Lifespan Development

The What and When Behind Growing Up…If All Things Go According to Plan

A development framework that explains how adaptation throughout life depends on how each of us negotiates the internal and external factors that enhance or constrain our abilities to reach our full potentials.


Mental processes of knowing: imagining, perceiving, reasoning, and problem solving

Emotions, Personality, and social interaction and expectations

Bodily changes; maturation, growth


The information illustrates internal and external factors from age 0-40.

Age 0-2


• Basic structure of language learned through baby talk with adul ts

• First communication emerges through crying, then cooing and babbling

• Language skills progress from speaking a few words by age 1, to constructing sentences by age 2

• Awareness of world progresses through immediate sensorimotor experiences to mental representations of events

• Thinking includes concept of object permanence: objects still exist when out of sight or awareness

• Ability to grasp conceptual categories begins; by age 2 numerou s definite concepts develop


• Emotional responses change from basic reactions to more complex, self-conscious responses

• Independent behaviors increase with parental encouragement around feeding, dressing, and toilet training

• Parents and infants respond to each other by synchronizing their behavior

• Development of secure attachment sets stage for child’s increasingly independent exploration

• Ability to relate to playmates emerges by end of period

• Early personality traits, such as introversion and extroversion, develop


• Body doubles in height and quadruples in weight

• Neurons grow in increasingly dense connections, becoming coated with layers of myelin, and enabling faster and more efficient message transmission

• Experiences help to fine tune the brain’s responses to stimulati on

• Motor skills progress from simple reflexes to coordinated motor abilities, such as grasping and walking

• Sensory and perceptual abilities develop rapidly


To see more download the information graphic.

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