Before Birth (Prenatal)
• Zygote: fertilized egg (fertilization – week 2)
• Embryo: mass of cells attached to uterus (weeks 3-8)
• Fetus: growth, development, learning (weeks 9-birth)
o Sound of mom’s voice
• What can newborns do and how do we know?
• Decrease in responding after increase in stimulation
• Modified pacifier to help decipher what they learned in utero
What Else Can a Newborn Do?
• Grasp, rooting, and sucking reflexes
o Rooting is stroke cheek and turn mouth toward stroke
▪ Help find food for survival
• Newborns prefer sights and sounds that facilitate social responsiveness and connection
• Infants who are just a few days old will imitate others’faces
Infancy and Childhood
Brain Maturation and Infant Memory
• Infantile amnesia
o 3 years old: earliest conscious memories
▪ brain still developing
▪ no language
• worldwide, children seem to pass developmental milestones
o in some order
o at the same general ages
…with a few exceptions
• one year is first words and starts to walk
• environment and genes matter!
• Jean Piaget
o studied his own children
o child’s mind is qualitatively different from an adult’s
o struggle to make sense of experience = driving factor
• table 5.1
Sensorimotor Stage (birth-2)
• object permanence (~6 months)
• assimilation vs. accommodation
o assimilation = helicopter o accommodation = start to separate
Preoperational Stage (2-6/7 years)
• able to represent things with words and images but cannot perform mental operations
• at first
o failure of conversation
o can’t take another person’s perspective (egocentrism)
• preschoolers and the false-belief test (egocentrism)
Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years)
• inability to reason about theoretical
• inability to reason deductively
o e.g., ifA&B are true, must C be true?
Formal Operational Stage (12-adult)
• can reason abstractly
• can reason in a moral way
• general sequence: pretty universal
• boundaries between “stages” less clear
• some abilities emerge earlier than thought
• some abilities are there (nearly) from birth!
• what is attachment?
o Emotional tie with another person
• How does it form?
o Harlow et al. 1971
• Harlow’s studies on attachment
• The roots of attachment lie in comfort and security, not provision of physical needs
o Primary caregiver in secure case
Some Species Imprint During a Critical Period
-imprinting - the process by which certain animals form strong attachments during early
• Attachment in humans
o About 60% of babies are securely (play happily, seek out, upset when mom or dad
o About 40% are insecurely (anxious or avoidant relationship with caregiver)
• Strange situation procedure (Ainsworth, 1979)
o Unfamiliar setting
o Mom is present, then leaves
o What happens when she leaves? When she returns?
What Decreases SecureAttachment?
• Inconsistent/insensitive parenting • Child’s temperament
• Instability in home
What Does SecureAttachment Predict?
• Better peer relationships
• Better interpersonal functioning
• Better mental health
Attaching Outside the Home
• Does deprivation predict poor attachment?
o Yes (e.g. Romanian orphanages)
• Does day care predict poor attachment?
o Quality day care does not
• How did your parents “parent” you?
authoritarian Authoritative (best)
Uninvolved (worst) permissive
o Best mental health outcomes, relationships…
o Outcomes and parenting styles is correlated
What Impacts Parenting Style?
• Education and socioeconomic status
• Child’s temperament
Adolescence and EmergingAdulthood
o Boys: 13; girls: 11
o Effects of early maturation for boys vs. girls?
Generally positive for boys (with some negatives) (impulsive, delinquent
actions, alcohol abuse)
▪ Mostly bad for girls
• Mismatch of body and what they are thinking (creating stress)
• Treated like woman but don’t think like them
• Higher depression, lower self-esteem
Girls are Maturing Earlier
• Increased body fat
• Increased hormone – mimicking chemicals in the environment
• Increased family disruption
• Girls hit height growth spurt at 11
• Boy catch up at 15/16 Cognitive Development
• Pruning of unused neurons and connections
• Abstract reasoning (formal operational period)
• Development of frontal lobes
Learning to be Moral – Kohlberg
• Preconvention, conventional, postconventional morality
o Avoid punishment, gain reward
• What you’d do: less important
• Why: more important
Does this Predict Moral Behavior?
• (study of cheating)
Other “Tasks” ofAdolescence
• forming an identity
o may come from parents
o often comes from peers
o may be influenced by social identity
• forming an identity predicts outcomes
o development capacity for intimacy
• period between adolescent dependence and full responsibilities of adulthood
• somewhat culture-bound
• has increased in length
What makes you an “adult”?
