because she learnt from somewhere due to her age. However, if she was much older it could have been true.

Question six

 Much of the things that is heritable for example; anxiety, and prejudice is attached to survival selection. It makes sense that the zero-sum-game of life depends on relative mechanisms that cannot be modified. That unfolds across life and is triggered by stereotyped threats. These make up the underside of living, the foci of negative emotion. Human happiness, not usually measured in twin studies and yet untested by the nurture assumption, may be much more buildable by parents, by culture, and by mentors. Our parenting works, not because of a shared negative environment but because of an unshared positive parenting environment. That which makes life worth living include positive emotion, power, talent, reason, and good qualities may be the place where the environment works best.

Question seven

Research begins with a general research question. A research question is often derived from theories, other research, and casual observation. The research question is based on a null or alternate hypothesis that has to be proved right or wrong. The methodology used to prove the hypothesis is not one hundred percent correct and it is based on the level of significance and the percentage error that is considered by the researchers. Knowledge on a test can sometimes affect responses to successive administration of the test. Testing is a threat to internal validity when an effect may be due to the number of times particular responses are calculated that can be variable depending on the research design. Research designs that utilize a cross-sectional or simple change designs are especially vulnerable to history effects.

History poses a threat to internal validity of the generated result when this event is not the treatment of research interest. In addition, explanations due to maturation can arise when an experiential effect may be due to the research subjects’ varying over the study phase. It also happens when the changes are not attributed to the study settings.  They can be referred to as those genetic or mental processes which methodically vary with the passage of period in time, and are independent of specific external events. Flaws can also result from the use of poor instruments or faulty instruments. An instrumentation effect is formed when either a measuring instrument is changed, for example the scales or variables, or when the observers or scorers change over the course of the research study. Statistical analysis also affects the results generated. Statistical regression is a risk to internal validity when changes in values are associated with a regression toward-the-mean effect. More exclusively, statistical regression effects are created when study subjects are chosen based on extreme scores. Furthermore flaws can be generated as a result of the method used in selection of the test samples or on the selection of the method used for analysis. A selection effect can arise when study subject matter is selected since they possess a trait that is related to the independent or dependent variables.

Question eight

 No. Masturbation is not thought to cause mental illness.

In history, masturbation has frequently been linked to madness. This is for a couple of reasons: People who have mental illness or who have cultural or learning disability or are handicap can from time to time exhibit uncommon sexual behaviours. Masturbation in public or too much masturbation is socially not acceptable and it is highly condemned. In addition, extreme masturbation increases or decreases sex drive, can be seen as a symptom of a psychological problem such as depression and sporadically psychosis. But masturbation does not cause mental illness (Seligman, 2002). Many spiritual and cultural practices transverse the globe have a record of connecting masturbation to immorality, felony and a lack of personal control. The guilt and stress this causes can result in great feelings of shame and stress. All of which does people a great disservice if you believe that masturbation is a perfectly natural expression of sexuality.

Question nine

In a longitudinal study, its topics are critiqued for a lengthy period. The researcher undertakes this form of study for years, so in saying this it is obvious that this is a study that is taken into the future.  Longitudinal study may involve observing more than once on members or group of the study population over a period. The advantage of a longitudinal study is that researchers are in a position to detect developments or changes in the attributes of the target population at both the group and the individual level. The key point here is that longitudinal studies go beyond a singular moment in time. As a result, they can be used to establish sequences of events during a study (Cross-sectional vs. Longitudinal studies).

On the other hand, a cross sectional study focuses its research on something that has happened in the past or an event that occurred at a specific point in time. This may be in form of a person's experience or an occasion of some interest to the researcher. This study may involve observation of all the population, or a representative subgroup, at a defined period. This means that researchers record information about their subjects without manipulating the study environment or conditions. The advantage of a cross-sectional study design is that it allows researchers to do comparison of  many different variables at the same time for example age, gender, or even educational level. 

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