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PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Collectivism, Cord Blood, Harry Harlow

Course Code
Dan Dolderman

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PSY100H1S Human Dev’t and Personality 26/03/13
Harry Harlow quotation—“Love...”
Cognitive dissonance—mention of Ryerson story (hazing
- we reduce dissonance through conscious effort/belief
- E.g. choosing CD’s (5 or 6)—reduce dissonance by convincing
oneself one is better than another; this would not happen if there
was a clear preference of one over another, to begin with
(there’d be no dissonance).
- Dissonance is also responsible for:
oe.g., being part of tormenting hazing rituals for an
exclusive club (that you believe is really awesome)
by making people suffer as part of initiation ritual,
they cement their commitment to the group
those who follow through with sufferings therefore
have better perception of clubs/groups
oHowever, experiments with classical dissonance that tried
to play on this behaviour failed collectivistic culture
conclusion was drawn that people in individualistic cultures
had strong inclination towards internal consistency
(integrity) and therefore would not make choices that were
not consistent with the person they identified as; however,
in collectivistic cultures, a strong inclination was instead
developed towards internal fluidity and harmony with
social networking
Final conclusions—individualistic cultures have much stronger internal
dissonance processes than collectivistic cultures
What is Human Nature? (Dev’t Psych)
- bio vs culture; nature vs nurture
- given that they are always intertwined, how can we know
whether there is such thing as “innate” human nature, and what
that would look like?
- prenatal & infant dev’t progress in highly predictable ways and
are, largely, the result of genetic ‘programming’
- environmental factors before and after birth of babies are
- Eg. teratogens (e.g., alcohol, viruses, drugs, etc.) abnormal
dev’t in womb; many pervasive chemicals in environment now
found in foetuses
- Experiment:
- previously perceived that wombs fairly safe environment

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PSY100H1S Human Dev’t and Personality 26/03/13
- took cord blood samples found about half the number of toxins
from industrial society that were tested for
- E.g., stress & mother’s emotional state birth weight, cognitive
& physical dev’t
- E.g., cultural practices (e.g., sleeping on backs vs. fronts)
crawling (but this reduces the speed of the child’s motor
Altruistic behaviours/tendencies affected by Factors
affecting emotional security:
- frequency of being held (skin on skin contact with parents)
- frequency of parents answering babies’ cries
- brain development (myelination, formation of connection
between neurons) is also dependent on proper environmental
stimulation, nutrition, etc.
Role of the Environment:
- some examples of chidren growing up in extreme circumstances
have profoundly deepened understanding of role of environment
in human dev’t
- E.g., studies of children growing up in Romanian (and other)
orphanages, and other situations of neglect filled with kids,
massively understaffed
- not differences between “sensitive period” and “critical period”
used to be considered latter term, but is not entirely true and
therefore referred to by former term (there is flexibility in
development, though the difficulty in developing major processes
at older ages is highly increased)
Feral Children
- Victor – the “Wild Boy of Aveyron;” captured 1797; escaped, re-
emerged 1800 plateau-ed very early in development and
could not further progress, though learned fairly quickly
- Saturday Mifune – raised by monkeys to age 5; violent, naked,
ate raw meat, veggies, and of course, bananas
- Genie
The Importance of Social Contact
- key theme in dev’t psychology is that humans are profoundly
social beings
- who we are extraordinarily depends on huma contact we have
throughout our lives, from learning language to dev’ping a sense
of emotional security, to adopting the beliefs, habits, and general
‘way of being’ of our families
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