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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Cognitive, Moral and Psychosocial Development Part 1: Cognitive Development Jean Piaget  Background: trained as a biologist (expert on mollusks); worked part-time with kids at Binet Institute (developing new IQ test)  Kids‟ mistakes on reasoning tasks revealed how cognitive abilities develop Piaget‟s Theory of Cognitive Development  Four stages 1) sensorimotor stage (0-2 years) o Infants can‟t represent objects in thought (ca only respond to what they see, hear, touch – experience with their senses) o Lacks an understanding of object permanence (objects continue to exist when they can‟t be seen) 2) preoperational stage o Use language (representational thought) o Understanding of concepts is weak (abstract ideas about what a group of object has in common)  Rely on one property to define concepts  Engage in “animistic” thinking (if it moves it must be alive) o Thinking tends to be egocentric (perceive world in terms of their own perspective)  Assume other people see the world as they do (leave out important background info o Lack firm grasp of cause-effect relations (e.g. will a bike work if you remove the chain?)  Also assume “effect” is “cause” e.g. why does the sun go down? – “because I go to sleep” / why did Timmy fall off his bike? –“because he broke his arm”  E.g. conservation: properties of an object are conserved even if you change the shape of an object – e.g. conservation of liquid, substance, numbers  Don‟t understand that if 2+3 = 5, then 3 + 2 must also equal 5 3) concrete operations stage (7-12 years) o Can perform logical operations on concrete events (not on abstract or hypothetical events) e.g. add 1 to an even number  get an odd number  Understand this only for numbers they have concrete experience with 4) formal operations stage (age 12 through adulthood) o Can reason about abstract, hypothetical events (can think in terms of what is and what might be) Part 2: Moral Development Kohlberg‟s Theory  “is it morally right or wrong to assist somebody in suicide?”  the act itself is neither moral or immoral. Ther morality of an act depends on the reasoning behind the act  3 levels of moral reasoning (each with 2 stages) Level 1: Preconventional Morality (prior to 10 years)  Decisions about right/wrong are based on consequences of behavior:  Stage 1: punishment orientation: if behavior  punishment then it‟s wrong.  Stage 2: reward orientation: if behavior  rewarded then it‟s right Level 2: conventional morality (age 10 )  Decisions about right/wrong are based on “convention” (what other people say)  Stage 3: good-person orientation: moral behavior gains approval and avoids disapproval from others  Stage 4: authority orientation: moral behavior is defined in terms of rigid codes of law and order (if it‟s against the law, it‟s wrong, regardless of what friends, family think Level 3: Postconventional Morality  Decisions about right and wrong are based on “abstract principles”  Stage 5: social-contract orientation: moral behavior is defined in terms of the “public good” (it‟s right if the majority of people think it‟s best for society  Stage 6: justice orientation: moral behavior is defined in terms of higher-order laws involving “rights” and “duties” that are universal (apply to everyone)  life, liberty pursuit of happiness Criticisms of Kohlberg‟s theory  Gilligan: is the justice orientation the highest stage of moral development?  What about a Caring Orientation? o A consideration of what will help or hurt other people  Reflects a gender difference? o Men focus on “justice”, women focus on “caring” o No, each of us has two voices of morality Part 3: Psychosocial Development Erikson‟s Theory  Stage 1 (0-1 years) o Crisis: trust (vs mistrust) - Is the world a safe place? (if yes, trust)  Stage 2 (2-3 years) o Crisis: autonomy (v.s. shame/doubt) – can I do anything independently of my parents? (if yes, autonomy; I‟m a big kind now)  Stage 3 (4-6 years) o Crisis: intiative (v.s. guilt) – can I initiate new activities without breaking the rules? (if yes, intitative)  Stage 4 (6-12 years) o Enter school, learn new skills (intellectual, social, physical) that will allow them to fit into the adult world o Crisis: industry (v.s. inferiority) – can I master these skills (if yes, industry)  Stage 5 (12-20 years) o Crisis: establishing an identity (v.s. identity diffusion/role confusion) – who am i? o The “Identity Crisis” o Dealing with the identity crisis:  Moratorium (experiment with different identities until you find one that‟s right) o Obstacles to achieving an Identity:  Identity foreclosure (become what other people say you should become)  Stop the search for identity before they have a chance to experience different identities  Identity diffusion/role confusion (don‟t develop any clear identity)  Stage 6 (20-40 years) o Crisis: intimacy (v.s. isolation) – can I unite my new identity with other people; share myself with others; devote myself to others (including careers)? If yes, intimacy.  