• What is development? What are the major forces that drive development?
Development: Systemic continuities and changes in the individual that occur between
conception and death. (Systemic=orderly, patterned, and relatively induring; so mood
swings and other transitory changes in our appearances, thoughts and behaviors are
Developmentalists: Biologists, sociologists, anthropologists, educators, and even
historians. It is any scholar (regardless of discipline) who seeks to understand the
Two important processes that underlie developmental change: Maturation & Learning
Maturation: developmental changes in the body or behavior that result from the aging
process rather than from leaning, injury, illness, or some other life experience. The
human maturational biological program calls for us to become capable of walking and
uttering our first meaningful words at about age 1, to reach sexual maturity between 11-
15, and then to age and die on a similar schedule. It is partly responsible for
psychological changes such as our increasing ability to concentrate, solve problems, and
understands another person’s thoughts or feelings.
Learning: the process which our experiences produce relatively permanent changes in our
feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. We often learn to feel, think and behave in new ways
from our observations of and interactions with parents, teachers, and other important
people in our lives, as well as from events that we experience.
• The history of developmental psychology – the early philosophers and then
Darwin, Hall, Freud [note that this is covered more thoroughly in Chapter 2].
Thomas Hobbes: “Original Sin” – Children are inherently selfish egoists who must be
restrained by society. Parents must actively control their egoistic
Jean Jacques Rousseau: “Innate Purity” – Children are born with an intuitive sense of
what’s right and wrong that society often corrupts. Parents
should give their children freedom to follow their inherently
John Locke: “Tabula Rasa” – Children have no inborn tendencies; they are neither
inherently good nor inherently bad, and how they turn out depends on their worldly experiences. Favored disciplined child rearing to ensure that
children would develop good habits and acquire few bad ones.
Charles Darwin: “Baby Biography” – Observing the development of his own child and
published this data in works known as the baby biographies. His
curiosity about child development stemmed from his theory of evolution.
He believed that young, untrained infants share many characteristics with
their nonhuman ancestors. He viewed the baby biography as a way of
answering questions about our evolutionary past. Baby biographies are
difficult to compare, conclusions cannot be based on a single case, and
many parents are biased when observing their own children.
Stanley Hall: “Questionnaire” – Conducted the first large-scale scientific investigation of
children. He is considered the founder of developmental psychology. He
asked children questions about a range of topics, discovering that
children’s understanding of the world grows rapidly during childhood and
that logic of children is not very logical at all.
Sigmund Freud: “Psychoanalytic Theory” – Freud formulated this theory from thousands
of notes and observations he made while treating patients for various
kinds of emotional disturbances.
• The basics of the scientific method – theories, hypotheses, reliability, validity.
Theory: is a set of concepts and propositions that describe and explain some aspect of
experience. They help us to describe and explain various patterns of behavior.
Hypothesis: Ability to predict future events by testing and collecting data. The
information obtained when testing hypotheses provides information about the theory’s
ability to explain new observations.
Scientific Method: The use of objective (everyone who examines the data will come to
the same conclusions) and replicable (every time the method is used, it results in the same
data and conclusions) methods to gather data for the purpose of testing a theory or
hypothesis. It dictates that, above all, investigators must be objective and must allow
their data to decide the merits of their thinking.
Today, researchers are fortunate in having many tried-and-true procedures they might use
to measure behavior and to test their hypotheses about human development. But
regardless of the techniques employed, scientifically useful measures must always
display two important qualities: Reliability and Validity.
Reliability: The extent to which a measuring instrument yields consistent results, both
over time and across observers.
Validity: The extent to which a measuring instrument accurately reflects what the researchers intended to measure.
• Major methodologies (along with their strengths and shortcomings):
interviews/questionnaires, naturalistic observation, structured observation, case
studies, ethnography, psychophysical measures.
Interviews and Questionnaires: A technique in which all participants are asked the
same questions in precisely the same order so that the responses of different participants
can be compared.
