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PSY 2105 - LEC 1

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University of Ottawa
Heather Poole

May 1 2012 Make sure to be familiar with the key terms ** **short answer on the exam will be like, define a concept, and give an example understand and how you can put it in your own words Issues in Development What is development? How can we define it? o Development continues across the life span. Development is change/growth over the life span o 1 def: changes that occur over time in though, behavior, reasoning and functioning of a person due to biological, individual and environmental influences (whats happening and why its happening ) common elements Subcategories of Development 1) physical/perceptual development: o Brain development, changes in perceptual and motor abilities, changes in body systems and how they function 2)Cognitive Development: o Development of thought processes, intellectual abilities, attention, memory, problem solving, and language. (how much can a five yr old remember relative to a 12 yr old?) 3)Emotional and Social Development: o Changes in regulation of emotions, in interpersonal skills, relationship formation, moral reasoning. (how do temper tantrum changes throughout the decades of life, how do kids make friends? Who is the most important person in their lifes? social dev) Common breakdown of periods of development 1) Prenatal period : conception to birth 2) Infancy and toddlerhood: birth to 2 years 3) Early childhood: 2 to 6 years 4) Middle childhood: 6 to 11 years 5) Adolescence: 11 to 20 years Other periods of development Split adolescence into two components? o Early adolescence: 11 to 15 o Late adolescence: 16 to 20 When does it end? It doesnt end when you are 20 it keeps going Need to consider entire lifespan But.. Age is not development! Age is a guideline to help us organize how to study and evaluate development Development is a maturational process independent of age Age does not cause development o Experience and genetics cause development o In developmental psychology, we look at age-related changes Issues in Developmental psychology 1.Nature vs. Nurture One of the longest running debates in development Why do we develop individual differences? Does nature (genetics) or nurture (environment) play a bigger role in our development? What is the relative contribution of each? For example.. Humans are arguably the only species with language, and language skills typically emerge around the same age o indicates a genetic component Not all humans develop language, and different people develop different languages o indicates an environmental component Now most people accept that both factors are involved Relative influences are still interesting Watch for this issue throughout the course o aka: Heredity vs. environment, maturation vs. learning, emergent abilities vs. acquired skills Key terms Genotype: genetic makeup o Differences in genotype are due to parental genetic material. Phenotype: characteristics of individual o Differences in phenotype are due to differences in genotype and/or differences in environment. Observable/measurable Heritability:What proportion of individual differences are inherited, from your genes. It doesnt tell us how the differences develop Heritability can tell us HOW MUCH variability is explained by genetics, but not HOW individual differences develop o Both nature and nurture influence Extent to which individual differences in phenotypes are due to genetic factors Question of HOW MUCH o e.g., measuring intelligence in children & teens: heritability estimate = 0.50 (twin studies) genetic differences explain about 50% of variation in intelligence in children and teens o e.g., measuring correlation of adopted childrens IQ with adoptive vs. biological parents IQ Higher with biological parents Canalization: experience doesnt play much of a role, these are traits that are heavily controlled by your genes, and no matter what happens to you; you will turn out the same way. Some traits/characteristics are more influenced by experience, and ones that arent are called canalized Some behaviours/traits are simply not very responsive to the environment: genetics limit possible outcomes to only one or a few outcomes o e.g., infant motor development: sitting, reaching A strongly canalized characteristic will come out a certain way unless very strong environmental effects occur Gene-environment co-variation: genes and environment vary together and how one varies influences the other, have this cycle of influence, hard to tease apart which is influencing which. Niche-picking: we tend to do things were naturally good at or enjoy o Passive or active Good genes for sports Enjoys sports, asks to be enrolled in them (active) Gets lots of practice Evocative correlation o Behaviour influences others Active: individuals make the choice Passive: ex; parents who are musicians expose their child to something they enjoy, in this case they are musicians so they want to expose their child at an early age to music. Still put into a niche but by the parents decision, not the child. . Nature vs. Nurture: Fraternal birth order effect Do older brothers affect the sexual orientation of younger brothers when the latter are still in utero (nature) OR Does the effect exert itself later, in childhood or early adolescence? (nurture) How could we answer this? boys /male, the more older brother you have the more likely you are to be homosexual (this only works for right handed males) Whats causing this effect? Could be a nature thing, having mom carry a whole bunch of boys changes something in the uterus, something going on in the genetic early formation of the fetus. (nature) test testosterone level, twins are a good example. Younger brother who has no biological brothers but a whole bunch of stepbrothers, and the vice they show the patern? A little boy whos growing up with a whole bunch of brothers has certain experiences that one that grows up with sisters has, learning, something different (nurture). Boy can idolize older brother and become attracted. Explanation: Bogaert (2006) did this and found that boys with older biological brothers were more likely to be homosexual, but boys raised with older step-brothers were not Maternal immune response (bogaert) when a women is pregnant. Theres a conflict between her and the fetus, therefore when the mother is carrying a boy, there are all these male cells, doesnt have to be all that testosterone, but male cells/molecules, so the mothers body might see them as foreign bodies and may elicit anstmmune response. o 1 child: this happens with first baby, not much is affected o 2 baby: immune system responds, a little bit better o 3 and 4 , gets better at fighting off the invasion, this may be causing some physiological response.
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