Dev. Psyc. Class 1: “The origins of knowledge and
1/7/2013 6:35:00 AM
Sometimes we are more alike at present time with our younger selves, and
sometimes we are more alike someone our own age than we are with our
Origins of Knowledge?
Magic Trick #1
Where did the rabbit come from?
Magic Trick #2
Infant, then when older playing basketball
Where does knowledge come from?
1. Put into the mind/brain from outside (empiricism)
2. Was in the mind/brain all along (nativism)
3. Was constructed in the mind/brain, by the mind/brain
genetically based, with learning mechanisms, built to construct
o Therefore, 1, 2, and 3 go hand in hand. (individually
necessary and collectively sufficient)
Teacher: Look at notes within 24hrs = BEST MEMORY
After each day you lose more info from memory – forgetting
LOOK AT COURSE GOALS BECAUSE ITS SOMEWHAT OF A CHEAT
SHEET FOR WHAT QUESTIONS WILL BE ASKED ON EXAM!
-------- EXAMS ARE CUMULATIVE
Themes in Dev. Psyc.
1. Nature/Nurture Issue By mature we refer to genes, and by nurture we refer to
environment (environment can be physical, social, cultural,
linguistic, economic, historical, etc).
o Genes are recipes
o Environment are ingredients
They are useless unless they go hand in hand
Genes expect an environment
The nature/nurture debate has some SUB-topics
1. a) Common Abilities (CA)
Example- teacher uses a venn diagram with green in center, blue
and yellow on opposite sides… to get G, we need 100% of Y and
100% of B.
Comparison with Nature/Nurture, Common Abilities depend on
100% Nature and 100% Nature
Examples of Common Abilities: walking, speaking, thinking, reading,
seeing (these things are usually species-typical)
With reading, it is a special case, because we wouldn’t necessarily
consider it a common ability, but we depend on things like thinking
and seeing to develop reading. (Note: species typical DOESN’T
mean it has to be with EVERY species, but rather what is shared
among some or most)
1. b) Individual Differences
Differences in CA are underwritten by differences in nature,
differences in nurture, or BOTH.
o CA still depends on 100% genes, 100% environment.
Examples of Non-common Abilities: seeing UV light (ultraviolet) ---
humans cant… certain kinds of navigation, e.g. bird navigating by looking at
stars --- humans cant.
2. Continuity/Discontinuity Issue
What kind of process underlies the development? o Ex. Height – cont/discont?
o Ex. Liquid conservation task (Piaget) – cont/discont?
The task (shown in video in lecture) has 2 children
reasoning with how much water (“rocket fuel”) the
teacher or the child has. The 4-year old considers