+ It is a quick way to gather information. A standardized format allows an investigator to
make direct comparisons between data of other participants taking part in the
- The data collected could be inaccurate or dishonest. The participant may not be able to
understand the questions.
Clinical Methods: a type of interview in which a participant’s response to each
successive question determines what the investigator will answer next.
+ Flexible and treats participants as unique individuals. The researcher can probe (ask
multiple questions) to ensure that the participant understands the meaning of the
questions being asked.
- Conclusions may be unreliable since not all participants are treated alike (since the
researcher probes, they will not ask the same questions for each participant). This
research methodology can only be used with highly verbal participants.
+ Allows the researcher to study a persons behavior as it occurs in the natural
- The participant’s behavior may be influenced by the researchers presence.
Eg. A child may not hit another child if they know they are being watched, but the
second they are not being watched they may strike another child on the playground.
Structured Observation: Laboratory setting. The participant is exposed to a setting
that might cue the behavior in question and then is surreptitiously observed – via a hidden
camera or through a one-way-mirror.
+ It offers an environment that would give any child in the setting an opportunity to
perform a target behavior.
- Participants may not always respond in a laboratory setting as they would in everyday
life. Case Studies: A research method where the investigator gathers extensive information
about the life of an individual and then tests developmental hypotheses by analyzing the
events of the persons life history.
+ Very broad. Considers many sources of data when drawing conclusions about
- The type of data collected (from questionnaires, to interviews, to observations) often
differs from case to case and may be inaccurate. Conclusions draw from individual cases
are subjective and may not apply to other people.
Ethnography: The researcher lives within the cultural community that they are
+ Provides a deeper description of cultural beliefs, values, and traditions that is possible
during brief observations or interview studies.
- Conclusions may be biased by the researchers values and viewpoints. Results cannot be
generalized beyond the groups and settings that they were studied in.
Psychophysiological Methods: ECG – heart wave, and EEG – brain wave activity
measures the relationship between physiological processes and aspects of children’s
physical, social, or emotional behavior.
+ Useful for assessing thoughts and emotions of infants and toddlers who cannot verbally
- Cannot directly indicate what the participant’s sense or feel. Many other factors can
produce a similar physiological response on these tests.
• Correlational design: lack of causality, correlation coefficient.
Correlation Design: A researcher gathers information to find out whether two or more
variables of interest are meaningfully related. Eg. Children who
watch violent television shows are more likely to become more
violent than those children who do not watch them. No attempts are
made to structure or manipulate the participant’s environment in any
way. Correlational researchers take people as they find them –
already ‘manipulated’ by natural life experiences – and try to
determine whether variations in people’s life experiences are
associated with differences in their behaviors or patterns of
development. The Correlational Designs major limitation is that it cannot indicate that one thing causes
another. For example. Violent television shows might now be the factor that makes
children violent. Children may witness abuse in their family, which in turn causes them
to watch violent television.
Correlation Coefficient: A numerical index, ranging from -1.00 to +1.00, of the strength
and direction of the relationship between two variables.
A correlation of 0 means that the two variables being tested are
not systematically related.
If the correlation sign is “+” then that means that as one variable
increases, the other variable also increases. Eg. Height and
weight are positively correlated because as a child grows in
height their weight also usually increases.
If the correlation sign is “-“ it indicates an inverse relationship.
As one variable increases, the other decreases. Eg. Among
elementary students aggression and popularity are negatively
correlated: Children who behave more aggressively tend to be
• Experimental design: independent and dependent variables, confounding
variables, control, random assignment.
Experimental designs allow for a close assessment of the cause-and-effect relationship
that exists between two variables. The researcher introduces some change in the
participant’s environment and then measures the effect of that change on the participant’s
Independent Variable: The part of the environment that an experimenter changes or
manipulates in order to measure its impact of behavior. Eg. The
independent variable would be a television show that the
participants watch. Half of the participants would watch a violent
show, and the other half would watch no violence.
Dependant Variable: The part of the behavior that is measured in an experiment and
assumed to be influenced by the independent variable. Eg. The
children’s reaction to the television show would become the data.
