Introduction to the Humanistic, Contextual, and Evolutionary Perspectives of Development

What you’ll learn to do: describe the humanistic, contextual, and evolutionary perspectives of development

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Each perspective that we have seen so far emphasizes different aspects of development. We first looked at the psychodynamic approach and how it emphasizes unconscious determinants of behavior. We then turned to the behavioral perspective which emphasizes overt behavior. Now, we’ll turn our attention to the humanistic perspective,¬†which emphasizes empathy and stresses the good in human behavior; it is similar to the cognitive perspective in that it looks more at what people think than at what they do. In this section, we will also look at the contextual perspective, which¬†considers the relationship between individuals and their physical world, cognitive processes, personality, and social worlds. It also examines social and cultural influences on development. And finally, we will briefly examine the evolutionary perspective which focuses on how inherited biological factors underlie development.