What Is Development?


Development is a process that creates growth, brings in progress and positive change. The term describes a wide variety of activities, from personal development to economic growth to social progress. Development is an ongoing process that can be measured by different metrics, but it is often analyzed in terms of its impact on the human condition.

The broad field of human development, also known as lifespan development, looks at changes and stability across many domains of psychological functioning including cognitive abilities, personality, emotions and morality. The work of psychologists like Piaget and Erikson focuses on the developmental tasks that each individual must negotiate at various times in their life.

A key assumption of developmental theory is the notion that people play a active role in their own development. Piaget, for example, believed that children actively explore and construct new ways of thinking to understand the world around them. In contrast, other behavioral theorists see humans as more passive participants in their own development, reacting to the circumstances of their lives.

The goal of development is to achieve a quality of life in balance with nature and the environment. This goal can be achieved through a combination of economic, social and environmental development. One of the main obstacles to this goal is poverty, which prevents people from reaching the basic goals of development including freedom and access to education, health care and clean air. In addition, war and corruption undermine all three primary goals of development.