WEEK 13 OBJECTIVES: LANGUAGE
Describe the differences between language and communication.
Language is a method for communicating information, including ideas, thoughts, and
emotions. Language is differentiated from communication because of semanticity,
generativity, and displacement.
Language can be defined as a socially agreed-upon, rule-governed system of arbitrary
symbols that can be combined in different ways to communicate ideas and feelings
about both the present time and place and other times and places, real or imagined.
Identify the three key properties of human language.
Semanticity: the ability of the system to meaningfully represent ideas, events, and
Generativity: the ability to use a limited number of words and rules to combine words
into a virtually unlimited number of sentences.
Displacement: the ability to use language to convey messages that are not tied to the
Describe the components of language: phonemes, morphemes, syntax, semantics, and
Phonemes: The basic distinctive speech sounds in a language that distinguish one word
(e.g., rice) from another (lice). [Phonemes are combined to form morphemes]
Morphemes: The smallest unit of meaning in language.
Free morphemes are meaningful on their own and can stand alone as words.
Bound morphemes are meaningful only when combined with other morphemes to form
e.g.) “Engagement” contains the free morpheme “engage” as well as the bound
Syntax: Grammatical rules of a particular language for combining words to form phrases,
clauses, and sentences.
Semantics: The relationship between words and their meanings.
Pragmatics: The social rules of language that allow people to use language appropriately for different purposes and in different situations.
Explain how speech is produced, and what this might mean for how speech is
represented in the brain (ie speech sounds are not sequentially produced, but the
system must anticipate and accommodate upcoming sounds in motor programming at
the same time as current sounds are being articulated).
Articulators: Mouth structures that make speech sounds (jaw, tongue, lips, and soft
Speech requires very rapid movements of the articulators. They’re so fast that the
articulators are getting ready to produce the next sound before the last one is finished.
Coarticulation: Speech sounds for words are not produced in a discrete sequence.
Instead, the articulators are effectively shaping multiple sounds at any moment in time,
so that different instances of a particular phoneme (e.g., "b") are acoustically different,
depending on the sounds preceding and following them.
Coarticulation means that information about speech sounds is spread over time, and
that information about different sounds overlaps in time. Coarticulation also means that
the sound associated with an phoneme varies depending on its context - on the other
sounds preceding and following it.
Discuss the categorical perception of phonemes.
Categorical perception: the tendency of perceivers to disregard physical differences
between stimuli and perceive them as the same, such that a continuous change in a
physical attribute is perceived not as continuous, but as a discrete change at a category
Discriminating between adjacent items in a set of stimuli that you perceive categorically
depends crucially on whether you perceive those adjacent stimuli as the same thing or
as different things.
Auditory categorical perception depends on your ability to ignore acoustic variability in
speech sounds that is irrelevant in your language, while making use of meaningful
variability to distinguish phonemes.
e.g.) “Lake lake lake lake rake rake rake rake”
Telling the difference between the last stimulus you heard as lake and the first one you
heard as rake is much easier.
Identify the skills required in learning how to read. First, they learn the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they can make.
Second, they begin to analyze phonemes in ways that are not required for language
comprehension (phonemic awareness).
The ability to recognize words with the same ending sounds (e.g. cat, bat, mat) or vowel
sounds (e.g. bike, time, fine) isn’t necessary for understanding spoken language but it’s
important when learning that certain sounds are spelled certain ways.
Take together, alphabetic knowledge and basic phonemic awareness form the
foundation for beginning to read phonetically.
Describe the sequence of language development milestones (cooing, babbling, single
word and two word stage).
Cooing: Sometime around the ages of 8 to 10 weeks, infants begin cooing, making their
first speech-like sounds. These often take the form of long drawn-out vowels - “ooh” or
“aah” - or blowing bubbles or smacking lips. During this time, infants will make sounds
with their mouths seemingly for their own amusement.
Babbling: The next phase in the infant development of speech is called babbling. This
occurs around seven months of age, with some variability, when infants begin to mix
consonant and vowel sounds. These sounds usually take the form of “bababa”,
(resulting in the premature excitement of their parents) “mama” or “dada”.
Single word: Most infants will produce their first discernable word between the ages of
10 and 15 months.
Two word: Telegraphic speech at 18 months (e.g. “I hungry”)
(Telegraphic speech: Speech that sounds very much like a telegram, with only essential
words, has words arranged in an order that makes sense, and contains almost all nouns
and verbs strung together in pairs.)
Interpret what under- and over-extension and overgeneralization tell us about how
children learn language.
Overextend: Generalize known words to a wider variety of contexts than is appropriate
for those words. e.g.) referring to any man he or she sees as “dada”
Under extend: Limit context for generalized words to a certain specific meaning. e.g.)
the word “ball” may mean specifically their ball and not refer to any other spherical toys
Overgeneralization errors: Errors in language that occur when learners produce
incorrect words or statements based on other rules of language Describe theories of language acquisition (nativist vs. interactionist theories).
