HDFS 129 Narrative Chapter One 1
Use these notes in addition to reading the text, to be able to fill in the term lists. In
this review, if I think something is adequately covered in the term list or the
chapter, I won’t go over it here.
Lifespan developmental psychology – or Developmental Science – the science that
looks at changes that occur from conception to death, and also looks at the constancies –
what stays the same – from conception to death..
John Locke – English philosopher – 1600s – considered child to be like a blank slate – a
tabula rasa. Think of an erased tablet – tabula rasa – or like a blank chalkboard. He
figured the child came into the world a little nothingness – neutral, and the experience
with the world – environmental experience – would mold his development and make him
whatever he will be. Environmental influence would be like writing on the blank slate –
chalk on the blackboard – which would give the child’s life experience and meaning.
Therefore environmental influence very important to development. He thought
development was continuous reaction to environmental influence. Locke is the
forerunner of what we call the learning theory of development, or behaviorism.
Rousseau – French philosopher – 1700s – considered that a child is good, kind, active
and curious inherently – born that way, with an inner force prompting them to develop
and act on the world. He figured that if the world did not hinder them, then each child
would develop into a good, successful person. Rousseau is the forerunner of the
cognitive theory of development (Piaget), and also somewhat of the ideas of Freud and
Erikson (the idea of an inner force automatically developing toward a mature state).
Rousseau’s ideas were more like our ideas of maturation, with development occurring
in discontinuous stages.
Charles Darwin – 1800s - Had the ideas of survival of the fittest (your genetic
endowment is important to your development, and it is important that the fittest of the
species pass those genes on to their offspring) and natural selection (those who can adapt
to their environment the best will be most likely to live and pass on their genes). He
basically emphasized that biology/genetics and the environment are both very
important to who we are and how we develop.
G. Stanley Hall – latter half of 1800s and early 1900s - wrote descriptions of children,
interviewed children, adolescents, and adults. He gave out questionnaires and tabulated
answers. He felt that childhood, adolescence, and adulthood are three distinct
developmental time periods, and he thought development was a maturational process.
Arnold Gesell – student of Hall - gathered an immense amount of data on children, and
started to look at lifespan development.
Normative approach – many measures taken on many subjects, and age-related
averages are computed. Gives you a better description of what normative development
is really like. You see what is typical, or average, for behavior and development at HDFS 129 Narrative Chapter One 2
various ages. This method of gathering data was developed first by G. Stanley Hall and
Mental testing movement – early 1900s, after normative approach started, Binet and
Simon developed the first intelligence test to find out what children were capable of
benefitting from French schooling, and what children needed special classes. People
started giving intelligence tests to many people, gathering much data (normative
approach) – began to be used by the military for adults.
During the 20 century, psychoanalytic theory, learning theory, cognitive theory, and
ecological theory all got started.
Development – a process by which individuals adapt to their environment by growing,
maturing, and learning. It is a process of change across time. It is multidimensional,
meaning it occurs in three main domains, or areas. – physical, cognitive/psychological,
and emotional/social. Development will be impacted by multiple contexts – family,
peers, school, neighborhood, culture, etc. It is a lifespan process of change from
conception to death.
Cognitive – refers to thinking, reasoning, remembering, understanding – the working of
Development is also multidirectional – meaning that sometimes we improve, sometimes
we decline, and sometimes we don’t really get better or worse, we just are different.
Growth – biological or physical change across time. It is quantitative – continuously
goes from less to more, or smaller to bigger. It is usually symmetrical – what grows on
one side of the body usually happens on the other side of the body. (e.g., prenatally, we
develop arms on both sides of the body at once, not one at a time.)
Maturation – refers to changes that are relatively independent of the environment and
that involve a transformation. A transformation is a fundamental change in the being.
Think of the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. If all you had is growth, all you
would have is a bigger and bigger caterpillar. But due to maturation, the caterpillar goes
through a transformation in maturational development, and becomes a butterfly – the
same being, but fundamentally different.
