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Lecture 14

PSY311H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Deeper Understanding, Prefrontal Cortex, 6 Years

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Stuart Kamenetsky

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Notes From Reading
Views of the Social Child
- The Child is Socially Competent from an Early Age
o When they are born, infants can use their sensory, perceptual, and motor capacities to
respond to social signals and communicate their needs
o In their first year of life, infants can use social referencing to guide their behaviour in
uncertain situations and can produce social signals to alert others to interesting events
o By second year, infants can infer that other people have thoughts, feelings, and intentions
these social-emotional skills provide a foundation for continued social development
- The Child’s Social Behaviour is Organized
o Social behaviours such as crying, smiling, and looking are organized response patterns
that enable even very young infants to interact with others
o Based on experiences with their caregivers, infants soon develop working models of their
social world, which serve as organizing guides that permit them to react to social patterns
in orderly and predictable ways
o As they grow, children use social information to evaluate social situations and decide on
their next social moves
- The Child’s Social Behaviour Becomes Increasingly Sophisticated
o As children grow and mature, social skills exhibited in rudimentary form at early ages
become increasingly sophisticated and occur in complex contexts
o Children learn when to use their social skills and how to execute them in an ever-
widening range of circumstances
o They are able to deploy skills in circumstances involving more abstract tasks and in the
face of competing demands
- The Child is Embedded in Levels of Social Complexity
o A child has dyadic interactions with another person a parent, a peer, a sibling, or a
stranger. These interactions depend on the characteristics of both people and reflect the
sum and product of their behaviours
o There are triadic interactions involving the child and two other people, such as mother
and father or two siblings.
o Children develop longer-term relationships, which depend on the participants’ shared
history and expectations about future social interchanges
o Social Group is a network of social relationships with tis own rules and identity. These
networks influence children indirectly.
o The highest level is where children are embedded in a society or culture with its
traditions, values, beliefs, and social institutions
- Children’s Interactions with Other People are Reciprocal and transactional
o From infancy onward, children influence the behaviour of other people around them and
are influenced by the reactions of these other people in return
o Infants with an easy and engaging style are likely to elicit involved and pleasant reactions
from their parents, leading to mutually satisfying patterns of interactions; infants with an
irritable and difficult style are more likely to elicit negative reactions
o The social behaviour of children and adults is constantly undergoing change as a result of
this mutual influence process
o The resulting pattern of mutual modification over time is best described as transactional
Organization and Explanation of Children’s Social Behaviour
- Aspects of Development are Interdependent
o Motor skills, language abilities, cognitive functions and emotional competencies play a
role in social development
o Understanding other people’s feelings also allows children to feel empathy and express
sympathy, and this in turn promotes prosocial behaviour
- Social Behaviour has multiple Interacting Causes
o Biological factors genetics, brain organization, and hormone levels
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