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    Developmental Growth and Adjustment

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    Select a famous individual from the 20th or 21st centuries. Conduct research concerning the background of your selected individual to determine what forces have impacted his or her life from the viewpoint of developmental psychology.

    Please address the following items:

    1. Distinguish between the influences of heredity and environment on their psychological development. Be sure to specify which area of psychological development (moral emotional, etc).

    2. What family issues and/or social support systems may have influenced their developmental growth and adjustment?

    3. Select two different theories of personality and apply them to your selected figure, and answer the following question: How does each theory differ in terms of how it explains the individual's unique patterns or traits?

    4. Explain which theoretical approach you believe best explains the individual's behaviors and achievements. Make sure to explain why you made this choice.

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    Solution Preview

    1. Distinguish between the influences of heredity and environment on his or her psychological development. Be sure to specify which area of psychological development (moral emotional, etc).

    Abraham Harold Maslow (1908-1970) was a famous psychologist.

    He was born in Brooklyn, New York, the first of seven children. Environmental influences were his religion, family and teachers impacted his moral, intellectual and emotional development. Heredity influence impacted him emotionally as he seemed to inherit his emotional tendency towards being lonely and depressed (had long periods of depression throughout his adult life). For example, his family relationship impacted his moral and emotional development, as his father was distant and his mother was anxious and had pouts of serious emotional upheavals. His parents, who themselves were uneducated Jewish immigrants from Russia, put extremely high expectations on Abraham, which impacted his emotional development. Although his parents saw education was important for their children in the new world, they pushed Abraham hard for academic success. This pressure and too high expectations impacted his emotional development and Abraham became a very lonely boy and spent much of his time at the library, He found refuge in books. Abraham's moral development was impacted by Jewish religious thought preached by his mother, which had an opposite impact, as Abraham rejected the Jewish faith. He was psychologically programmed to meet the expectations set by his parents, and to so satisfy them, he first studied law at the City College of New York (CCNY). This psychological attachment impacted Maslow, as he was unsettled and after three semesters, he transferred to Cornell, and then back to CCNY (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/maslow.html).

    2. What family issues and/or social support systems may have influenced their developmental growth and adjustment?

    The family issues that seemed to impact Abraham's developmental growth were: high academic expectations of his parents left him feeling inadequate and prone to loneliness and periods of depression later in life, and struggled academically. He lacked social systems during earlier life, and spent every waking hour at the library. He escaped his life through reading. He had difficulty making a decisions of what schools to attend, probably due o his parents pressuring him to follow what they wanted as opposed to what he actually wanted which took awhile for him to decide. He was not a well-adjusted child, and resented his mother who preached Judaism, which he later rejected.

    He married, so his wife became his social system and he switched from Law (his parents choice) to psychology. His school work began to improve dramatically. His colloquies became his social support, such as Harry Harlow, who is famous for his experiments with baby rhesus monkeys and attachment behavior. After choosing his own profession, he excelled and received his BA in 1930, his MA in 1931, and his PhD in 1934, all in psychology, all from the ...

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