Blume, L. B., & Zembar, M. J. (2007). Middle childhood to middle adolescence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson [Vital Source e-reader].

Chapter 1, “Studying Middle Childhood and Adolescence”

Theories of Development

This week, you have been introduced to many different theories of development. Each theory represents a unique perspective on how and why humans develop in the ways that they do. Throughout the past century, pre-eminent psychologists, including Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, B.F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, and Urie Bronfenbrenner, have devoted research and study toward unlocking the mysteries of human development. Their findings and interpretations constitute theories that continue to influence the way human development is viewed today.

In this assignment, you will choose two of the theories presented in this week’s Learning Resources. You will compare the theories, explaining how they are similar and how they are different in their approach to human development.

Then, you will consider the eclectic theoretical orientation and its implications for the study of school-age and adolescent development.

Choose two of the following theories, presented in this week’s Learning Resources:

  • Psychoanalytic (Freud)
  • Psychosocial (Erikson)
  • Cognitive (Piaget)
  • Sociocultural (Vygotsky)
  • Behavioral/operant conditioning (Skinner)
  • Social cognitive (Bandura)
  • Ethological (Lorenz, Bowlby)
  • Ecological (Bronfenbrenner)

In a 2- to 3-page paper, respond to the following:

  • Explain one way in which the two theories are similar in how they conceptualize human development, and one way in which the two theories are different in their approach.
  • Which of the two theories do you feel is most accurate, based on your own experiences? Why?
  • Consider the “eclectic” theoretical orientation. What is the benefit of an eclectic theoretical orientation when studying human development? Do you find the eclectic theoretical orientation more or less useful than the two theories you chose above? How do you think the eclectic theoretical orientation will influence your studies in this course?
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