developmental psych

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB32H3
Professor
Mark Schmuckler
Semester
Fall

Description
Developmental Psychology Textbook Notes Chapter 1  Child development- sub area of child psychology (could include lifespan development); identifies and describes changes in the child’s cognitive, emotional, motor and social capacities and behaviours from conception until adolescence. o Uncovers the process that makes these changes occur.  Darwin was instrumental in helping form the discipline of child development o Conducted research on infants’ sensory capabilities and young children’s emotions o He demonstrated that scientists could study infants and children  One of the earliest and most significant events in Canadian developmental psychology was the appointment of James Baldwin to University of Toronto in 1889 o Instrumental for his work on mental development o Used his own daughter as a subject to examine handedness, suggestion and will in infancy and imitation  William Emet Blatz o Headed the st.george’s school for child study in Toronto o Known for his three year study of the Dionne quintuplets – raised on a special compound for public display o Studying these sisters did a lot for promoting the study of child development in Canada  We should learn about child development because: o Can help society protect and advance the well being of children o Used to shape social policy on behalf of children  Three key issues pertaining to psychological growth found by scientists are o The origins of human behaviour o The pattern of developmental change over time o The individual and contextual factors that define and direct child development Origins of Behaviour: Biological vs Environmental Influences  Arnold Gessel- believed that development was largely predetermined by biological factors o Concentrated on maturation- a genetically determined process of growth that unfolds naturally over time  John Watson- thought development was mostly based on the environment o Assumed biological factors placed no restrictions on the ways that environment can shape the course of a child’s development o He claimed that with the right environment, he could create a genius or even a criminal  There are no theories today that support these extreme beliefs o We explore how nature and nurture interact to form child development  Socializing agents such as parents, peers or teachers do not simply mould the child, instead children actively influence and modify the actions of their parents and other people who they interact with Pattern of Developmental Change: Continuity vs Discontinuity  Continuous development- smooth and gradual accumulation of abilities o Developmental changes add to/build on earlier abilities in a quantitative way without abrupt shifts or changes to the next  Discontinuous development- choppy and qualitative change in development o i.e. learning how to swim- random day you have much more skill than the day before (choppy strokes turn into smooth glides in the water)  Most contemporary child researchers see development as basically continuous or quantitative but sometimes interspersed with periods of change that are discontinuous or qualitative  Robert Siegler’s ‘overlapping waves’ model suggests that children use a variety of strategies in thinking and learning and that cognition involves constant competition among different strategies rather than the use of a single strategy at a given age o The child uses several strategies at varying levels of sophistication o From a macroscopic perspective, development appears generally continuous; but at a microscopic level, we can observe the specific qualitative changes Forces That Affect Developmental Change: individual Characteristics vs Contextual and Cultural Influences  Developmental psychologists differ in their emphasis on individual characteristics vs situational or contextual influences  Many resolve the controversy by adopting an interactionist viewpoint, stressing the dual role of individual and contextual factors o i.e. children with aggressive personality traits may seek out context in which they can display these characteristics, thus, they're more likely to join a gang or something violent rather than the church choir  One important way that individual characteristics have been studied is by examining how different children respond when they are confronted with situational challenges or risks to healthy development o Some risks are biological or psychological i.e. an illness, or living with a psychotic parent or environmental, such as family income  Individual children respond to risks in different ways: o Some kids show “sleeper” effects- they seem to cope well initially, but exhibit problems later on in development o Some exhibit resilience and are able to deal with the challenge o Some, when confronted with new risks later in life, seem better able to adapt to challenges than children who have experienced little or no risk o A recent trend in resilience research has been to identify factors that promote resilience under normal conditions Theoretical Perspectives on Development  It’s not important that a developmental theory focuses on children. What’s important is that a theory describes psychological change or development over time  Theories serve two main functions o Help organize and integrate existing information into coherent and interesting accounts of how children develop o Generate testable hypotheses or predictions about children’s behaviour  Most developmental psychologists today are considered theoretically eclectic; they mix and match concepts from different theories to help them explain different observations Structural-Organismic Perspectives  Structural-organismic perspective- theoretical approaches that describe psychological structures and processes that