HDFS – Class Notes 1
3 Main Domains of Development
o 1. Physical/Perceptual
Physical- How do we grow physically as human beings?
• Height, weight, etc.
• How our brain changes and grows over time
• Motor development
Perceptual- the 5 senses
• Vision and hearing are the core ones, and then taste, smell, and touch
o 2. Cognitive
Our thought processes (internal) – how we think about the world
How we solve problems – how we navigate our world when we experience obstacles
o 3. Emotional/Social
• When do our emotions begin?
• How do children learn to control their emotions?
o Early on: caregiver
o Peer relationships – how we get along with other children
o Romantic partnership
• These domains DO NOT operate independently- they interact with each other.
o If a child is delayed in one domain, it will affect the other domains as well.
Ex.As motor skills emerge and kids become more independent, we become more than just a
nurturer, but also a discipliner.
Periods of Development
• 1. Prenatal (contraception to birth)
• 2. Infancy/Toddlerhood (birth-2 years)
• 3. Early Childhood (2-6 years)
• 4. Middle Childhood (6-11 years)
• 5.Adolescence (11-18 or 20 years)
• 6. Emerging Adulthood (18-25 years)
o New addition b/c of Western culture &more people attending college
o Having the freedoms of adulthood without the responsibilities
2 Different Ways to look at Development
• General Development – what do children do on average
o What is normal across children
o Does NOT give predictive power
o Ex. When do they begin to crawl
• Individual Differences
o Focuses on the unique characteristics that make up a person’s life
o How one person is different
o Looks at genetic personality, socioeconomic status, parenting styles, etc. and their impact
Holistic Theories of Development
• Behaviorism o Watson, Pavlov, Skinner
o Focuses on the environment
How environmental experiences shape who we are
o Reinforcement and Punishment were emphasized by Skinner
Reinforcement: increasing the likelihood of a behavior
• Leads things to become part of our personality
Punishment: decreasing the likelihood of a behavior
• Leads us to drop things from our ethos
What we are reinforced and punished for shape who we are.
Change reinforcement and punishment in order to improve development.
• Ex. Teach parents to ignore grocery store tantrums for candy bars
Increase Behavior Decrease Behavior
Positive Reinforcement Positive Punishment
(Good Stimulus) (Bad Stimulus)
**One of the most valuable shaping
Present a Stimulus mechanisms in behavior. ** Adding an aversive to decrease behavior.
ex. Stickers, verbal praise, food (primaryx. Soap in mouth after bad word,
adding chores, yelling, spanking
reinforcer), attention, physical affection
Negative Reinforcement Negative Punishment
(Bad Stimulus) (Good Stimulus)
Decreasing behavior by taking something
Remove a Stimulus Taking away something unfavorable to away the child likes.
**Second most utilized**
Ex. Stopping nagging
ex. Time out
Social Learning Theory – we learn by seeing other people reinforced and punished
• More likely to do a behavior if we see someone reinforced for doing a behavior.
• Less likely to do a behavior if we see someone punished for doing a behavior.
• Albert Bandura’s Bobo-Doll Experiment
o Focused on what makes kids aggressive
o Did a whole series of research on it
o He had 2 groups of kids (and made sure they were the same in their natural
Control group: watched grad students playing with toys in a non-violent
Treatment/Experimental Group: watched grad students playing with toys
in very aggressive ways
o The treatment/experimental group was much more aggressive verbally and
physically when “playing” with the Bobo Doll.
Those children continued their aggression even months later.
o Cathartic theory (getting it out of your system by watching it on TV) was
• Evolutionary Theory
o Naturally Selected Biology/Behaviors Each species on earth has evolved certain traits that help them survive and live long enough to
reproduce (and that trait carries from generation to generation)
Naturally Selected Biology – physical features
• Ex. Opposable thumbs for writing/painting/music etc.
