PSYCH 2AA3 Lecture 1: Lecture 1 -Developmental Psychology and Research Methods

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DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY – OVERVIEW
HISTORICAL VIEWS OF CHILDREN AND CHILDHOOD
Plato and Aristotle both believed that schools and parents are responsible for teaching self-
control. Also, over-discipline stifles children’s initiative and individuality
Aristotle (382-322BC) and Locke (1632-1704)
oDenied existence of innate knowledge. We are born with tabula rasa or blank slate
oKnowledge is rooted in perceptual experience.
oParents should instruct, reward and discipline children and relax their authority
gradually as they grow
Plato (428-347BC) and Rousseau (1712-1778)
oHuman senses are too fallible for existence to be source of knowledge
oInnate knowledge of concrete objects, like dogs, and abstractions like courage and love
Experiences trigger knowledge from birth
oParents should provide and be responsive to children’s needs
ORIGINS OF A NEW SCIENCE
Kick started in Industrial Revolution (19th Century) by reformers who were against children
working in hazardous conditions
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, prompted scientists to write Baby Biographies (child evolution)
oOften subjective, and conclusions were made with minimal evidence
oPaved way for analytic research
Pioneers:
oStanley Hall – theories of child development based on evolution. Age trends in children’s
beliefs and feelings.
oAlfred Binet – devised first mental tests
oJohn Watson – father of behaviourism
oSigmund Freud – experiences of early childhood account for adult behaviour
World War II hindered progress of the science, leading to increase in female psychologists
Applied Developmental Science
oUsing developmental research to promote healthy development for vulnerable children
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oHelps in government policy making, and creating programs combating children and
adolescent issues
FOUNDATIONAL THEORIES OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Theory – organised set of ideas designed to explain and make predictions. Leads to testable
hypotheses that are confirmed or rejected
Biological Perspective
oIntellectual, personality, physical and motor development is determined by biological
plan (i.e. genes)
oMaturational theory
Just genes matter in development. Discarded
oEthological theory
Development is seen from an evolutionary perspective
Behaviours are adaptive; they have survival value
E.g. infants clinging, grasping and crying elicit caregiving from adults
Development is programmed so that some kinds of learning can only occur at
certain ages
Critical Period – time when a specific learning can take place, not before
or after.
E.g. Lorenz – imprinting (creating an emotional bond with mother) in
chicks occurs within a day of hatching, where they follow first moving
object
Adaptive biological programming triggered by experience
Psychodynamic Perspective
oOldest scientific perspective on child development.
oSigmund Freud – physician specialized in nervous system
Studied patients’ case histories and created 1st psychodynamic theory
oDevelopment is largely determined by how people resolve conflicts faced at different
ages
Early stage in development
o3 primary components that emerge:
Id
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Innate reservoir of primitive instincts and drives.
Immediate gratification of bodily needs and wants
E.g. hungry baby crying
Ego
Practical, rational component of personality
Emerges 1st year of life when infants learn they cannot always have
what they want
Resolves conflicts when the id encounter real world obstacles
oChannels impulsive demands to more socially acceptable
channels
E.g. Child 1 envies toy of child 2. Instead of grabbing toy (id), play with
child 2 and eventually play with toy (ego)
Superego
Moral agent of personality
Emerges during preschool years when children internalise adult
standards of right and wrong
Analogous to conscience
oFreud’s Psychosexual Stage
Oral
Pleasure is gained from sucking and exploring with the mouth
Infancy to 2 years
Anal
Bowel control is important. Pleasure gained for retaining or expelling
faeces?
Age 2 to 3
Phallic
Differences between the sexes are noticed
Age 3 to 7
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