undergo qualitative or stage-like changes over the course of development  Structuralism- describing the formal structure or organization of the system of interest in hope that the description could provide insight into how the system worked. Adopted by Piaget and Freud  Freud was interested in emotions and personality whereas Piaget was interested in thinking o Yet, both devised theories that incorporated their mutual interest in biology, especially evolutionary theory o Both used what is known as the structural-organismic perspective in their theories and shared the view that the organism goes through discontinuous changes over the course of development  They saw these stages as universal- everyone went through them regardless of environment Psychodynamic Theory  Sigmund Freud introduced his psychodynamic theory in which early childhood experiences shape the development of adult personality o Development is determined largely by biologically based drives shaped by encounters with the environment and through the interaction of three components of personality: the id, ego and superego  The infant is largely under control of the id- or instinctual drives but gradually becomes more controlled by the ego. The ego is the rational/reality principle and gratifies needs through socially appropriate behaviour. With further development, the superego emerges when the child internalizes parental or societal norms roles and values and develops a conscience, or the ability to apply moral values to his or her own acts  Personality development to Freud includes 5 stages (oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital)  One of Freud’s primary contributions to developmental psychology is his emphasis on how early experiences (esp the first 6 years) influence later development o i.e. infants who have unsatisfied oral needs may smoke as adults  Erik Erikson devised the psychosocial theory o The most influential for current research in child development is the stage of adolescence, in which the child focuses on identity development and seeks to establish a clear and stable sense of self Piagetian Theory  Piagetian theory- a theory of cognitive development that sees the child as actively seeking new information and incorporating it into his knowledge base through the process of assimilation and accommodation  It is a structural-organismic theory to describe intellectual development  It uses two basic principles of biology and biological change: o Organization-reflects the view that human intellectual development is a biologically organized process  Thus, the child’s understanding of the world changes in an organized way over the course of development o Adaption – describes the process by which intellectual change occurs as the human mind becomes increasingly adapt to the world  He proposed that all children go through four stages of cognitive development and each is categorized by qualitatively different ways of thinking o Infants rely on their sensory and motor abilities to learn about the world o Preschoolers rely on mental structures and symbols, especially language o School age children rely more on logic o Adolescents can reason about abstract ideas  Cognitive development is a process in which the child shifts from a focus on the self, immediate sensory experiences and simple problems to a more complex, multi-faced and abstract understanding of the world Learning Perspectives  The process of learning is one of the oldest areas of study in psychology  Behaviourism- theories of behaviour must be based on direct observations of actual behaviour and not speculations about unobservable things such as human motives o Emphasizes the role of experience and it is a gradual, continuous view  John Watson- introduced classical conditioning o Presenting two stimuli until the person is conditioned to the unfamiliar stimulus just like they would to the familiar stimulus  Skinner- operant conditioning- learning depends on the consequences of behaviour o Has been incorporated into many applied programs to help teacher and parents change children's behaviour, such as hyperactivity and aggression  Patterson- Children’s anti-social behaviour is the result of how parents and children mutually train each other to behave in ways that reinforce and increase the probability that children will develop aggressive behaviour problems and the parents will then have decreasing control over these problem behaviours.  Bandura’s cognitive social learning theory- children learn not only through operant and classical conditioning but through observing and imitating others.  Children do not imitate blindly or automatically; they select specific behaviours to imitate and their imitation relies on how they process this information  Four cognitive processes govern how well a child will learn by observing another person: o The child must attend to a model’s behaviour  There needs to be experience, personality characteristics, relationship with model and situational variables o The child must retain the observed behaviours in memory  Rehearsal, organization, recall, other cognitive skills o The child must have the capacity to reproduce the observed behaviours  Cognitive representation, concept matching, use of feedback o The child must be motivated or have a reason to reproduce the behaviour  External incentive, vicarious incentives, self-evaluation and incentives, internalized standards, social comparison  Information-processing approaches- focus on the flow on info through the cognitive system, beginning with an input or stimulus and ending with an output or response (like how computers process info) o This approach has been applied to a wide range of problems of cognitive development including attention, memory, problem solving and planning o Important in studying how children develop an understanding