(Aggression would be the dependent variable).
Confounding Variable: A factor other than the independent variable, that if not controlled
by the experimenter, could explain any differences across
treatment conditions in the participants performance on the dependant variable. Eg. A child’s pre-existing level of aggression
may have determined their willingness to hurt another child and
that the independent variable (the television show with violence
in it) actually had no effect at all!
Experimental Control: The researcher must make sure that all other confounding
variables that could affect the dependant variable are controlled.
This can be done by randomly assigning children to the
experimental treatments = randomization/random assignment.
Random Assignment: each research participant has an equal probability of being exposed
to each experimental treatment (watching a violent show and
watching a non-violent show). Assignment of the participants are
chosen in an unbiased way such as “flip of the coin”. All of the
confounding variables will have been randomly distributed within
each treatment. Eg more aggressive children will be exposed to
non-violent films and violent films…their aggression will then be
compared against each other.
• Research designs specific to studying development (along with their strengths and
shortcomings): cross-sectional, longitudinal, sequential, microgenetic.
People who differ in age are studied at the same pointing time. Participants at each age
level are different people – they come from different cohorts. A Cohort is a group of
people of the same age who are exposed to similar cultural environments and historical
events as they are growing up. By comparing participants in the different age groups,
researchers can often identify age related changes in whatever aspect of development
they happen to be studying.
+ Inexpensive. Takes little time to conduct. Hints at developmental trends. The
investigator can collect data from children of different ages over a short time. Eg. They
do not have to wait three years for their 4-5 year olds to become 7-8 year olds to test their
- Provides no data on the development of individuals because each participant is observed
at only one point in time.
*** Cohort Effect: age-related differences among cohorts that is attributable to
cultural/historical differences in cohorts’ growing-up experiences rather than true
developmental change. Eg. Intelligence testing in younger and older cohorts. Older
adults in cross-sectional studies had less schooling and therefore scored lower on
intelligence tests than younger adult cohorts. Their test scores did not decline, they had
simply always been lower than those of the younger adults with whom they were
The same participants are observed repeatedly over a period of time. It could be 6
months to a year or it may span an entire lifetime. Researchers may study one aspect of
development such as intelligence, or they may study many.
+ Provides data on the development of one individual. Can reveal links between early
experiences and later outcomes in life (Eg. Going through a traumatic experience such as
a car accident and the effect it has on the child mentally in their adult years). Shows how
people are alike and how they are different in they ways they change overtime.
- Costly and time consuming. Practice Effects: Changes in the participant’s natural
responses as a result of repeated testing over a lifetime. Selective Attrition: children may
move away or become bored with participating, or may have parents that no longer want
them to continue in the study. Cross-generational: changes may limit ones conclusions to
the cohort studied (the fact that long-term changes in the environment may limit the
conclusions of a longitudinal project to that generation of children who were growing up
while the study was in progress).
Combine the best features of the cross-sectional and longitudinal studies by selecting
multiple participants of different ages (cohorts) and following these different cohorts over
+ Discriminates true developmental trends from cohort effects. Less costly and time
consuming than the Longitudinal approach.
- More costly and time consuming than Cross-Sectional.
Favored by many researchers. A research design where participants are studied
intensively over a short period of time as their developmental changes occur. It attempts
to specify how or why these changes occur.
+ Extensive observation of changes as they occur can reveal how and why changes occur.
- Extensive experience given to stimulate change may be atypical and produce changes
that may not persist over long periods.
• Ethical considerations: informed consent, benefits-to-risks, confidentiality,
protection from harm.
Researchers are ethically bound to honor to protect their research participants from
physical or psychological harm. A research must not conduct experiments that will cause
physical or psychological damage, such as physical abuse, starvation, and isolation for
long periods of time. Informed Consent: The right of the research participant to receive an explanation, in a
language that they can understand, of all aspects of their research that
may affect their willingness to participate. The informed consent can
be from adults that are in charge of watching the children.
