Social Psychology



Thearticle “The role of culture in social development over the lifespan: An interpersonal relations approach” was written by IsabelleAlbert and Gisela Trommsdorff. The article was published in theOnline Readings in Psychology and Culture in 2014. The article is areview of the existing body of literature. This is because the authorrelied on the articles published by other scholars to discuss theissue of human development and how it is influenced by culture.

of the Article

Thepurpose of the article was to explore the influence that culture hasin the process of human development. The authors hold that the typeof culture in which children are brought up has direct influence intheir cognitive and social development. The most significant impactsof culture in the process of development are observed duringchildhood. This is because different cultures assign developmentaltasks to children in different ways. The authors gave an example ofthe western world where children are considered as adults who have anunderstanding of whatever they are doing. These children are giventhe freedom to make choices as opposed to the Japanese children whoare not allowed to make decisions. This implies that children who arebrought up in the western society are likely to achieve mental aswell as cognitive development faster than the Japanese kids.

Albert&amp Trommsdorff (2014) holds that adolescence is considered as themost difficult stage in human development. During this stage,adolescents try to find their identity, which results in their desireto relate more with their peers and create a distance with parents.Adolescents try to push for their independence and autonomy as theyprepare to become adults. They experience a lot of confusion as theytry to develop the sense of identity and proof of the society thatthey will be able to fulfill adult roles in later days. The desire tobecome independent during adolescence is quite common across thecultures.

Theadulthood stage is characterized by the development of the ability ofan individual to be responsible, establish a family, and settle in acareer. The type of development achieved in this stage is relativelysimilar across different cultures. During adulthood, people try tobecome active members of the society by engaging in variousactivities, such as economic production and politics (Albert &ampTrommsdorff, 2014). However, the authors observed that the perceptionof gender role differs in various cultures. Some cultures assign therole of taking care of children to women, whiles others emphasize onthe idea of sharing responsibilities. This accounts for thedifference in parent-child relationship across the cultures.

Oldage is considered as the last phase of human development and itinvolves a struggle between ego integrity and despair. During the oldage, development is highly influenced by the achievements that anindividual made during early phases (Albert &amp Trommsdorff, 2014).For example, older adults in industrialized countries and urban areasare able to lead in independent life while those who live in theimpoverished communities depend on their relatives and well wishers.However, the type of culture may determine the level ofintergenerational interdependence.

Inaddition, Albert &amp Trommsdorff (2014) address several ways inwhich culture affects human development. First, the ability ofchildren to become autonomous and independent varies in differentcultures depending on the influence of the caregivers. The authorsillustrated this idea using the examples of Germany and Japan. TheJapanese parents emphasize on empathy, cooperation, and compliance,while the Germans focus on individuality and independence. Therefore,the Japanese children are likely to take long time before they candevelop the sense of independence. Secondly, there exist significantdifferences in terms of parenting styles and attachment betweenparent and their children. Third, the significance ofintergenerational transmission of values differs across the cultures,and it influences the process of social development. Children whoexperience a positive attachment with their parents find it easy toestablish and maintain friendships during the later stages ofdevelopment. The authors supported their ideas of the associationbetween human development and culture using the findings of theprevious empirical studies.

Howthe article fits into the overall field of developmental psychology

Thereare three major factors indicating that the article fits into thefield of developmental psychology. First, the article is based ontheories of development (including the cognitive and attachmenttheories) that explain how people achieve growth at various stages.For example, the authors elaborated on the significance ofparent-child attachment in helping kids develop the social skillsthat help them establish and maintain friendships in later phases oftheir development. Secondly, the fact that the authors were able todivide the lifespan of a normal human into different stages indicatesthat the article fits into the concept of developmental psychology.The number of developmental stages differs depending on theperception of a theorist, but the authors of the article discussedfour major phases. Lastly, the article fits into the areadevelopmental psychology because it emphasizes on the role ofparenting in the child’s development. For example, the field ofdevelopmental psychology holds that the type of parenting determineswhether children will be able to achieve the desired level ofautonomy or not.

Thearticle analyzed in the present study is a scholarly source thatdiffers from non-scholarly materials (such as newspapers andmagazines) in three ways. First, scholarly articles differ fromperiodicals because they are based on authoritative sources (SyracuseUniversity, 2015). For example, Albert &amp Trommsdorff (2014) basedtheir article on other sources that are listed in the reference page.Periodicals, on the other hand do not contain the list of referencesand rarely give credit to other writers. Secondly, authors ofscholarly articles take part in the large and ongoing conversation,unlike the writers of periodicals who focus on recent events(University of Southern California, 2016). For example, Albert &ampTrommsdorff (2014) addressed the issue of the association betweenhuman development and culture, which is a topic that has been studiedfor many years. Their aim was to expand on the existing body ofknowledge and advance the conversation. Third, the authors ofscholarly articles are researchers or scholars who have establishedresearch and educational credentials, while most of the authors ofperiodicals are journalists who are employed to source news on behalfof their companies (USC, 2016). For example, Isabelle Albert isaffiliated to the University of Luxembourg while Giesela Trommsdorffworks with the University of Konstanz. However, the two types ofarticle are similar because they focus on sharing new informationwith their audience.

Inconclusion, the article reviewed in the present study is scholarly.The article is based on a review of literature. Its findings made asignificant contribution to the field of developmental psychology.This was accomplished by explaining the impact of culture on humandevelopment.


Albert,I. &amp Trommsdorff, G. (2014). The role of culture in socialdevelopment over the life span: An interpersonal relations approach.OnlineReadings in Psychology and Culture,6 (2), 1-30.

SyracuseUniversity (2015). Sociology-basicresearch: Scholarly versus non-scholarly articles.Syracuse Avenue: Syracuse University.

Universityof South California (2016). Organizingresearch for arts and humanities papers and thesis: What arescholarly and non-scholarly sources?Los Angeles: University of South California.