Nativism: Theory of language development that proposes that children are born with an
innate knowledge of a universal grammar.
Interactionist: A person who believes that language development results from
interaction among multiple biological and social influences.
Apply theories of language acquisition to word learning and grammatical
Nativists argue in favour of a system in the brain that begins to develop after our very
first exposures to language. According to this perspective, no learning is involved in
early language acquisition; children have no more control at this time over the growth
of their linguistic understanding than they do over the growth of their bodies. They
require exposure to words for linguistic growth, just as their bodies require food for
Some interactionists view the development of language as springing from the growth of
the infant’s capacity for cognition. The growth of vocabulary and the increased
complexity of children’s language use are the direct result of the increasing complexity
of their ability to think about the world and understand relationships, context, and
Complexity: grammar is a property that emerges from the complexity of a growing
vocabulary. Grammar is a system of organizing and simplifying an extremely complex
system rather than a disposition we’re born with.
Social process: language as a social process; the function of language is to communicate,
which makes it a social process by nature. We are prepared to learn any language to
which we are exposed to as infants, rather than everyone sharing a genetic program
specific to a single language.
Interpret evidence from language learning in atypical environments
children; creolization, e.g., Nicaraguan Sign Language) with respect to theoretical
Isolated Children (e.g. Genie): confirms that there is a critical period.
Critical periods are times in development during which the brain is extremely responsive
to learning a specific type of knowledge. For language, this period seems to occur in the
first years of life, as children exposed to language normally during this time will develop
there skills rapidly. Conversely, children who are not exposed to language at this time
are never able to make up for it. Creolization (e.g. Nicaraguan Sign Language): proves that children in the right
environment actually will improve the structure of a language without intervention.
Interpret outcomes of animal language learning studies (Washoe, Kanzi, Alex) with
respect to animals’ capacity to develop language-like system of communication and
the uniqueness of the human capacity for language.
Washoe (chimpanzee) eventually learned to reliably comprehend and produce
approximately 350 signs, including signs for various objects, comments, and requests,
thus fulfilling the semanticity property of language. She could also use consistent and
meaningful word orders - “open hurry”; “gimme sweet”; “apple in hat”; “baby in my
drink”. Washoe also showed displacement by referring to other times and places, such
as “more fruit”.
However, the consensus view seems to be that Washoe’s signing did not show
conclusive evidence of full generativity - it did not take on the syntactic richness needed
to be considered true language production, although her ability, and that of other
chimps, to produce meaningful combinations of words is intriguing.
Kanzi’s (chimpanzee) comprehension of names for various objects, comments, and
requests appears to fulfill the semanticity property of language. Kanzi also is able to
respond to requests where the order of the word is important. This partially
demonstrates generativity. His understanding also seems to demonstrate displacement
(e.g. he understand taking the television to another location (outside)). Like young
children (and young vervet monkeys), Kanzi is believed to have a greater comprehension
of language than he is able to produce.
Alex (parrot) lived for about 30 years and in that time learned about 150 words, which
he could use in response to questions. He could name objects by their shape, material,
or colour; count to six, and use descriptors like “bigger” or “smaller”.
WEEK 14 OBJECTIVES:
GENETICS AND INTELLIGENCE
Define DNA, genes, and chromosomes.
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid): genetic material of all organisms that makes up
chromosomes; resembles a twisted ladder, with strands of sugar and phosphates
connected by rungs made from nucleotide molecules of adenine, thymine, guanine, and
cytosine. Genes: small units of DNA that direct the synthesis of proteins and enzymes and result
in the expression of inheritable traits.
Chromosomes: threadlike structures in the nuclei of living cells; contains genes.
a human has 23 pairs of chromosomes – 22 are called autosomes and the 23 pair rd
is made up of the x and y sex chromosomes (males = XY and females = XX)
Differentiate genotype and phenotype.
Genotype: an organism’s genetic make up.
Phenotype: the outward expression of an organism’s genotype; an organism’s physical
characteristics and behaviour.
Every individual’s phenotype is produced by the interaction of its genotype with
Describe dominant and recessive traits including homozygous and heterozygous
Dominant: trait that is exhibited when an individual possesses heterozygous alleles at
Recessive: train that occurs only when it is expressed by homozygous alleles
Homozygous: each parent contributes the same allele for a particular gene.
Heterozygous: each parent contributes different alleles for a particular gene.
Define polygenic inheritance.
Polygenic: a trait that is influenced by more than one pair of genes.
