5 Reasons to Study Human Development

Developmental psychology courses are often required for many college majors, including those going into psychology, education, and nursing. Are you thinking about taking a class in development? Why are such classes so important? Whether you want to take just one course or devote your entire education to studying the topic, there are plenty of great reasons to learn more about human development.

If you are majoring in psychology, education, or a medical field, some background knowledge of how people grow and change throughout life is essential. However, understanding how humans develop throughout the lifespan can be helpful for anyone. Here are five reasons you should consider studying human development.


You'll Better Understand Yourself

woman with smartwatch
Guido Mieth / Getty Images

We were all kids once, so learning more about how children develop and grow can provide additional insight into how you have become the person you are.

Studying human development can also help you learn more about your future. By understanding the aging process, you'll be better prepared when you face issues associated with growing older.


You'll Learn More About Your Children

father observing child development

Tom Merton / Getty Images

Whether you are a parent now or are planning to become one in the future, studying human development can teach you a great deal about your children. In addition to learning things that can help make you a better parent, you can gain greater insight into how your children behave, think, learn, and feel.

Development is a complex process, so learning more about how kids grow physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively can lead to a deeper understanding of kids of all ages.


You'll Better Understand How to Interact With Kids

woman playing with kids outdoors

Alistair Berg / Getty Images

If you plan on having children or working with them at some point, studying human development can greatly improve your ability to interact with kids.

Once you better understand the stages of development and what makes kids tick, you will feel more comfortable talking, playing, and working with them.


You'll Gain a Greater Appreciation of Development Throughout Life

Young woman walking outside with grandmother using walker
Westend61 / Getty Images

When we think of human development, it's easy to think of it as a process that is largely complete once we hit early adulthood. It is important to realize, however, that development is an ongoing process that continues all throughout life.

As you enter adulthood, navigate middle age, and face the onset of old age, having a greater understanding of how people continue to grow and change as they get older can help you appreciate and manage all the stages of your life.


You'll Have a Deeper Understanding of What's Normal and What's Not

children in class

Marc Romanelli / Getty Images

Another important reason to study development is that you can gain a greater understanding of what's normal. While every person is a little bit different, human development tends to follow a remarkably predictable pattern. Once you have studied development, you'll know what's typical at certain ages and stages.

Perhaps most importantly, studying human development makes it easier to spot possible signs of trouble. From problems with cognitive, ​social, or emotional development in early childhood to struggles later in life, being able to identify potential problems is important.

The earlier developmental problems are detected, the sooner intervention can begin. No matter what the situation, early detection and treatment can lead to better outcomes.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hartshorne JK, Germine LT. When does cognitive functioning peak? The asynchronous rise and fall of different cognitive abilities across the life span. Psychological Science. 2015;26(4):433-443. doi:10.1177/0956797614567339

  2. Costello EJ. Early detection and prevention of mental health problems: Developmental epidemiology and systems of support. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. 2016;45(6):710-717. doi:10.1080/15374416.2016.1236728