Understanding the 3 Basic Forces in Human Development and How They Shape Our Lives

Human development is a complex and intricate process that is shaped by numerous forces, both internal and external. These forces interact with each other and are organized within the biopsychosocial framework, which considers the biological, psychological, and social factors that influence our development. In this article, we will delve into the basic forces in human development, how they are organized within the biopsychosocial framework, and how timing and individual differences play a role in shaping our lives.

When this model is applied to health, it demonstrates the importance of maintaining wellness in all aspects of our lives.

In practical terms, the biopsychosocial framework is incredibly useful for helping us to approach our health and wellbeing in a holistic way. Rather than simply treating individual symptoms or conditions, it encourages us to consider the bigger picture and to take into account all of the different factors that are contributing to our health and wellbeing. This can lead to more effective and meaningful interventions, and can help us to live healthier, happier lives.

The Basic Forces in Human Development

The biopsychosocial framework is a theoretical model that considers the interplay between biological, psychological, and social factors in human development. This framework recognizes that these factors are not isolated from each other, but rather interact and influence one another in complex and dynamic ways.

The basic forces in human development can be broadly categorized into biological, psychological, and social factors.

Biological Factors

Biological factors refer to the physical, genetic, and physiological processes that are involved in our development. These include:

  • Genetics is all about the traits we inherit from our parents. It's like a unique code that determines our physical features, such as eye color and height, as well as our risk for certain health issues. Interestingly, genetics can also affect our chances of developing mental health problems like depression or bipolar disorder. Plus, the way our genes interact with our environment can shape how we develop over time.
  • Maturation is another important factor in human development. Maturation refers to the natural process of growth and development that occurs in the body and brain as we age. This process is largely driven by our genes, but it is also influenced by environmental factors such as nutrition and exercise. Maturation affects everything from our physical size and strength to our cognitive abilities and emotional regulation.
  • Health is a crucial factor in human development. Good health is essential for optimal growth and development, and poor health can have serious consequences for both physical and psychological well-being. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and access to medical care are all important factors in maintaining good health.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors refer to the mental and emotional processes that are involved in our development. These include:

  • Personality is a fundamental part of who we are, and it is shaped by a range of psychological factors. These factors can include genetics, environment, and upbringing. For example, if someone has a genetic predisposition to anxiety, they may be more likely to develop an anxious personality. Alternatively, if someone grows up in a chaotic or unstable environment, they may develop a more impulsive or reactive personality. Personality can impact how we interact with the world around us, influencing our relationships, career choices, and overall life satisfaction.
  • Perception is another critical psychological factor that influences human development. Perception refers to the way we interpret and make sense of the world around us. Our perception is shaped by a range of factors, including our past experiences, cultural background, and cognitive biases. For example, if someone grows up in a culture that values collectivism, they may perceive individualistic cultures as selfish or egocentric. Perception can impact how we interact with others, how we interpret events, and our overall worldview.
  • Emotional development is the third key psychological factor that shapes human development. Emotions are complex psychological experiences that involve a range of physiological and cognitive responses. Emotional development involves learning how to regulate our emotions, understand and express them, and empathize with others. Emotional development is influenced by a range of factors, including genetics, upbringing, and life experiences. For example, if someone grows up in an environment where emotions are not expressed or acknowledged, they may struggle to regulate their emotions later in life. Emotional development can impact our mental health, relationships, and overall wellbeing.

Social Factors

Social factors refer to the cultural, environmental, and interpersonal forces that are involved in our development. These include:

  • Culture shapes our values, beliefs, and behaviours Our culture is a central part of our social environment, and it has a profound impact on how we see the world, interact with others, and develop as individuals. From the language we speak to the foods we eat, our cultural background shapes our values, beliefs, and behaviours. Culture also shapes our expectations for social roles and relationships, influencing how we view ourselves and others. For example, in some cultures, collectivism and group harmony are highly valued, while in others, individualism and independence are prioritised.
  • Environment affects our physical and emotional health The environment we grow up in also plays a significant role in our development. Our physical environment can affect our health and well-being, from exposure to pollutants to access to healthy food and safe places to exercise. Our social environment can also shape our emotional health, including the quality of relationships we have with family, friends, and community members. Environmental stressors, such as poverty or violence, can have long-lasting effects on our mental and physical health, highlighting the importance of creating supportive and nurturing environments for children and families.
  • Relationships shape our sense of self and social development. The relationships we form with others are a crucial aspect of our social development. From infancy, we rely on close relationships with caregivers to provide us with safety, comfort, and support. As we grow older, our social networks expand to include peers, teachers, romantic partners, and others. These relationships shape our sense of self and influence our social skills, communication styles, and emotional regulation. Positive relationships can provide us with a sense of belonging and social support, while negative or abusive relationships can have a detrimental impact on our mental and physical health.


The basic forces in human development, including biological, psychological, and social factors, are organized within the biopsychosocial framework, which recognizes their interplay and influence on one another. Timing can play a significant role in the impact of these forces, and individual differences can result in unique developmental trajectories and outcomes. Understanding the basic forces in human development and how they are organized within the biopsychosocial framework can provide insight into the complexities of human development and help us better understand our own lives and the lives of others.

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