Human Development Essay: Topics, Examples, & How-to Guide

A human development essay explores how a person or group of people can grow and thrive.

A human development essay is a piece of writing that explores how a person or group of people can grow and thrive. Several disciplines study these processes and might require you to get ready with this kind of assignment:

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  • Biology analyzes human body development issues throughout our lifespan;
  • Psychology views human development as gaining or abandoning certain behavioral trends;
  • Sociology explains the cause-and-effect relationships between an individual and a group;
  • Economics studies the growth of human freedoms through the improvement of their well-being.

This article systematizes the available bulk of knowledge on the importance of human development. We have collected the essential concepts and approaches you can explore through our human development essay topics and samples.

💵 Human Development in Economics

The first Human Development Report introduced this notion back in 1990. But the discussion of the relationship between economic growth and human development started in the middle of the 20th century.

Now we believe that GDP is not the only indicator of our well-being. Human life is more than just selling, buying, and consuming.

Human development in economics focuses on the creation of equal rights and opportunities for everyone. This approach states that the entire society would prosper from the happiness of each of its members.

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In these terms, human development has two dimensions:

  • enhancement of human abilities
  • provision of prerequisites for our growth
Human development has two dimensions: enhancement of human abilities and provision of prerequisites for our growth.

The former explores how we could ensure that everyone has access to education, healthcare, and decent living conditions. The latter involves achieving environmental sustainability and equality of rights and opportunities for people of all genders, ages, and ethnic backgrounds.

Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) emphasizes that people and their well-being are the criteria for a country’s prosperity, not only its economic growth.

Today, we use HDI to question the efficiency of national policy. It also allows us to compare different countries with the same GDP but different human development levels. Analyzing this data, governments can refocus their priorities and correct past mistakes.

HDI is calculated as the geometric mean of the following normalized indices:

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  1. A long and healthy life
    • Life expectancy at birth is used to calculate the life expectancy index, where 85 years is the maximum.
  2. Level of education
    • The education index is the sum of the expected and mean years of schooling divided by 2.
  3. A decent standard of living
    • This index is determined as GNI per capita.

Meanwhile, HDI is not as comprehensive as one might expect. HDRO (the Human Development Report Office) claims that it does not consider human inequalities, the empowerment of minorities, poverty levels, and gender disparity.

🤯 Human Development in Psychology

Psychology views human development from an individual’s perspective. This discipline distinguishes between three directions of human development.

The picture describes three directions of human development in psychology.
  1. Physical changes occur in our bodies. How do we grow from a baby into an adult and from an adult into an older person? How do we acquire new motor skills, and what is the biology of our senses? What do our brains consist of, and how do they change with age? Correct answers to these questions help us explain the next direction.
  2. Cognitive changes cause the development of human behavior. What goes on in our brain that defines what kind of people we are? This domain focuses on logical thinking, learning, understanding, moral reasoning, and practical intelligence. It searches for the ways we could learn faster and become better versions of ourselves.
  3. Psychosocial changes track the growth of our social skills and preferences. It all starts with the principal caregiver. Gradually, we begin to interact with more people, such as friends, distant relatives, educators, and colleagues. It is all about our self-image, self-esteem, emotions, and relationships. The psychosocial domain also studies our ways to cope with losses or death.

Human Development Theories

The history of psychology knows many human development theories, many of which are still trusted. We will focus on the two fundamental approaches. They divide childhood into several critical stages that define our character, habits, likes, relationships, and even success in life.

Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development

Piaget’s theory is the most widely accepted approach to child development. He believed that children construct knowledge while they manipulate and explore the objects around them. Jean Piaget marked four stages of cognitive development.

