Self-Analysis:  Your Life Journey As Told By Developmental Theories In this final exam, you will use the information you have gained from this course to write a reflective response to the following prompt about your development (not necessarily the development of average/typical others in the general population – but focusing primarily on your own changes observed over time): How do our primary developmental theories explain your individual journey across your lifespan?  This essay-based assignment will focus on whether or not your own development has mirrored and may continue to align with what the major theories lead us to expect (i.e., did your development follow the expected pattern shown in the theories).


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Are you on target and within the description of what the theorists said is expected for most people – and how so?  Or are you an outlier in some way – and why might this be true?  What is unique about your nature or nurture experiences that contribute to your analysis of these ideas?  This assignment will be best approached with ample reflection over your own developmental experiences in comparison to what you know about the major theories our course will have covered by the end of this term.  For added complexity, you may wish to talk with a parent, grandparent, older sibling, former teacher, etc., to gather information about their observation of your development as well (particularly for analysis of your earliest months and years).

    In your paper, you should include ample information from the following considerations: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:  Use Piaget’s theory as a guide for describing what your development has looked like through the four stages that address intellectual growth from infancy to adolescence/adulthood.  Be sure to also add acknowledgment of how you may have responded to Vygotsky’s ideas associated with social influences upon cognition and the ZPD.  For optimal impact in this section, add information about the information processing concepts found in the cognitive development chapters of your textbook.  Also, you should consider a description with examples of where you are now in your cognitive development (i.e., probably post formal) and what is your prediction for how your developmental path will take its journey through your young adulthood and into the stages of middle and late adulthood.  Based on the strengths and/or limitations of your cognitive development to date, what might you predict coming up in the developmental sequence over time?   

PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:  Use Erikson’s theory to describe what your psychosocial development has looked like through the stages of the psychosocial theory model.  Supplement with Elkind’s ideas of egocentrism as well as Marcia’s ideas about identity statuses to deepen your analysis.  Also, you should consider where you are now in your psychosocial development and what is your prediction of what future stages will look like for you as an individual.  What are some examples of how your future psychosocial development might take shape based on your history of development in this general dimension?  EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT:  Use information from your textbook chapters about personal emotional development to discuss perspectives about relevant issues such as attachment, self-esteem, self-concept, self-efficacy, emotional regulation, etc., that can be used to describe your own life journey.  You’ll want to cite whatever source of theoretical information you select. For maximum impact in this section, you should consider the ways in which emotional development can be linked to cognitive development as well as psychosocial trends in your life history.  Also, based on the strengths and/or limitations of your emotional development to date, what are some predictions you can make about developmental outcomes in this dimension that might be expected to arise in future stages?

ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES:  Use Bronfenbrenner’s theory and Maslow’s hierarchy to describe the ways in which your ecological systems shaped and tailored your individual development (for the better or for the worse).  How did this impact who you are today by offering deliberate influence over your development in childhood and adolescence?  How might your future development throughout adulthood be impacted based on how these theories have taken shape in your life today?

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES:  You may wish to include some acknowledgement of theoretical principles from names such as  Neugarten,  Baumrind,  Schaie,  Baltes, etc.  Also, you are encouraged to consider information insight you may have gathered from Zoom class sessions with regard to adverse/traumatic childhood experiences, the diathesis-stress model, brain changes due to environmental quality, etc.  Is there evidence of age irrelevance in your development or did you seem to develop along with age expectations? Are there patterns of normative or non-normative experiences?  Is your personal growth an example of successful, pathological, etc.?  Were parent-child relationships instrumental in setting up your developmental characteristics?  Are there easily identifiable elements of plasticity, multidirectionality, multidimensionality, growth/decline, etc.?  How so?  What about future plasticity and change in your adult stages?  The list goes on and on with regard to the impacts of these miscellaneous ideas that you might choose to share. 

PLEASE DO NOT WRITE LONG SYNOPSES OF THE ACADEMIC DESCRIPTION OF THESE THEORIES AND/OR PRINCIPLES.  INSTEAD, SHOW ME THAT YOU UNDERSTAND HOW THE THEORIES RELATE TO THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE.  THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN APPLIED DISCUSSION OF HOW YOUR LIFE JOURNEY SHOWS EVIDENCE OF WHAT THE THEORIES TELL US.  BUT YOU WILL BE USING QUOTES AND REFERENCES FROM ACADEMIC INFORMATION TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIMS AND OBSERVATIONS/REFLECTIONS.   Some important guidelines: This assignment should be written in essay format with citations included with regard to where your insights and facts have come from in your work.  You should clearly identify where you have gotten important factual information when you discuss theoretical and conceptual information (i.e., when you compare/contrast your developmental history with what the theories say).  For instance, if you use a statement from textbook pages that illustrates the ideas about a theory that you are comparing to your own life development, then you should clearly cite that information using appropriate citation styles as you would in a research paper. Your essay should contain a notable balance between information taken from textbook chapters, class discussions, and other materials you may wish to introduce in your work.  You are encouraged to find one or two sources other than the textbook to support your ideas shown in your writing.   There is no minimum or maximum page length for this final exam activity.  But you should definitely focus on answering each part of this assignment while addressing the full array of concepts that are requested. 

Incomplete assignments will NOT earn full credit.  Papers that leave out important segments of the requested information will NOT be viewed as successful.  Each individual has a slightly different writing style wherein some students may write more than average, some may write less.  This range is absolutely okay, as long as each student gives full and accurate information.  Rather than thinking of minimum or maximum page lengths, please focus on the quality and clarity of the work you are producing.   Be sure to utilize citations throughout your work in order to show that you are crediting the appropriate sources when introducing theory and course material into your written work.  But, do be certain that your own original ideas are the bulk of the writing throughout your work (i.e., this final exam should reflect your own learning and insight).  Also, please be aware that if your paper includes citations, there must be a reference list on a separate page at the end.  Note that we call this page “references” and NOT “works cited.”


APA style (not MLA) is expected in your work on this project.  This is assumed in all psychology courses.  There are helpful tutorials and writing help available on the Writing Center page of the Collin website.  Online assistance also is available in the writing center if you need help from the staff in that center for putting APA style on paper.  You are encouraged to seek this out if you suspect that your skills with implementing citations and a reference page might need some support or tutoring. One final note:  It is okay and acceptable to write parts of this paper in first person (using I, me, my, mine, our) because substantial passages of this final exam will be your narration of your development.  Your reflection and analysis will probably be easier with first person language.  However, your research and citations will need to follow the APA style.

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