The three developmental processes are biological (physical), cognitive and socio-emotional. The three key developmental processes are physical development, cognitive development and social-emotional development. Physical development includes growth and changes in the body and brain. During early childhood (2 to 6 years old), a child will grow taller and thinner.
During middle childhood (6 to 11 years old), the child will continue to grow and develop advanced physical abilities. These advanced physical skills allow children in this age group to begin to excel in sports and similar activities. During adolescence (11 to 18 years old), puberty occurs and children grow to adult size. Cognitive development includes memory, language, knowledge and creativity.
During early childhood, self-sufficiency increases and vocabulary expands. During middle childhood, thought processes become more logical and language skills continue to increase. During adolescence, children's memory, language, knowledge and creativity skills are improved. Social-emotional development includes establishing morals and values, emotional communication, self-reliance, and self-understanding.
During early childhood, children begin to develop friendships and relationships with others and begin to understand morals. During middle childhood, children's moral beliefs are solidified and self-understanding increases. During adolescence, social-emotional development expands with advanced emotional communication and the correlation of actions with morals and values. Adolescents are also self-sufficient and self-understanding is solidified.
Developmental psychologists often use a series of theories to think about different aspects of human development. For example, a psychologist who evaluates a child's intellectual development might consider Piaget's theory of cognitive development, which describes the key stages children go through as they learn. Ideally, children should go through each phase fluidly as their sexual libido develops, but if they get stuck in any of the phases, they may develop a fixation that hinders their development. Knowledge of human development can be invaluable to people on a personal level, as they continue to learn and grow throughout their lives and professionally as they learn to apply what they have learned to their careers.
Examples of each of these three developmental processes could include the above-mentioned brain development from birth to early 20s, and its subsequent degradation as a normal part of the aging process. Other naturalists supported a theory of development called preformationism, which held that the entire complex morphology of the mature organism is present in the form of a miniature in the egg, a form of development called homunculus. A developmental psychologist might observe how children behave on a playground, in a daycare center, or in the child's own home. Psychologists are also interested in analyzing how social relationships influence the development of children and adults.
In the real world, developmental psychology is used in the study of physical, psychological, emotional, social, personality and perceptual development. Once you or your loved one has received a diagnosis of a developmental problem, spend some time learning as much as you can about the diagnosis and available treatments. Piaget's theory is widely used in educational programs to prepare teachers to instruct students in a developmentally appropriate manner. In the first stage of human development, babies learn to trust based on how well their caregivers meet their basic needs and respond when they cry.
The adolescent years are often the subject of considerable interest, as children experience the psychological confusion and transition that often accompany this period of development. If a child doesn't walk or tries to walk between 16 and 18 months, parents might consider consulting with their family doctor to determine if there may be any developmental problems. Freud's findings helped to substantiate his theories about psychosexual development in children, which he will learn about later in this chapter. For example, if a child in the womb is exposed to drugs, the child's cognitive abilities may be affected and, therefore, change the developmental process.