  1. Sensorimotor stage (0-2 years). A child learns that objects do not disappear. Their activity is all about experimenting with things to see what happens. This stage should culminate with developing the deferred imitation skill. It involves the ability to reproduce an action or sound made by another person later.
  2. Preoperational stage (2-6 years). Children use symbols to represent words and ideas. They develop the language and make-believe play but still lack logical reasoning. They are egocentric and cannot imagine that other people may feel or think differently.
  3. Concrete operational stage (6-12 years). Thinking becomes logical and focused. Children develop inductive reasoning: they observe to make generalizations about the world around them. But they still struggle with deductive thinking.
  4. Formal operational stage (12 years – adulthood). Abstract thinking emerges. They learn to develop theoretical ideas to explain the world.

Freud’s 5 Stages of Psychosexual Development

The Father of Psychoanalysis believed that human personality consisted of ego, superego, and id. They become unified and inseparable once the child passes the five stages of psychosexual development.

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  1. Oral stage (0-1 year). The mouth is the pleasure center for the infant. That is why everyone is born with a sucking reflex. If the oral needs are not met during the first year of life, the child can start biting their nails or suck a thumb.
  2. Anal stage (1-3 years). Children gain control over their bodily functions. They experiment with feces. But early toilet training can make a child too obsessed with order.
  3. Phallic stage (3-6 years). Children find out the pleasure they can get from their genitals. According to Freud, this is when the sexual desire to the parent of the opposite sex emerges. Boys go through the Oedipus complex. They want to replace their father and see him as a rival in the mother’s love. Later, Carl Jung spoke of the Electra Complex, a similar mechanism in girls.
  4. Latency stage (6-12 years). Sexual instincts give way to the superego. During this period, children adopt the moral principles and values of their parents.
  5. Genital stage (12+ years). Sexual instincts reemerge. If all the above steps passed successfully, adolescents would show appropriate sexual behavior.

But this theory is too controversial to be taken for granted. Do parents define their child’s sexual and aggressive drives? Nobody knows for sure.

💡 152 Human Development Essay Topics

Since human development is a debatable and scarcely studied area of knowledge, it offers a whole lot of topics to discuss. For your convenience, we have divided them into two categories:

  • The first can be used for essays on human development psychology
  • The second includes human growth and development essay topics in economics and sociology

105 Human Development Topics (Psychology)

Psychology focuses on the emotional, intellectual, and social development of an individual. Scientists traditionally divide this growth into stages, according to the respective age. That is why the topics here can be about early childhood, parent-child relationships, school years, adolescence, marriage, and divorce.

