BSHS 342 Human Lifespan Development
This course presents students with empirical research findings and theoretical frameworks to foster an understanding of the various stages and dimensions of human development across the lifespan. Emphasis is placed on biological, cognitive, emotional, and social development in a timeframe extending from prenatal development through the elder years and on toward eventual end of life and bereavement processes.
Topics and Objectives
Studying the Lifespan
- Describe and provide justification for the field of developmental studies as a scientific, applied, and interdisciplinary field.
- Identify, compare and contrast the various theories of human development.
- Examine and discuss the heredity versus environment (nature versus nurture) controversy and describe how it relates to the various human development theories.
- Explore and discuss the phases and changes of human development, the complexity of these changes, and the elements that support it.
Early Human Development
- Describe the three phases of prenatal development and discuss various environmental agents that can affect prenatal development.
- Explain the childbirth process, including the various approaches to it and the changes the infant experiences during birth.
- Identify and elaborate on the various genetic and environmental influences pertaining to an infant's physical growth.
- Compare and contrast the biosocial and cognitive development taking place in humans from infancy through toddlerhood.
Early Childhood and "School" Years
- Articulate the physical growth and motor skills development that occur in early childhood, and discuss environmental and hereditary elements that affect such development.
- Integrate the various facets of psychosocial growth and expression taking place in young children, and identify environmental factors that influence such growth and expression.
Children's Thinking Processes
- Discuss how children's thought processes develop, integrating Vygotsky's sociocultural theory and Piaget's cognitive-development theory into your discussion.
- Compare and contrast a Vygotsky classroom with a Piaget classroom, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each.
- Differentiate between a child-centered program and an academic program in a preschool or kindergarten learning environment and discuss how each can enhance or inhibit learning.
Middle Childhood and Adolescence
- Discuss the social demands facing children of middle childhood and adolescence, including how peer relations change and strengthen in adolescence.
- Describe the biological changes that take place in puberty and how such changes affect the child's physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development.
- Discuss how heredity influences sexual identity and identify some common misconceptions around homosexuality.
- Summarize the biological, social, and cognitive transitions humans face from childhood, to adolescence, to early adulthood.
- Describe the biological transition that takes place from adolescence to early adulthood.
- Differentiate among the various theories of early adult psychosocial development.
- Identify the physical changes and associated challenges taking place in middle adulthood and how middle adults adapt to such changes.
- Compare and contrast the psychosocial changes taking place in middle adulthood between men and women.
Aging and Late Adulthood
- Describe the biological changes that occur in late adulthood and how health and fitness affect the aging process.
- Contrast the overall decline of memory, language processing, and problem solving abilities in late adults with the benefits of practical knowledge and life experience they offer.
Death and Dying
- Explain the biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors that affect people's ability to cope with dying.
- Discuss how grieving the loss of a loved one is influenced by individual and circumstantial factors.