Development is the gradual growth or formation of something. Often, it is a complex process that requires much work and time. For example, building a house involves a lot of construction work to make it stable and safe for living. Other types of development are economic, political and social. Development can also be used as a synonym for improvement or advancement.
In economic terms, development refers to a shift from a traditional economy to one based on technology. This shift can include the development of new jobs and industry. It can also mean the expansion of existing industries. For example, an old steel mill might be converted to a modern aluminum plant. The shift to a technological economy may also involve the development of new transportation systems and communication networks.
Similarly, human development includes the changes that occur in a person over their lifetime. This change is usually attributed to both nurture and nature, but researchers do not know exactly what causes individual differences in development across cultures. This is why many of the theories about developmental stages that we learn about in this class are considered to be culturally bound.
Our class endorses the life-span perspective on development (also known as contextualist or systemic meta-theories). Lifespan theorists believe that change is evident across the lifespan, and that no single age period is more crucial to development than another. They also believe that development is multidirectional, meaning that different dimensions of a person can develop at different rates.