of reading, math, science, social problem solving and aggression  Dynamic systems theory- individuals and their achievements can be understood and interpreted within the framework of the interacting components of the system o A theory that proposes that individuals develop and function within systems; it studies the relationships among individuals and systems and the processes by which these relationships operate o The term dynamic reflects the constant interaction and mutual influence of the elements of the system o Principles of the DST:  See page 14*  Sociocultural theory- by Lev Vygotsky o Sees development as evolving out of children's interactions with more skilled others in their social environment o Social interaction is seen as a critical force in development o Through the assistance provided by more experienced people in the social environment, the child gradually learns to function intellectually on her own o This approach provides new ways of assessing children's cognitive potential and of teaching, reading, writing and math  i.e. peer tutoring (older child help younger pupil to learn) o increased out appreciation of the profound importance of cultural variation in development  Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory- stresses the importance of understanding the relationships between the organism but the relationships among the environmental systems themselves  Layers of environmental/contextual systems: o Microsystem- setting in which the child lives and interacts with the people and institutions closest to him such as parents, peers and school o Mesosystem- interrelations among the components of the microsyste, with which the child interacts  Parents interact with teachers and the school system; both family members and peers may maintain relationships with a religious institution, etc o Exosystem- settings that impinge on a child's development but with which the child has largely indirect contact  i.e. parents’ work may affect the child's life if it requires that the parent travel a lot or work late o Macrosystem- represents the ideological and institutional patterns of a particular culture or subculture o Chronosystem- these four systems change over time. Both the child and her environment undergo and change can originate within the individual or in the external world  Lifespan perspective-incorporates historical factors that may influence psychological development o Otherwise known as the age cohort effect o Research by Elder- on children who lived through the Depression in the 30s, dramatic changes in family roles and relationships occurred in more economically deprived homes  Ethological theory- behaviour must be viewed and understood as occurring in a particular context and as having adaptive or survival value o This view has generated interest in the behaviours by humans that are species specific o Emotional expressions of joy, sadness, disgust and anger are similar across a wide range of cultures o i.e. crying in infants is adaptive because it elicits parents behaviour o Although these behaviours are seen to be biologically based, ethologists also assume that they are modified by environmentally based experiences  i.e. children may learn to mask their emotion by smiling when they are unhappy o Ethology has influenced developmental psych in the study of early relationships  in particular, Bowlby and his research on infant-mother attachment  Evolutionary developmental psychology- had a major impact on the study of cognition and cognitive development o The critical components of evolutionary change are in the areas of brain changes and cognitive functioning o Through understanding that people have mental states and intentions behind actions, children are able to learn meaningful, goal-directed behaviours by watching and interacting with others  Language and emotional and social behaviour are interlinked Research methods  The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth started in 1994 to monitor children from birth to 25 years, collecting data for analysis of biological, social and economic factors affecting children o Data from this has been used to examine developmental trajectories in the smoking behaviour of Canadian youth from childhood to adolescence  Converging operations- the idea that if a variety of assessment techniques produce the same result, researchers can reasonably conclude that the findings are valid  Correlational method- a design that enables researchers to establish that certain experiences or factors are related to each other and to assess the strength of the relations Chapter 2- Heredity and the Environment  The sperm and egg unite in the oviduct to form a zygote  Ovum- largest of all human cells  Sperm- smallest of all human cells  Each reproductive cell contains only 23 chromosomes instead of the regular 46 because of meiosis, in which the chromosomes are halved  The mixing of chromosomes is completely random  Mitosis occurs in the autosomes (chromosomes that contain matching pairs) and sex chromosomes  Genes never work in isolation but always in combination with environmental differences o Cannot be read without the correct environment  Mendel o Principle of segregation- each inherited trait comes from one’s parent as a separate unit (i.e. flower colour, stem height) o Principle of independent assortment- the inheritance of various traits occurs independently of one another (i.e. flower colour does not determine stem height)  At any given genes position on two homologous chromosomes, there can be more than one form of that gene- the alternative forms are called alleles.  