PSYC 3490 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Skeletal Muscle, Threshold Model, Senescence
Course CodePSYC 3490
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1. What are the three major approaches to understanding development? How do
they differ in their emphasis on the role of the individual in development?
1. Lifespan perspective – development is continuous from childhood to old age.
2. Contextual influences – Lifespan change is a function of nature and nurture
3. Developmental science – Need to look at multiple factors in development, not
2. What is niche-picking? Provide an example from your own experience that
illustrates how this principle operates in development.
Is a concept that says genetic and environmental factors work together to
influence the direction of life.
Ex. child has genetic to be a talented dancer. Good flexibility and sense of
rhythm. Sees a ballet performance, wants to join ballet. Her dance genes lead
her to develop an interest in an activity that allows her talents to flourish.
3. Define and contrast the terms: theory, hypothesis, model, and perspective.
Theory - An organized set of concepts/ideas that explain a phenomenon ex.
erikson’s psychosocial theory
Hypothesis - A tentative and testable explanation of the relationship between 2 or
Model – like mini theory. Not as comprehensive ex. interactionist model
Perspective – a view that involves certain assumptions about a human behavior
4. What is the major assumption of the life course perspective?
Age norms in adulthood are linked to the Social Clock – expectations for the
ages at which a society associates major life events.
The expectations set pace for how ppl think they should progress through their
family and work timelines.
5. What are the major levels of organization in the ecological perspective?
Microsystem – centre. Where ppl have their daily interactions. Most direct impact.
Mesosystem – where interactions take place among 2 or more microsystems. Ex.
difficulties at home influence relationship with coworkers.
Exosystem – environment that ppl don’t closely exp on a regular basis ex.
workplace and community centres, extended family.
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Macrosystem – larger social institutions ex. nation’s economy, laws, social
norms.influences indirectly thru exosystem.
Chronosystem – changes in system that take place over time.
6. Define the term "epigenetic" and explain how it relates to Erikson's
Epigenetic principle – each stage unfolds from the previous stage according to a
predestined order. He believed that each psychosocial stage is built into the
hardwiring of human beings.
Erikson’s theory says that there are 8 stages that people go thru from birth to
death and that everyone goes thru the eight crisis stages in the same order.
7. What are the four major psychosocial crises of adulthood according to
Erikson? Define and provide an example of each.
Identity Achievement vs. Identity Diffusion – ppl must decide who they are and
what they wish to get out of life. Ex of diffusion: someone lacking direction,
unclear sense of self.
Intimacy vs. Isolation – individuals are faced with making commitments to close
relationships. Ex intimacy: 2 identities intersection but not a total overlap b/c each
partner preserves sense of seperateness
Generativity vs. Stagnation – adults focus on psychosocial issues of procreation,
productivity, creativity. Ex generativity: parenthood, teaching, mentoring
Ego Integrity vs. Despair – psychosocial issues of facing mortality. Ex strong ego
integrity = look back at experience with strong sense of acceptance.
8. What is an implication of the "matrix" as described within Erikson's theory
regarding the relationship between age and specific psychosocial issues?
A crisis may be experienced before its “time”. Crisis stages are critical periods
where certain issues are most likely prominent but are not meant to be discrete
step that proceed from youth to old age.
Ex 35 year old woman with breast cancer faced with issues of mortality, causing
her to think about psychosocial issues that normally confront older people.
9. Define and provide an example of these terms:
a. Assimilation. b. Accommodation. c. Equilibration.
Assimilation – Process where ppl use their existing schemas as a way to
understand world around them. PPl change interpretation of reality to fit the
schemas they hold. Ex calling all small birds Sparrows and big ones Crows. You
are forcing two categories when there may be more. You do this until you gain
more exp to refine your schemas.
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