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Week 16 - Major Theories of Developmental Psychology

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PSYC 100
Dr.Ada Mullett

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Week 16 Notes Why do Development theories matter?  Compare and contrast the major theories of human development  Apply learning theory to developmental psychology (oprant conditioning, Watson’s little Albert, reinforcement and social learning – Bandura’s Bobo doll)  Evaluate Piaget’s theory of human development  Evaluate the role for the environment in the major theories of development  We can never prove theories right (previous limitations expanded, more experiments may prove wrong) we can only be sure we’re wrong  If your theory is vague, you can’t be proved wrong, hard to measure  B.F. Skinner studied reinforcement and punishment  Discovered that attention (even negative is a powerful motivation for young children  It’s more difficult to extinguish intermittently reinforced behaviour Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development  Jean Piaget theorized four stages of human development; noticed similar behaviour and mistakes in his own children at the same age  At each stage, children have similar abilities and make the same errors, a child must become proficient at one stage in order to move on to the next  Operation: logical or mathematical rule that transforms an object or concept into something else, must be invertible  We build and rebuild schemas (mental framework through which we organize and synthesize info on a person, place or thing)  Assimilation: new information is incorporated into existing schema  Accommodation: existing schemas is modified by new experiences  Equilibration: reorganizing, building more sophisticated schema  We start with basic schema, which we develop through assimilation, accommodation and equilibration, marked by different stages  Sensorimotor Stage: first period, from birth to 2 years, marked by progression in increasingly complex cognitive development  Reflexes replaced with voluntary motor movements  They learn object permanence; understanding that objects do not disappear when they’re out of sight  A-not-B Error: preservative errors as, for example, an infant continues to look for an object where he last found it, despite seeing the object placed elsewhere  Preoperational Stage: second development stage from 2-6 to 7 years; being able to think symbolically and then logically  Egocentric: self-centeredness; preoperational children can see the world only from their own perspective  Conservation: understanding that specific properties of objects remain the same despite apparent changes in the shape or arrangement of those objects  Concrete Operational Stage: third period, from 7 to 11 or 12 years; children come to understand conservation, perspective taking and other concepts such as categorization  Understand other’s emotions and comprehend cause-and-effect relationships  Trouble extending information from one situation to another, don’t attack problem-solving tasks in a systematic way, disregard premises that disagree with their assumptions  Formal Operational Stage: individuals first become capable of more formal kinds of abstract thinking and hypothetical reasoning  Non-universal stage of development, even when reached this would not apply across all domains, but would be limited to areas in which a person had experience  Piaget’s theory doesn’t account for variability in individual learning, and often children possess greater cognitive capacity than he outlines  The physical environment was largely emphasized, while the social environment was not  Unclear how the mechanism of change (assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration) work Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development  Social-Cultural Theory: theory of cognitive development that places emphasis on environmental factors, including cultural influences (developed by Lev Vygotsky)  Intersubjectivity: an understanding between two individuals of the topic they’re discussing  Joint Attention: ability to share attention with another towards the same object  Social Referencing: tendency of a person to look to another in an ambiguous situation to clarify certain information  Depending on who we’re surrounded by, our quality of learning/understanding will differ based on the depth of the knowledge of our peers, teachers, parents, etc. and the richness of our environment (stimulations like books)  Social Scaffolding: a mentor guides and supports a learner by matching their efforts to a child’s developmental level, changing support based on their performance  Actual Developmental Level: particular stage of development a child has reached, based on problem-solving abilities  Zone of Proximal Development: increased potential for problem solving and conceptual ability that exists for a child if expert mentoring and guidance are available – the stage between boredom and frustration  For Piaget,
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