Week 4: Human Development, Motivation, and Emotion

Week 4: Human Development, Motivation, and Emotion

Have you ever found yourself saying, “If I only knew then what I know now….” Or have you ever reflected on a past argument with a loved one and thought, “I would feel so differently about that issue now!” As an adult, you can probably look back over the years and see how differently you look, think, feel, and behave compared to even a year ago. But truly understanding these changes throughout your life can be a daunting endeavor.

Psychologists view development as a lifelong process; it starts prenatally and continues through old age. Developmental changes may seem dramatic at times and more subtle at others, but your body and mind continue to change at all stages of life. Typical physical and cognitive changes are often sequential, age-related, or biologically based (perhaps reflecting more of the “nature” side of the “nature-nurture issue” described in your textbook). Our motivations and emotions also change over time, though those social changes are not bound quite as closely to such parameters of time and sequence (perhaps reflecting more of the “nurture” side of the nature-nurture issue). One thing is certain: investigating the relative influence of nature and nurture can be tricky, and requires a scientific approach.

Welcome to Week 4, which focuses on human development, as well as the motivations and emotions that make us uniquely human.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Compare and contrast the influence of nature and nurture on human development
  • Identify physical, cognitive, and social milestones in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood
  • Identify stages of prenatal development
  • Identify various approaches to motivation
  • Recognize factors underlying basic human needs
  • Apply theories of human emotions to the human experience

Discussion: Human Development

Discussion Spark

Read the Discussion Spark topic/question or comment posted by your Instructor on Day 1 in the Discussion Spark thread for this week.

By Day 2

Post a 1- to 2-paragraph response to the Discussion Spark.

By Day 3

Main Discussion

The scientific study of psychology includes different levels of analysis or differing complementary perspectives. When you reflect on the major psychological perspectives described in the course text, you see that some have more of a social component, while others have more of a biological component. Psychologists attempt to take all these perspectives into consideration by analyzing human behavior from different levels of analyses. Each perspective provides valuable insight into what makes up each unique individual. For this week’s Discussion, you will analyze an individual from a variety of perspectives.

Think about someone you know in one of the age groups listed below. Be sure to pick an age group that is different from your chosen case study individual.

  • Young child
  • Adolescent
  • Older adult

Post a response to the following:

Explain how the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social developmental concepts you learned about this week apply to the person you have in mind. (To protect the identity of your chosen individual, use a pseudonym.) Include a discussion of at least one physical, one cognitive, and one social and emotional concept in your response. How have nature (genetic predispositions) and nurture (environment or experience) contributed to this person’s development? Support your assignment post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources).

By Day 5

Response instructions:

Support your reply to a colleagues’ assignment post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources). You may state your opinion and/or provide personal examples; however, you must also back up your assertions with evidence (including in-text citations) from the source and provide a reference.

Respond in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question and provide insight into how you would answer your question and why.
  • Ask a probing question and provide the foundation, or rationale, for the question.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting by offering a new perspective or insight.
  • Agree with a colleague and offer additional (new) supporting information for consideration.
  • Disagree with a colleague by respectfully discussing and supporting a different perspective.

Refer to the Discussion Rubric, located in the Course Information area, for details on how this discussion will be graded.

Note: You are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleague’s postings. After clicking on the “Week 4 Discussion” link, select “Create Thread” to create your initial post.

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