Benefits-to-Risk: A comparison of the possible benefits of a study with the potential risks
that participants may face. In Canada, universities, research
foundations, and government agencies have set up a “human-participant
review committee” to review and consider the potential risks and
benefits of the proposed research, and to help ensure that all possible
steps are taken to protect the welfare of those who may chose to
participate in the project.
Confidentiality: The right of participants to concealment of their identity with respect to
the data that they provide towards a research.
Protection from Harm: The right of the research participants to be protected from
physical or psychological harm. Chapter 2
• The basics of the historical developmental theorists/theories: Freud, Erikson,
Watson, Skinner, Bandura, Piaget, Vygotsky, Information Processing, Ethology,
1) Psychoanalytic Viewpoints: Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson
Sigmund Frued – Psychosexual Theory
• Our personalities are shaped by our earlier life experiences.
• A practicing neurologist who formulated his theory of human development from
analyzing his emotionally disturbed patients’ life history.
• He concluded that: we have basic sexual and aggressive instincts that must be
served. He believed that the way parents managed these sexual aggressive urges
in the first few years of their children’s life would play a major role in their
• Proposes that 3 components of the personality – id, ego, and superego – develop
and gradually become integrated in a series of 5 developmental psychosexual
• He believed that as one sex instinct matured, its focus shifted from one part of the
body to another, and that each shift brought on a new stage of psychosexual
• 5 Stages: Oral – sex instinct is focused on the mouth. Eg. Sucking, biting
Anal – voluntary urination and defecation
Phallic – genital stimulation (interested in opposite sex parent)
Latency – Traumas of philliac stage cause sexual conflicts to be
repressed and sexual urges to be rechanneled into schoolwork and play.
Genital – Puberty triggers an awakening of sexual urges.
Erik Erikson - Psychosocial Theory
• Differed from Freud in that he believed that children are active, curious explorers
who seek to adapt to their environments, rather than passive slaves to biological
urges who are molded by their parents.
• Erikson’s emphasis is on cultural influences (not sexual urges like Frued).
• He believed that people face 8 major crises or conflicts, which he labeled
psychosocial stages during the course of their whole life. Each one of the 8
conflicts emerges at a specific time that is dictated by biological maturation and
• Each crisis must be successfully resolved in order to prepare for a satisfactory
resolution of the next life crisis.
• The psychosocial theory does not end at adolescence like Freuds theory.
• 8 Stages: Trust vs. Mistrust
Autonomy vs. Shame and doubt
Initiative vs. Guilt
Industry vs. Inferiority Identity vs. Role Confusion
Intimacy vs. Isolation
Generativity vs. Stagnation
Ego integrity vs. Despair
2) The Learning Viewpoint: John Watson, B.F. Skinner, Albert Bandura
John Watson – Behaviorism
• He believed he could take a dozen healthy infants and mould them into whatever
he wanted them to be – a doctor, a lawyer, a beggar, etc.
• Like John Locke (an early theorist in development) he believed that children were
Tabula Rasa (blank slate), to be written on by experience.
• Believed that how children turn out depends entirely on their environments and
the ways in which their parents and other significant people in their lives treat
them. These changes that occur vary from person to person.
• Watson presented a white rat to a 9 month old whose initial reaction to the rat was
positive. Two months later Watson attempted to instill a fear response. Every
time the child went to reach for the rat, Watson would bank a steel rod with a
hammer – it produced a fear response.
• He believed parents were largely responsible for what their children would
become. He cautioned parents that they should begin to train their children at
*** Young, unknowing children were viewed as passive recipients of environmental
stimuli – they would become whatever parents, teachers, and other people of society
groomed them to be
B.F. Skinner – Operant Learning
• Believed that humans repeat acts that lead to favorable outcomes and suppress
those that lead to unfavorable outcome.
• Used reinforces and punishers.
• A rat that presses a bar and receives a food pellet is apt to perform that response
again. The food pellet would be a reinforcer because it makes the response more
probable in the future.
• Believed that habits develop as a result of unique Operant Learning
• Operant Learning: a form of learning in which voluntary acts become either more
or less probable, depending on the consequences they produce.