Sometimes, the combination of two dissimilar alleles will produce an outcome intermediate between the traits, for which a single allele codes. i.e. skin colour (light+dark skin=mixed) o Alternatively, alleles can express their traits simultaneously, they will combine but not blend. Its called co-dominance.. exemplified by blood type (AB)  Genes on the sex chromosomes provide an exception to the rule because not all of them have two alleles  In every human, one of the 23 pairs or two of the 46 chromosomes are sex chromosomes  X-linked genes- genes that are carried on the x chromosome and that may have no matching genes on the Y chromosomes in males o Females are less likely to have x-linked recessive genes because they have 2 x chromosomes so there is more of a chance of inheriting a dominant and counteracting allele on the other x chromosome  Hemophilia- disorder where the blood fails to clot (example of x linked recessive characteristic) – more common in males than females because there is a greater chance of getting it  Colour blindness, atrophy of the optic nerve are all x-linked recessive disorders  Many characteristics are not formed by one pair of genes but because of genes interacting together (i.e. geniuses)  Modifier genes- exert their influence indirectly, by affecting the expression of still other genes (i.e. early cataract development – whether it forms in the periphery or the centre)  A major reason why harmful alleles survive is that they are not harmful in the heterozygous state- because there is one dominant and one recessive o PKU- a recessive allele that fails to produce and enzyme necessary to metabolize the protein phenylalanine in milk for infants o 1/20 Europeans carries the recessive PKU gene and doesn’t know it. o After birth, when the infants start ingesting the milk, their bodies can’t break down phenylalanine o The toxic substances accumulate in their bodies, damaging the nervous system and causing mental retardation o Parents have a ¼ chance of producing a child with PKU if both carry the recessive gene  Some harmful alleles may survive because they are actually beneficial in combination with a normal allele o i.e. sickle cell anemia prevents against malaria  Developmental disorders can be caused by defects in entire chromosomes as well as single or group of genes o Almost 1% of newborns have diagnosable chromosome abnormalities, 60% of spontaneous abortions and 5% of later miscarriages are attributable to abnormalities in chromosomes o They are normally not found in child’s parents – they generally arise in meiosis when the eggs or sperm are formed o Sometimes the abnormality is lethal and the zygote is aborted, but other times a zygote is able to survive the abnormality and a baby with a defect is born  The lifespans of people with down syndrome have greatly increased, about 70% of individuals with down syndrome live into their 60s o They are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease o The most well known chromosomal disorder o Caused by a deviation in the sit of chromosomes labelled 21- instead of a pair of these chromosomes, someone with down syndrome has 3 chromosomes which is why its also called stisomy 21  The extra 21 chromosome most often comes from the mothers egg  This error occurs more often when older women become pregnant – and when the father is over 40 and women is over 35 o Infants with DS may develop normally in the first 6mos but unless they get special therapy, their intellectual development begins to decline after a year  They are slow to learn to speak and often have difficulty articulating words and producing complex sentences in adolescence  Have trouble with subtle information  Some females are born with only one X chromosome rather than the normal 2. o Usually occurs because the fathers sperm contained neither an X or Y o Called turner syndrome – girls have short stubby fingers, webbed necks and unusually shaped mouths or ears o Have normal intelligence, although there are some deficits in visual and spatial processing and math reasoning o Don’t develop 2ndary sex characteristics such as pubic hair- they remain sterile throughout their lives o Tend to be docile and pleasant but have problems in social relationships because they are immature and lacking in assertiveness- related to their physical appearance o Have difficulty discriminating and interpreting emotional cues and facial expressions in others  Sometimes girls have 3 x chromosomes- called triple x girls o Appear normal physically and have normal secondary sexual development but their cognitive skills are affected, especially short term memory and verbal skills  When a male has an extra x chromosome, producing the XXY pattern, its called klinefelter’s syndrome o He is sterile and has female characteristics such as breast development and a round figure o Verbal language deficits and reading, memory and reasoning problems and is sometimes retarded  Males that have an extra Y chromosome o Suffer some cognitive impairment o Generally taller than normal men- not more aggressive than others  Some people carry an x chromosome that appears to be pinched or narrowed in some areas causing it to be fragile- called fragile x syndrome o More common in males than females o Accounts for 5% of retarded males whose IQ scores range from 30-55, although not all males with this syndrome are retarded o Often have physical abnormalities and psychological and social problems o Cleft palate, seizures, abnormal EEG’s and disorders of the eye are some of the common symptoms o Males may have deficits in social interaction and females may be more likely to suffer from depression and also to show cognitive and linguistics deficits  The severity of the symptoms that arise with heredity disorders is often related to the degree to which the person has a supportive environment  Recent studies with animals show promise of developing enzyme-inhibiting therapies that may be able to lessen or even reverse the symptoms of fragile
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