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PSYCH 101 Unit II Developmental Psychology

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University of Waterloo
Richard Ennis

PSYCH 101 Unit II:  Developmental Psychology  Background: The Industrial Revolution: • In the 1900s, children began work at the age of 12 in the worst jobs possible • Things began to change in Britain as a new theory about childhood was becoming more prominent  “Caterpillar Perspective” o Children are different and require a different environment than adults to function o Sigmund Freud’s work also convinced the world that children go through various stages of development different from the adult, whereby if the stages are not met then the child will grow up to be atypical. • This resulted in: o Rise in child labour laws o Universal education  Specifically, this was influenced by Alfred Binet, a French psychologist that invented the first intelligence test The Early Theories of Attachment: • The two most earliest theories of attachment were made by psychologists in two groups: Psychodynamic and Behaviourist • These two theories try to explain why a child is so attached so its caregiver (usually the mother), since most children form an intense and loving bond to the caregiver first and foremost o Psychodynamic:  Believe that the primary biological need is sex  Believe that the secondary emotional need is attachment  Therefore, psychologists in this school of thought believe that the child forms the bond with the mother in order to satisfy sexual gratification o Behaviourist:  Believe that the primary biological need is survival  Believe that the secondary emotional need is attachment  Therefore, psychologists in this school of thought believe that the child forms the bond with the mother because the food and nurturance of the mother aids in the child’s ability to survive. Affective Development: Attachment Theories Harry Harlow: Attachment Theory with Monkeys • Harlow was a behaviourist and used Rhesus monkeys in this experiment • Lab assistants who studied monkeys noticed that when they tried to change soiled cage bed-sheets, the baby monkeys would aggressively hold onto the soft sheets. o The monkeys could not understand that the sheets were just simply being replaced and not taken • Harlow then grappled with the idea: what if the monkeys are falling in love with their bed sheets? o The softness of the sheets is the closest thing that resembles their mother o He theorized that monkeys were pre-programmed to form a connection with their mother, but because they were in captivity they default to thinking that the bed sheet is the mother o What if the attachment to the bed sheet is not a secondary need, but a primary one • Harlow’s experiment: o Two surrogate mothers are provided for the monkeys – a soft one and a wired one  Half of the infants get the “soft” mother and the other half get the “wired” mother o After being raised for a time, the monkeys are exposed to both mothers and their preferences are observed as to which mother they preferred • Harlow’s results: o Infant monkeys spent more time with the cloth mother during feeding time, even when the wired mother was feeding them o Infant monkeys ran to the cloth mother as a reaction to frightening things o Infant monkeys would run and cling to the cloth mother and use her as a secure base when exploring a strange environment o Infant monkeys would cry and suck their thumbs when placed in a strange environment with neither mother  But by extension, they would also cry and suck their thumb when placed in a strange environment with the wired mother. • Harlow’s conclusion: o There is something inherent in the softness of the cotton that allowed monkeys to make the emotional connection with the cloth mother  The prickly wired mother was equivalent to having no mother at all o Emotional attachment is a primary need that serves evolutionary processes  Love is necessary for survival  Mary Ainsworth: Attachment Theory Applied to Humans • Was a woman of the Canadian military, serving as a major in England • She wanted to validate Harlow’s findings in human infants and their mothers o While there are ethical issues with the use of any human subjects, Ainsworth was able to create an experiment that did not cross moral boundaries • Ainsworth’s experiment: o Involves a child and their biological mother being in the same room with a stranger o Different scenarios, each lasting for 3 minutes or less, are then projected to see how the child would react:  Event #1 – Mother and child are in a strange environment  Event #2 – The stranger comes into the environment with mother and child  Event #3 – Mother leaves room, leaving child and stranger alone  Event #4 – Mother returns and stranger leaves  Event #5 – Mother leaves, and now the child is alone  Event #6 – Stranger comes back into room  Event #7 – Stranger leaves and mother comes back • Ainsworth’s results: • Ainsworth’s conclusions: o Ainsworth also found that under repeated experiments using different sets of mothers and children, that not all children exhibit the same attachment patters. o This leads into the different possible types of attachment patterns in humans below Attachment Patterns: • Secure: o child has a firm attachment to the mother and trusts her; goes and plays trusting that the mother will not leave, or if she does she will come back eventually • Insecure/anxious children can fall under 1 of 3 categories: o Ambivalent:  Infant wants love and attachment, but is not confident that it will occur  Child feels as if letting go of the mother will result in the loss of the mother forever, so separating is hard for them  Child is severely distressed when mother leaves  When the mother comes back the child shows affection, but also displays physical aggression towards the mother for leaving o Avoidant:  Child shows coldness and lack of trust toward the mother  Child is readily able to explore and plays independent from the mother o Disorganized/Disoriented – children did not fit in either ambivalent or avoidant were put into this category (lol) Interacting Sources of Attachment • There can be multiple caregivers of a child (e.g. sibling, neighbour, parent, etc.) o A child can have a different attachment pattern toward various caregivers • A caregiver’s behaviour towards the child makes the child develop a “working model” of itself o Depending on how the caregiver treats the child, the child will differentiate down a different pathway (secure, avoidant, or ambivalent) o Secure:  A caregiver who shows affection toward the child and creates a degree of trust between them usually makes the child feel positive and loved  This child will therefore become secure  These children tend to grow up to accept themselves and others o