• Operant learning theory claims that development depends on external stimuli
(reinforcers and punishers) rather than on internal forces such as instincts or
Albert Bandura – Cognitive Social Learning
• Believes humans are active information processors who are likely to think about
the relationships between their behavior and its consequences.
• He emphasized Observational Learning: Learning that results from observing the
behavior of other people. Eg. A 2 year old may learn how to approach and pet the
family dog because they watched their older brother do it. • Children learn both desirable and undesirable behaviors by observation. Eg.
Watching a parent smoke or swear.
• He showed children a video where an adult acted aggressively towards an
inflatable Bobo Doll, hitting it with a mallet while shouting “sockeroo”, throwing
rubber balls while shouting “bang bang!”, etc. The children who saw the model
rewarded and the model who received no consequences for hitting the doll
preformed more aggressive acts towards the same doll when left alone in the
room with it.
***Children are active, thinking beings who contribute in many ways to their own
development. Observational Learning for example, requires the child to actively attend
to, encode, and retain the behaviors displayed by social models. And children are fee to
choose the models to whom they will attend; so therefore, they have some say about what
they will learn from others.
• Cognitive learning theorists believe that child development is best described as a
continuous or Reciprocal Interaction between children and their environments.
3) The Cognitive-Developmental Viewpoint: Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky
Jean Piaget – Cognitive Development (Intelligence and Intellectual Growth)
• Believed that children were naturally curious explorers who are constantly trying
to make sense of their surrounding.
• Scheme is an organized pattern of thought or action that a child constructs to
makes sense of some aspect of their experience. Eg. Things that move are alive;
the sun must be alive because it moves
• Four Stages of Cognitive Development:
Sensorimotor – infants use sensory and motor capabilities to explore and gain a
better understanding of the environment.
Preoperational – Children use symbolism (images and language) to represent and
understand various aspects of the environment. They
believe that everyone sees the world as they do
Concrete Operations – Children acquire and use cognitive operations (mental
activities that are components of logical thought)
Formal Operations – Cognitive operations are reorganized in a way that allows
them to operate on operations (think about thinking)
Lev Vygotsky – Sociocultural Theory
• Children acquire their cultures values, beliefs, and problem-solving
strategies through collaborative dialogues with more knowledgeable
people of society.
• A child learns first through social interactions with others, and only
gradually does learning come under the childs control.
• Development varies across cultures depending on their specific
4) Information-Processing Viewpoint:
• The human mind is like a computer into which information flows, or is operated
on, and is converted to output. • Cognitive development is age-related changes that occur in the mind’s “harware”
(brain and nervous system) and “software” (attention, perception, memory,
• Maturation of the brain and nervous system enables children and adolescence to
process information faster. As a result, developing children become better at
sustaining attention, recognizing and storing task-relevant information.
• Unlike Piaget, they believed that cognitive development was a continuous process
and not stagelike like Piaget suggested.
Ethological and Evolutionary Viewpoints:
• All animal species are born with a number of “biologically programmed”
behaviors that are products of evolution, and adaptive in that they contribute to
• Bowlby: believed that children display a variety of preprogrammed behaviors,
such as crying. Crying attracts the attention of caregivers to ensure the infant’s
basic needs are met (feeding, changing, safety).
Ecological Systems Viewpoint: Urie Bronfenbrenner
• The developing person is embedded in a series of environmental systems that
interact with one another and with the person to influence development.
• The developing person is like a set of “Russian dolls” – they are at the center of
and embedded in several environmental systems ranging from immediate settings
such as the family to more remote context such as the broader culture. Each of
these systems are thought to interact wih the others and with the individual to
influence development in important ways.
The inner most environmental layer. The activities and interactions that occur in
the persons immediate surroundings. Eg. Family, playmates
Each person in the microsystem influences and are influenced by each other. Eg.
A temperamental baby can cause friction between her two parents and even damage their
Second environmental Layer. Homes, schools, and peer groups. Development is
likely to be optimized by strong links between Microsystems. Eg. Children who have
established secure relationships with parents are especially incline to be accepted by
peers and have supportive friendships during childhood.