It is suggested that such disorders “run in the family”
Concordance: the expression of similarity in traits (or absence of traits) by both twins
If the rate of concordance is higher in identical twins than in fraternal twins,
there is a genetic component
Epigenetics: The study of heritable changes that occur without a change in the DNA
Differentiated cells: Less-specialized cells whose profiles or characteristics have, over
time, grown increasingly different from and more specialized than other cells of the
same type (e.g., a single-cell zygote develops into a multicellular zygote) Explain how behavioural genetics are studied.
Behaviour genetics: the study of genetic influences on behaviour.
Behaviour genetics is intimately involved with providing an explanation of why
people differ. Behaviour geneticists attempt to account for the roles that both
hereditary and the environment play in individual differences in a wide variety of
physical and mental abilities.
Discuss whether it is possible to separate the influences of nature and nurture on
It is very difficult.
Describe some of the misconceptions about heritability.
Heritability: The amount of variability in a given trait in a given population at a given
time due to genetic factors; measured as h and sometimes referred to by this measure
instead of the word
Often the research done is only studies and correlation does not prove causation
they also look at populations rather than individuals
Polygenetic traits also lie on a continuum, they are not all or nothing events
Nature and nurture are hard to distinguish between
A trait that shows high heritability varies greatly within a population
A trait that is not inherited theoretically has zero heritability
Heritability estimates for a group may not represent the population
Explain what intelligence is and how it is measured, as well as some of the
controversies surrounding intelligence testing.
Intelligence: the general term used to refer to a person’s ability to learn and remember
information, to recognize concepts and their relations, and to apply the information to
their own behaviour in an adaptive way.
The textbook defines intelligence as, “a person’s ability to learn and remember
information, to recognize concepts and their relations and to apply the
information to their own behaviour in an adaptive way”
The idea that intelligence may involve many different factors lead to the
differential approach (an approach to psychology devoted to tests and measure
of individual differences in various psychological properties, including people’s
ability to solve problems) Sir Francis Galton believed intelligence was biologically based and inherited
Charles Spearman invented factor analysis (a way to determine correlations
between individual items on a test) which could prove tests measured the same
thing if they had a high correlation
Intelligence has now been linked to physiological processes of the brain;
1. efficient use of neural resources
2. high synchronization between cortical centers
3. adaptation of cortical networks in the face of changing demands
individuals with higher cognitive abilities show more efficient neural processing,
and thus lower levels of activation in areas of the brain used to perform a certain
individuals with higher skill levels show a greater degree of synchronization
between cortical regions than individuals with lower skill levels do
individuals with higher cognitive abilities show greater neural adaptation when
faced with changing demands compared to individuals with lower intellectual
Define the concept of “g”.
Spearman noted that those who scored high on one test, scored high on other
different tests and he referred to this as “the indifference of the indicator”
Because all these tests were positively correlated, they studied that same thing
which he called “g” for general intelligence
The Binet-Simon test is used to identify the mental age of children, it test things such
as vocabulary, general knowledge and memory with the hope that kids who score
poorly will be given extra help
Intelligence plays a role in jobs as well and IQ tests are often used, the biggest need
for intelligence is for in job training and high complexity jobs
The indifference of the indicator refers to the finding that the content of the test items
and the nature of the task used to test general intelligence didn’t seem to matter much
in terms of test scores. Spearman reasoned that this must reflect a common factor of
“g” = general intelligence
Compare fluid vs. crystallized intelligence and explain how they change with age.
Fluid intelligence: relatively culture free tasks, such as those that measure the ability to
see relations among objects or the ability to see patterns in a repeating series of items.
Closely related to a person’s native capacity for intellectual performance
It represents a potential ability to learn and solve problems
Decreases with age (stops around 20/25 years old) Crystallized intelligence: tasks that require people to have acquired information from
their culture, such as vocabulary and the kind of information learned in schools.
What a person has accomplished through the use of his or her fluid intelligence –
what he or she has learned
Increases with age
*Horn suggests that both are learned but also based on a degree of heredity (fluid is
casual learning and crystallized is based on cultural learning)
Define mental age and intelligence quotient.
Mental age: a measure of a person’s intellectual development; the level of intellectual
development that could be expected for an average child of a particular age.
Intelligence quotient (IQ): a simplified single measure of general intelligence; by
definition, the ratio of a person’s mental age to his or her chronological age, multiplied
by 100; often derived by other formulas.
Discuss the heritability of intelligence and explain why heritability seems to increase
50% of differences in IQ and educational achievements are genetic and that their
effects increase with age
Many believe that genes affect psychological characteristics indirectly by gene-
environment covariation (When exposure to environmental conditions is correlated
with a person's genes – for example, a person who inherited extroverted
characteristics might seek out a job that requires a lot of interaction with other
The Flynn Effect states that intelligence is constantly on the rise overall,
approximately 3 or 4 IQ points every decade
Discuss the controversy surrounding ethnic differences in IQ scores.
