Standard Article

Human Development

  1. Manfred Diehl1,
  2. Helena Chui1,
  3. Lise M. Youngblade1,
  4. Sara H. Qualls2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0420

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Diehl, M., Chui, H., Youngblade, L. M. and Qualls, S. H. 2010. Human Development. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Colorado State University

  2. 2

    University of Colorado—Colorado Springs

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Theory and research in lifespan psychology rest on the key assumption that human development occurs from conception to death and involves lifelong adaptive processes (Baltes, Lindenberger, & Staudinger, 2006). Thus, human development is the result of biological, psychological, and sociocultural influences that mutually affect each other and shape how individuals develop over the lifespan (Baltes et al., 2006; Li, 2003). With regard to individual development (ontogenesis), lifespan psychologists focus on (1) how single individuals change over time (intraindividual change); (2) differences between individuals during different developmental periods (interindividual differences); (3) differences in individuals' patterns of change over time (interindividual differences in intraindividual change); and (4) how between-person variability in within-person change is brought about as a consequence of biocultural coconstruction (Li, 2003). Moreover, lifespan psychologists agree on a set of core assumptions from which they study human development. These assumptions state that human development is a process that involves continuity and discontinuity, multidirectionality, gains and losses, plasticity, and contextual embeddedness (Baltes et al., 2006).


  • developmental psychology;
  • human development;
  • life cycle;
  • lifespan development;
  • longitudinal research