  1. How can parents facilitate their child’s relationships with peers?
  2. Which purposes does attachment play in infants?
  3. Which ideas of Freud’s psychosexual development theory do you think are valid?
  4. Find the common features between Freud’s psychosexual theory and Erikson’s psychosocial theory.
  5. Explore the causes of inferiority complex in adolescents.
  6. How does one’s sense of self influence their future relationships?
  7. Why do we need to reward the feeling of gratitude in adolescents?
  8. What is the role of the family in shaping our social well-being?
  9. Describe the principles of caregiving you consider as healthy and beneficial.
  10. What is social knowledge, and where do we gain it?
  11. Write a human development theories essay.
  12. What do the preferred leisure activities of adolescents tell us about their development?
  13. Does the gender of the main caregiver matter?
  14. Study the effect of orphanage education on a child’s psychology.
  15. Is a child’s family or school more defining for their development?
  16. How does patriarchal prejudice undermine the intellectual growth in girls?
  17. Does the lack of college-level education make a person less smart?
  18. How did dr. Maria Montessori use human tendencies for child development?
  19. How does a father’s toxic masculinity impact a boy’s emotional well-being?
  20. Make a research summary of the role of IQ in human development.
  21. Explore the causes of the “terrible threes.”
  22. Write a reflection about risk-taking behaviors in teenagers.
  23. Is poverty the worst factor for a child’s development?
  24. Analyze the consequences of substance abuse in adolescence.
  25. Do children adopt their same-sex parent’s gender roles in adulthood?
  26. What is the role of creativity in a preschooler’s development?
  27. Do you agree that all psychological disorders of children under 12 are caused by an unhealthy family atmosphere?
  28. How do we learn to control our emotions?
  29. Analyze the major results of gender-neutral education.
  30. When is the due time to start sex education of children and why?
  31. What is the tole of symbolic function and make-believe play in a child’s development?
  32. Why is egocentrism in children normal?
  33. Establish the relationship between language development and intellectual growth.
  34. Sexism in human development theories.
  35. Awareness of age-related change helps to live a healthy life.
  36. The adverse effect of malnutrition in a child’s development.
  37. When is stress positive and negative for the psychological development of an individual?
  38. Analyze human development in multigenerational families.
  39. Compare and contrast the American and Japanese approaches to education and their results.
  40. The role of controlled independence in childhood.
  41. Why is periodical boredom necessary for a child to develop?
  42. Why is human development the basic need of any society?
  43. Why is intellectual growth so pleasurable for us?
  44. If the human development mechanism is equal for all, why are we so different?
  45. Why do modern sociologists think we should work less?
  46. What could we learn from the indigenous African tribes in terms of the psychological development of children?
  47. Schools: an unknown war where we miss our childhood?
  48. To which degree do genes determine our development?
  49. Why are foster children less prepared for adult life than their adopted peers?
  50. When do children stop learning through play?
  51. Which socio-emotional factors make aging less depressing?
  52. The benefits and drawbacks of grandparents’ raising children.
  53. How does lifelong learning benefit human brain?
  54. How does lifestyle influence our cognition?
  55. Should adults develop an awareness of their aging?
  56. Why do scientists no longer view aging as a negative process?
  57. Which factors define our ability for emotional regulation?
  58. Compare the Christian and Muslim cultural differences in human development.
  59. Are private nurseries and schools better for children’s development?
  60. Why is generation alpha more emotionally intelligent than any earlier-born children?
  61. Shout less and explain more: the effect of the modern approach to caregiving.
  62. Why should we tell our daughters they are smart rather than beautiful?
  63. How does social change impact the life of an individual? Give examples.
  64. Suggest mentoring interventions for at-risk adolescents.
  65. To which extent should we normalize children with developmental disorders?
  66. Do developmental differences make us more human?
  67. Do all families need psychotherapy, like they need a family doctor?
  68. Which barriers do LGBT adolescents meet in their development?
  69. Outline a positive youth development program.
  70. Explain eating disorders as the result of incorrect upbringing.
  71. Describe the changes our brain suffers under continuous stress.
  72. Typical vs. Atypical development in children.
  73. Why is mindfulness important for human development?
  74. We learn behavioral health from our parents.
  75. How do behavioral phenotypes emerge during early development?
  76. Why do many children function differently in home, school, or community settings?
  77. Suggest ways to identify co-occurring conditions in developmental disorders.
  78. Describe the existing approaches to establishing healthy schools.
  79. Parental autonomy vs. Monitoring: which is better for an adolescent?
  80. How do parents’ beliefs and values determine their parenting strategies?

