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Week 16 PSYCH online reading.docx

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PSYC 100

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PSYCH – Week 16 Online Readings Week 16: Major Theories of Developmental Psychology Focus Question: Why do developmental theories matter? Theory, Hypothesis, Framework Development: - One’s genetic potential - Cultural differences - Master control over many different skills that are basic, but often culture plays a part in this. th Early 20 Century Theories LittleAlbert - Classical conditioning in developmental psychology - John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner in 1920 studied a baby calledAlbert B between he ages of 8 and 11 months. - After exposures to the rat (which hadn’t elicited fear before) paired with a frightening noise, the baby displayed fear when presented with rat. He also generalized this fear to other animals similar to the rat, like rabbits, dogs, furry objects and a white mask (rat was white) B.F. Skinner - Interested in what motivates behaviours, thinking people repeat behaviours that are rewarded (reinforcement) and avoid those that have unfavourable outcomes (punishment). Operant conditioning. - In developmental context Skinner made 2 important discoveries o Receiving attention is a powerful reinforcer for young children. They will act out in hopes of receiving even negative attention. o It’s far more difficult to extinguish behaviour that has been consistently reinforced. Intermittently reinforced behaviour keeps the expectation that maybe ‘this time’there will be a reward. - We reinforce unwanted behaviour in children by giving in to their demands, even occasionally. This is providing intermittent reinforcement of negative behaviours. - Children’s behaviour is affected by their environment and by interactions with their environment. Jean Piaget - Perhaps most influential developmental psychologist of 20 century, theorized that humans develop through a series of four stages that roughly map onto key ages. - Emphasized importance of interaction between environmental and maturational factors in development. - He developed theory of cognitive development largely from naturalistic observation of children. Proposed that cognitive abilities develop in stages and that children of similar ages have similar cognitive abilities. - Also proposed that children of similar ages make similar errors in problem- solving tasks, and that all typically developing children go through the same sequences of developmental stages (make same errors in reasoning.) His idea was that they must be proficient/capable at each stage before moving on to the next. Assimilation, Accommodation, and Equilibration - Piaget believed that our progression through these stages is marked by the building and rebuilding of schemata (singular: schema) through the cyclic processes of assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration. - Schema: Mental framework or body of knowledge that organizes and synthesizes information about a person, place, or thing. - Assimilation (Piaget): Process by which new information about the world is incorporated into existing schemata. o No needs to revise the scope of the schema, only incorporates new data. - Accommodation (Piaget): Process by which existing schemata are modified or changed by new experiences. o Process by which we incorporate information into a schema that may have a result where we must adjust our parameters of that schema. (Exceptions) - Equilibration (Piaget): Process within Piaget’s theory that reorganizes schemata. o It occurs when we accommodate information to the point where the original schema no longer holds true and we must form entirely new schemata.After this stage a person will hold a more advanced schema that is more stable and less vulnerable to contradiction. Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development - Sensorimotor (0-2 years) o Infants build understanding of environment through sensory and motor abilities. Orderly progression of increasingly complex cognitive development. o Object permanence – after 8 months concept gained by infants that objects don’t disappear when they’re out of sight. o A-not-B error – infant continues to look for object where it was last, despite seeing the object placed elsewhere. - Preoperational (2-6 years) o Emphasizes the inability of child to perform operations, or reversible mental processes, at this time. o Marked by substantial cognitive development in symbolic representation and beginnings of logical reasoning. o Children at this time are egocentric, self-centered, see world only from their perspective. o Concept of conservation is problematic – ex: tall glass holds more water when in fact it holds the same amount as a shorter glass. - Concrete operational (7-12 years) o End of this stage marks transition into adolescence. o Children master the conservation problems and problems with more than one variable.Also growth in understanding of feelings/emotions of others (perspective taking).Also will comprehend more logical problem solving. o They also approach logical problem solving in a non-systematic fashion or ignore premises that do not support their assumptions. EX: glass broken by feather/hammer video. - Formal operational (12 years-adult) o Individuals first become capable of more formal kinds of abstract thnking and hypothetical reasoning (testing of hypotheses). Problems with Piaget’s Theory - One criticism of the stage theory is that it does not account for variability in child development.Also, cognitive ability of infants is much greater than Piaget theorized. Piaget emphasized the physical environment much more than the social environment. - Another criticism stems from the vagueness of the mechanisms for change. While concepts of assimilation, accommodation and equilibration may make intuitive sense, exactly how they work is difficult to define clearly. o So we need to develop a new theory and generate new questions to test it. Socio-Cultural Theory - The theory of cognitive development that places emphasis on environmental factors, including cultural influences. - Lev Vygotsky in early 1900s. - Intersubjectivity:An understanding between two individuals of the topic they are discussing. It encompasses the following concepts: o Joint attention: The ability to share attention with another towards the same object or event. o Social referencing: The tendency to look to another in an ambiguous situation to obtain clarifying information. - Social Scaffolding: When a mentor or guide supports a learner by matching his or her efforts to a child's developmental level, changing the level of support to fit the child's current performance.As a child's competence increases, less guidance is given. - Zone of proximal development: The increased potential for problem solving and conceptual ability that exists for a child if expert mentoring and guidance are available. These tasks are challenging, not boring nor frustrating. (Vygotsky) Why might it be useful to have a psychological theory that explains development? - Theories guide us as we frame questions or come to solutions. - Some theories of development lean towards biological development, while others explore the effects of environmental influence. Some focus on behaviour while others focus on thoughts. Speech, Language and Thought - Vygotsky viewed language as one of the driving forces behind development. This is an area where Vygotsky differed from Piaget, who saw language as a product of developmental processes. - Until around the age of seven children often speak aloud to themselves about the things they will do. Piaget viewed this type of self-talk as a function of the egocentrism of the mind, and that the child didn’t understand its true communicative function. - Vygotsky on the other hand viewed this as their construction of a mental plan of action, that it was a mental progression and a way to inte
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