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Theories of Human Development

  • By: Neil J. Salkind
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Theories of human development are attempts at explaining the complexities of change that occurs over a life span, from conception through death. Each tends to represent a different worldview and is based on different fundamental assumptions about the developmental process and can usually be placed into one of the following four categories:

  • Biological models
  • Psychoanalytic models
  • Behavioral models
  • Cognitive–developmental models
The Maturational and Biological Models

Arnold Gesell, the foremost maturationalist in developmental psychology, represents a unique approach to the study of human development. As a physician, Gesell believed that the sequence of development is determined by the biological and evolutionary history of the species. In other words, development of the organism is essentially under the control of biological systems and the process of maturation. Although the ...

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