When we talk about development we usually mean that a country is becoming richer, but the word can also be used to describe a pattern of change across human life spans. This change can be positive or negative depending on the situation. Development can be seen in a person’s physical, social and emotional growth and maturation. It can be the result of both nurture and nature, but it is a combination of these two things that really makes a difference.
Different theories of development have different assumptions. Some, like the mechanistic meta-theory see people as machines that are fixed (like a car stays a car no matter what it does) and that their changes are due to external forces that act on them. Others, such as the behaviorists, Vygotsky and information processing theorists assume that people have some control over their own development and that they are not passive participants who just react to the environment around them.
Another assumption that different theories of development make is that there are certain periods in a person’s life where their brain is most open to change – for better or worse. These are called sensitive periods and include prenatal and early childhood. They are especially susceptible to the impact of toxic stress and chronic adversity, which can disrupt normal brain function.
The most important reason that development is a good thing is because it can reduce a countries child mortality rate, which in turn leads to higher employment opportunities and reduced crime rates. It also improves the quality of a country’s education and healthcare systems and allows for increased trade with other developed nations. Developing countries are less likely to suffer from armed conflict or pollical instability and have more power in world affairs.