CRITIQUE OF DEVELOPMENTAL CONCEPTS
What is human development after all? Our observations tell us two indisputable facts:
- Over time humans are exposed to a continual stream of new experiences
- Over time humans change –due to what they learn from these new experiences and, at least early on, due to biological and genetic factors.
What we do know about these changes? They may represent:
- Greater breadth of knowledge or capacity
- Greater depth of knowledge or capacity
- Transformations (understanding what you know in a different way)
What do we not know?
- Do these changes move all human beings (regardless of culture) in a similar direction (e.g., are there universal aspects to development)?
- Are these changes necessarily an improvement? (And what exactly do we mean by “improvement”?
- How can the indisputable fact of inescapable individual differences (that no two people are exactly the same) be integrated with general theories of human development?
Reflect upon what you have learned about the facts of human development, the theories introduced in this course, and the various calls for new perspectives by Mehta et al (2020), multiculturalists, women, and positive psychologists. Reflect too upon the overall concept of human development. Then critique Erikson’s theory of human development from birth to death. In your paper make sure you cite ar least 6 different source materials. (Please note that lectures by Watson count collectively as one reference just as does the textbook by Lally & Valentine-French). As much as possible follow this outline:
- First discuss Erikson’s theory in general
- What does Erikson assume about the universality of development. On what do you base your opinion?
- What does Erikson assume about development as improvement or growth? On what do you base your opinion?
- How does Erikson deal with individual differences in his theory (or does he)?
- Overall, what are the strengths of the theory?
- Overall, what are the theory’s biases and limitations.
- Now consider the applicability of Erikson’s theory:to what you learned from your interview in Module 6. How well did the theory account for your interviewee’s life? What aspects of their life did the theory fail to account for?
- Finally, think about your own life. What do you hope for yourself before you die? Remember that objectives change as you age (see the TED video in Module 6) so try to consider your whole life, not just your immediate circumstances. Does Erikson’s theory include all the kinds of life challenges you expect to address, particularly some of- those raised in Mehta et al (2020) and by feminists, multiculturalists, and positive psychologists (see the Course guides in this module)? Explain why you believe it does (or does not) address them.
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