This is related to General Development – weALL have these naturally selected traits – its normal
• Ex. Reflexes, attachment
o Moro reflex – newborn is born with this; infant perceives they are falling and
instinctively reach arms and legs out to grab onto something
o Attachment: love between a caregiver and a child
Love is a necessity to survive
Cute baby syndrome: observation that babies are really cute
• We treasure what we find beautiful – reluctant to harm cute
• Babies have big eyes compared to body, tiny noses, soft skin –
all these things incline us to care for them.
Instinct to feel distress when baby cries leads us to care for them.
o Environmental Adaptation
No matter what environment we are thrust into, we will probably find out how to survive there.
We will do whatever it takes to survive and change whatever we have to.
• Ex.Abused children avoid adult attention
• Ecological Systems Theory
Bi-directional – the environment affects the child, and the child affects the environment
• Ex. Temperament (the foundation for our later personality; inherited)
o Easy babies (born happy, smiley, love experiences) vs. difficult babies (show
negative emotion and don’t like change, bad sleepers and eaters)
Easy babies evoke higher quality parenting (the effect on the
Difficult babies evoke poor quality parenting due to high stress
• It is in contrast to what we would originally think – environment affects the child
Hierarchal systems – used to classify the environment
• Microsystem- the environment where the child is living their daily life
o Home/immediate family
o Neighborhood area
• Mesosystem- the connections/influences between microsystems
o Informative in therapeutic work with children
o Ex. Parental marital conflict stress makes kids act out in friendships or not pay
attention in school because they are worried
• Exosystem- child rarely enters this system in daily life; not part of normal activities
o Ex. Parent’s workplace: parent doesn’t like job projection of negative emotions
on the kids
• Macrosystem- Not something the kid is living life in; has to do with laws/policies
o Ex.Access to free public education
• Chronosystem- all the systems (micro to macro) changing over time
o Systems are not stable – they change as the child grows
Ex.Anew sibling born changes microsystem
Steps in Processing Behavioral Situations – (Potential Essay for Exam 1) • What is the stimulus?
o Consequence of child’s behavior
• Is the stimulus good or bad?
o Did the child like what happened or not?
• Is it presented or removed?
o Did that change add or remove the stimulus?
ALittle Cheat Sheet
• Good stimulus + presented = Positive Reinforcement
• Good stimulus + removed = Negative Punishment
• Bad stimulus + presented = Positive Punishment
• Bad stimulus + removed = Negative Reinforcement
Label the following examples:
• John takes the trash out so his Mom will stop nagging him
o Negative reinforcement; learned “ I need to do what mom tells me to do”
• Camilla is put in the time out corner for stealing $5 from her Mom’s wallet
o Negative punishment; learned that stealing is bad/wrong
• Trudy is given a cookie for earning anA+ on her paper.
o Positive reinforcement; learned “Earning good grades gets me fun stuff… School is great!”
• Randy’s mother yelled at him when he drew pictures all over the living room walls.
o Positive punishment; learned destruction of property is wrong
• Emily wants a Barbie doll. Emily tantrums and hits her Mom until her Mom says yes and buys it.
o Positive reinforcement; learned “hitting mommy/a tantrum gets me things I want”
• Julia throws a fit and spits at her teachers whenever they try to make her do math problems. Julia’s teachers no
longer make her work on math
o Negative reinforcement; learned “If I spit/throw a fit, I won’t have to do things I don’t like”
• Andy’s parents never pay attention to him, unlessAndy hits his little brother. Then they get upset and talk to him
about why he shouldn’t hit his brother
o Positive reinforcement; learns “hitting my brother is the only way to get time with my parents”
• Observational – ideal for developmental research
o Seeing behavior occur in front of us increased reliability and validity
o Two types:
Naturalistic Observation: watching children in their natural environment
• Ex. Watching kids play at recess; entering home environment
• The researcher tries not to impact situation
Structured Observation: telling participants what to do; creating a task for participants
• Typically in lab setting
• Ex. Still face experiment: stare at baby with a blank face
o Tells a lot about the care parent is giving to the child
o Time consuming
o Observer influence- when people know they are being watched, they tend to
behave more appropriately
Don’t get honest behavior o Observer bias- within the researcher; tendency to see observations support own
beliefs and hypotheses
Ex. Proving that boys are more aggressive than girls: researcher says that
slapping with boys at recess is aggression but with girls it is just playful
o Most common way to collect data (b/c it is quick and easy)
o Two types:
Clinical interview- you and researcher sit down and talk with a general theme of the conversation
• No standard set of questions
• Great for following up in the future
• Offers depth
• Hard to analyze
Structured Interview/Questionnaire- same set of questions asked to every participant
• Cannot go beyond set of questions
• Most common way to get data in behavioral research
• Sometimes vague wording, scale, or question formation is bad
• People less likely to be honest about deep/intense things even if informed its anonymous
• Vague wording
• Scale vagueness – (ex. How is very true different from somewhat true?)
