What are the 5 Basic Dimensions of Human Development and Give the Importance of Each Dimension?


Human development refers to the process of improving the well-being of an individual.  JE Anderson states, “Development is concerned with growth as well as those changes in behavior which results from environmental situations”.

Five Dimensions of Human Development

The five basic dimensions of human development and the importance of each dimension are as follows:

Physical Development

Physical development refers to the growth and development of body parts to make the body have an ability to perform certain functions for certain skills. Physical development includes the large muscle movements as well as the small movements. It involves the changes in the body, brain, motor skills, senses, and the wellness of an individual. Childhood is the period when most of the physical development takes place. When a child goes through physical development, they gain self confidence which boosts their emotional and social development.

Emotional Development

Emotional development refers to the development of expression, experience, understanding, and controlling of emotions. The first emotions developed during childhood are joy, fear, sadness, and anger. Children start developing more complex emotions such as shame, guilt, elation, pride, surprise, empathy, and shyness when they develop a sense of self. Emotional development allows individuals to develop self-awareness, relationship skills, decision-making skills, and social skills.

Mental Development

Cognitive or mental development refers to the way individuals think, explore, and observe the things around them. It involves the development of knowledge, disposition, and problem-solving skills which helps them to get a better understanding of the world around them. Cognitive development includes brain development. The two main theorists of cognitive development, Piaget and Vygotsky, agreed that the acquisition of speech is responsible for the active construction of knowledge in children. Jean Piaget is referred to as the father of cognitive development.

Social Development

Social development means the improvement of the well-being of an individual in society in order to enable them to be aware of their potential and enhance them. Investment in people can be termed as social development. Social development in child development includes their capability to organize their behavior and interact with others. It is the process through which a child acquires the culture and language of the community he or she is raised in.

Spiritual Development

Spiritual development refers to the improvement of an individual’s well-being from within. It refers to the process of awakening of the inner being. It refers to questioning the purpose and meaning of life and it does not concern a person’s religious beliefs. It deals with the concept of life, death, identity, suffering, and the like.


The five dimensions are extremely important for the proper development of every individual and it is important to ensure that all these five dimensions are given attention.