IQ tests are often designed by one ethnicity and when taken by another
underestimate their ability
Early tests contained questions that had language and class bias
WEEK 15 OBJECTIVES:
DEVELOPMENT Describe the stages of prenatal development (zygote, embryo, fetus).
Zygote: a single new cell formed at conception.
Embryo: the cell development stage preceding the fetus
Fetus: 9 week after conception until birth
Describe prenatal brain development (neural tube differentiation, cell migration;
role of teratogens).
Neural tube differentiation:
Neural tube: the embryo’s precursor to the CNS
Neurulation: the formation of the embryonic nervous system, which will then
develop into the brain and CNS
Neurogenesis (the generation of new neurons) 6-7 weeks after conception
Cell migration (neural migration): the process through which neurons move, grow, and
connect as the basic neural tube develops into a more mature brain.
Teratogens: external compounds that can cause extreme deviations from typical
More likely to cause death of fetus if exposed early
Alcohol, tobacco products, prescription drugs, diseases
Describe prenatal perceptual/behavioral development (role of experience in
hearing/vision (de Casper & Spence in auditory perception); rest/activity
Role of experience in hearing/vision:
5 month, fetus becomes responsive to sound
o Heartbeat changes in response to the sound of its mother’s voice, and
the fetus already has learned to recognize her voice and will respond to it
more than a strangers
End of 4 month, sleep and wake patterns begin to emerge
o Now large enough for mother to detect movements
Define reflexes providing definitions of key reflexes.
Strong reflexes at birth is important for infant survival and indicates typical neural
Rooting: turn head in direction of touch Sucking reflex: if something enters an infant’s mouth while it’s open, the infant
begins to suck
Babinski reflex: automatic response of an infant to having a foot stroked in which
they fan and curl their toes
Tonic Neck reflex: occurs when infants turn their head to one side, extend the
arm on the same side as their gaze, and flex the arm and knee on the opposite
side of the body
Stepping reflex: when held upright over a flat surface, infants move their feet in
a walk-like fashion
Moro reflex: occurs when infants throw out their arms and grasp if they feel
themselves dropping unexpectedly (apelike ancestors: allowed their offspring to
cling to them as they walked)
Describe the development of reaching/grasping.
Grasping reflex (birth – 3 mos.): automatically close their hands on anything that presses
against their palms. Infants also exhibit a behaviour called “pre-reaching”, in which they
make awkward and poorly guided arm movements toward interesting stimuli. These
movements are initiated by visual stimuli but are ineffective in actually reaching and
grasping the objects of interest.
Intentional grasping (3 – 7 mos.): infants gain the ability to guide their movements more
accurately, using visual feedback to alter the direction of their movements more
appropriately. This change in behaviour is associated with maturational changes in the
visual and motor cortices of the brain and increased muscle in the neck, shoulders, and
arms, leading to increased balance and control of the torso.
Goal oriented grasping (7 mos.): smooth and accurate reaches towards intended
targets. This is also the time when infants gain the ability to understand the reaching
actions of another person as being goal-oriented.
Describe motor milestones and role of experience in achieving them.
5 – 7.5 months sit up unsupported
9 months learn to pull themselves up and stand with support
10 months comfortable using furniture to cruise around
12 – 13 months walk unsupported
16 months pick up and carry toys while they walk, walk backwards, walk up
stairs with help
24 months run and kick, eat with utensils, drink from cups, open doors
Describe physical changes in adolescence (puberty, hormones, sexual characteristics). Puberty: the time in which the human body begins to enter sexual maturity, marking the
beginning of adolescence.
First sign of puberty tends to be a sudden increase in height (growth spurt)
Puberty begins when the hypothalamus starts secreting hormones that stimulate the
gonads to mature further and sex hormones to be secreted. Maturation and hormone
secretion cause rapid development of sex organs; these are the primary sexual
Testes and ovaries produce hormones (e.g. testosterone and estrogen) that lead
to secondary sexual characteristics. Both sexes produce each of these hormones
but in vastly different amount (males: testosterone; females: estrogen).
Females: estrogen produces growth of breasts, hips, maturation of uterus and
vagina. Testosterone will induce physical growth and the development of pubic
Males: testosterone promotes growth of pubic hair and development of more
muscle mass than females during puberty. Heart and lungs will grow larger,
leading to a generally higher level of endurance. Researchers still determining
effect of estrogen in males, many believe it has an effect on natural sexual
Menarche: first menstrual cycle (12.5 – 13.5 years old, North America).
Semenarche: sign of sexual maturity in boys marked by the production of viable
sperm and first ejaculation (13 years old, North America).
