Development is a noun that describes good change, like growing up or moving to another job. It can also describe the process of building a house, creating a business, or merging two departments. Development is also the term used to refer to a country’s economic growth. It is measured by the United Nations with the Human Development Index, which considers income per capita, literacy rates, and life expectancy.
Various researchers have defined development in different ways. Some, like Piaget and Vygotsky, focus on cognitive development. Others, like Freud and Erikson, have focused on emotional development. Erikson’s theory was particularly influential, as it emphasized that social relationships foster development. He posited that humans move through psychosocial crises, or periods of intense change, as they grow up. The successful completion of these crises is essential to a person’s development.
Some people have favored maturational meta-theories, which assume that development is an entirely natural process. This view has been bolstered by research indicating that certain hormones, genes, and brain systems affect particular characteristics. Other researchers, such as those who follow Vygotsky and information processing theories, have favored contextualist meta-theories, which assume that developmental processes are influenced by both nature and nurture.
The concept of sustainable development has been gaining popularity. It emphasizes the need to consider both environmental and social issues when making decisions about development. It is based on the principle that the earth’s resources are limited and finite, but not insurmountable.