Development is a process of growth and change that includes physical, economic, environmental, and social components. It entails a rise in the level of living and quality of life of a nation’s population, as well as the expansion of economic resources without damaging the environment. It also includes improvements in educational facilities and the overall standard of living. A number of countries try to develop their societies by providing better education for women and children, advanced medical facilities, and ensuring the safety of citizens.
The scientific study of development, known more broadly as human development or lifespan developmental science, investigates both changes and stability across multiple domains of psychological and biological functioning, including the physical and neurophysiological processes, cognitive and language abilities, emotions, personality, morality, and social behaviors. The field draws on biological, sociological, and evolutionary approaches, as well as more formal disciplines such as psychology, medicine, education, and philosophy.
Among the many issues surrounding development are assumptions about its causes, including whether it is caused by nature (genes and biology) or nurture (environment and learning). Some research supports interactionist meta-theories, such as those that emphasize the role of genes, environment, and experience in human behavior. Other researchers, however, favor more holistic or ecological systems models that are less polarized.