please choose one specific area H u m a n i t i e s
Objective:One of the most interesting aspects of a class on human development is that the research and
theories you learn about can help you analyze and interpret human behavior that you encounter in
everyday life. Therefore, for this assignment, you will observe and/or interview a person at any stage in
the lifespan, and analyze that person’s behavior and development in terms of theories and current research
on lifespan development, as described in the textbook.
Your Task: Observe and/or interview 1 person that you know at any stage in development for at least 1
hour (this does NOT need to be done in-person! Video chat and phone calls are perfectly acceptable). For
younger children, you may also interview a parent or other caregiver. There are no specific questions you
need to ask this person, but be sure you are able to either observe enough behaviors or gather enough
information in order to complete the rest of the assignment.
Then, write a 5-6 page paper (double-spaced) where you describe your observations and interactions with
this person in terms of their 1) physical, 2) cognitive, and 3) emotional or social development within the
framework of developmental research and theory.
Specifically, in your paper, you should:
1) Introduce your subject (e.g., their age and gender, how you know them – but change their name
for confidentiality purposes!), and then briefly introduce the stage of development that your
subject is currently experiencing. What ages does this developmental stage generally encompass,
and what are some of the major developmental milestones and challenges of this period? This portion
of your paper should NOT be specific to your subject, but should instead describe the developmental
2) Describe your observations and interactions with your subject in terms of each of the following
three categories: 1) physical development, 2) cognitive development, 3) emotional OR social
development. You must also analyze your observations/interactions in terms of information from
your textbook. Please choose one specific area of development from each of these categories to focus
on. For example, if you observed a child in early childhood, you could describe the child’s fine motor
skills (physical development), language development (cognitive development), and the types of
interactions they have with their parents (emotional/social development). Specifically, answer the
following questions in your paper:
a. For each area of development, is this person’s experiences consistent with the claims
presented in a specific theory, or in the research (as presented in the textbook)? Briefly
describe the theories and/or research that supports your claims.
b. If this person’s development was different than what you might have expected, what factors
do you think contributed to these differences? For example, you could describe the role of
culture, this person’s immediate environment, or genetic factors that might contribute to
individual differences in development. Support your claims with references from the
3) Identify one or two major theories described in the textbook that you believe provide an
accurate (or at least partially accurate) explanation for one or more areas of development that
you observed in your subject. (For example, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Erikson’s
psychosocial theory, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory, or others.)
a. First, describe the theory. What are the central claims of that theory?
b. In what ways are your subject’s behaviors or development consistent with that theory? In
what ways are they different from the theory’s claims, and what could account for those
c. How would you expect your subject to develop in the future, based on this theory? Why?