Developmental Psychology: Theories & Methods
Lecture 1 - September 4, 2013
Development vs. Child Development
Changes that occur in various aspects of a person's lifetime (from moment of conception to
moment of death).
Physical, cognitive, emotional and social capacities.
Changes that occur during childhood.
Centuries of Childhood (1960) - First book on childhood
Children in the 18th Century
Short life expectancy
Miniature adults, worked in factories
Major Themes in Child Development
Continuous vs. Discontinuous
- Some argued that development was gradual, others argued people developed in steps.
Nature vs. Nurture
Passive vs. Active Child
Passive - environment shapes the way they are.
Active - the child shapes the way they are (asking questions).
Person vs. Situation
A shy person would be shy regardless of the situation you are in. Shy at home, at school and in the
workplace. Universal vs. Relativism
Universal - happens the same way anywhere in the world.
Relativism - it's the culture they live in.
What Literature says?
Kipsigis (Western Kenya) parents engage in a sitting ritual with their babies (Super, 1976).
East Asian parents less likely to place infants on the floor for free play (Super, 1976).
North American parents put infants to sleep on their backs, rather than on their stomachs (Davis
et al., 2008).
Cultural differences in motor development.
Theory What Art Thou?
Theory vs. Scientific Theory
Set of concepts that describe and explain an aspect of experience or phenomenon.
A scientist's pubic statement that accounting for a specific of his or her study.
Describes the psychological changes or development over time.
What makes a good scientific theory?
Parsimony - it can explain an observation in the simplest way possible.
Major Theoretical Perspectives;
Personality = Id + Ego + Superego
- (Sigmund Freud)
Oral (birth - 1 year)
Anal (1 - 3 years)
Phallic (3 - 6 years)
Latency (6 - 12 years)
Genital (> 12 years)
Classical conditioning: Learning from repeated presentation of familiar & unfamiliar stimuli.
- (John Watson)
Little Albert experiment