Lifespan Development

Lifespan Development

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Lifespan Development

Part 1

Option B: Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory

            Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory postulates that personality and human behavior are as a result of unconscious forces found in people (Feldman, 2013). Principally, he claims that there is an unconscious part in every person that one is never aware of; yet it is responsible for untenable wants and wishes. The flawed nature of the cravings makes them indiscernible to the consciousness of a person. Paradoxically, he is of the opinion that the temperament unconscious part is the one that determines the personality of most people.

Freud further alleges that individuality is made up of three components, namely: the id, ego, and superego. The id is an innate primitive characteristic that operates purely on the pleasure principle. Its primary goal is to gratify desires such as hunger, sex, and aggressiveness. Conversely, the ego operates on the reality principle. It acts as the bridge between the primitive id and the real world. As a result, it restrains a person so that he or she can get integrated into the society safely. Lastly, the superego is the conscious part that differentiates the good from bad. It begins to develop between the age five and six years.

Critique. Regarding age development, Freud observed that the pleasure of a person shifts from the mouth, to the anus, and finally to the genitals. In doing so, he subdivided development into five stages: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital (Feldman, 2013). The oral stage lasts from birth to around 18 months. It mainly involves use of the mouth as a source of gratification. In the anal stage, children find pleasure in using the anus to control the flow of feces, and it last up to 3 years. The phallic stage that lasts between 3 to 6 years is where a child comes to terms with his or her genitals, prompting alignment to the gender of the parents. For example, boys start imitating the father naturally. Latency is a dormant period that precedes adolescence, and it is evidenced suppressed sexual desires. Finally, the genital phase is associated with intense desire for sex and formation of credible sexual attachments.

Drawback. The main shortcoming of Freud’s theory is the argument he makes about fixation. He asserted that people who lack certain pleasures during their childhood may exhibit them during their later stages of life. For example, he alleged that an elderly person with a fixation problem of the oral stage can show signs of frequent biting or chewing. Unfortunately, subsequent studies have not proven this allegation.

Part 2

Option A: Development of the Brain at Infancy

            Infancy is a childhood stage that lasts between birth and two years. During this phase, a lot of learning takes place because the brain has already undergone prenatal development. Indeed, the brain is one of the earliest organs that begin to develop immediately after conception. Even though most of the development that occurs before birth is genetic, some environmental aspects such as alcohol drinking, lack of basic nutrients, and sickness to the mother have been found to have a deteriorative effect.

In contrast, postnatal brain development is entirely defined by the combination of genetics and the environment. Similarly, the cognition of a child in infancy is dependent on both nature and nurture. The former refers to the hereditary characteristics of a person, whereas the latter is synonymous to the environmental stimuli that induce the formation of distinctive perceptions.

In brief, brain development of most people continues until the early years of adulthood. However, infancy that is characterized by the plasticity of the brain is the most critical phase of a person’s life. At this stage, the brain is at its best receptive form. As a result, this is where permanent foundations essential to language proficiency, emotional stability, and social conduct are acquired. To illustrate, before birth a child’s brain is configured to code virtually any form of sound, but experience during the first year of infancy induces it to learn the native language. By the end of the first year, the capability of the brain becomes limited to being able to differentiate sounds made in vernacular only. Eventually, by the end of infancy a child is capable of constructing speech. Visual sensitivity is also a component of brain development that is typical of early childhood. However, in infancy, it is mainly limited to facial processing where children aged nine months can correctly distinguish two faces.

Besides speech and vision, the other elements that are vital in this stage are socialization, enrichment, and deprivation. The efficiency of the brain on any issue at this phase is to a large extent dependent on the pattern of exposure. For instance, the more a child socializes with a caretaker, the more he or she becomes attached to that person. However, exposure to negative or positive stimuli can lead to future deprivation or enrichment of behavior respectively. Therefore, it is imperative that parents of infants raise them in settings that foster quality brain development.


Feldman, R. (2013). Lifespan development: A topical approach. Pearson Higher Ed.


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