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[FALL 2013 UW] PSYCH 101 - LEC 2

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Richard Ennis

(Lec.2) Physical, Cognitive, Social Development Brain development  at birth infants have most of the brain cells that they will ever have in their life time. However the nervous system is immature and the branching neural networks enable us to walk, talk, grow, etc. Maturation  the biological growing process that enables order changes in behavior relatively uninfluenced by experience [standing before walking, nouns before adjectives, etc.] Motor development  as more muscles and nervous system mature, more complicated skills emerge and motor development is universal. Genes play a major role in motor development. Cognitive development  cognitive refers to all mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communication “If we examine the intellectual development of the individual or of the whole of humanity, we shall find that the human spirit goes through a certain number of stages, each different from the others” – Jean Piaget Theory of mind… peoples ideas about their own and others mental states- about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behaviors these might predict Social Development… how do parent infant attachment bonds form? One of the ways they form is through stranger anxiety [the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about eight months of age]. The attachment [An emotional tie with another person; show in young children by seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation] infants have to their parents is a powerful survival impulse. Critical period  is an optimal period shortly after birth when an organism’s exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development. Developmental theorist Erik Erikson (1902-1994)… working in collaboration with his wife, Joan, said that securely attached children approach life with a sense of basic trust [this trust is said to be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers]- a sense that the world is predictable and reliable. He theorized that infants blessed with sensitive, loving, caregivers form a lifelong attitude of trust rather than fear. Self concept… Childhood’s major social achievement is a positive sense of self. By the end of childhood, at about age 12, most children have developed a self-concept [an understanding and evaluation of who we are] Children’s views of themselves affect their actions. Children who form a positive self-concept are more confident, independent, optimistic, assertive, and sociable. Parenting styles… 1) Authoritarian  parents impose rules and expect obedience: “don’t interrupt, keep your room clean, don’t stay out late, why? Because I said so” 2) Permissive  parents submit to their children’s desires. They make few demands and use little punishment 3) Authoritative  parents are both demanding and responsive. They exert control by setting rules and enforcing them, but they also explain the reasons for rules. And especially with older children, they encourage open discussion when making rules to allow exceptions Cognitive development… Two crucial tasks of childhood and adolescence are discerning right from wrong and developing character- the psychological muscles for controlling impulses. Much of our morality is rooted in gut-level reactions for which the mind seeks rationalization. However to be a moral person, is to think morally and act accordingly. Three basic levels of moral thinking:  Pre-conventional morality before age nine, most children’s morality focuses on self- interest: they obey rules either to avoid punishment or to gain concrete rewards  Conventional morality by early adolescence, morality focuses on caring for others and on upholding laws and social rules, simply because they are the laws and rules  Post-conventional morality with the abstract reasoning of formal operational thought, people may reach a third moral level. Actions are judged “right” because they flow from people’s rights or from self-defined, basic ethical principles. Moral feeling vs. moral action Morality involves doing the right thing, and what do also depends on social influences. Nevertheless, as our thinking matures, our behavior also becomes less selfish and more caring. Forming an identity… Identity  our sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent’s task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles Social identity  the “we” aspect of our self-concept… the part of our answer to “Who am I” that comes from our group memberships. People can adopt identity from adopting ideas (from parents), or through conformity (people). Erikson contended that the adolescent identity stage is followed in young adult-hood by developing a capacity for intimacy [the ability to form close, loving relationships; a primary developmental task in the late adolescence and early adult
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