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Child Development 1

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PSYC 304
Bernstein& Ashbaugh

Sept 6 Chapter 1: Introduction to Developmental Psychology and its Research Studies What is Development? - set of assumptions becomes a theory, which translates into hypotheses - you can then use the scientific method to test these hypotheses - one possible definition is "the study of systematic continuities and changes between conception and death" - all of us go through a certain number of phases and changes that we all share - we're all different, and we spend different amounts of time in our phases - there's a kind of tension between the systematic continuities and changes, because some things remain the same across time and across people - there's a tension between what is common to everybody and the individual differences between people - what drives development? - maturation (heredity influences on the aging process): - learning (change in behaviour due to experience): - these two elements constantly interact with one another. called "genetic- environment interaction" - you cannot separate these concepts - nature/nurture debate is shifting to understand how these interact - there's a constant interaction between the genes and the environment - why are movies rated G/PG/14/18/R? because the government doesn't believe the parents can judge which types of content is appropriate for children of a certain age. who do the children belong to? the state? the parents? themselves? - should we send our children to kindergarten? at what age should we do this? some people think that the childrens' development could be hindered if you do that - why are children's cribs equipped with colorful, textured toys? we used to think that children could be overstimulated and they should be rather deprived, but now we know understimulation could be an issue - why do we talk to infants when they don't understand? because they need to be stimulated - children do not form episodic memories until later in life, so should we bother to anesthetize neonatesto preform surgery? there could be different kinds of memory instead, though. just because you don't remember something exactly doesn't mean it doesn't affect you. it could be emotional memory. though the hippocampus (episodic) is not fully formed, the amygdala (emotional, safe/unsafe) functions from early on - an amnesiac patient with a neurologist. he'd have to introduce himself every time he came in. one day, he hid a pushpin in his hand and then shook her hand quite hard. the next day, she did not want to shake his hand. she didn't know why and made up some other answer, but this is the same kind of thing as children: this is a huge theory about the cause of neurosis and the recovery of these memories - if a child becomes attached to hurtful parents, should we separate this child from their parents? Historical Perspective - the sources of our assumptions and knowledge: - word-of-mouth folklore - friends and relatives - portrayals of children and families on TV and in books (especially where stereotypes and gender are concerned - they are self-fulfilling prophecies) - religious teachings - talk shows - personal experiences (my first kid was like ... and my second kid was like ...) - expert opinions (the doctor, a paediatrician, a councillor...) - research evidence (we like to think that we live in an increasingly scientific society and that it's going to keep becoming more important) - one of the goals in this class/one of the things that we hope to achieve is to become a good reader of scientific evidence Goals of Developmentalists: a) Describe development - normative development vs ideographic development (what do you observe, what is going on?) b) Explain development - why do individuals develop differently? (why is this child not learning language, why is this child afraid of water?) c) Optimize development - this is the goal to which we strive: we want to apply our findings to the real world and help children fulfill their potential Table 1.1 in the book - Prenatal period (conception to birth): not yet born - Infancy/Toddler period (first two years): starts to eat solids, walk, talk, understand. also the time when children start to have a concept of day vs night. really an explosion of changes - Preschool period (two to six years of age): also a time of less change, however perhaps it's less physical - Middle childhood (six to twelve years of age/preschool period): this is the latent period - Adolescence (twelveish to twenty or so): this is a fairly new concept that did not always exist. it used to go boy t
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