Human development has been a subject of interest since ancient Greece and Rome. Different approaches derive from two basic directions: the nativists` and empiricists` ones. The latter method is to regard human development as a gradual change which has been influenced by the individual`s experience .On the other hand, the former approach has found its roots in the biological structure of the human organism which considers our development as a series of stages. However, referring to human development only as continuous or gradual would produce inconsistent and insufficient understanding of the developmental process .As a result, combining ideas of both viewpoints(continuity and phases) will provide a more explicit of understanding of the developmental processes and their final aim which is to create individual`s integrity within the social norms.
Jean Piaget(1929), widely known as one of the pioneers in investigating child development, has developed his theory on the basis of cognitive stages. He presents four aspects of the child `s concept formation: sensorimotor ,preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational. All of these stages suggest the emergence of development precedes the ability to learn. Moreover, It is emphasised on the intellectual development regardless of the cultural influences and specific individual differences. Therefore, human cognitive development is regarded as universal for all human species. On the one hand, Piaget sees the human internal conception in interaction with external world messages conveyed. On the other hand, a child`s ability to perceive cognitive information in an effective way is not clearly defined. Resulting from this, old experiences receive new names. According to Piaget theory, human development is completed once the individual reaches the phases of maturation.
Alternatively, Erik Erikson(1965) also describes human development as a series of stages by adopting the psychosocial approach. He distinguishes eight psychological crises(stages) which directly relates to the social requirements and emotional bonds. Human psychosocial development is seen as unique which offers a great range of diversity. Consequently, this variety provides an opportunity of establishing universally necessary and sufficient phases of development. The eight stages form a circle which demonstrates the similarity between the first stage ( trust vs mistrust) and the last one(integrity vs despair).In other words, the human beings strive for integrity which could be reached only by passing successfully through all the phases which is a lifelong experience. Concluding from this, human development is a continuous process which is constructed by different phases. The stages role is to present more concrete and deeper understanding of this process.
Another perspective is also socially orientated but it plays a considerable emphasis on the historically-cultural influences. Lev Vygotsky (1978) also explains human...