Lecture 17, 18, 19 Chp 13 3/19/2013 10:50:00 AM
Chapter 13: Developmental Psychology
o The study of how people change and grow over time, physically, mentally,
o The process by which children learn the rules and behaviour expected of
them by society.
Conception to First Year:
o The sequential unfolding of genetically influenced behaviour and physical
Stages of prenatal development:
Begins at conception, sperm unites with egg (fertilized cell called
Begins once implantation of embryo has occurred until 8 weeks
Begins at 8 weeks until birth, further development of organs and
system in fetus.
Harmful influences that can cross the placental barrier:
o German measles (rubella)
o X-rays or other radiation and toxic substances such as lead
o Sexually transmitted diseases
o Cigarette smoking
o Regular consumption of alcohol (risk of fetal alcohol syndrome)
o Drugs other than alcohol.
The Infants world:
Many infant physical and perceptual abilities are present at birth o Motor reflexes: automatic behaviours that are necessary for survival
o Perceptual abilities for sight, sounds, touch, smell and taste.
Newborn’s visual range of focus reflects about the distance
between faces of infant and caregiver.
Can discriminate primary caregiver from others very early by
sight, smell, sound.
Culture and Maturation:
Many aspects of development depend on cultural customs on how babies are
held, touches, fed, and talked to
o E.g. infants sleeping with mother vs. in crib
Developmental milestones change quickly with cultural changed in baby-care
o E.g. babies no longer crawl since practice of laying babies on stomachs
Attachment theory: (Bowlby)
o Describes the relatively stable pattern of relationships that one forms
from birth to death
Attachment begins with contact comfort:
o The innate pleasure derived from closer physical contact; basis of infants
Harlow’s attachment study:
o Infant monkey spent more time with soft cuddly “mother” than the
“mother” with food.
o Contact comfort was preferred over food.
Once attached, infants may show separation anxiety if primary caregiver
o Distress that most children develop, at about 6-8 months of age, when
their primary caregivers temporarily leave them with strangers.
Attachment bonds studied through strange situation test (Ainsworth)
o Three categories of attachments based on reactions:
Secure, avoidant, anxious/ambivalent.
Insecure Attachments: Ainsworth believed that secure attachment depended on maternal sensitivity,
but it did not consider
o Children who attach to many adults may not panic when their mothers
leave (Strange Situation) because they are comfortable with strangers.
o Most children develop secure attachment despite differences in child-
o Time spent on daycare has no effect on the security of the child’s
Factors that promote insecure attachment:
o Abandonment and deprivation in the first two years of life.
o Parenting that is abusive, neglectful, or erratic because the parent is
chronically irresponsible or depressed.
o The child’s own genetically influenced temperament.
o Stressful circumstances in the child’s family.
One milestone of cognitive development is language acquisition
Begins in the first few months (responsive to pitch, intensity, sound)
Adult use of baby talk, pitch is higher and more varied than usual,
exaggerated intonation, emphasis on vowels.
Continues in rapid progression
o 6 months—1year: babbling (ba-ba)
o 10 months: recognize same word spoken by different people
o 12 months: begin to name things and gesture
o 18 months—2years: telegraphic speech:
2—3 word combination
o 2 years: learn syntax
o 6 years: vocabulary of 8000—14,000 words.
Development of thinking: according to Piaget, cognitive development consists of mental adaptations to
new observations and experiences.
Two forms of adaptation:
The process of absorbing new information into existing cognitive
Use what they already know and use the cognitive structure that
they already have
The process of modifying existing cognitive structures in response
Use a different cognitive structure because they can’t use their
Stages of Cognitive Development:
Sensorimotor Stage: (birth to age 2)
o Learning through concrete actions
o Coordinates sensory information with bodily movement
o Major accomplishment is object permanence
The understanding that an object continues to exist even when
you cannot see or touch it.
Preoperational stage (ages 2-7)
o Focused on limitations in children’s thinking.
Children lack ability to engage in mental operations.
Engaging in egocentric thinking (inability to take another
Cannot grasp concept of conservation (understanding that
physical properties of objects can remain the same even when
their form or appearance change)
Concrete Operations stage (ages 7-12)
o Earlier limitations overcome but primarily with concrete information
o Continue to make errors in reasoning about abstract concepts
o Understand principles of conservation, reversibility, cause and effect.
Formal operation Stage: (ages 12-adult)
o Teenagers become capable of abstract reasoning.
o Ideas/concepts can be compared and classified just like objects. o Can formulate hypotheses, test ideas, search for answers to solve
Current views on Cognitive development:
Cognitive abilities develop in continuous, overlapping waves rather than discrete
Preschoolers are not as egocentric as Piaget thought (theory of mind for
Children, even infants, reveal cognitive abilities much earlier than Piaget
Cognitive development is influenced by a child’s culture.
Children’s ability to understand right from wrong (reasoning about moral
dilemmas) evolves with cognitive abilities (Kohlberg)
Methods used to enforce moral standards:
o Power assertion:
Parent uses punishment and authority to correct child’s
Parent appeals to child’s own resources, abilities, sense of
responsibility, and feelings for others in correcting the child’s
One of the most important social-emotional skills children need to acquire is
o The ability to suppress their initial wish to do something in favour of
doing something else that is not as much fun
o Predicts ability to delay gratification, control negative emotions, pay
attention to task at hand, and do well in school .
Self regulation is important to the development of conscience.
o The fundamental sense of being male or female.
o Independent of whether a person conforms to the social and cultural
rules of gender. Gender typing:
o The process by which children learn the abilities, interests, and
behaviours associated with being masculine or feminine in their culture.
Complexity and Gender:
Complexity evident in cases that do not fit categories of male and female.
o Intersex conditions:
Condition occurring where chromosomal or hormonal anomalies
cause a child to be brown with ambiguous genitals or genitals that
conflict with chromosomes.