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Lecture 3

Child Psychology Lecture 3.docx

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Mark Schmuckler

Child Psychology Lecture 3 o Why study research methods?  Two general reasons: 1. Important of being a wise and critical consumer of research 2. Bridging research and practice together o The normative-explanatory dimension describes some typical behavior, and the explanatory research provides explanations for developmental differences o The naturalistic-manipulative dimensions in which naturalistic research observe behavior in its natural setting, and is controlled or experimental observations put the child in situations that will maximize the occurrence of the behavior of interest o The atheoretical-theoretical dimensions involves the relative emphasis on theory as a basis of research o The ahistorical-historical dimensions  Ahistorical research studies behavior at one particular point in time  Historical research is concerned with the origins and future courses of behavior o The longitudinal design –  Involves assessing the same group of people over an extended period of time  Any changes seen are from direct development  It requires commitment in part from the participants  Advantages to this approach: similarities and differences in behavior across development are seen directly, track performance of individuals over time, identify common patterns and individual differences, and can examine relations between early and late behaviors  Disadvantages to this approach: biased sampling; not necessarily representative of population at large and also subject might drop out of study, it involves repeated testing; the same test could results could be altered to repetition of test and practice effects, and lastly there are cohort effects; you only test one single cohort, not able to generalize with people born in another time period o The cross-sectional design –  Involves assessing differently aged groups of people at the same time of testing  Advantages to this approach: less time-consuming, and less expensive than longitudinal designs, and not as concerned with practice effects and selective drop-out; in turn its extremely efficient at these  Disadvantages to this approach: no evidence for change at individual level; change is between groups of people thus you can only estimate the change we assume differences are due to change, and there are cohort effects; differentiating cohorts become difficult o The sequential design –  This method essentially integrates features of longitudinal and cross-sectional design together  You start off by bringing different age groups just as the cross-sectional design and you can see immediate results of the program  You can bring the cross-sectional group back, and this time around make a longitudinal and cross-sectional comparison among ages  The 2 ndcross-section can tell us which cohort benefited or didn’t benefit from program and can also bring a “control” group to this part of experiment to really find differences  Advantages to this approach: time saving, immediate cross-sectional result, and can also receive cohort effects by bringing in control group  Disadvantages to this approach: it’s quite complicated, and still takes a fair amount of time o In a comparative research one attempt to learn something about human development through comparison to non-human development. It permits controlled tests of hypotheses that would be unethical to test with humans  Allows you to do control tests  Animal testing o In a cross-cultural research one compares subjects from different cultural backgrounds. This allowing the investigator to determine whether conclusions can be drawn about children in one social or cultural context generalizes to children in other contexts. You can compare the two cultures to find similarities and differences.  There is generality and universality of findings  Tended to look more at differences than the similarities as function of cultural background  Inappropriate to generalize with what happens around the world – can be solved by conducting cross-cultural research; examples: emotional attachment o The general problems with research and developmental research include: 1. Contamination – data influenced by factors other than those being studied 2. Research effects – researcher unintentionally influences the results in study ~ also referred to as demand characteristics which are essentially the researcher giving hints and clues as to what they want participant to do 3. Reconstruction through retrospection – biases introduced through inaccurate memories 4. Faulty logic – problematic reasoning in interpreting data 5. Inadequate definition of concepts – problems in how abstract concepts are defined and operationalized; these define concepts and measure concepts in reliable way; example: aggressiveness hard concept to define 6. Sampling – errors introduced through the type of subject recruited for the study 7. Overgeneralization – application of findings to situations that are not appropriate or similar enough o Behavior genetics – devoted to uncover nurture vs. nature; essentially all attributes are influenced by their environment  Polygenetic traits  The question of how much o Genotype is one’s genetic endowment; what genes you have inherited from your parents, it remains constant through life and you cannot change it o Phenotype is one’s observable characteristics of individual, and it emerges through interactions with genotype and environment; essentially what you see, what is your behavior representing gene-environment interactions focusing on organisms as they develop individual characteristics  Impossible to explain genotype from characteristics of the phenotype o Variations in any level of the environment can have an impact on the development of the organism  Example: experiments done on the Himalayan rabbit which studied fur color  These rabbits had a white body, black nose, feet, and tail – when
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