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Social Development Studies
SDS 150R
Steve Spencer

Developmentalists have come to understand that inborn characteristics interact with environmental factors in complex ways. Baltes emphasized that as humans age, they adopt strategies that help them maximize gains and compensate for losses. Scientists who study age related changes across the lifespan often use three broad categories, called domains of development, to classify these changes. (physical domain (includes how individuals sense and perceive the world), cognitive domain, social domain) these 3 domains do not function independently of one another. A good example of research that exemplifies the interactionist model is implicit in the ideas of vulnerability and resilience. Vulnerabilities and protective factors interact with the child’s environment so that the same environment can have quite different effects, depending on the qualities the child brings to the interaction. Studies of Canadian children have shown that a combination of a highly vulnerable child and a poor or unsupportive environment produces by far the most negative outcome. Universal changes- common to every individual in a species and are linked to specific ages group specific changes- shared by all individuals who grow up together in a particular group. Culture shapes not only the development of individuals, but also our ideas about what normal development is. individual differences- changes resulting from unique, unshared events The biological clock obviously constraints the social clock to some extent at least. Virtually every culture emphasizes family formation in early adulthood because that is, in fact, the optimal biological time for child-bearing. In studies of adults, one important concept related to timing has been the idea of on-time and off-time events, the idea is that experiences occurring at the expected times for an individual’s culture or cohort will pose fewer difficulties for her than will off-time experiences. Developmental psychology uses the scientific method to achieve four goals: to describe, explain (theories), predict (hypothesis), and influence human development from conception to death. A higher level of education predicted better outcomes for mother’s offsprings. As a general rule, the healthiest and best educated are most likely to stick it out in the longitudinal study, and this biases the results. Practice effects also distort the results because people exposed to the questions over and over again learn them. To generate explanations, developmentalists rely on theories, sets of statements that propose general principles of development The weakness of naturalistic observation is observer bias. So they use 2 observers. The measure for this procedure is known as inter-rater reliability. Correlations do not indicate causal relationships. In order to identify a cause, we have to carry out experiments. A key feature of an experiment is that participants are assigned randomly to one of two or more groups. When participants are randomly assigned to groups, the groups have equal amounts of variation with respect to characteristics such as intelligence, personality traits, height, weight, health status, etc. Quasi-experiments: compare groups without assigning the participants randomly. It will always yield more ambiguous results than will a fully controlled experiment Cross cultural research is important to developmental psychology for 2 reasons: 1-developmentalists want to identify universal changes. 2-one of the goals of developmental psychology is to produce findings that can be used to improve people’s lives. According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, all humans are born naturally good Current toy developers aim to promote a child’s cognitive development The Canadian psychological association was founded in 1938 in anticipation of the threat of war in Europe Summary The philosophical concepts of original sin (parental responsibility is intervene to correct), the blank slate (parental responsibility is to shape behaviors), and innate goodness (parental responsibility is to nurture and protect) have influences Western ideas about human development Darwin studied child development to gain insight into evolution. Hall published the first scientific study of children and introduced the concept of norms. Gesell studied the maturational milestones of development (Maturationally determined development occurred regardless of practice, training, or effort). Piaget identified 4 stages of cognitive development Today’s developmentalists recognize that change happens throughout the lifespan. They believe that every developmental change is a product of both nature and nurture. Development is a matter of changes both in degree (continuity) and kind (discontinuity). Contemporary developmental psychologists study 3 kinds of changes: universal, group-specific, and individual In cross-sectional studies, separate age group are each tested once. In longitudinal designs, the same individuals are tested repeatedly over time. Sequential designs combine cross-secti
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