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Differences Between Growth and Development in Psychology

Growth vs Development in Psychology

“Psychology” is defined as “the scientific study of the mind and behavior.” In this discipline, it also covers the growth and development of human beings. Humans are very interesting subjects. Humans are a mystery and constantly change. This includes their growth and development as interesting areas of this topic. “Growth” and “development” always come in pairs. But what are exactly the differences between growth and development in the field of psychology? Let us all find out in this article.

For a quick differentiation about growth and development, psychology defines “growth” as “the physical change that a particular individual undergoes.” On the other hand, psychology defines “development” as “the overall growth of humans throughout their lifespan.” Development includes the understanding of how and why people change in terms of physical growth, intellectual, emotional, social, and other aspects of human growth. In psychology, there are several principles concerning growth and development. Just by looking at its principles, we can tell the differences between growth and development in psychology.

With regards to development, it always follows a pattern. Development is not a chaotic and immediate process. It takes time, just like growth. For example, the cephalocaudal sequence is a pattern of development. When a baby grows, his activities develop from head to toe. A baby learns how to move his head first before he can walk. Since it follows a pattern, we can say that development is also predictable.

We can say that development is gradual and is the same as growth. Like development, growth is not an immediate process. It is a continuous process. The parts of the body continuously grow given the proper nutrition it needs. Until the parts of the body reach their peak of growth, they will continue growing.

The growth rate of humans is not usually uniform. During a human’s early years, his growth rate is at its peak. However, during the later years, the growth rate becomes slower. When we will look at the parts of the body, we can also say that each part has a different growth rate. When a baby is born, we can notice that the head seems bigger than the length of the body. The head is actually one-fourth of the body’s length in babies.

It is very interesting to watch humans grow and develop. During the development years of humans, development proceeds from general to specific. Let us take a child for example. When a child wants something, he uses his whole hand to point at the thing he wants. But as he grows older, his brain and muscles are developed. With that, he can now use a finger instead of his whole hand when pointing at something. As a child develops, he is being affected by his environment, nutrition, peers, and even his genes. With that, we can say that the development of a child largely depends on his genetic traits and the factors around him.

Growth is more on the physical aspect while development is more on the mental aspect. These two processes are highly correlated with each other. If a child has good physical health, most likely the child also has above average mental capacity. With good physical growth, a child can be more sociable with other people, too.

Summary:

  1. “Growth” and “development” always come in pairs. Psychology defines “growth” as “the physical change that a particular individual undergoes.”

  2. Psychology defines “development” as “the overall growth of humans throughout their lifespan.” Development includes the understanding of how and why people change in terms of physical growth, intellectual, emotional, social, and other aspects of human growth.


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4 Comments

  1. This was a good article and it was interesting. Then there could be a reason why most children feel pain in the stomach when growing.

  2. these articles is really interesting and really soo sensitive of Differentiate between development and Growth
    ……

  3. Good article …….growth can be measured..development can’t be measured vut observe

    • While growth is more readily operationalized to interval (and frequently ratio) levels of measurement – development can also be operationalized and measured. Many aspects of development can only be measured at the ordinal level (eg. at x days-old baby can crawl, at y days-old baby can stand, at z days old baby can walk). Since crawling, standing, and walking are qualitatively (not quantitatively) different they can only be measured at the ordinal level (the sequence of for this particular pattern of development is virtually always in the order described). However there are many examples of development that can be measured at the ratio level. (e.g. At 50 days-old both baby #1 and baby #2 could say 0 words, at 330 days-old both could say 1 word, at 420 days-old baby #1 could say 2 words and baby #2 could say 4 words, at 480 days old baby #1 could say 4 words and baby #2 could say 8 words. Because the number of words a baby can say begins with 0 and the numbers represent the actual count (amount) of the variable. Thus baby #2 could be said to be developing language at twice the rate as baby #1 during the time frame sampled.

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