If there are nonsupportive links between the Microsystems, there could be trouble.
Eg. When a peer groups devalue academic learning, they often undermine an adolescent
scholastic performance, despite the best efforts of the parents/teachers.
Social systems that children and adolscents do not directly experience but that
may nonetheless influence their development. Eg. Parents work environments. Childrens
emotional relationships at home may be influence by whether or not their parents enjoy
their work. Macrosystem:
Cultural or subcultural context in which development occurs. Eg. How children
should be treated, what they should be taught, and the goals they should strive for.
Emphasizes that changes in the child or in any of the ecological contexts
(environment) of development can affect the direction that development is likely to take.
• Major issues in human development: nature/nurture, active/passive,
These 3 major issues are what developmental theories often disagree upon
Many contemporary researchers believe that the contributions of both nature and nurture
depend on the area of development in question. They stress that all complex human
attributes, such as intelligence, temperament, and personality, are the end products of a
long and involved interplay between biological predispositions and environmental forces.
Their advice to us is to think less about Nature Versus Nurture and more about how these
two sets interact with each other to produce developmental changes.
Are children more active creatures who largely determine how agents (people) of society
treat them? Or are they passive souls who society shapes? This is a debate among
developmental theorists about whether children are active contributors to their own
development or, if they are passive recipients of environmental influence.
Continuity: Theorists view development as a process that occurs gradually and
continuously. This would be plotted on a graph as a gradual curve
Discontinuity: Theorists view development as a series of abrupt changes, each which
elevates the child to a new and presumably more advanced level of
functioning. These levels or “stages” are represented on a graph as steps.
The second aspect of continuity/discontinuity centers on developmental changes as
quantitative or qualitative in nature.
Quantitative changes: changes in degree or amount. Eg. Children grow taller and run a
little faster with each passing year. They also acquire more
knowledge about the world around them.
Qualitative changes: changes in the form or kind. Changes that make the individual
different in some way than he or she was earlier. Eg. The
transformation of a tadpole into a frog. Similarly, an infant who lacks language may be qualitatively different from a preschooler
who speaks well, and an adolescent who is sexually mature may be
fundamentally different from a classmate who has yet to reach
puberty. Chapter 3
• Genetic material: genes, chromosomes, DNA.
Phenotype: the way a person’s genotype is expressed in observable or measureable
Alleles: forms of a gene that can appear at a particular site on a chromosome.
Genes: Chemical segments on chromosomes. Basic unit of heredity that works to build a
single protein. Hereditary blueprints for development that are passed down from
generation to generation.
Chromosomes: 46 threadlike bodies in the cell nucleus. Contains thousands of genes
DNA: “double helix” molecule that resembles a twisted ladder and provides a chemical
basis for development.
• How cells divide: mitosis, meiosis.
• Body cell duplicates its chromosomes and then divides into two genetically
identical daughter cells.
• Results in two new cells each which have 23 pairs of chromosomes (46
chromosomes in total)
• Sex cells.
• Results in gametes containing 23 single chromosomes.
• At the time of conception a sperm with 23 chromosomes will unite with an ovum
with 23 chromosomes, producing a zygote with a full 46 Chromosomes.
• Difference between identical and fraternal twins.
• Two people share a genotype
• A zygote will split into separate but identical cells which then becomes two
• Developed from a single zygote
• Have identical genes Fraternal Twins:
• When a mother releases two ova at the same time and each is fertilized by a
• Do not have identical genes
• X vs. Y chromosomes.
22 (autosomes: 22 pairs of human chromosomes that are identical in both malerdand
females) of the 23 pairs of human chromosomes. Sex is determined by the 23 pair and
the fathers sperm.
• Function of genes: what do they actually do?, how do they interact with
Genes call for the production of amino acids, which form enzymes and other proteins that
are necessary for the formation and functioning of new cells. For example, they regulate
the production of melanin in the e