Individual Uniqueness

I’ve begun teaching the Adult Development course at Northwestern for Masters’ students so I will be sprinkling the blog with ideas that we have talked about in my graduate class. I hope you will find some of them refreshing.  We started with a discussion about developmental transitions.

One of the first things that we talked about was how unique people are.  To even attempt to understand a person, we have to consider the major influences on their development.

Here are the 4 major variables:

  1. Biology – this includes all the different ways that genetics and health related factors shape the person we become.
  2. Psychology – this includes all the internal, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and personality factors that have affected our development.
  3. Sociocultural – these forces are the interpersonal, societal, cultural and ethnic influences that help create us.
  4. Life cycle events – this refers to differences in how the same event affects different people at different points in their lives, i.e. first child at 16 or 40 or unemployment when you are wealthy instead of when you are poor.

No wonder it takes time to understand each other and to appreciate the complexity of individual lives.

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