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Lecture 15

Lecture 15 (November 1st, 2012)

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University of Toronto St. George
Ashley Waggoner Denton

Lecture 15 (November 1 , 2012) st Cognitive Development: How do we know what infants and toddlers know about the world? Research techniques for learning what infants know: Preferential looking technique: if for whatever reason an infant prefers one stimulus to another, then it prefers it. Orienting reflex: the idea is that infants want their attention drawn to objects that are new and novel to them. They tend to get bored at the same object, but they orient towards objects that are new to them. o Babies are born with all these synaptic connections that they dont lose or they dont need and the brain goes through this move it or lose it policy with those synapses, but we tend to specialize in things like human faces. Memory retention test: Memory retention test is the idea that What do babies remember? Do babies remember from day to day? The memory retention test is laying a baby in a crib and you attach a string to it and to a mobile and so when the baby kicks, the mobile moves too, but do they remember that the next day if you attach a string to them again? The older the baby is, the better he is at that, the longer his memory can last. There is infantile amnesia. None of us can remember the early years of our lives. Our earliest memories are 3 or 4 years old. Young children also tend to do a lot of confabulation. They make up memories. Understanding the laws of nature: Physics, Mathematics Infants are pretty smart. They have some intuitive nature regarding the laws of nature and gravity. An infant Is shown a possible event: A box is released on top of another box. An infant is shown an impossible event: A box is released in mid-air but does not fall. Infant spends much more time looking at the impossible event. Piaget did something with marbles. He played them out and had them clustered and spread out, and the kids looked at the length: if spread out further, they said that the longer one was more than the other one. Researchers then replaced the marbles with M&Ms, motivating the babies to take the ones with most M&Ms in it, and they see that the kids do it successfully. Social & Identity Development: Parents vs. Peers: Who is really important in terms of socialization and in terms of kids establishing their identities? Is it parents or is it peers? So Judith Rich Harris basically said that parents are nothing. Its all about the peers. She has this group socialization theory that said we learn one set of behaviors inside the home, then we learn other sets of behaviors by living outside of the home. Behaviors inside the home are only relevant inside the home, and its outside the home that we learn how to behave outside of it. Her theory was met with a lot of criticism, and it seems clear that both parents and peers play an important role in social development. Your parents can help steer you towards a set of friends, or ban you from bad influences, so both parents and peers are influential in developing our identity. Impact of Divorce: It is associated with lots of negative outcomes academic problems, social problems. Not all children cope poorly: older children handle it better, socially mature children. Worst than divorce is living in a home that is a high-conflict home with parents fighting all the time. That is associated with more negative outcomes. The downsides of divorce point to the impact on finances. Most of the children are raised by mom, mom has lost most of dads income, etc. Gender Identity: Refers to personal beliefs about whether one is male or female. Gender roles: are culturally defined norms that distinguish between male and female characteristics. How people of a certain gender are supposed to behave. These are learned very early on. Gender schemas: are cognitive structures that influence how people perceive the behaviors of females and males. Both biology and the environment clearly play a role in the development of gender identity. A kid, during a circumcision, loses his penis, and in the 60s they decide to make him into a biological girl, and they changed his name to Brenda and raised him as a girl, and that did not go very well. Brenda just had tons of trouble going up and she always felt like she was a boy and wanted to do boy things, so finally when Brenda was 15, the parents told him/her what had happened, and she felt relieved, so she decided that she wanted to be a boy. So he became a man and got married, and he did end up committing suicide after going through a crisis as an adult. But biological component does exist in gender and to who we are. Gender identity disorder: when a conflict occurs between a persons biological sex and their gender identity. There are issues dealing with whether this is actually a disorder or not. Racial Identity: Another key component of most peoples self identity. Something that many adolescents start to deal with, and you realize that not everyone looks the same way. Another new issue is that people have mixed racial and ethnic identities, so Tiger Woods came up with this idea for himself Cablinasian that hes Caucasian, black, American, and Asian. Obama talks a lot about the struggles he had growing up trying to find his racial identity because he is from a mixed race with a white mother, black father, etc.
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