We all go through changes as we develop throughout our lives, but have you ever considered whether these changes happen over time or at sudden intervals? While reading about developmental psychology, I came across the continuity/discontinuity issue. This is an on-going debate among psychologists regarding whether changes within our development are continuous (quantitative) or discontinuous (qualitative).
Continuity theorists believe that human development is a gradual, addictive process which continuously occurs without any abrupt changes. Generally, these theorists hold the view that the nature of the changes in our development are quantitative which means that they change in amounts. An example of a quantitative change would be that children grow taller each year- they grow a certain amount of inches overtime.
On the other hand, discontinuity theorists hold the view that development progresses over several stages of change which occur suddenly, bringing the child to a greater developed level of functioning. According to these theorists, qualitative changes occur within human development meaning that these particular changes introduce a significant difference to the child every time they occur. An example of this could be the language ability acquired in the stage between an infant and a toddler.
I agree with the views of continuity theorists as I believe it makes more logical sense for a child to keep progressing continuously throughout their lives, as opposed to developing skills and abilities in big chunks throughout life. This is because children develop certain skills and abilities such as interaction and language through experience therefore it seems more sensible to assume that a child would gain and develop as a person as they continuously experience new interactions.
What do you think? Does human development progress gradually though experience or do we develop and change in different abrupt stages in life?