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Psych 2040- Chapter 2: Theories of Human Development.docx

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Psychology 2040A/B
Michael G Mac Donald

THEORY  theory: a set of concepts and propositions that describe, organize, and explain a set of observations  a good theory must be: 1. parsimonious: few explanatory principles to explain a broad set of observations; concise 2. falsifiable: capable of making predictions so that it can be supported or disconfirmed 3. heuristic value: continues to stimulate new research and discoveries OVERVIEW 1. Psychoanalytic Theories  Freud’s Psychosexual Theory  people are driven by inborn sexual and aggressive instincts that must be controlled  behavior reflects unconscious motives that people repress  stages: 1. oral (birth – 1 year) 2. anal (1 – 3 years) 3. phallic (3 – 6 years) 4. latency (6 – 11 years) 5. genital (12+ years)  conflict of individual’s instinct and societal norms for behavior  three components of personality: o id: basic needs, driven by instinct o ego: balancing basic needs; rationalization o superego: ideal; moral standards Contributions Criticisms  ideas of unconscious motivation  no real evidence of early  focus on later consequences of conflicts affecting adult early experiences personality  Erikson’s Psychosocial Development  a neo-Freudian  viewed children as more active in development than Freud  far less emphasis on sexual urges  more emphasis on social and cultural influences on development  people progress through series of 8 psychosocial conflicts: 1. basic trust vs. mistrust 2. autonomy vs. shame and doubt 3. initiative vs. guilt 4. industry vs. inferiority 5. identity vs. role confusion 6. intimacy vs. isolation 7. generativity vs. stagnation 8. ego integrity vs. despair  must resolve these conflicts to achieve healthy development 2. Learning Theories  John B. Watson’s Behaviourism  only overt behaviors should be measured and analyze  strong emphasis on environmental influences— environmental determinism  habits: well-learned associations between external stimuli and observable responses  believed to be building blocks of human development  development is continuous and based on learning; children do not progress through distinct stages dictated by biological maturation and have no inborn tendencies  ―little Albert‖ experiment  B.F. Skinner’s Radical Behaviorism  animals and humans repeat acts that lead to favourable outcomes and suppress those which lead to unfavourable outcomes  outlined principles of operant conditioning: voluntary acts become either more or less probable depending on outcome  reinforcers: ↑ probability of behavior occurring again  punishers: ↓ probability of behavior occurring again  development depends on external stimuli (rewards/punishers) rather than internal forces (drives/instincts)  proposed environmental determinism: environment shapes passive child  A. Bandura’s Cognitive Social Learning Theory  more emphasis on cognitive processes— more affected by what one believes will happen than by what one actually experiences  observational learning stressed  learning by observing others (models)  not dependent on reinforcement  proposed reciprocal determinism: environment ↔ child  Contributions  Criticisms  precise and testable  oversimplified  knowledge about basic learning  ignores genetic contributions to from well-controlled tests behavior  practical applications (behavior  ignores ecology modification)  ignores changes in cognitive abilities 3. Cognitive-Developmental Theory  Jean Piaget  schemes become more complex with development  an organized pattern of thought or action a child uses to make sense of experience  interpretation of the world changes with age  children actively construct knowledge Overview of Piaget’s stages of development Sensorimotor Birth – 2 years Exploration using senses, motor coordination improves Preoperational 2 - 7 years Usage of symbols Concrete Operations 7 - 11 years Logical thought Formal Operations > 11 years Abstract thought  these stages occur in invariant developmental sequence: development must occur in sequence because each is a prerequisite for the next  How do children use schemes?  new experiences assimilated into existing schemes until disequilibrium is encountered, leading to accommodation  assimilation: using an existing scheme to interpret a novel experience  disequilibrium: imbalances between individual’s thought processes and environmental events  accommodation: modifying an existing scheme to incorporate new experiences Contributions Criticisms  focus on how children think  underestimates abilities of  field of social cognition children  educational applications  children can be trained  strong influence on other theories  Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective  children acquire culture’s values, beliefs, and problem-solving strategies through dialogues with knowledgeable members of society  cognitive growth is socially mediated and heavily influenced by culture; no universal cognitive stages  children easily mast
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