47 Human Development Topics (Economics)

  1. What are the parties involved in human development, and why don’t they share the same interests?
  2. Why does totalitarianism entail stagnation?
  3. Do migrant incomes spur economic development in their native countries?
  4. How does the growth of female entrepreneurship favor economics?
  5. How can equal rights and possibilities of all people make governments more efficient?
  6. How does the availability of loans benefit human development?
  7. Should towns transform into cities to become more prosperous?
  8. Is feminism a sign of human evolution?
  9. What is the impact of literacy campaigns in socially disadvantaged rural areas?
  10. Find the relationship between water resources and the level of farming development in a given region.
  11. Explore the growing urban-rural interactions in large cities.
  12. Give examples of win-win scenarios in human evolution.
  13. Why do societies often ignore or resist the advantages of human development?
  14. Study the role of recreational possibilities for the local population.
  15. The effect of food availability on human development.
  16. Do you support transnational social movements, and why?
  17. Do religions favor economic development?
  18. Analyze the impact of socioeconomic context on human development.
  19. Is nationalism beneficial for a country’s well-being?
  20. Which factors impede poor people from growing their capital?
  21. Is leisure more critical for economic growth than production?
  22. Should the government regulate human development, or is it unpredictable?
  23. What are the external factors of human development in emerging countries?
  24. Human Development Index (HDI) Vs. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  25. Which aspects would you include in the HDI formula?
  26. Is late retirement beneficial for a country’s economic development?
  27. Which material conditions affect human evolution?
  28. The role of sustainable development in a country’s well-being.
  29. What is the primary goal of human development for economics?
  30. Are elevated birth rates a positive or negative factor for economic growth?
  31. What is the relationship between foreign capital penetration and human life expectancy in third-world countries?
  32. How does ethnic homogeneity influence human development in a given area?
  33. Why is the majority of wealthy countries democratic?
  34. Analyze the role of free medicine in social well-being.
  35. How can the employment of the disabled favor a country’s economy?
  36. How is the work/family balance of employees important for a company’s prosperity?
  37. Explore the effect of an individual’s well-being on a country’s development.
  38. How does democratization improve a country’s productivity?
  39. How does English training in third-world countries influence their development?
  40. New conceptions of adulthood among the youth in the developing countries.

Haven’t found the perfect topic in the lists above? Use our essay topic generator!

📑 Human Development Essay Outline

1. Introduction. By the end of your essay, your readers will surely forget what you wrote here. But do not underestimate the effect of a well-composed introduction on your audience’s expectations! Do your best to sound inspiring and upbeat in your human development essay introduction. Tell yourself, why did you select this topic? If it is an exciting issue for you, the readers will also get interested. So, the introduction speaks about the topicality and urgency of a problem.

The thesis statement culminates your introduction. You should explain your position in a single sentence. Here are some good and bad examples:

☹️ Bad😑 Better🙂 Good
I am going to speak about medicine in the social economy.This essay explains why free medicine is good for society.This essay will highlight the demographic, cultural, and economic results of free medicine in terms of social well-being.
Too broad and informalSlightly more precise, but not enoughJust right!

Need to formulate a thesis statement? Use our thesis-making tool!

2. Main body. The primary rule here is structure. It is hard to read one long paragraph with many ideas. Introduce each argument from the new line. Give a topic sentence at the beginning of each section and then elaborate on it with examples and reflections.

3. Conclusion. In the field of human development, the conclusion of an essay should provide the prospects of the tendency you analyzed. Imagine yourself an analyst consulting an international company. What will happen if they continue doing the same? How can they reach different results? Once again, try to sound inspiring.

1️⃣ Human Development Essay Example #1 (Psychology)

Below you will find a sample of human development essays for a psychology-related discipline. It illustrates the outline we have mentioned above based on the topic Why Is Freud’s Developmental Theory considered outdated?

Human Development Theories Essay

1. Introduction. In the XXI century, we are all obsessed with development. We would like to become a better version of ourselves, develop our country, and humanity as a whole. Unfortunately, there is no axiom confirming the mechanism of human development.

Thesis statement. This essay explores the pitfalls of Freud’s developmental theory and questions its applicability.

2. Main Body.

Argument 1. Freud drew his theory from memories of his patients. But certain experiences people believe are true often turn out to be inaccurate. Sometimes, we fabricate our memories due to how we felt back then or would like to feel now. Thus, Freud used unreliable sources of information about child development.

Argument 2. Freud’s theory revolves around sexuality. But as Jung and Adler noticed, human life is more complicated than that. Oversimplification reduces us to instincts, which is not true. People have their subconscious fears and desires, but sexual energy is only one of their aspects.

Argument 3. Sigmund Freud only worked with adults. All adults are former children, but the researcher never studied children in their games, education, or frustrations. Freud had six kids, but his career never allowed him to spend much time with family. It is questionable how someone could draw conclusions about a child’s mental processes without actually speaking to a child.

