PSY210 Ch.1 Intro, History, Theory.docx

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Justin Mc Neil

PSY210 Ch.1 10/1/2012 2:15:00 PM History, theory & applied directions Child development – studying the constancy and change from conception through adolescence Development divided into:  Physical  Cognitive  Emotional & Social Periods of Development  Prenatal period: conception to birth o 9 months o Most rapid changes  Infancy and toddlerhood: from birth to 2 years o Most dramatic changes in body and brain o Cognition starts to develop  Early childhood: 2 to 6 years o Physical change o Motor skills refined o Self-control/sufficiency  Middle childhood: 6 to 11 years o Learn about wider world o Athletic abilities o More logic o Self, morality, friendship  Adolescence: 11 to 18 years o Puberty o Autonomy Basic Issues with theories of development  Theory: An orderly, integrated set of statements that describes, explains and predicts behaviour o Theories provide organizing frameworks for our observations of children – they guide and give meaning to what we see o Theories verified by research help us act upon info to help and treat the child  THREE BASIC ISSUES o 1. Is the course of development continuous or discontinuous? o 2. Does one course of development characterize all children, or are there many possible outcomes? o 3. What are the roles of genetic and environmental factors (nature/nurture) in development?  1. Continuous or Discontinuous? o Continuous: A process of gradually adding more of the same types of skills that were there to begin with.  Curve upwards  View that children are similar to adults, with similar cognitive processing, except children do not have the same amount of complexity  Development is a smooth continuous process, we gradually add more of the same types of skills o Discontinuous: A process in which new ways of understanding and responding to the world emerge at specific times  Staircase steps upwards  Steps and separate stages of development  Children step up to the next level bit by bit, with each step the child interprets and responds to the world in a qualitatively new way  Stages: qualitative changes in thinking/feeling/behaving that characterize specific periods of development  2. One course of development or many? o Stage theorists: people everywhere follow the same sequence of development (it is biological and universal) o Children grow up in distinct contexts: unique combinations of personal and environmental circumstances that can result in different paths of change o Contemporary theorists: contexts that mold development are complex. Both nature and nurture. Cultural diversity can affect development.  3. Relative influence of nature and nurture? o Opinion about underlying causes of development o Genetic vs. Environmental o Which is most influential? o Nature – Nurture controversy o Nature – hereditary, biological o Nurture – physical and social world, environment, experiences o Stability of personality  Nature opinion = Personality seen as hereditary (STABILITY)  Nurture opinion = Personality seen as built by early experiences (PLASTICITY) o Optimistic view = Development has substantial plasticity throughout life – as open to change in response to influential experiences.  Stability vs. Plasticity o Resilience: Ability to adapt effectively in the face of threats to development Historical foundations of Development  Medieval times = children seen as vulnerable  The Reformation = children beaten, taught to reason  The Enlightenment = children treated better (Locke vs. Rousseau) o Locke:  Tabula Rasa – Children seen as a blank slate  Behaviorism – Children are shaped by early experience  Regarded development as continuous  Nurture + Environment most influential  Believed in:  Many courses of development (not universal)  High plasticity (not biologic stability) o Rousseau  Children are not blank slates, they are noble savages  Children have a built in moral sense  Child-centered philosophy  Believed in:  Stage development – discontinuous development  Maturation concept: genetically determined, naturally unfolding course of growth (nature + genetics + biologic influence)  Stability instead of plasticity  Scientific beginnings  Darwin o Theory of evolution  children evolve similarly, universally (Genetic > environmental) o Natural selection o Survival of the fittest o Father of scientific study of children  The Normative Period o G. Stanley Hall o Saw development as a maturational process – a genetically determined series of events that unfold automatically (Saw development as Genetic) o Normative approach: measures of behaviour are taken on large numbers of individual and age related averages are computed to represent typical development  Used for what parents could expect at each age  Mental Testing Movement o Stanford-Binet Intelligence tests (age related intelligence testing)  Baldwin: Early development theorist o Believed in both nature and nurture as important equally Mid-Twentieth-Century Theories  The Psychoanalytic Perspective o Children move through a series of stages in which they confront conflicts between biological drives and social expectations o How these conflicts are resolved determines the persons ability to learn/get along with others/cope with anxiety.  Freud’s Theory o Psychosexual theory: how parents manage their child’s sexual and aggressive drives in the first few years is crucial for healthy personality development o The id, ego and superego  Id = biological needs, desires  Ego = conscious, rational, redirects id’s impulses so they are discharged in acceptable ways  Superego = our conscious, morals, conforming to society  Erikson’s Theory = A response to Freud’s o In addition to mediating between id impulses and superego demands, the ego makes a positive contribution to development as it acquires attitudes and skills which make someone an active contributing member of society  Limitations of the Psychoanalytic Perspective o Psychoanalytic theorists focused too much on the development of individual children that they failed to consider other methods Behaviorism and Social Learning Theory  Behaviorism: Directly observable events, stimuli, responses are the appropriate focus for the study of development o John Watson  Little Albert o Pavlov  Classical conditioning o Skinner  Operant conditioning  Social Learning Theory o Albert Bandurra – Bobo dolls o Theory: emphasized modeling  Imitation/observational learning as a powerful source of development  Children develop personal standards of behavior, and sense of self efficacy  Contributions and Limitations of Social Learning Theory o  Behaviour Modification: procedures that combine conditioning and modeling to eliminate undesirable behaviours and increase desirable responses o  Environmental influences not considered enough: more than reinforces, punishments, modeled behavior Piaget’s Cognitive-Development Theory  Children actively construct knowledge as they manipulate and explore their world  Genetic, biological, universal, discontinuous view of development (stages)  Contributions and Limitations of Piaget’s Theory: o  : Encouraged the development of educational philosophies, children learning and contact with environment o : Piaget underestimated the competence of infants and preschoolers. Now people think children learn more gradually than Piaget believed. Recent Theoretical Perspectives  Information Processing: Human mind as a symbol manipulating system through which info flows  Development as continuous change Development in Cognitive Neuroscience
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