Consider the development of any special ability/skill you have—such as dancing

  • Consider the development of any special ability/skill you have—such as dancing, playing an instrument, or drawing. You are assigned with the task of constructing a theory of development to explain how your skill/ability developed into what it is today. To do this, you must consider the various elements that comprise the framework for the theory.

First, state your opinions in response to the following questions (supported, of course, by the readings):

  1. What is the role of the organism (active or passive)? That is, were you active in developing this skill (seeking it out), or were you a passive recipient (simply exposed to it)?
  2. What is the course of its development? To answer this question, determine if changes in the skill follow a discontinuous (develops, then stays the same) or continuous (consistently changing) pattern of improvement. Also, determine if changes in the skill were qualitative (meaning that they are very different and unrecognizable from previous levels) or quantitative (meaning that they are gradual additions to previous levels).
  3. What is the determinant of development in this skill? This is the nature/genetics versus nurture/environment question. That is, did you inherit this ability from your family, or was it formed because you had certain experiences?

Second, which of the theories introduced in the readings most closely matches your theory? Explain why you believe this theory and yours are best suited to describe developmental changes.




Chapter 1, p. 1-24; Chapter 11, p. 322-335; Chapter 14, p. 438-453 in Life Span Development

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