Stage 7 (40-65 – middle adulthood) o Crisis: generativity (desire to contribute to next generation) e.g.  Raising own children  Providing guidance to younger people o V.s. stagnation (becoming preoccupied with own needs: no concern for future generations)  Stage 8 (late a-hood 65+) o Crisis: ego integrity (v.s. despair) – can I look back on life with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment; have I taken on the challenges of life and am I happy with the choices I‟ve made? If yes, ego integrity. o V.s. despair: I‟m about to die and life has cheated me at every turn. I wish I could live it all over again. I have nothing but contempt and resentment towards others because their life was easier than mine. Social Thinking and Social Influence 11/12/2012 3:47:00 PM Person Perception: Attributions and Errors Part 1: Attribution Theory – Perceiving the Causes of Behavior A. Fritz Heider (1944): Perceiving stability in an unstable world 1) Heider‟s Insight‟s: o We perceive stability by making attributions  Person attributions (aka „dispositional‟ or „internal‟) reflect stable properties of people  Environment attributions (aka „situational‟ or „external‟) reflect stable properties of environments o We have a need to perceive stability: gives us a sense of understanding, prediction, control 2) Person attributions depend on perceived intentions o Equifinality: person‟s behavior is directed toward a single goal despite changes in the circumstances o Conclude that person intended the behavior (sets the stage for person attributions – cause of behavior stems from within the person) B. Correspondent Inference Theory (Jones and Davis: From Acts to Dispositions) 1) A “Two-Step” process (not same as page 216) o Step 1: what behavior intended?  behavior was freely chosen? Person could foresee consequences of behavior?  If NO behavior is perceived as unintended (can‟t infer anything about person‟s disp)  If YES behavior is perceives as intended; proceed to Step 2 o Step 2: make a dispositional attribution (or “correspondent inference”)  Same label can be used to describe “behavior” and underlying “disposition” (e.g. conclude person is dispositionally “friendly” after observing “friendly” behavior)  How do we do this? 2 approaches: a) analysis of non-common effects associated with chosen action. Note:  For every action that we choose to take, there are other actions that we choose not to take (chosen and non-chosen actions)  All actions (chosen and non-chosen) have potential “effects” (consequences)  Some will be common to both chosen and non-chosen actions  Some will be non-common (or unique) to the chosen action  CI most likely when chosen action has few non-common effects (single unique effect) i.e. Lisa married Dirk common non-common  Ted  good looking, nice personality, romantic / wants kids, santa barbara, wealthy  Dirk  good looking, nice personality, romantic / no kids, NYC, poor b) CI most likely when behavior disconfirms expectancies  E.g. “category-based” expectancies (expectancies for a group of people) 2) Revised Version: Motivational Biases: a) Hedonic Relevance: We‟ll make CI‟s when person‟s behavior pleases or displeases us (vs someone else) even if unintended! b) Personalism: CI is likely when person intentionally pleases/displeases us (vs someone else) Part 2: Attributional Errors - Situations have a powerful influence o behavior (e.g. CH 7) - But we aren‟t always aware of these situational influences - When explaining other people‟s behavior, we underestimate the role of situations and overestimate the role of personal dispositions A) The Fundamental Attribution Error 1) Research example: Jones and Harris (1967): Student‟s Essay read (Free-choice and No choice) o Pro-Castro (free = pro 60) (no = ??? 44) o Anti-Castro (free = anti 17) (no = ??? 23)  What is the student‟s true attitude toward Castro (pro or anti?) 1[anti] -90[pro] o Lenoard Nimroy as “Mr. Spock” – wrote book – I am not Spock 2) Why does the FAE occur? Two reasons: o Heider: The role of salience and perceptual grouping  Gestalt Psychology: Object Perception (two ideas)  Natural tendency to divide any visual scene in to figure (elements that are salient) and ground (non-salient background elements)  E.g. the Vase-Face Illusion - two “dark faces” as figures against a light background or a “light vase” as figure against a dark background
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