human development.docx - An Overview of Human Development...

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An Overview of Human Development Issues © 1993, David S. Walonick, Ph.D. Each of us invents informal ways of looking at our own and other people's growth. These paradigms of human development, while obviously lacking in scholastic rigor, provide us with a conceptual framework for understanding ourselves and others. This paper will discuss several aspects of human development, including consciousness, intelligence, learning, memory, motivation, personality and aging. Psychological models of development A psychological model is an attempt to map some of the dimensions of behavior. Martone and Fredenburgh (1973) summarize four general models of human development. 1) The Freudian psychoanalytic model view man as an animal caught in a state of conflict between primal urges and civilized forms of behavior. Motivation is a manifestation of subconscious sexual and aggressive urges. 2) The behaviorist model views man as a machine. Learning involves the association of stimulus and response, or secondary reinforces. Classical conditioning theory best exemplifies the behaviorist model. 3) The humanistic model describes behavior as from the perspective of self-perception. The model draws heavily from existential themes. People are in the act of becoming and transcendence. 4) The consistency model stresses the idea that people generally retain the same behavior patterns during their life-long endeavors. This model states that individuals generally follow general principles and courses of action. Cognitive- dissonance theory best illustrates this model. There is a wide diversity of characteristics involved in human development. The most common paradigm is to view human development from the physiological-psychological dichotomy. Some traits seem to be genetically determined, while others appear to be of a cognitive origin. It is only when we integrate the two perspectives that a coherent picture of development occurs. For example, as the adolescent reaches puberty (a physiological change), there are also accompanying psychological changes, and the emotional needs and drives of the individual change. Consciousness British neurologist John Lober has examined several children who were victims of hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. These individuals often have less than five percent of the normal brain cortex, yet they sometimes have higher than average IQ scores, and show little or no thinking impairment. This finding casts serious doubts on the notion that the cerebral cortex is the seat of consciousness. (Talbot, 1988) Descartes spoke of the dualistic nature of the physical and mental universes. Many modern thinkers have abandoned this way of thinking and have instead adopted a materialistic approach. They believe that the only things that should be studied are the physical components of the brain, and that consciousness can be understood from a biological perspective. The latest approach, called functionalism , is to view consciousness as a structure, rather than a substance.
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