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Summary Development Matrix: Human Development Lifespan

Different stages of the life are characterised by specific features related to the person’s development. In order to discuss changes that can be observed in persons during the lifespan, it is necessary to divide the life into seven periods that are known as infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood (Berk, 2014, p. 104). For these periods, it is important to examine and discuss such categories of the individual’s development as the physical development, the development of motor skills, the cognitive development, the emotional development, and the social development, as well as the development of language abilities (Berk, 2014, p. 103). From this point, the matrix that is prepared to reflect the aspects of the person’s lifespan should include seven age periods and five categories of the personal development according to which it is necessary to examine the developmental changes or milestones.

Summary Development Matrix.

(0-1 year)
Early Childhood
(2-6 years)
Middle Childhood (6-11 years) Adolescence
(11-18 years)
Early Adulthood
(18-40 years)
Middle Adulthood (40-65 years) Late Adulthood (65-85 years)
Physical Development
  • The visual acuity is underdeveloped (Berk, 2014, p. 106).
  • Visual and auditory stimuli are perceived simultaneously (Berk, 2014, p. 142).
  • Body proportions can change (Berk, 2014, p. 120).
  • Muscle development is rather slow, but it becomes more intensive at the age of 5-6 years (Berk, 2014, p. 120).
  • A child jumps and runs easily (Berk, 2014, p. 140).
  • The children grow slower, and their bodies become longer (Berk, 2014, p. 216).
  • Children start losing their primary teeth (Berk, 2014, p. 217).
  • Children gain the weight and height slowly (Berk, 2014, p. 290).
  • Primary teeth are replaced with permanent teeth (Berk, 2014, p. 290).
  • The growth spurt is observed in girls earlier than in boys (Berk, 2014, p. 290).
  • Girls tend to add fat, and the muscle development is limited (Berk, 2014, p. 363).
  • For girls, this period means the start of the menstruation (Berk, 2014, p. 366).
  • It is possible to observed changes in boys’ voices (Berk, 2014, p. 366).
  • The muscle development is observed in boys (Berk, 2014, p. 366).
  • The first sexual intercourses are possible (Berk, 2014, p. 375).
  • Adults can demonstrate the developed athletic skills, their performance is high, but these skills decline later (Berk, 2014, p. 436).
  • It is possible to observe the first signs of declines in the skin elasticity, as well as the body systems’ capacity (Berk, 2014, p. 435).
  • The metabolic rate starts to decline (Berk, 2014, p. 439).
  • Adults are characterised by the high sexual activity (Berk, 2014, p. 446).
  • The high-level reproductive capacity in women (Berk, 2014, p. 435).
  • Declines in vision and hearing are observed (Berk, 2014, p. 502).
  • The hair becomes gray (Berk, 2014, p. 502).
  • The sexual activity is declined (Berk, 2014, p. 504).
  • The muscle mass can decline significantly (Riediger, Voelkle, Schaefer, & Lindenberger, 2014, p. 514).
Motor Skills
  • In infants, motor skills are based on reflexes, but then reflexes change (Berk, 2014, p. 106).
  • An infant can grasp and hold objects, sit, and stand (Berk, 2014, p. 139).
  • The theory of operant conditioning explains infants’ responses and reactions (Berk, 2014, p. 134).
  • An infant makes the first steps (Berk, 2014, p. 138).
  • Skills in reaching and grasping are improved in 2-year-old children (Berk, 2014, p. 136).
  • The coordination improves (Berk, 2014, p. 140).
  • The coordination is improved. Children can jump, run, and catch objects (Berk, 2014, p. 223).
  • They can easily control the movements of their hands (Berk, 2014, p. 223).
  • Children improve their skills in drawing pictures (Berk, 2014, p. 223).
  • Children can use scissors and a knife (Berk, 2014, p. 223).
  • Children develop their skills in writing (Berk, 2014, p. 295).
  • Skills in drawing improve (Berk, 2014, p. 295).
  • The coordination associated with running, jumping or catching things improves significantly (Loprinzi, Davis, & Fu, 2015, p. 835).
  • The motor performance and tends to improve, and adolescents demonstrate high results in sports (Loprinzi et al., 2015, p. 835).
  • The arm-hand steadiness is characteristic of the late part of this decade (Berk, 2014, p. 436).
  • The motor performance tends to worsen (Berk, 2014, p. 503).
  • Physical abilities of individuals decline, and they can require devices to support them while walking (Riediger et al., 2014, p. 514).
Cognitive Development
  • An infant explores things and objects (Berk, 2014, p. 155).
  • Infants recognise faces of parents (Berk, 2014, p. 135).
  • An infant can copy gestures of adults (Berk, 2014, p. 136).
  • According to Piaget’s theory, children improve their skills in adaptation to environments (Berk, 2014, p. 152).
  • The attention improves, as well as the recognition memory (Berk, 2014, p. 161).
  • According to Vygotsky’s theory, children of this age use the private speech in order to regulate their behaviours (Berk, 2014, p. 233).
  • Vygotsky’s theory also explains the children’s reliance on the adults’ guidance in this age (Berk, 2014, p. 233).
  • Preschoolers’ attention and concentration are improved, (Berk, 2014, p. 236).
  • Children begin to count, categorise objects, and understand symbols (Berk, 2014, p. 236).
  • The attention in adolescents is rather selective (Berk, 2014, p. 300).
  • The thinking becomes logical (Berk, 2014, p. 303).
  • Children begin to apply the memory strategies (Berk, 2014, p. 306).
  • The long-term memory and knowledge improve (Berk, 2014, p. 305).
  • Adolescents develop the hypothetical reasoning, as well as the deductive one (Berk, 2014, p. 384).
