Term Paper: Lifespan Development

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Psychology - Lifespan Development

PERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY: LIFESPAN DEVELOPMENT

Looking at my life retrospectively, it is relatively clear how much specific aspects of my personality are traceable to my parents' personalities. In certain cases, it seems plausible to conclude that external environmental influences in the form of both modeled behavior and overt instructions from my parents probably contributed strongly to the development of certain psychological traits of mine. On the other hand, other elements of my personal psychological profile seem clearly to be products of heredity, particularly because they became evident so early in my life.

If pressed to identify the strongest aspects of my adult personality, I would consider stubbornness, optimism, empathy, and introspection to form the basis of an accurate general personal profile. According to my parents, my stubbornness was already evident at a very young age; so, my optimism would seem more likely a result of direct influence from my mother, who modeled that orientation in her behavior and also communicated it to me very directly. My response to animals and to the plight of others seems to be natural to me because it also appeared very early, but the fact my mother shares the same trait complicates any attempt to distinguish environmental of biological influences. Finally, introspection would seem to be equally attributable to external influences and natural tendencies, because I share a particular similarity with one particular manifestation of introspective behavior with my father that was completely unknown to me before we discussed it in connection with this writing assignment.

Stubbornness:

According to my parents, I was always very stubborn. They say that as a toddler, I hated to be interrupted in the process of trying to do almost anything I was already doing, even to be shown how to do it better. They recall watching me try to open a box, unsuccessfully but content in my failing effort for ten or fifteen minutes but break out into tears at being interrupted, even with the assistance that I needed so badly. My parents learned to let me finish trying until I got tired of it before showing me how to do whatever I had been trying to do. Apparently, once I had exhausted my ability to figure something out independently, I became very receptive to assistance and would typically watch whatever my mother demonstrated for me, after which I would happily repeat it myself. She learned to simply allow me to try something as many times as necessary for me to bore of it before helping me.

Since I exhibited stubbornness as a very young toddler, it would seem to suggest a strong genetic predisposition in that direction rather than a function of environmental influences. The fact that my paternal grandmother describes identical behavior of my father's as an infant only confirms the apparent genetic basis for my stubbornness, as well as that of several other members of my extended family on my father's side.

Finally, the apparent absence of this tendency on my mother's side of the family only further strengthens the likely connection to genetic inheritance rather than to environmental influence. Optimism:

Whereas my stubbornness seems to have had an obvious genetic component, my optimism is capable of being traced directly back to specific encouragement on the part of my parents. Even before communicating the importance of making the most out of bad situations to me verbally, my mother, in particular, demonstrated by her example. If inclement weather ruined our plans to do… [END OF PREVIEW]

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