• Psychophysiological methods – measure of physical markers (we assume these markers indicate an emotional
state or a thought process that is occurring)
o fMRI- slightly different version of an MRI; CAT scans are similar
Give a 3D image of our bodies
Series of tons of x-rays
Can see how brain structures differ over time etc.
f stands for function – tells which parts of brain are activated during certain activities
Problem: requires you remain very still and go into a big tube with loud noises – hard for kids
o EEG- places electrodes on scalp
Does not require you to be still and has no noises
Limited b/c it only shows us which parts of brain are active (no 3D image)
o NIROT- allows you to get some of 3D image and some of the electrical activity
Able to collect this mainly through electrodes
Best compromise we have
Assumption that physical markers mean something about emotional and cognitive markers
o Measuring heart rate – physical marker
Assumption we make: increase in heart rate = fear; decrease in heart rate = boredom (or really
o Blood pressure
Increase = increase in anger or frustration
o Hormone levels
The Grandma Effect
• Grandma believes everything she reads – if it is print, it must be true!
• All studies are NOT created equal – there is good science and bad science! o When it comes to media, good science is often boring because there are such slight changes…. So they
tend to exaggerate findings.
• Correlational Design
o Acorrelation shows that two variables are related to each other.
Ex. (increase in X decrease in Y)
o Used most because it’s the EASIEST… not the best
o Measure variables as they are naturally occurring in the population
o Correlation does NOT equal causation!
Missing two key Components:
• There is no Manipulation of variables
o Hard to assign participants to groups
o Just observing things as they naturally occur
There is a potential for a confounding variable – a third variable that you have not measured in
your study, but it creates the relationship between X and Y
• Falsely makes it seem like X is causing Y
• Ex. Saying that getting up early better GPA
o X = Early Risers
o Y= High GPA
o Confound (Z) =??? (Time to eat breakfast, more motivated if you can make
yourself get up earlier, more time to study etc.)
• True experiment
o Manipulates variables
o Can make a statement of causation
o Developmental research is limited b/c you can’t assign someone to be male or female, or put one in a
wealthy or un-wealthy family, etc.
• Types of Correlational and True Experiment Studies
**IDEAL- b/c it’s the only way to assess developmental change (actually understanding how
human beings grow and change over time)
Follow same group of people over time (years, decades)
• Have to wait for the kids to grow up – patience
• If working for research institution, you have to continually be publishing or else you lose
Quick and Easy
• Just measure different groups of kids at different ages
CANNOT make statements about developmental change.
• Cohort Effects
o Variations in society/culture/experiences/environment among children
Nature Vs. Nurture
• Trying to parse apart individual contributions made by: o Nature
o Nurture- look at parenting
• Heritability- the individual differences in observed behavior that are due to our genetics
o Genotype- DNAsequencing; what is written in our genes
o Phenotype- how the genotype is actually expressed in our life/external world
o You can have the same genotype and have different phenotypes.
Our environment affects which genes get turned on and turned off – epigenome.
o Trait = heritability (genes) + environment
Heritability coefficient: Estimates range from 0.0-1.0
• Coefficient of 0 = completely environment and 0 due to genetics
• Coefficient of 1 = 100% due to genetics and 0 due to environment
• Really no traits are fully 0 or 1 – Rather they are somewhere within the spectrum.
o Ex. Depression is 30% due to genes = .3
o Ex. Schizophrenia is 80-86% due to genetics = .8
o Ex. IQ is 50% both = .5
o Ex. Temperament is 40-50% due to genes = .4
o How do you test for Heritability?