  • The scientific and critical thinking develops (Berk, 2014, p. 385).
  • Adolescents demonstrate the developed skills in decision-making (Berk, 2014, p. 387).
  • The relativistic thinking develops (Berk, 2014, p. 452).
  • The pragmatic thinking develops (Berk, 2014, p. 452).
  • The problem-solving improves (Berk, 2014, p. 453).
  • The mental abilities tend to decline (Berk, 2014, p. 517).
  • The decline can be observed in relation to the memory and concentration (Berk, 2014, p. 517).
  • Cognitive processes tend to decline, and individuals demonstrate problems with the memory and problem-solving (Moran, 2013, p. 38).
Emotional/Social Development
  • An infant can cry when parents leave the room (Berk, 2014, p. 186).
  • A child understands emotional expressions (Berk, 2014, p. 188).
  • A child learns how to regulate emotions and reactions (Berk, 2014, p. 189).
  • The understanding of such feelings as empathy, fear, and anxiety increases (Berk, 2014, p. 189).
  • Children can evaluate people’s actions as bad or good (Berk, 2014, p. 266).
  • The self-regulation improves (Berk, 2014, p. 268).
  • Children actively participate in playing with other children (Berk, 2014, p. 264).
  • Children can demonstrate the proactive aggression (Berk, 2014, p. 269).
  • According to Erikson’s theory, this age is associated with the Industry versus Inferiority stage when children develop their vision of competence (Berk, 2014, p. 330).
  • Children develop the understanding of responsibility (Berk, 2014, p. 335).
  • Children are inclined to make social comparisons, and their self-esteem changes (Berk, 2014, p. 330).
  • Children become more independent in their behaviours, and they can resolve conflicts (Berk, 2014, p. 333).
  • More attention is paid to developing friendship and relations with peers (Berk, 2014, p. 340).
  • Adolescents tend to demonstrate their autonomy (Berk, 2014, p. 416).
  • The active communication with peers is observed (Berk, 2014, p. 416).
  • Self-esteem in adolescents can rise (Berk, 2014, p. 402).
  • Adolescents develop their vision of identity (Berk, 2014, p. 404).
  • Adolescents change their focus on the same-sex groups to the mixed-sex groups and interaction (Berk, 2014, p. 420).
  • Adolescents start romantic relationships (Berk, 2014, p. 420).
  • According to Erikson’s theory, adults are at the Intimacy versus Isolation stage when they choose their partners and build relationships in families (Berk, 2014, p. 464).
  • The complex self-concept develops (Berk, 2014, p. 464; Luong, Charles, & Fingerman, 2011, p. 11).
  • The focus is on the family relationships (Charles & Carstensen, 2010, p. 385).
  • Adults develop social relationships based on their status and achievements (Riediger et al., 2014, p. 512).
  • Adults are focused on family relationships and support (Kornadt & Rothermund, 2011, p. 554).
  • Adults demonstrate the need for communication with younger persons and close friends (Riediger et al., 2014, p. 514).
  • The child can coo and bubble (Berk, 2014, p. 176).
  • An infant can use simple gestures (Berk, 2014, p. 176).
  • An infant can say the first simple words (Berk, 2014, p. 176).
  • The language skills improve because of the interactions (Berk, 2014, p. 174).
  • The vocabulary expands (Berk, 2014, p. 174).
  • The vocabulary expands intensively (Berk, 2014, p. 248).
  • Children use the language for the social needs and daily interactions (Berk, 2014, p. 248).
  • Conversational skills of children improve (Berk, 2014, p. 248).
  • They focus on using several sentences and apply the basic grammatical constructions (Berk, 2014, p. 249).
  • Language skills improve because of education (Howlin, Savage, Moss, Tempier, & Rutter, 2014, p. 49).
  • Children develop and improve their skills in reading and writing (Berk, 2014, p. 316).
  • This process is associated with the expansion of the vocabulary (Berk, 2014, p. 316).
  • Narratives become detailed (Berk, 2014, p. 316).
  • The children’s awareness of the language specifics also improves (Berk, 2014, p. 316).
  • Children are able to understand word definitions, double meanings of words, and use grammatical constructions (Berk, 2014, p. 316).
  • Adults can use the language creatively (Berk, 2014, p. 420).
  • The ability to learn languages begins to decline (Berk, 2014, p. 464).
  • The ability to produce narratives can decline (Berk, 2014, p. 517).
  • The ability to articulate sounds declines (Berk, 2014, p. 560).


Berk, L. E. (2014). Development through the lifespan. New York, NY: Pearson.

Charles, S., & Carstensen, L. L. (2010). Social and emotional aging. Annual Review of Psychology, 61(1), 383-390. Web.

Howlin, P., Savage, S., Moss, P., Tempier, A., & Rutter, M. (2014). Cognitive and language skills in adults with autism: A 40‐year follow‐up. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55(1), 49-58. Web.

Kornadt, A. E., & Rothermund, K. (2011). Contexts of aging: Assessing evaluative age stereotypes in different life domains. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66(5), 547-556. Web.

Loprinzi, P. D., Davis, R. E., & Fu, Y. C. (2015). Early motor skill competence as a mediator of child and adult physical activity. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2(1), 833-838. Web.

Luong, G., Charles, S. T., & Fingerman, K. L. (2011). Better with age: Social relationships across adulthood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28(1), 9-23. Web.

Moran, J. M. (2013). Lifespan development: The effects of typical aging on theory of mind. Behavioural Brain Research, 237(1), 32-40. Web.

Riediger, M., Voelkle, M. C., Schaefer, S., & Lindenberger, U. (2014). Charting the life course: Age differences and validity of beliefs about lifespan development. Psychology and Aging, 29(3), 503-516. Web.

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