Describe CNS development in childhood and adolescence (pruning,
myelinization and late maturation of executive functioning regions; brain
Synaptic pruning: facilitates a change in neural structure by reducing the overall number
of synapses, leaving more efficient synaptic configurations
Selective elimination of neuronal synapses
Through reducing the overall number of synapses by eliminating the unnecessary
ones, order is imposed on the brain and its efficiency increases
Occurs throughout life
Myelination: the development of the myelin sheath around the axons of neurons. This
sheath insulates neurons from each other and increases the speed at which neurons
Also used to determine the relative maturity of different areas of the brain
Executive Functioning: functions involved in goal-directed behaviours, planning, and problem solving
Even at age 20, some areas of the brain are still undergoing myelination
Why young adults have problems with planning, risky behaviour, inhibition, and
Tasks that require executive functioning tend to be the last ones humans master
Even when fully mature, executive tasks remain difficult to accomplish for most
Experience – dependent plasticity: the ability of the nervous system to wire and
rewire itself in response to lasting changes in experience
o Closely linked to the plasticity in learning
o Our brains can shape themselves to our behavioural patterns
Experience – expectant plasticity: development that will not happen unless a
particular experience occurs during its critical period
o Development of brain can be guided, in part, by the types of experiences
that almost certainly will take place in the environment in which
development is occurring
Identify key cognitive changes in adulthood.
Ability to use fluid intelligence (ability to reason abstractly) decreases, while
crystallized intelligence (accumulated information and verbal skills) stays the
same or even increases.
Older people tend to perform better on tests of vocabulary and the ability to
understand analogies than young people.
Overall processing speed decreases.
Dementia: decline of mental function, including memory.
o Most prevalent is Alzheimer’s
Parkinson’s increases in prevalence with age.
o Primary symptoms: tremors, loss of spontaneous movement, rigidity, and
o Cognitive effects that may look like dementia or include a loss of
Risk of stroke increases with age
o Disruption of oxygen flow to parts of the brain from either a blockage
(ischemia) or a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhage).
WEEK 16 OBJECTIVES: MAJOR THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT
Compare and contrast the major theories and frameworks of human development.
Learning: conditioning is the primary mechanism through which children learn about the
world (classical and operant)
Piaget: humans develop through a series of four stages that roughly map onto key ages
Cognitive abilities develop in stages and children of similar stages have similar
Sequence of developmental skills (must become capable at each stage in order
Vygotsky (Socio-cultural theory): the theory of cognitive development that places
emphasis on environmental factors, including cultural influences
Intersubjectivity: an understanding between two individuals of the topic they’re
o Joint Attention: the ability to share attention with another towards the
same object or event.
o Social Referencing: the tendency of a person to look to another in an
ambiguous situation to obtain clarifying information.
Social Scaffolding: when a mentor or guide supports a learner by matching his or
her efforts to a child’s developmental level, changing the level of support to fir
the child’s current performance. As a child’s competence increases, less
guidance is given.
Zone of Proximal Development: the increased potential for problem solving and
conceptual ability that exists for a child if expert mentoring and guidance are
available (difference between what a child might be able to achieve alone).
Erikson (Lifecycle): stages defined by the resolutions to “crises” faced by the developing
child regarding how to deal with his/her environment (lasts until death)
1. Trust Vs. Mistrust (0-12 months): infants at this age rely totally on others to look
after their wellbeing. If needs are met, trust is established and vice versa.
2. Autonomy Vs. Shame and Self-Doubt (1-3 years): children’s ability to interact
with and understand the world increases dramatically. They will develop
autonomy, or if their exploration is too often met with punishment or excessive
scrutiny by overbearing parents, a sense of shame and self-doubt.
3. Initiative Vs. Guilt (3/4 – 5/6 years): now that children have begun to achieve
control over their actions, they begin to set goals for themselves. A positive
resolution to the setting of goals is learning a feeling of confidence about their ability to meet their own goals, while a negative outcome leads to feelings of
guilt and an inability to control one’s future.
4. Industry Vs. Inferiority (5/6 – onset of adolescence): transition to a more
structured lifestyle, beginning school, chores, sports. Children will either adapt to
structure and feel accomplishment in succeeding, or through their inability to do
so, gain a feeling of inferiority.
5. Identity Vs. Role Confusion (adolescence until early adulthood): form opinions
about what they believe themselves to be and develop a concrete sense of
identity or they fail to do so and they remain confused about their role in life.
6. Intimacy Vs. Isolation (early adulthood): share themselves with other. If
successful, achieve feelings of intimacy and are able to keep meaningful
relationships (failure leads to isolation).
7. Generativity Vs. Stagnation (middle adulthood): develop meaningful
relationships and contribute valuable work, leaving them with a sense of having
built a meaningful life and contributing to the next generation. Others may
isolate themselves, leading to boredom/meaninglessness feelings.
8. Integrity Vs. Despair (late adulthood until death): after positive resolutions to
earlier stages, a person feels a sense of completion and wholeness, able to
understand truths about their life and share wisdom with others. Those who
have not felt positive resolutions may experience a sense of despair or a lack of
meaning in their lives, as their lives draw to a close.
