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Lecture 11

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University of Toronto St. George
Stuart Kamenetsky

Lecture 11 How significant and important is childhood? • What role do childhood events play in determining adult personality? • Do early experiences leave irreversible effects? • Is the a continuity from childhood to adulthood and if so-what are the features of this continuity? We put a lot of effort, money and focus on early childhood education because matter the most. Neural plasticity takes places greatly here, as older changes little. TheoreticalAnswers: Freud-childhood really matters • Neurons are only acquired during early childhood even through symptoms may not appear until much later. Children brought up in difficult families, ad child has reason to become anxious because cant predict whats going to happen in day to day life will become neurotic. • The child is psychologically father to the man. Childhood is going to determine what adulthood is like. Contrary, childhood is important in ways your are raised will determine your future in the same way parents determine what you will be like. • There is straightforward continuity between childhood and adulthood. • One can work backwards to reconstruct childhood experiences or work forward to predict future adult psychopathology. • Empirical investigations have failed to show such a clear and direct association. TheoreticalAnswers: Erikson: Child acquires a sense of trust or mistrust through feeding experiences- emphasis on general personal relationship qualities rather than on specific experiences that may cause adult psychopathology. Lorenz: Critical periods represent developmental phases of maximum susceptibility to certain kinds of influence. -Sensitive periods are concerned with probabilities of certain forms of learning being higher within certain age ranges. -Bowlby: attachment must take place during a critical period or otherwise there will be irreversible effects on subsequent relationships. -Empirical investigations of children who were institutionalized before being adopted at various ages have not confirmed this strict time limit. -some kids did well and some didn't, in the middle so not clear. Factors- environment with warm parents increased the likelihood of success. Stressful experiences at 'non' critical points in development- ie/birthday party for 1 year old. • Highly stressful experiences may produce serious psychopathology at the time. Crying excessively, temper tantrums, not communicating, hard to console. • Single experiences rarely produce long term consequences on their own whereas long term and lasting experiences are far more likely to produce chronic psychopathology. Ie/ lose loved ones, break up with spouses, be rejected, don’t accomplish their goals. • Even chronic psychopathology as a result of long term deprivation can often be reversed through significant changes in life circumstances and parenting practices. Reversal of harm to children as result of parental divorce: -children are negatively affected when divorce occurs but considerable individual differences ( including sex and age) in nature and degree of harm. -The effect is not limited to the family environment. -Many children adjust within a few years but there are considerable individual and contextual differences. Research has yet to establish a clear pattern of long term effects. Risk and Protective Factors: • Risk factors are factors that increase the probability of undesirable outcomes as a result of exposure to stress. All kids will be exposed to stress, minimum amount of parents parent to shield the child away from harm. Undesirable long term outcomes from this stress, then yes more undesirable outcomes are likely. If fewer risk than lower likelihood of outcome. • Protective factors have the opposite effect by protecting children against undesirable outcomes. Will reduce stress. With few risk factors, lots of protective factors fewer stress. • The combination of these factors will determine where on a continuum ranging from resilient to vulnerable a child may reside. Normal stress will produce negative likelihood. Combinations are negative effect. Protective factors can reduce risk factors so then positive outcomes. Thus depends on the continuum not a dichotomy. -good public policy, good schooling, lack of poverty are many factors among others for resilience. • Important factors are: sex, temperament, intelligence, birth condition- born maturely and healthy, family harmony-stress free, close attachments, parental caregiving styles, availability of substitute caregivers, separation, numb
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