Maturation is genetically controlled, so it is fairly automatic, and makes every member
of the same species similar in development. It should be relatively independent of the
However, for the maturational sequence to unfold properly, the organism needs a
baseline of normal nutrition and care and experience. When environmental factors
are extreme, the maturational sequence may be disrupted to a degree. For example, when
war kept people in Britain malnourished and stressed continually, the biological
maturational sequence of sexual development was affected, and young girls did not reach HDFS 129 Narrative Chapter One 3
puberty when they should have. Another example of maturation being affected by
extreme circumstances was when babies used to be kept in orphanages in large numbers,
with few caretakers. The babies were seldom taken out of their cribs (which had pillows
to lay on, which conformed to their bodies) and seldom put on their stomachs on the
floor. These babies did not develop arm and leg strength very well, and did not crawl,
creep and eventually walk according to the normal biological motor maturational
sequence. Instead they “scooted” along on their bottoms, when put on the floor.
In humans, language development, motor development, and sexual development follow a
Learning – refers to changes in behavior resulting from experience. Learning depends
on environmental influence. It leads to short term adaptation.
Principles of development –
- development is a lifelong process
- development is plastic – or malleable – or flexible – people can change in many
areas all their lives. Never assume that you are stuck, or that things can’t get
- development should be considered in terms of its historical and ecological
context. The ecology is the social and physical environment that affects a person,
and that is affect by the person. The social environment is all the people you
interact with – boyfriend or girlfriend, siblings, parents, classmates, your local
drug dealer, mailman, etc. The physical environment is the things that you deal
with – your computer, car, microwave, books, tv, clothes, buildings, etc.
Imagine different people’s social and physical environments. If you want to understand
somebody, you need to take into consideration their ecology. Is the person from a one
parent family and the one parent loves them very much and is a wonderful parent?, does
the person have no tv and not a single book in their house?, does their house have running
water?, do they have friends or not?, do they have one teacher who is taking a special
interest in them, or not?, etc.
Bidirectionality of influence – the person affects his social and physical environment, at
the same time as the ecology affects him. It is a two way street. The same stimulus
coming from the environment affects each of us a little differently, because we are each
Multiple contexts – parts of the environment that we affect, and that affect us.
Typically, the most influential contexts will be your body, your family, peers/friends,
school, work, neighborhood/community, and nation/country.
Nature/Nurture – Nature refers to biology/genetic influence, while nurture refers to
environmental influence. Controversy as to how much of each affect any particular
aspect of development. HDFS 129 Narrative Chapter One 4
Some people have been extreme on the genetics/nature side. Galton and Jenson –
beginning of the 20 century, thought behavior mostly determined by genetics –
intelligence mostly determined by genetics. They favored a eugenics program –
Eugenics program – program designed to improve the human species by controlling
heredity. They thought we should limit who could have children and pass on their genes,
or who could enter the country, based on whether their genetic makeup was considered
inferior or not. Hitler was a proponent of a eugenics program – annihilate the Jewish
people because he thought they were inferior to the German people.
Some people have been extreme on the environmental influence/nurture side. Strict
behaviorists, like Watson, thought that development could be changed very much by just
manipulating the environment that a person was raised in.
Most people are now interactionists – they believe that just about every aspect of
development is influenced both by genetics and by the environment. Nature and nurture
interact. Genetics influence us, and affects how and how much the environment will
affect us. The environment influences us, and affects how the genetic influence will be
Observation underlies all that we know about development. Somebody has to watch
people. From observing, we get ideas about behavior – we think that we understand it
and can explain it.
So we develop a collection or set of explanations about an area of development. The set
of explanations is the theory.
From the theory we make predictions called hypotheses. A hypothesis is an educated
guess based on your theory about what you think will happen.
You test your hypothesis with research. You go and gather data (make observations).
The data may support your hypothesis, which suggests to you that your theory about
development is correct. Or your data may not support your hypothesis, which
suggests to you that your theory about development is somehow not quite correct. That
would lead you to go back and do more observation, change your explanation a little bit,
make another hypothesis, and test the new one with research.
Good theory helps us understand an area of development and generates good research so
we learn more about development.
I am not concerned with the comparisons or evaluations of the theories presented in
the text. You will not be tested on the good points or bad points of the theories. You
will be tested on the main points of each theory, and what people are connected with
Psychoanalytic theory – Freud – used for treating mental disorders –
- psychic energy inside us (biological urges, desires, instincts) causes behavior – it
motivates us to do things
- three personality structures – id, ego, superego HDFS 129 Narrative Chapter One 5
- id is the unconscious part of personality – the source of pleasure-seeking
instincts, and therefore the source of motivation for behavior.
