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Lesson Seven: Development

An Overview of Human Development

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de Guide

Lesson Seven: Development
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  • psychology 101
  • developmental psychology
  • jean piaget
  • sigmund freud

Welcome to lesson seven of the Introduction to Psychology course! Congratulations on your hard work so far. Over the course of the past six lessons, you have learned about the basics of psychology including its history and research methods as well as topics including states of consciousness, biopsychology and memory. In this lesson, you will learn more about the basics of human development.

So let's explore some of the major theories of development that have been proposed by psychologists. The study of human development is a rich and varied subject. We all have personal experience with development, but it is sometimes difficult to understand exactly how and why people grow, learn, and change. Discover how some of psychology's most renowned thinkers have attempted to describe and explain this process.

Syllabus for this week:

  • What is development?
  • Issues in developmental psychology
  • Theories of development by Freud and Erikson
  • Learning theories of development
  • Cognitive theories of development

Click the links below to read the articles and resources related to each topic in this lesson. Remember, while there is no homework, you are solely responsible for learning the information included in each lesson. It is entirely up to you to study the material, take notes and review the information. Good luck on today's lesson!

Getting Started: What Is Development?

Before you delve any deeper into the study of human development, it's important to start by understanding exactly what development means. As you begin this week's lesson, start by learning more about what development is, what it encompasses and how it affects people throughout life in this basic overview of development.

Questions About Development

There have historically been a number of different issues and major questions in developmental psychology. These issues include debates over the relative contributions of genetics and the environment, early experiences versus those that occur later in life and the emphasis on abnormal behavior as opposed to individual differences. Learn more about some of the major questions in developmental psychology.

Freud and Erikson

Psychoanalytic theory originated with the work of Sigmund Freud. He developed a theory of development that outlined several "psychosexual" stages that occur throughout childhood. Freud's ideas also influenced Erik Erikson, who went on to develop one of the most influential and enduring theories of lifespan development. For this part of the lesson, read the following linked article and be sure to study the attached articles on Freud and Erikson and complete the self-quiz. Read more.

Pavlov, Skinner and Bandura

Learning theories of development originated with the work of thinkers such as Ivan Pavlov and John Watson. These theories suggested that all behavior is the result of conditioning, associations, reinforcement and environmental influences. Begin this lesson by exploring the theories proposed by Pavlov, Skinner, and Bandura. Explore the links included in the article below and be sure to complete the self-quiz as well. Read more.


While learning theories dominated psychology for some time, eventually researchers began looking at other influences on development and behavior. Thinkers such as Jean Piaget began looking at cognitive and intellectual development, investigating the ways in which children actively construct their knowledge of the world. Your task is to read about each of the stages included in the following article and take the self-quiz. Read more.

Final Thoughts

You've reached the end of lesson seven! The purpose of this lesson was to provide an overview of human development by looking at some of the major theories proposed by psychologists. By learning this information, you will be prepared to study the subject in greater depth in your general psychology or developmental psychology courses.

While there were a few quizzes included in this lesson, remember that they are not graded. If you feel like you have a good grasp of the material and you did well on the quizzes, feel free to move on to lesson eight. However, if you are still struggling with the information or if you are not happy with your scores on the quizzes, spend a few days reviewing the material and retaking the quizzes before you continue on to the next lesson in the series.

Are you interested in improving your academic skills? Then be sure to check out our great collection of psychology study tips, find advice on how to take good psychology notes and discover pointers that will help you succeed on psychology exams.

Sign-Up for the Psychology 101 E-Course

Do you want to also receive these lessons in your email inbox? Consider subscribing to the Psychology 101 E-course. Each lesson in this free e-course will arrive via email each week. Be sure to check out the Psychology 101 e-course FAQ page to learn answers to some of the most common questions about the class.

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Next: Lesson 8

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