Ecological System Model (Bronfenbrenner): systems make up our ecological system,
encompassing all of the individuals we interact with and the constructs that make up
our social habitat (government, corporations, religions)
1. Microsystem: your relationships with immediate surroundings (family, teachers,
2. Mesosystem: connections between different relationships you have in your
3. Exosystem: settings that you may not directly experience but are influenced by.
4. Macrosystem: larger social constructs that shape your environment in less direct
5. Chronosystem: historical changes that influence development and those systems
that surround us, (Also refers to the way in which you take a greater role in the
course of your development as you age).
Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura): emphasis of behaviour, environment, and cognition
as the key factors in development. Children’s environment influences them, but they
also exert influence on the environment, and by doing so cause the environment to
affect them differently.
Reciprocal Determinism: a person’s behaviour is both influenced by and
influences his or her attitudes and behaviours and the environment.
Perceived Self-Efficacy: individual’s perceptions of his or her ability to master a
situation and produce favourable outcomes. Core Knowledge Theory: infants/young children have a much more sophisticated set of
cognitive tools than older theories acknowledge. From birth, the brain has mechanisms
that predispose humans to learn specific skills very quickly or to understand certain
phenomena in specific ways.
Theory Theory: children learn and develop knowledge about the world much in the
same way scientists do. Children form coherent and abstract models (systems of rules)
about the ways in which the world functions and then actively experiment to test and
revise their models.
Apply learning theory to developmental psychology (operant conditioning, Watson's
Little Albert, Bandura’s Bobo doll).
*Children’s behaviour is affected by their environment and by interactions with their
Operant conditioning (Skinner): people tend to repeat behaviours that are rewarded
(reinforcement) and to avoid behaviours with unfavourable outcomes (punishment)
Two important discoveries:
1. Receiving attention is a powerful reinforce for young children (will act out even
for negative attention).
2. It is more difficult to extinguish behaviour that has been intermittently
reinforced than behaviour that has been consistently reinforced (intermittently
reinforcement affect expectations).
Watson’s Little Albert (classical conditioning): through conditioning, baby Albert
associated fear (from loud noise) with the presence of the rat. This was generalized to
similar stimuli (e.g. rabbits, dogs).
Bobo Doll (Bandura): children learn through observing others. Children observed adults
interact with bobo dolls and thus reacted the same way.
Evaluate Piaget's theory of human development (assimilation, accommodation, and
equilibration) and differentiate among Piaget's 4 stages of development.
Progression through stages is marked by the building and rebuilding or schemata.
(Schemata: mental framework or body of knowledge that organizes and synthesizes
information about a person, place, or thing.)
Assimilation: process by which new information about the world is incorporated into
existing schemata. Accommodation: process by which existing schemata are modified or changed by new
Equilibration: process that reorganizes schemata.
1. Sensorimotor Stage (birth – 2 years): marked by an orderly progression of
increasingly complex cognitive development. Infants build an understanding of
their environment through their sensory and motor abilities.
Object Permanence: understanding that objects do not disappear when
they’re out of sight (8 mos.)
2. Preoperational Stage (2 – 6/7 years): transitional period between first being able
to think symbolically and being able to think logically.
Egocentric: self-centeredness: see the world only from their own
(Trouble with) Conservation: understanding that specific properties of
objects remain the same despite apparent changes in the shape or
arrangement or those objects.
3. Concrete Operational Stage (7 – 11/12 years): children come to understand
conservation, perspective taking, and other concepts, such as categorization.
Understand thoughts/feelings of others, cause and effect relations (logical
4. Formal Operational Stage (into adulthood): capable of more formal kinds of
abstract thinking and hypothetical reasoning.
Evaluate the role of the environment in the major theories of development.
Theory Role of Environment
Learning Children’s behaviour is affected by their environment and by
interactions with their environment.
Piaget Importance of the interaction between environmental and
maturational factors in development.
Vygotsky Emphasis on environmental factors, including cultural
Erikson Stages defined by the resolutions to “crises” faced by the
developing child regarding how to deal with his/her
Brofenbrenner Developing person exists within a number of overlapping
systems, all of which the person participates in or is
Bandura Children’s environment influences them, but they also exert
an influence on the environment, and by doing so cause the environment to affect them differently.
Core Knowledge N/A (Nature over nurture/evolution).
Theory Theory Actively experimenting – environment used to test systems
WEEK 17 OBJECTIVES:
SELF AND OTHERS: A COMPARATIVE
Describe how the rouge test is used to reveal a sense of self in human and
non human animals.
Rouge test: test used to determine development of a sense of self by using a dot of red
colour (rouge) on the nose of a child or animal. The test subject is placed in front of a
mirror and observed to see if self-recognition occurs.
Recognize the dot as unfamiliar to their body; body has changed
Discuss how language contributes to the development of a sense of self.
