Developmental psychology March 27 2012
Bottom up would be a lower level system, influence of faster moving info on system
Top down is the higher level in a hierarchy that is slower moving. Stabilizing contextual bits
governs what the lower level bits are doing. (like the laws, they are slow moving and govern
behaviour- but people can change the law by bottom up influence)
Culture is a slow moving contextual structure (top down). Individuals can change the culture and
bottom up tends to influence top down.
Culture reflects ecology, but as ecology change so does culture change and as culture changes
people’s behaviour changes too. If you change the top of hierarchy then the whole system changes
compared to changing something at the bottom of the hierarchy. Changing of government changing
whole society. Change the climate then everything changes.
Traditional environmentalism: Things are getting worse but the economy and climate witll change
and we will come back to sustainable environment
Current environment: things are bad and the system has been bad for a while it has stayed at the
degraded world level
Catastrophe environmentalism: past the point of no return and the world is just a nasty place.
Darfur was an absolute catastrophe in terms of environment and human lives. You can talk about
the bad government and civil society but if you go all the way back you know there was a droght
which caused changes in how people governed their land issues of water and government. Hence
the situation if Darfur connects back to climate.
Culture is affected by environment and people are affected by culture.
Cabon dioxide is one of the impo green house gases which causes the diff climate changes 450 ppm
is safe and after that its bad and we are at about 390 at this point growing by every 2 years. In 30
years we will reach that point but it is kind of hard to control the gasses which developing and
developed world and their industries but its not impossible. 450 takes us into the catastrophic stage
and the safe threshold point is 350. We are currently at 390 and we are gonna be above 350 for
pretty much the rest of our lifetime because it is hard to go back and control and reduce gases.
The way the relationship between ppl and gov is supposed to work in a democracy is that the people
at the bottom should tell ppl in govt what to do and govt at the top should reflect on the peoples
suggestions. We have a lot of corporate influence who have a lot of cash and they have direct
influence over the government and media and then they have influence over the people. So
realistically, the only way you can take a world with huge amounts of control if corporations have
complete change of heart or vigorous people who speak loudly who overwhelm the voices and
change top down processes. We need social capital which si the glue and the trust that holds people
together, collectively organize. Schools have school spirit which is their capital (amount of power)
to change and voice their opinions.
Social capital comes from trust and trust comes from relationships and relationships come from
structures that all them to form and facilitate relationships. Jane Jacobs wrote a book death and life
great American cities and said that if you want more social capital we must think of how our
spacing structure is. People live in one area and drive to another area to shop and world you ahve a
population living in disconnected boxes. Store box work box home box. More you have a society
that space is spread out the less social capital as you tend to chat less or meet people
However, living in a city like Toronto which have more stronger communities and people know
each other more. More integrated the space more social process like relationship which gives more
Where we are at this point we will be here for the next 10-20 years where we have the possibility of
changing the system dramatically but it requires the sufficient accumulation of social capital.
Internet and social networks have helped.
What happens early in a Childs life governs what happens in the rest of their lives.
Biology vs culture, nature vs nurture.
Biology and culture are intertwined.if this si the case then how will we know what “innate” nature
Babies are beings who have not had a lot of social influences happening. You can look at the
influence of nature not nurture as yet.
Genetic programming results in the actions of a baby who is not fully influences by environment yet
Teratogens (Alcohol,drugs,viruses) can cause abnormal development in the womb; many chemicals
pervasive in the environment fount in fetuses.
Stress and mothers emotional state results in changes in birth rates, cognitive and physical
development. In a society where they have technological toys and developments there is less skin to
skin and parent to parent contact is significantly reduced. Parents don’t have to carry them around
so much from one place (bouncer) to another thing (stroller). Even lack of motion. Same kind of
toys give them same motion which reduces the development of child motion development in the
brain. If you rock them hold them move them in diff ways they develop differently.
Brain development (myelination, formation of connection between neurons) is alos dependant on
proper env stimulation. Growing up in a diver env versus a simplified env changes this connection
Children growing up in extreme circumstances have profoundly depend our understanding of the
roll f the env in human development.
EG: studies of children growing up in Romanian and other rphanages and other situations of
neglect. Being human is being a part of Human culture.
Feral Children: Children who grew up in the wild.one child picked up certain words but could not
use them in a proper way. No language flow and vocab was that of a 3 year old child.
In 1970 a young girl and mom escape from an abusive husband. The girl is 4.5 feet tall and 59
pounds and figure maybe she is 6-8 years old. But she is 13 years old in real. There is no genetic
reason for this. She was unable to walk skip climb or do anything requiring full extension of the
limbs but instead moved like a rabbit with her hands like paws.
For 10 years or more Genie was locked in a room tied to a chair or put in a cage. Had no friends of
social interaction except for beatings till she was quiet. This si not INNATE human nature it is
severe traumatic situation causing such behaviour. Few signs of emotions or interest in connecting
with those around her. She did not have the neural architecture to percience the outdoor world when
she got out of the environment.
Cared for by psychs for 4 years in an attempt to rehabilitate her. She was to learn some vocab and
some relationships but limited. At 18 her mom regained custody cut off all contact with caretakes
and later lots custody again and Genie disappeared in the world of institutional care and severly
All the bottom up and top down processes make sense. If you change the powerful high up system it
affects the bottom.
Such cases show that what we are is a result of practice not what we innately know.
Spcia; contact importance: Humans are profoundly social beings
Who we are depends on human contact we have throughout our lives from learning language to
developing a sense of emotional security and to adopting the beliefs and habits and general way of
being our families.
The intimate part of this is the formation of ATTACHMENT
Bond that develops between caregiver and child;emotional connection.
Babies are designed to form attachments and elicit attachment forming behaviours from adults.
Holding out arms,smiling,crying
Adults respond almost automatically (picking up exaggerated expressions)
First “social smile” occurs 4-6 weeks of age
Even very young infants are INTERactive.
Infants as young as 10 weeks get extremely upset when their moms stop showing social expression.
Maternal depression in 1st two months-insecure attachments, poor emotion regulation, learned
helplessness, even depression in later life.
By 8 months infants of unresponsive mothers are developing avoidant behavioural coping
One place where behaviourism breaks down.- Some very common parenting wisdom is to reward
the good, punish/ignore the bad so it extinguishes. BUT this doenst work in infants, avoiding them
when crying etc basically makes them scared and tells them that nobody loves you. Makes them feel
that when you have bad feelings no one will be there to help.
Long term implications are huge-emotion regulation has a lot to do with development of pre frontal