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Assumptions About Human Development

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What assumptions do the three families of theories make about development?
A theory's assumptions refers to its answers to three questions about development:

1. Active or passive - Is a person active in shaping her own environment, or is she a passive recipient of environmental influences?

2. Nature or nurture - Does the theory claim more influence from genetics and heredity (nature) or from the environment (nurture)?

3. Continuity or discontinuity - Are there stages (emphasizing development in leaps) or no stages (development is a stable, continuous process)?

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Solution Summary

The assumptions about human development is examined in the solution. It considers three questions about development regarding active or passive, nature or nurture and continuity or discontinuity.

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Net Industries (2012) states that a good way to understand the varying approaches to human development is to think of them as a reflection of distinct worldviews. While a worldview is not a theory, it does represent assumptions that the theory draws upon to investigate. There are three obvious worldviews in the work of developmental theorists typically referred to as the Contexualist, Mechanistic and Organismic Worldview.

Organismic worldview includes theorists Jean Piaget, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, William Damon, Erickson and Freud. They ...

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