Below is a list from which you will select one topic for the Week Two assignment,

Below is a list from which you will select one topic for the Week Two assignment, another topic for the Week Three assignment, and a third topic for both the Outline of the Final Paper and the Final Paper.  The topic you select for your Outline of the Final Paper and this Final Paper must be different from the topics you select for the Week Two and Week Three assignments.
The topics include:

  • What do twin and adoption studies tell us about the effects of nature (i.e., genetic influences) and nurture (i.e., environmental influences) on human development? Select at least one of the main domains of human development (physical, cognitive, or social-emotional) for your answer.
  • How much credit or blame do parents deserve for the way we are? Select at least one of the main domains of human development (physical, cognitive, or social-emotional) for your answer.
  • To what extent are the lives of adolescents and young adults shaped by parental and peer influences?
  • Why do we have a need to belong (to affiliate with others)?
  • How do our bodies and minds change from early to late adulthood?
  • What are the factors that affect our well-being as middle aged and older adults?
  • Why are some people attracted to members of their own sex whereas others are attracted to members of the opposite sex?  
  • How do memory and intelligence change as we age?
  • Does an infant’s temperament shape his/her cognitive and socio-emotional development?  
  • Are babies pre-wired for survival?
  • Are adolescents more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior than older adults?
  • Can physical exercise affect cognitive performance in old age? Consider the time of occurrence of physical exercise (i.e., earlier in life or during old age) in your answer.
  • Are there personality traits related to longevity?
  • Does bilingualism improve brain functioning?
  • Why do students in the United States tend to under-perform in math and science?


Once you have chosen your topic, examine the various theories of human development learned in the course and choose one or two that best assist you in understanding the issues involved in your topic. In your assignment address the following:

  • Identify some of the major domains of human development and how they are impacted.
  • Examine the physical, biological, emotional, cognitive, and/or social factors that are affected.
  • Identify the stages of development that are affected and describe the cultural and historical perspectives of partitioning the lifespan that influence the interpretations of the available data on the topic.
  • Describe the influences of family, culture, and environment and the roles they play.


Be sure to examine the available research in human development before completing this assignment. 

Writing the Final Paper

The Final Paper:

  1. Must be eight to ten double-spaced pages in length (excluding title and reference pages), and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  2. Must include a title page with the following:
    1. Title of paper
    2. Student’s name
    3. Course name and number
    4. Instructor’s name
    5. Date submitted
  3. Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
    1. You may use the introduction you developed during the Week Four assignment or a revised version if changes are deemed necessary.
  4. Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
  5. Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
    1. Conclude with an answer to the selected question. Did the evidence you surveyed answer the question satisfactorily?
    2. Include an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the available evidence.
    3. Illustrate how each source fits specific sections of your Final Paper. The goal is to demonstrate that supporting evidence exists for statements that are made in the paper.  
    4. If possible, suggest the course that future research should take if answers to the selected question are deemed less than conclusive.
  6. Must use at least five scholarly sources, all of which must come from the Ashford University Library or Google Scholar.
  7. Must summarize each article including the purpose of the investigation, its methodology, and results.
    1. Rely on the brief summaries of the articles (including the purpose of each investigation, its methodology and results) that you developed during Week Four to construct an organized summary of the scientific evidence that answers the question you selected.  
    2. If possible, select peer-reviewed articles that summarize the evidence available in a given field of study (e.g., meta-analysis combines the findings of different studies to uncover trends, commonalities and differences).
    3. Order the articles in the way you think you will discuss them in your paper. Then develop a summary of the scientific evidence that answers the question you selected.
    4. You may reference your textbook and other required materials from the course; however, these will not fulfill the resource requirement.
  8. Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  9. Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
    1. You may use the reference section you developed in the Week Four assignment as the final page of the paper.
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