Twin Studies: Type 1
• MZ (monozygotic) twins (identical twins) raised apart
o Share 100% of their DNA
• Different environments b/c separated at birth
• Bring them back together and measure them on types of traits
• If there is similarity – assume due to genetics
o Adoption environments similar
Bad b/c the assumption made is that they are raised in completely
Also, adoptive parents sometimes parent the same way
o Hard to find these twins
Child welfare laws changed – no longer allowed to adopt
twins/triplets/etc. into different families
Twin Studies: Type 2
• Compare MZ twins (100% genetically the same) raised together and DZ (fraternal- share
50% of DNA) raised together
• Uses controls for Shared Environmental Effects
o Left with the genetic components of a trait
o Heritability = (MZ same – DZ same) x2
Heritability = ((MZ100G+sharedE) – ((DZ50G+sharedE)) x2
(multiplying by 2 accounts for 50% shared genes of DZ twins)
Does Family/Nurture Matter?
• How Nature and Nurture Work Together
o Reaction range- genes determine reaction to environment
Genes limit our potential responses to the environment
Genes set the range (the min and max for any gene expression)
• No matter what our environment does, we will never go beyond the min or max –
Environment determines WHERE (within the min and max) the trait will come out in our life • Environment affects children differently (two children can respond to same environment
very differently – ex. Sibling differences)
• Genetic range = 5’2” – 5’7”
o Poor nutrition 5’2” vs. Good nutrition 5’7”
o Gene-Environment Correlations
Genes affect the environments we’re exposed to
Things that appear to be solely due to environment aren’t
• Genetic influence is also a part
Make things more likely (probability), NOT definite
• Applies more to young children (infants-elementary school)
• Parents choose environment
• Environment correlated with child’s genes
• Ex. Reading
o Parents love to read (genes)
o Create an environment supportive of reading for their child (read to them at
night, have books available, trips to the library, you modeling reading)
o Then, the kid loves to read –Why???
B/c of the environment created by the parent, but also b/c of shared genes
with the parent
• ONLY apply in biological families (not adoption)
• Applies more to older children
• Children choose environments that reflect (are supported by) their genes
• Thought of as niche-picking – narrow down pathways for life over time
o Child plays tee-ball and is really good at it (genes)
o She chooses to play softball in middle school
Does not do band or drama (narrow down those pathways)
o She chooses to play softball in high school
Plays soccer in off-season, too
o She plays in college on a scholarship
She chooses a major in sports medicine
• Apply to Younger and Older children
• Related to Brofenbrenner’s work: Bidirectional
o Child can influence the environment (genes affect the environmental experiences
and reactions that they trigger in their life)
• Child evokes certain environmental responses
o These environmental responses encourage the child’s genetic potential/reinforce
the child’s genetic foundations
• Ex. Infant’s temperament (and their later personality)
o Easy babies: their positivity and warmth tends to evoke better quality parenting;
happier parents caring for them
o Difficult babies: Negative emotion makes it more difficult to caregive well
more negative emotion
• Environmental responses feed in and encourage the responses of that child! Gene-Environment Correlations Exercise (POTENTIAL EXAM ESSAY)
• Give DETAILED examples of how EACH of the 3 gene-environmental correlations
(passive, active, and evocative) may have influenced Nina’s development using
information provided in the following description.
Nina is an electrical engineer in New York City. Nina was raised by her mother
in Brooklyn. For as long as she can remember, Nina’s mother would organize a game
after dinner: practicing addition, subtraction, and (later on) even algebra using items in
their home. For example, Nina’s mother might line up on the counter all the fruit in their
fridge and ask Nina to add them together. Nina’s mother had always loved math—their
house was filled with all level of math books and the most recent copy of Mathematica
was always on their kitchen table. When Nina was old enough, her mother enrolled her
in a preschool that focused on early math education. Throughout her school years, Nina
was an eager student. Especially in math clas