What Is Lifespan Development?

Critical Thinking Questions

Describe the nature versus nurture controversy, and give an example of a trait and how it might be influenced by each?


The nature versus nurture controversy seeks to understand whether our personalities and traits are the product of our genetic makeup and biological factors, or whether they are shaped by our environment, which includes such things as our parents, peers, and culture. Today, psychologists agree that both nature and nurture interact to shape who we become, but the debate over the relative contributions of each continues. An example would be a child learning to walk: Nature influences when the physical ability occurs, but culture can influence when a child masters this skill, as in Aché culture.

Compare and contrast continuous and discontinuous development.


Continuous development sees our development as a cumulative process: Changes are gradual. On the other hand, discontinuous development sees our development as taking place in specific steps or stages: Changes are sudden.

Why should developmental milestones only be used as a general guideline for normal child development?


Children develop at different rates. For example, some children may walk and talk as early as 8 months old, while others may not do so until well after their first birthday. Each child’s unique contexts will influence when he reaches these milestones.