Development Through Life:
Learning and Learning Theory
This chapter builds on the information in the preceding chapter by exploring in greater depth some of the fundamental issues involved in the growth and development of an individual throughout the span of life. It provides the groundwork for more specific attention to the young child in the next chapter, the adolescent in Chapter 5, and so on.
In Chapter 1 we described the process by which a theory comes into being. Then in the second chapter we introduced the theory of individual psychosocial development through a discussion of the several systems that bear on that process. In this chapter we will explore psychosocial development further by using several theoretic constructs to describe different aspects of human behavior. The focus of our effort is to understand what that behavior is about. Behavior does not happen in a vacuum. Where does the behavior come from? To what purpose is it directed? These theories deal with the concepts of adaptation, psychosexual development, cognitive development, learning, and social roles.