- Freud says the child’s earliest personality is all id – he would say babies are all id.
- Id knows what it wants and wants it now – wants immediate gratification – can’t
wait. Babies have no patience – they can’t wait yet.
- Over time the id clashes with reality – you can’t always get what you want when
you want – mom may not be there so can’t nurse – mom may be driving down
route 80 with you in car seat and can’t change your diaper right this second.
Therefore the baby has to start dealing with reality and start to wait.
- The clash with reality leads to development of the ego, the second part of the
- The ego is the rational, practical side of the personality – the thinking side that
tries to deal with reality and environmental circumstances.
- The ego still tries to get the id what it wants, but in ways that are acceptable
to reality. Just wait a bit, and mom will change your diaper – or learn to take a
bottle when mom isn’t here to nurse. Freud figured that the ego would develop by
toddlerhood – especially when we toilet train children – asking them to wait – to
control their urges until the appropriate time and place.
- On the positive side, development of the ego helps the baby learn to wait –
develop patience, and alternative ways to accomplish things.
- On the negative side, development of the ego could lead to a person being a
manipulator, being selfish, using his conscious practical part of personality to
always get what he wants.
- What the child needs to develop next is the superego.
- The superego is the part of personality that acts as your conscience – the
moral, ethical part of your personality, that urges you to do right, and makes you
feel guilty when you do wrong.
- The superego develops due to interaction with people around us, especially
parents. Therefore a loving relationship is very important between the child and
the parents (early caregivers, whoever they are).
- The superego develops throughout the preschool years, and into the early school
- Because the parents love and care for the child, the child loves the parents.
Because he loves them, he starts the process of identification.
- Identification is the process of loving/liking, admiring, and wanting to be like
another person. You also art to want that person to love/like, respect, admire you,
so you start to unconsciously do what they want, and try to be like them. You
start to adopt the person’s characteristics and values and rules.
- The values and rules of the other person become part of the child’s superego, or
conscience. Because of the superego, we become sensitive to other people’s
needs and desires, not just to our own.
At any point in our lives, our Id may want something, and sometimes struggle with our
superego, which wants us to do what is right and good. This conflict may cause us
anxiety, and the ego will try to help us figure out what to actually do, in reality. HDFS 129 Narrative Chapter One 6
Freud’s psychosexual development – Freud thought that the psychic energy (libido,
motivational energy) in us would be centered around different areas of the body,
depending on what stage the child was in.
- oral stage – infant is all id, and everything goes into his mouth. He learns and is
soothed by mouthing things.
- Anal stage – conflict with reality – parents want potty training – control urges –
lots of attention to defecation and urination – toddler develops the ego, paying
attention to what others want – reality.
- Phallic stage – preschool – child aware of pleasant sensations associated with
his/her genitals – starts to identify with parents, allowing the development of the
superego – conscience.
- Latency stage – grade school – calm, because child has identified with parents,
basically tries to do what they want, and sexual urges are latent – which means
underneath and not showing – not apparent.
- Genital stage – starts with puberty, according to Freud – adolescent and adult
now very aware of sexual urges – typically attachments and attraction to opposite
sex individual outside of the family of origin
Freudian psychoanalytic theory has been very helpful in understanding and treating
psychiatric disorders, and in emphasizing the importance of early infant and childhood
interactions with people.
Erikson – Psychosocial, not psychosexual, development – emphasized positive healthy
personality development – importance of interaction with other people for development
across eight stages in the lifespan. He was a student of Freud, but emphasized the social
aspects of development.
At each of Erikson’s stages a basic conflict develops, and the person needs to resolve the
conflict so that future personality development will be positive and optimal. The conflict
represents a choice – a consideration and a movement in development over some
months or years toward either a more positive, or a more negative direction.
If the conflict cannot be resolved, future development will possibly be more negative, or
just more difficult. Even if the issue is basically resolved, it may come up again at
various times during the lifespan, but never as critically as when first going through the
We will be covering the eight stages as we cover the age ranges in the course. You do
not need to know them now.
Erikson’s theory is important because he has shown that personality develops, and
personality development is a life long process, and that interaction with the
environment and with other people are very important to that development.
Just as an example, to help you grasp his concept of conflict – the first stage in infancy is
trust versus mistrust. A baby needs consistent love and care, so that he develops trust in HDFS 129 Narrative Chapter One 7
people and in th