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Lecture

Lecture 1 - Introduction

5 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY210H5
Professor
Elizabeth Johnson

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Description
PSY210H5 – Introduction to Developmental Psychology Lecture 1 – January 7, 2014 What is Developmental Psychology? - Scientific study of changes or continuities in an organism between initial conception and death o We will focus on early human development (i.e. child development) o Take PSY312 (Adult Development andAging) if you are more interested in lifespan development Child Development - Afield of study that seeks to account for the gradual evolution of the child’s cognitive, social, and other capacities first by describing changes in the child’s observed behaviours and then by uncovering the processes and strategies that underlie these changes (page 4) - Field is highly interdisciplinary with important practical and theoretical implications - We will focus mainly on basic research and classic theoretical issues in child psychology, but will also touch upon some applied issues o Basic science: seeking knowledge for the sake of having knowledge (foundation of much applied research) o Applied science: direct application; solving problem in the real world Which questions belong to the field of Child Psychology? - Can a child’s personality be shaped by early experiences while still in the womb? o Yes, Looking at development, and changes over time (time span is defined as child - Do children with dyslexia have speech perception difficulties? o Yes, by definition of the child’s age span - Is it more difficult to learn to speak a second language in middle age than in early adulthood? o Depends on the definition of early adulthood (like which ages) Which questions belong to the field of Developmental Psychology? - Can a child’s personality be shaped by early experiences while still in the womb? o Yes, Looking at development, and changes over time (time span is defined as child - Do children with dyslexia have speech perception difficulties? o Yes, by definition of the child’s age span - Is it more difficult to learn to speak a second language in middle age than in early adulthood? o Yes - Are seniors more prone to false memories than young adults? o Yes What is Basic Research? - Basic research seeks to understand development for the sake of science o Do children have an inborn attraction to human faces? o Does SES (socio-economic stats) predict memory span in young children? - Applied research has a clear practical application o Is lack of interest in faces early in development a predictor of autism? o Can free school meals improve school performance in socio-economically disadvantaged children? PSY210H5 – Introduction to Developmental Psychology Lecture 1 – January 7, 2014 - In this class, we will understand development for the sake of development (goal) Knowing the basics makes will make you a better educator (or pediatrician, or social worker, or..) Understanding of Basic Research Understanding of fundamental questions and methodolgies in child development Ability to identify interesting aspects of development and critically evaluate research findings Well-informed and cutting edge application of most recent knowledge to practical areas Unexpected Benefits of Basic Research (E.g. NASA) - Improved technology of artificial hearts - Improved safety for firemen and race car drivers - Advances in cell phone technology - Satellite data helping to predict earthquakes - Inspired technical advances allowing for development of cochlear implants for hearing impaired children Some Promising Examples From Professor Johnson Research: - Ten month olds notice if a speaker sounds stressed or cheerful, and subsequently prefer the formerly happy speaker’s neutral voice over the formerly stressed speaker’s stressed voice - Word comprehension at six months of age predicts vocabulary size at 16 months of age What is the History of the Field? Who First Studied Children’s Development? - Plato (428-347 BC) o Experience is not the source of human knowledge because our senses are too fallible (cannot be trusted)  Emphasis the important of innate or built in knowledge o Children enter the world armed with innate knowledge about the world and experience simply triggers this pre-existing knowledge o Known for Plato’s CaveAllegory  Understanding the world by shadows, and it wasn’t accurate enough  Philosophers we smart to recognize shadows were just reflection of the truth  Break free from the illusion that the senses provides Were Children Once Considered Little Adults? - Looking at art (created in the past) you will see children as represented as small adults PSY210H5 – Introduction to Developmental Psychology Lecture 1 – January 7, 2014 - Children are certainly depicted differently nowadays Historical Roots (con’t) - Aristotle (384-322 BC) o Human knowledge is based in perceptual experience o Children do not possess extensive innate knowledge o Child’s mind likened to a blank tablet Empiricist vs. Nativist - Nativist: emphasizes the role of nature (or innate factors) in development o Plato - Nativist: - Empiricist: emphasizes the role of nurture (or the environment) in development o Aristotle -Empiricist: Historical Roots (cont’t) - John Locke (1632-1704) o Human knowledge is based in perceptual experience o Child’s mind likened to a tabula rasa, or “blank slate” o All children are created equal (how they “turn out” depends on their experiences in the world) o In short, likeAristotle 2000 years before, Locke believed that children began their journey in if very lightly packed and picked up necessary knowledge through experience - Jaques Rousseau (1712-1778) o Children enter the world with extensive innate knowledge o Human infants possess innate sense of justice and morality that naturally unfolds
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