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Chapter 1

Ch. 1 - Research Methods and Physiological Development notes.docx

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Christopher Teeter

Ch. 1 – Developmental Psychology Development • Concerned with entire lifespan of living things Research Methods with the Long View • May rely on experimental method less often than other psychologists – impossible to control variable that affect development – there will always be other variables involved other than the one you are studying • The quasi-experiment is more often used as a research method in developmental psych • Group subjects based on their existing level of that variable rather than random assignment to a group (ex. for age, put all 3yr olds in one group and 4yr olds in another) • Cannot make same cause and effect interpretations of the data that a true experiment would follow • Correlation techniques also frequently used • Take the world as they find it rather than manipulating the variables of interest • 2 basic kinds of questions about development: • Descriptive/normative: about how things normally change from age to age  Ex. What is the individual capable of at any given age? • Analytic: about the processes and variables that are responsible for the changes in abilities and needs from age to age  Ex. Why does change occur? • Passage of time is an important variable • 2 general types of research designs if one of the critical variables is age: • Longitudinal: compare development at different ages be following the same group of individuals over a period of time and repeatedly testing them – within- subjects  Advantage: eliminate a lot of extraneous variables (EVs) – comparing subjects to themselves  Disadvantages: time-consuming, costly, subjects may be lost over time (death, moving away, refusal to continue, etc.), practice effect, cohort effect • Cohort effect: developmental changes observed may be due to experiences specific to those in a particular cohort (i.e. a group of people born at the same time in the same society) – different generations experience different things and therefore develop differently Physiological Development • Conception: • Sperm travels to egg  few sperm approach the egg and release a digestive enzyme that eats away at the eggs protective layer allowing the sperm to penetrate  the egg’s surface blocks out all other sperm from entering and sends out projections to pull the sperm in  after approx. 12hrs, the egg’s and sperm’s nuclei fuse, creating your unique genetic blueprint • Genetic Transmission: • Genetic blueprint made up of 23 pairs of chromosomes (DNA coiled up) • DNA contains genes: biochemical units of heredity – capable of synthesizing proteins • Genome: complete set of instructions for an organism • human genome = 30000 genes – complete set in every cell • dominant genes: will exert their effect regardless of what the other member of the gene pair codes for (ex. gene for brown eyes) • recessive gene: will exert its effect only if dominant gene is not present/both gene pairs are the recessive gene (ex. gene for blue eyes) • most of an organisms attributes are governed by multiple gene pairs – polygenic inheritance – different gene pairs may control different aspects of a trait • genes control the production of proteins and enzymes that regulate a biochemical sequence within the developing organism – don’t directly determine observable traits • genotype: genetic blueprint • phenotype: observable traits • no characteristic is entirely determined by genes rd • Master gene model of sex determination: SRY gene located on 23 chromosome is responsible for determining sex – female = XX/male = XY – sex determined by contribution of male • Cascade gene model: SRY gene is only one gene among many interacting genes – sex determined by contribution o
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