3. Conclusion. Sigmund Freud largely contributed to modern psychology. He was the first to question our rational thinking and intellectual sobriety. But his five stages of psychosexual development are far from reality. First, they are constructed based on inaccurate and unreliable reports of mentally disturbed people. Second, sexuality is only one of the many things that make us who we are. Third, the scientist never did live research on children. That is why his theory is outdated now.

2️⃣ Human Development Essay Example #2 (Economics)

If you need to write an essay on human development while studying economics, you may use the following sample. It illustrates how to write an essay on the relationship between human development and economic growth.

Human Development and Economic Growth

1. Introduction. What happened first, human development or economic growth? The early signs of economic growth appeared when the first people started exchanging their goods with the neighboring tribes. They had to develop a new skill and change their picture of the world to catalyze economic growth.

Thesis statement. This essay aims to confirm the two-way linkage between the development of individuals and economic growth.

2. Main Body.

Argument 1. If that first exchange of crops and cattle did not work out, we would have never got as developed as we are now. The economic growth that happened once we had mastered “business negotiations” gave us the necessary resources to develop other skills.

Argument 2. Human development is hardly predictable. The most significant improvements in technology, medicine, construction, and science happened during the most challenging times for humanity. The two world wars showed that we could develop when the economy is in decay. But the new production methods and scientific achievements give us an opportunity to grow the economy when things get better.

Argument 3. Economic growth without human development is limited. For example, when a third-world country receives an external capital inflow, its economy stabilizes or even grows. But if its population does not acquire new models of doing business, the money will end. Such a country will return to its previous poor condition.

3. Conclusion. It would be wrong to say that human development caused economic growth or vice versa. None of the two are possible without the other. Human development happened first, but further knowledge acquisition required economic growth. Improvement of the economy does not guarantee human intellectual growth. Meanwhile, it is an indispensable prerequisite for our development.

❓ Human Development Questions & Answers

What does the science of human development seek to understand?

This science tries to find the reasons why people tend to change over time or why they remain at the same level. It establishes the mechanisms through which we become more educated, moral, organized, and civilized. The science also describes the benefits and drawbacks of human development for the economy, sociology, psychology, and ecology.

What is Human Development and Family Studies?

Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the health and psychology of individuals throughout their lifespan. This area of knowledge discusses human life in the context of their family relationships and social roles. It is an interdisciplinary science that involves psychology, economy, and sociology.

How does culture affect human development?

Culture defines the way we perceive society and the world as a whole. It affects our vision of reality from early childhood. Culture influences our beliefs, values, and purposes. Moreover, it is a decisive factor for our self-image as an individual and a member of society.

What makes the study of human development a science?

The study of human development explores how we learn, mature, and adapt to changes and adverse conditions. It is largely related to psychology but also involves sociology, economics, anthropology, and biology. It is a science because it aims to describe, predict, and understand the changes in human behavior that bring us to development.

Comments
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tekareke
tekareke

Hi Sir
I need to write an essay on my development from birth to adult and will critique with other theorists. Can you help me how to write it

Jack  M.
Jack  M.

Hello,
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Carl Osment
Carl Osment

I like this site very much so much superb information.

rohit
rohit

Sir, I would like to write about human race of Asian paper, so please help me some idea how to write. and decide for me sir. Thank you

Jack  M.
Jack  M.

Hi dear Rohit,
Thanks for stopping by at our blog.
Some suggestions for your essay on the Asian race: 1) write a historical overview of the territorial expansions on the territory of Asian countries and the tribes which were the predecessors of modern Asians; 2) or write about the historical discrimination of some ethinicities (such as burakumin in Japan, for example), comparing it to anti-semitism in Europe.
Hope it helps. If you still need more help, don’t hesitate to place an order with our writing services to get professional assistance with your assignment.
Kindest regards,