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Class 2. Background and theories.docx

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University of Ottawa
Caroline Sullivan

Introduction to Developmental Psychology Developmental Psychology  Concerned with changes in behaviour and abilities across the lifespan  Goals of developmental psychology: Descriptive Explanation  How is it different from Child Psychology? How to Study Child Development  Topically Our textbook Multiple domains are developing simultaneously  Chronologically By developmental stage Changes  Today, childhood = special period of caring, teaching & protection  Does the period of childhood change, lengthen or shorten, when society changes? Changing Society  Prior to Renaissance: childhood short  Then elongated  Now, back to short Why Study Children  childhood is a period of rapid change  early experiences have long-term effects  complex processes are more easily understood during their formation  social policies that improve the lives of children can be influenced by research findings  children and their experiences are inherently intriguing domains of Development  Physical  Cognitive  Emotional and Social Periods of Development Prenatal Conception to birth Infancy and Birth to 2 years Toddlerhood Early Childhood 2 to 6 years Middle Childhood 6 to 11 years Adolescence 11 to 18 years Emerging Adulthood 18 to 25 years Child Development: Background & Theories Theory An orderly, integrated, evidence-based set of statements that  Describes  Explains behavioricts Early Development Theorists  John Locke Argued that children gain knowledge through experience and learning Environmentalist point of view  Jean-Jacques Rousseau Argued that children are born with innate knowledge that drives development (nativism)  Johann Gottfried Von Herder Examining and evaluating the specifics of a culture is crucial to understanding human development (cultural relativism)  Charles Darwin Developed concept of “natural selection” in which traits that confer advantages allow the organism to survive Key Principles of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Natural Selection, or Survival of the Fittest  Individuals best adapted to their environments survive to reproduce.  Their genes are passed to later generations.  Species have characteristics that are adapted to their environments. Pioneers of Child Psychology  G. Stanley Hall Founded the field of developmental psychology  James Mark Baldwin First Canadian academic psychologist to study development  John B. Watson Focused research on observable behaviour; proposed a behaviourist theory of development  Sigmund Freud Proposed a five-stage theory of psychosexual development  Erik Erikson Expanded Freud’s stages; proposed eight-stage model Focused on social and cultural influences on development (psychosocial model) Freud’s Psychosexual Stages  Oral  Anal  Phallic  Latency  Genital Erikson’s theory of Psychosocial Development Age (years) Stage of Development Birth to 1.5 Basic trust vs. Mistrust 1.5 to 3 Autonomy vs. Shame 3 to 6 Initiative vs. Guilt 6 to 2 Industry vs. Inferiority 12 to 18 Identity vs. Role confusion Young adult Intimacy vs. Isolation Adult Generativity vs. Stagnation Older adult Ego integrity vs. Despair Basic Issues in Development 1. Continuous or discontinuous? Is developmental change smooth and constant or does change occur in stages? 2. One course of development or many? Is the focus of the researcher on the universals of development (normative) or on individual differences (idiographic)? 3. Nature or nurture? Focus is on whether change is inborn (biological) or is the result of experience (environmental) Con Unique combinations of: Genetics Environment  Can result in different paths of development Nature Vs. Nurture Nature  Inborn, biological givens  Based on genetic inheritance Nurture  Influence biological and psychological development Developmental Psychologists  Developmental psychologists align themselves with specific theoretical approaches Cognitive-developmental approach Piaget Information-processing models Sociocultural approach Vygotsky Bronfenbrenner Environmental/learning approach Skinner Bandura (social learning) Evolutionary approach Ethology Cognitive Developmental Approach ● Emphasis on cognition: changes in behaviours arise from changes in their knowledge and intellectual skills  Goals: to specify what children know how this knowledge is organized how it changes or develops Sociocultural Approach  Individual cognitive development is a product of cultural influences  Emphasis on: Social processe
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