Difference between Growth and Development in Psychology

Difference between Growth and Development in Psychology

Psychology is the study of behavior and the mind. While studying this discipline, you will learn about growth and development in human beings. Human beings are a mysterious species that have continuous change. Their growth and development are quite interesting too.

Growth Vs. Development in Psychology

According to psychology, there are distinguishing factors for growth and development in human beings. The main differences stem from growth, which is referred to as the physical changes in a person. In contrast, development in human beings is the overall growth throughout their lifespan.

In development, you learn and understand why human beings go through physical, intellectual, and social changes in psychology, among other aspects of growth. Various principles in psychology try to differentiate growth and development. When you look at them closely, you will see many differences.

For one, development in a human being is a gradual process and not an immediate chaotic process. In other words, it will take time, so is growth. For instance, the developmental activities of a baby start from the head then go to its toes. It follows a cephalocaudal sequence pattern. Therefore, it is predictable.

Growth is also a gradual process as body parts will continuously grow when given adequate nutrients. This will be continuous until a part reaches its prime rate of growth. However, the growth rate in humans is not uniform. In the earlier years of humans, the growth rate is quite fast, while when they reach their peak, the growth rate is relatively slow. Each part of the body also has a different growth rate.

What is Growth in Psychology?

It can be defined as tangible physical changes that happen. It can either be an increase or decrease in weight, height, or even changes in physical looks or appearances. It does not happen all at once; it usually takes time.

Additionally, the process does not take a long time. It will occur at a certain period. It’s usually the designated time until you mature. The right way to describe this phenomenon is a structural change in animals and human beings that has occurred for some time.

Growth is something you can measure. For one, you will be able to measure the weight and height of a person. The growth of an individual will depend on their genes. This hereditary aspect plays a vital role in various biological factors. When the number of cells in a body increases in a particular part of the body, it fosters generic growth. And when you attain maturity, the growth stops altogether.

What is Development in Psychology?

It’s the overall gradual change in animals and human beings and their age until they die. These processes can be fostered as a result of genes, but external factors play a vital role in developing and defining an individual’s behavior.

Development in human beings is never-ending. Any living species will continue to develop until it dies. It is not dependent on growth but is a combination of mental, intellectual, and physical changes. The process is also gradual and not visible for your eyes to see. It’s not like height or weight, where you can quickly notice.

To determine the developmental milestone of someone, you have to look into their behavior and learn it. And it is no secret that behaviors are passed down from generation to generation. But when you put down the right conditions, the course of development can take whichever direction you deem fit. You can say development is indirectly proportional to growth.

Difference Between Growth and Development in Psychology

  • The main distinguishing factor between growth and development is that growth is structural. While developmental is functional, you can never notice visible changes because of development. You can only see functional and behavioral changes in humans because the said human has developed.
  • Growth will happen over a certain period then stop when the creature has matured. On the other hand, development is a gradual process that will continue to happen without depending on growth or other factors in your life.
  • Development is vast and considers a series of factors and facts under it. The process is never-ending, and it will take the whole criteria of being. At the same time, growth is under development as factors that focus on the physical aspect of a human being.
  • Growth is visible and can be observed from changes in height and weight. On the other hand, development can be viewed closely to determine. An individual that does not know you well cannot understand your developmental milestones.
  • Growth is measurable. This can be done by determining your height and weight, among other physical changes. At the same time, development cannot be measured. You can measure the overall changes and behavior patterns. It is has something that you feel and do not notice.
  • Emotion plays a significant part in the development of a person. This, however, is not the growth case. In development, an individual can be happy or sad. They understand these feeling more when they develop. The ploy of emotion is not part of growth.
  • The external surrounding has a significant role in development. The development will never happen if a person is not exposed and knowledgeable. Knowledge is not a factor when it comes to growth.


Many people confuse growth and development to mean the same thing. But this is further than the truth. They follow various patterns and rules and are different in characteristics and functions.

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