Ambivalent  A caregiver who is indecisive and provides an unstable source of love and affection to the child may cause the child to feel angry and confused  This child will become ambivalent  These children tend to grow up to have low self-esteem and not accept themselves, but readily accept others and view them in better light. o Avoidant:  A caregiver who does not provide for the physical or emotional needs of the child may cause the child to feel unloved and rejected  This child will therefore become avoidant  These children tend to grow up to accept themselves, but not others Relationships between Combinations of People with Each Attachment Pattern: Secure Ambivalent Avoidant Smooth and Smooth, secure, Aggressive, secure, Reciprocal; turns tolerant, caring; intolerant; taken in Secure relationship; Ambivalent person Lots of usually very misunderstanding and responsive to the jealousy a favourable good exchange Hot & Cold; Dominant- Submissive; Roller-coaster Bully-victim relationship; relationship where Ambivalent ---------- ambivalent is controlled by Highs and lows avoidant; Could lay foundation for abuse Power struggle, mistrust; Avoidant ---------- ---------- No relationship is usually formed unless it is an alliance to overcome a common threat Behavioural Development: Social Learning Theory Albert Bandura (Social Learning Theory) • Born in rural Alberta and branded as a genius • To this day he is the most widely cited psychologist in the world, surpassing B.F Skinner; his work revolves around child development • Bandura’s Theory: The Process of Social Learning o Some learning is done by association (e.g. a person who brings milk is the milk- bringer), but this does not explain how children acquire so many complex behaviours in such a young age  This is something that cannot possibly be done by the slow nature of learning by associations o Bandura maintains that children learn by association AND by modelling behaviour after others • The Four Factors of Social Learning (ARMM): o Attention:  If a child is to learn complex behaviour, the child must first have the cognitive, motor, and skills to be able to do so (Characteristics of the Observer)  The child must also, to a degree, respect the model enough to model themselves after that person (Characteristic of Model)  Finally, the child will only learn the behaviour if the event of learning the behaviour sparks enough interest (Characteristic of Event) o Retention:  The child must have the cognitive ability to be able to actually retain the information on how to develop/learn that new behaviour (i.e. the cognitive maturity to do so) o Motoric Reproduction:  A child must have the physical capabilities and any prerequisite skills to be able to perform the behaviour o Motivation:  A child must have the motivation to acquire and reproduce a behaviour, realizing that it is beneficial for them to learn the behaviour • Works both ways as a child can disregard the learning of behaviours if it does not benefit them  They should also have some form of incentive to learn the behaviour Cognitive Development: Stages of Cognitive Development Jean Piaget: The Stages of Cognitive Development • Overview of Piaget’s theory o Schema:  A fundamental building block of an idea or thought  A construct that represents a unit of knowledge  Over time, schemas may be further developed, since schemas are not static and progress and grow as we move throughout life.  Example: A child sees a family pet, the dog, and therefore forms a crude idea of the dog with basic characteristics. Over time, the schema is developed and the child begins to perhaps understand that the dog is different from other animals and that there are different types of dogs o Equilibrium and Disequilibrium:  If a schema continues to match with external information, the schema is said to be in harmony or equilibrium  However, when the schema no longer matches the external information perceived in the real world, disequilibrium will occur  Whenever disequilibrium occurs, we seek to return back to harmony by imposing the internal image on the external information and forcing them to fit/match  Example: A child who has a firm schema of a dog suddenly sees a cat. Unable to understand what the cat is, since it does not agree with the current schema of the dog, the child labels the cat as a “special dog”. o Assimilation and Accommodation:  Eventually when we get older, our schemas are developed and actually changed; changes can be small or radical  New information is incorporated into a schema (assimilation)  Over time, the schema will be expanded and continues to grow to allow broader experiences to be included (accommodation)  Example: the child, when he/she is older, realizes that dogs and cats are different, and that there are even other animals out there in the world • Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development: Stage of Development Characteristics of Stage -The world is understood and experienced using the 5 senses Sensorimotor -Accommodation and assimilation is done (0-2) through hands-on experience as crude schemas are developed -Child begins to represent things with words and symbols (e.g. using fingers to represent walking), but lacks logical reasoning -The concept of conservation is not yet Preoperational developed (e.g. same amount of X arranged in different shapes look like its more) (2-6) -Social scripts (pretend play) occur, but the script is simple. -Basic concept of fairness/justice (“my turn”) -Child can now think logically about events, make mental operations with symbols, and perform arithmetic operations Concrete Operational -They can consider the perspectives of others (7-11) and themselves and can even manipulate scenarios and change how people see them -Child can think and reason concepts that are abstract, solve theoretical problems, using Formal Operational logic and reasoning (12-adult) -Concepts of moral reasoning are considered and applied on things Further Readings from Textbook From Module 13: Developmental Issues, Prenatal Development, and the Newborn Developmental Psychology’s Major Issues: • Nature vs. Nurture o How do the genes we’re given (nature) interacting with our experiences (nurture) to influence our development? • Continuity vs. Stages o What parts of development and gradual and continuous, and what parts are in separate stages? • Stability vs. Change o Which of our traits persist through life? How do we change as we age? Continuity & Stages: • Researchers who emphasize experience and learning see development as slow and continuous • Those who emphasize biological maturation tend to see development as a sequence of genetically predisposed steps o Although progress through the steps/stages may be
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