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Lecture 2

PSY210H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Empiricism, Behaviorism, Mitosis

Course Code
Elizabeth Johnson

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PSY210H5 – Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Lecture 2 – January 14, 2014
I. REVIEW from last class:
A) Developmental Psychology vs. Child Psychology
Developmental psychology defined:
oScientific study of changes or continuities in an organism between
initial conception and death
Child Development
oPage 4 from textbook
B) Philosophical Roots of Child Psychology Plato, Rousseau, Aristotle, Locke
a.) Plato, Rousseau, Aristotle, Locke
Infants possess extensive innate knowledge about the world
oPlato, Rousseau
Infants depend on experience to gain knowledge of world
oAristotle, Locke
b.) Nativist vs. Empiricist
Nativist: emphasizes the role of nature (or innate factors) in development
Empiricist: emphasizes the role of nurture (or environmental factors) in
C) Scientific Study of Development (Darwin, Hall, Binet, Watson, Freud)
A new scientific study is born
oIn late 1800s and early 1900s, the field of developmental psychology
was born
All men are created equal?
oBinet wanted to classify the cognitive abilities of children to
understand where they should be placed in school
oPoor children were not succeeding academically
oPeople wanted to know if we could all reach this great potential if we
improved the environment of children
D) Applied vs. Basic Research
The goal of applied research is to solve practical problems
The goal of basic research (fundamental, pure) is to acquire knowledge for
the knowledges sake (no direct application). The motivation behind this
work is scientific curiousity.
Basic research is closely tied to applied research
II. Developmental Psychology in Canada
A) Dionne Quintuplets
Initially headed by William Blatz
oLater became famous for his work on the Dionne quintuplets, exploring
the interaction of environment and genetics
Dionne Quintuplets
oThe quintuplets were taken from early infancy and lived in ‘Quintland’
until the age of 7
oScientists were curious about them, and saw them being important for
science, and they were concerned for their welfare living with 5 other

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PSY210H5 – Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Lecture 2 – January 14, 2014
oPeople would pay to observe these girls who were displayed in a one-way
glass mirror
The Dionne Quintuplets: In Retrospect
oWhat are the negative consequences?
oWhat are the positive consequences?
oWas it worth it?
We wouldn’t be where we are today if this never happened
This was dramatic to their lives however
III. What are some underlying themes that interest Developmental Psychologists?
A) Nature vs. nurture
oWhat roles do biology (nature) and environment (nurture) play in child
B) Continuous or stage-like
oAre developmental changes best described as qualitative changes or quantitative
changes? (happening dramatically and suddenly or slowly… accumulates?)
C) What drives change?
oContributions from external environment, and
oContributions from children themselves:
Is development passive or active?
Does a childs innate endowment impact her environment?
D) Domain interaction
oDo different core abilities develop differently or in concert?
Can cognitive development be understood without considering social
Can social development be understood without considering
perceptual development?
E) How predictive and critical are early stages?
oe.g. is a fussy 3 month old destined to become an irritable adult?
oAre IQ increases due to environmental stimulation maintained over the
course of the life, or are they only temporary?
These questions drive different theories of child development.
IV. What sorts of theoretical approaches do developmental psychologists use to address
these questions?
oDevelopmental Theory: an organized set of ideas that is designed to explain
oTheories generate developmental hypotheses
oTestable predictions for describing and explaining development
oApproaches to development
oThere are many theories of development, and these different theories can be
grouped according to the type of approach they take to studying development

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PSY210H5 – Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Lecture 2 – January 14, 2014
Examples of ways you can approach developmental psychology:
A) Biological
a. Maturational Approach
oMaturational approach championed by Gessell
oChild development reflects a specific and prearranged scheme or
plan within the body
oDevelopment is just a natural unfolding of a biological plan
oWeakness was that it allowed learning to play little role in
b. Ethological Theory
oEthological Theory approach championed by Lorenz (ducks)
oBehavior must be viewed and understood as occurring in a
particular context and as having adaptive survival value
oMany types of learning can only take place during a critical
oBiologically based, evolved behavior patterns are stressed, but an
appropriately stimulating environment is necessary to elicit them
oStrength: can allow for environmental influences
oLorenz experimented with imprinting; where his black boots were
thought to be the mother of the ducks who followed him (but only
if those ducks had seen the black boots during the critical period)
oLanguage is learned most successfully before the onset of
puberty… the critical period is applied for language acquisition
oLate learners of English
oOrally trained deaf learners
B) Structural-Organismic Perspective
oRefers to an approach to development where development is described in
terms of stages (stage-like)
oDevelopment is determined primarily by how a child resolves conflicts at
different ages
a. Freud
oPsychodynamic Theory: p.10 Development occurs in discrete
stages, is determined largely by biologically-based drives shaped
by encounters with the environment and through the interaction of
three components of personality – the id, ego, and superego
oFive stages
1. Oral
2. Anal
3. Phallic
4. Latency
5. Genital
b. Piaget
oPiagetian Theory: p.11 A theory of cognitive development that
sees the child actively seeking new information and incorporating
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