Adulthood and OlderAge
People around the world are living longer!
What Contributes to Longevity?
• Being female
• Low stress
• Good health habits
Physical Changes inAdulthood and OlderAge
• Decline in fertility
o Especially for women (but also for men)
o Starting in 30s
• Decline in sexual activity
• Decline in strength, stamina, reaction time (relative to when you were younger)
Causes and Prevention of Cognitive Decline
o Decreased blood flow
o Neuron death
o Medical conditions, aged-related diseases (e.g.Alzheimer’s) • Prevention
o Physical activity
o Mental exercise
• Physical Changes inAdulthood and OlderAge
o Decline in sensory
o Brain volume shrinks
Some Final Notes on the Positives of OldAge
• Positive emotions
• Control over emotions
• Attention to negative aspects of environment
• Concern with what others think
What Contributes to Well Being inAdulthood and OldAge?
o Commitment (via marriage/civil union) ▯ longer lasting
o Marriage ▯ happiness, health, income, sexual satisfaction
▪ 5:1 positive : negative
o children (caveats)
o that fits interests
o that provides a sense of accomplishment and competence
• What is it?
o How we behave around others
o What we think about ourselves and others
o How we are influenced by others
o Power of situational/social factors
Social Thinking:Attributions andAttitudes
• Situational attributions ▯ explanations for someone’s behavior relative to the situation
o Quick test environment, test was easy
• Dispositional attributions ▯ based on their habits/disposition
o Mary is smart, good test taker, she cheated
o Recently fired, college student paying for loans
• Overestimating disposition (personality) and underestimating situation
o We are committing fundamental attribution error (FAE)
Williams College Study
• Students’judgments of woman’s personality unaffected by how they were told she was
instructed to act
Quiz Show Study
• Participants randomly assigned, quizmaster made up questions, contestant answered,
audience watched (knew design study)
• How did “audience members” judge them? • Audience almost always thought Quizmaster was smarter
• Less common when explaining our own behavior ▯ why? ▯ see yourself in situations
▯ except…when we are explaining our own positive actions
o We tend to make dispositional
• Fairly stable evaluation of something as good or bad
• Makes us think, feel, or behave positively or negatively about some person, group, or
Attitude Change by Others
• Central route to persuasion (ex. Political figure)
• Peripheral route to persuasion (ex. Celebrity endorsement)
Attitude Change: Persuading Ourselves!
• Cognitive dissonance
o Inconsistency between your beliefs and behavior
▪ Motivated to reduce inconsistency – how?
o Example: smoking cigarettes is unhealthy ▯ unpleasant tension state ▯ I smoke
Smoking cigarettes are unhealthy; I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore
▪ The research on smoking is not conclusive; I smoke cigarettes
o Cognitive dissonance explains why we value things in life that cause suffering
• Large “drive carefully” sign on your lawn?
o 17% said “ok!”
• small sign in your window (“ok!”), then large sign on lawn?
o 76% said “ok!”
Playing a Role
• means behavior change
• then pretend becomes real behavior
• attitudes shifted in line with behavior
Social Influence: Conformity, Obedience, and Groups
• mirroring others’postures, behavior, moods
• adjusting our thinking or behavior to a group standard (consensus)
SolomonAsch’s Conformity Studies
• line studies
o group size
o co-dissenter ▪ who gave right answer
▪ who gave another wrong(er) answer
• why do we conform?
o Informational influence
▪ What happens when task is more difficult?
o Normative influence
What happens when make private judgments?
• Changing your behavior because someone tells you to
• Germans as especially obedient people?
• Situational factors that “pulled” for obedience?
Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Studies
• Newspaper advertisement
o Study of how punishment affects learning
o Read words and administer punishment
o Learn and repeat words
• With each “error” required to increase the “punishment”
• “learner” was a confederate; “punishment” was staged
• the “learner’s” response is increasingly distressed
• eventually, just ominous silence
• how far did participants go?
o 65% continued until the end of the board!!!
• (check out table on moodle)
• presence of others ▯ arousal ▯ strengthens dominant response
• diminished effort when performing in a group
• losing awareness of yourself as an individual
• likely with high arousal, anonymity
o e.g. riots, looting, internet trolls, Yik Yak
• enhancement of a group’s tendencies through discussion within the group
• harmonious but unrealistic thinking that sometimes occurs in groups
o how to prevent?
• welcome varied opinions
• invite exp