Development of self continues as language skills increase
Age 2, children can refer to themselves verbally (me, mine)
Age 3-4, children can describe their personal characteristics verbally
o Physically (e.g. hair colour)
o Abilities/preferences (e.g. “I like to run”)
o Social relationships (e.g. “I have a sister”)
o Psychological states (e.g. “I am happy”)
Describe the changes in the sense of self across the course of childhood and
At age 8, children become more likely to use knowledge about themselves to evaluate
and modify their behaviour
Self-concept: an individual’s perception of self, including knowledge, feelings,
and ideas about oneself. It is used as a basis for how we describe ourselves.
Autobiographical memory: memory for specific experiences that make up a
person’s life story; influences development of self-concept
Social comparisons: evaluating one’s abilities and opinions by comparing oneself
with others. We compare ourselves to others and consider how we differ. In early adolescence, children often become concerned with how they are perceived
by others. Concerns disappear as they gain a stronger and more coherent concept of
who they are as individuals.
Imaginary audience: adolescent thought process in which they believe they
are constantly on a stage and everyone is watching them, attending to their
every move and mistake
o This perception can intensify feelings of self-consciousness and
questions of self-concept
Describe the cognitive, social and cultural influences on the self-concept.
Self-concept: an individual’s perception of self, including knowledge, feelings, and ideas
about oneself, it is used as a basis for how we describe ourselves.
Cognitive: Self-concept is nuanced at age 8 when children have autobiographical
Social: they are socially influenced by making social comparisons.
Cultural: different cultures place different amounts of worth on the individual and this
can correspond with someone’s self-concept.
Define “theory of mind” and explain how it is tested
Theory of Mind: expectations concerning how experience affects mental states,
especially those of another. It is a reasoning process that attempts to predict how
others might think or behave based on their motives, needs, and plans.
False-belief test: set of tests used to determine children’s Theory of Mind and false-
Container test: a false-belief test that asks children to reason what is in a container
based on what is outside the container, and adjust as they learn the truth
Shown a box of candy but instead pencils are inside
Displacement test: false-belief task like the Sally-Anne task that explores how children
reason through a change in location from two different perspectives.
Describe the precursors to theory of mind.
The age gap between three and four years old has been successfully proven to
be very influential on the child’s abilities
Intersubjectivity: the ability to share a focus of attention with others. Infant Habituation: the simplest form of learning in which a given stimulus is presented
repeatedly, the child learns not to respond to an unimportant event that occurs
Describe the factors that contribute to the development of children’s theory of
mind (siblings, executive functioning).
Children’s ability to reason about the mental state of others usually arises at age
Executive functioning: includes the capacity to control impulses, plan actions, foresee
consequences and use working memory.
Preservation: inability to switch strategies as new information is presented: the initial
strategy might work, but when a change is called for, the strategy remains the same.
Often occurs in young children and individuals with frontal lobe damage.
Older siblings help in the development of Theory of Mind as the younger siblings
have more opportunity to interact and practice
Discuss the biological underpinnings of theory of mind using autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): group of developmental disorders that affect the
brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.
Some people believe that the actions and behaviours of children with autism can
be related to the fact that they have not developed Theory of Mind
Some theorists propose that autism is what occurs when a child lacks Theory of
Mind. This belief is supported not only because of the social difficulties
encountered by people with ASD, but also because people with ASD typically
perform poorly on false-belief tasks.
Siblings, social environment, when parents tell kids to think about the feelings of
their victims, all effect theory of mind development in normal people.
Describe findings of theory of mind research with animals.
In groups of chimpanzees, the dominant chimps get to take first selection of
food, unless a less dominant chimp thinks they can get away with sneaking
Chimpanzees approach food that had either
1) hidden while a dominant
chimp was not looking
2) been hidden while the dominant chimp was looking,
he is not looking
3) dominant chimp who had watched the food being hidden was
replaced by different dominant chimp
- They were not keen
on food that they knew the dominant chimp did NOT
This suggests that the chimps do have some Theory-of-Mind capacity. (It's a bit
limited though there was some inconsistency. This is limited to very clear
situations or to a limited number of objects to keep track of.)
Demonstrate an ability that is may mean ToM
• When another bird watches a
corvid hid food, the corvid who hid the food will often return to the hiding place,
after other birds had left and move it to another hiding place and prevent others
to find the stash
Note that being able to "read" the mind of others to predict and explain these
animal behaviours. Also, It's also hard to know if animals have ToM or they're
just responding to contingencies in environment.
ToM evolved not only to predict the behaviors of others but able to empathize
with others and develop moral conscience.
Define empathy and altruism.
Altruism: a motive to increase another’s welfare without conscious regard for one’s self-
interest (actions which benefit others).
Empathy: the vicarious experience of another’s feelings; putting oneself in another’s
Describe the development of prosocial behaviors.
