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Lecture 1

PSY 302 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Child Development, Active Child, Philosophical Perspectives

Course Code
PSY 302
Lixia Yang

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PSY302/W2016/YANG 1
PSY302: Child Development (Winter 2016)
Week 1, Reading: Ch. 1
Course Outline
Who is teaching this course? Dr. Lixia Yang at (JOR918)
O'ce hours: Tue. 1- 2 pm or by appointments
Teaching Assistants:
Kyla McDonald (
TA office hour (if applicable):
Feb. 23, 1-2 pm, SBB122
Mar. 29, 1-2 pm, SBB122
Apr. 12, 1-2 pm, SBB122
Textbook : Siegler, R., Eisenberg, N., DeLoache, J., Sa*ran J., Graham, S. &
How Children Develop
(fourth Canadian edition). New York: Worth
Launchpad URL:
Assignments and Evaluation
oExams: Non-cumulative.
oEssay Assignment: A report based on two recent research articles
(published after 2000) on a speci>c topic.
oIn-Class Activities (ICA): 3 in-class activities (worth 1% each).
Course Policies
oClass Environment: cell phones o*, no private conversations or internet
oPlagiarism Detection (
oO'ce Hours and E-mail Contacts. Ryerson email account, with
PSY302” as the subject line.
oSpecial Arrangements: please speak to the instructor by the 2nd week.
oMissing Exam/Assignment/ICA Policy:
Must inform me before the due date or within 12 hours
Extensions only based on medical and compassionate grounds
(following appropriate academic consideration procedures) but not
beyond the date when the feedback/work is returned to the class
oLate Essay Assignment Policy: A penalty of 10% deduction per day,
without a granted extension
Other Policies & Resources (see course outline)
Academic Considerations
What Level of Detail Should You Know?
oWHO: major theorists, historical >gures
oWHAT: Main >ndings, the design, development or human nature
oWHEN: certain milestones and in what order they acquire certain skills
oWHERE: e.g., cultural di*erences or when ‘the where’ is important to the

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PSY302/W2016/YANG 2
oWHY: why the research was done, why it is important to the >eld
Goals and Strategies
oWhy study children?
oHistorical foundations of developmental psychology
oMajor themes in child development
I. Why Do We Study Children?
A. Raising Children
Gain knowledge and information that can help parents and teachers rearing
and educating children. e.g., E*ective approaches helping children manage
anger and other negative emotions. (e.g., “turtle technique”)
B. Choosing Social Policies
Knowledge of child development permits informed decisions about social-
policy questions that a*ect children. e.g., Research can inform social policies,
such as those involving testimonies from preschool children.
C. Understanding Human Nature
Child-development research provides insights into intriguing questions
regarding human nature.
e.g., Children adopted from inadequate orphanages in Romania: human
nature is suf>ciently flexible, but the timing of experiences is also important
II. Historical Foundations of Developmental Psychology
A. Early Philosophical Perspectives
4th Century B.C.: The beginnings of the nature-nurture debate
oPlato: innate knowledge; Self-control and discipline.
oAristotle: knowledge comes from experience; Fitting to the needs of the
individual child
2000 years later……
oThomas Hobbes (1588–1679): original sin (inherently bad and
passive creatures)
oJean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778): innate purity (inherently good and
actively involved in development).
oJohn Locke (1632 - 1704): Tabula rasa (“blank slate”): (entirely and
passively shaped by experience)
Parents seek your advice
Jack was very a*ectionate, never cried and seemed curious of strangers
Wilbur was irritable, often cried, and upset of strangers
Q: Is Locke’s theory about children favored
It is because the parents might be more sensitive and patient
with Jack then with Wilbur because he is considered the problem
child. Therefore, this could’ve influenced Wilbur to be more
On the other hand, if the children were “blank slates” then the
children would’ve been exactly the same since they were raised
by the same parents
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