Prosocial behaviour: positive, constructive, helpful behaviour that is beneficial to others
that are usually at cost to oneself
An understanding of helping and the production of these types of behaviours
begins to emerge in the first two years of life.
12 months, infants begin to form expectations about the relationship
between actions and friendship in their social environment (might help
someone who helped them)
14 months, some infants will begin to provide spontaneous aid to others
themselves (passing objects that have been dropped or are out of reach to
Reciprocity: increased tendency by people to help those who have helped them. An
organism helps another because it expects help in return.
Describe and critique Kohlberg’s theory of the development of moral reasoning. Preconventional Morality
Stage 1: Heternymous Morality (preschool)
Base reasoning on self-interest and avoidance of punishment
Stage 2: Instrumental Morality (7-8 yrs)
Become more interested in fairness or exchanges in evaluations of moral
Stage 3: Good child (10-11 yrs)
Begin to see views of others as important and display concern about being
seen as ‘good’
Stage 4: Law and order (late adolescence)
Concern with the good of society. Laws are obeyed because they prevent a
breakdown of society and protect us from immoral behaviour of others
Stage 5: Social contract
Aware that people hold a variety of opinions and values, recognize certain
ideals (regardless of majority of opinion) and obligation to law
Stage 6: Universal Ethical Principles
Abide by personal set of ethical principles believed to reflect universal tenets
Stage 7: Cosmic Orientation
Grapple with questions of why moral behaviour is important, construct
‘natural theology’ based on experience, have mystical or spiritual
Kohlberg’s stages are not discrete categories, but that the changes he
observed in moral reasoning over time simply reflect the growing brain’s
capacity to consider more sides to issues
People do not always reason in that stage at which they might be able to
reason, but switch to earlier stages if the results happen to be more
consistent with their goals or beliefs
Kohlberg’s research focused only on boys – critics have suggested that males
and females have different moral concerns, namely that men are more
concerned with justice and rights (reflected in Kohlberg’s stages) while
women are more concerned with caring, responsibility for others, and
avoidance of harm
Explain how parenting effects on moral development.
Successful cultures will teach their young members to identify and follow core cultural
values. This is a crucial part of parenting and education. Individuality is highly regarded in Western cultures whereas non-Western
cultures place more value on group cohesion and respect for authority
A child’s moral development is influenced by behaviours modeled by his or
o Include both what the child’s parents do and the behaviours that parents,
teachers, or caregivers designate as acceptable or unacceptable
WEEK 18 OBJECTIVES:
Describe Inductive discipline as it compares to punishment.
Inductive discipline: guiding behaviour introducing appropriate limits and setting up
reasonable consequences while also explaining why.
Encourages the development of feelings of empathy and guilt to increase levels of
pro-social behaviour in children
Whereas punishment is used to decrease the probability of a particular behaviour
Describe Baumrind’s four styles of parenting.
Unlikely to use physical discipline and will explain the reasons behind the rules
they lay out
Will reason with their children, hear their arguments, but not always give in
Firm rules are consistently upheld
Grant children a high degree of freedom within set boundaries
Tend to discipline using threats and punishment
More likely to use physical discipline
May praise obedience as a virtue and expect their children to follow rules without
an explanation Permissive:
Believe children learn best on their own, without structure imposed on them by
Allow children a great deal of freedom in regulating their own lives
Place few demands on them to achieve or to behave appropriately
Do not set limits for their children, do not monitor their activities, may actively
More engaged in meeting their own needs than the needs of their children
Describe effects of peers and culture on moral development.
Peers can teach others but to be considered teaching, the model must act in a way
that is beneficial for the naïve individual to learn but not be beneficial for
themselves, the individual will then observe and learn
The role of culture and peers on moral development raises fundamental questions
about what is universal and what is culturally specific regarding morality and moral
Bullying is influenced by peers. Bullies are more likely to bully when they have an
audience of peers watching them.
Students adjust their behaviour based on perceived expectations (if they think that
all first year students are heavy drinkers then they are more likely to drink more as
they are aligning their behaviour with what they imagine expectations to be (even
when they are quite wrong about perceived expectations).
People adjust their approach to joining social groups based on passed successes
and failures (if being goofy and silly did not succeed when trying to join a social
group then the individual is less likely to use that same approach in the future).
Emotional development is influenced by parenting styles and relationships.
Compare the four attachment styles and factors that affect the attachment bond
(e.g., maternal sensitivity).
Attachment: social and emotional bond between infant and caregiver that spans both
time and space
o React positively to strangers while caregiver is present but becomes unhappy
when caregiver leaves
o Unlikely to be comforted by stranger but become calm when the caregiver
o Freely exploring while using their caregiver as a base Disorganized/disoriented attached:
o Do not react to strange situation in a standard way
o Contradictory behaviour (e.g. scream