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Major Theories of Developmental Psychology

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PSYC 100

Major Theories of Developmental Psychology Theory-idea or conceptual model that is designed to explain existing facts and make predictions about new facts that might be discovered -can be tested and can be disproved by generating hypotheses and conducting experiments Hypotheses- can’t be proven right-> no amount of evidence is sufficient to prove it-> takes just one evidence to disprove it Vague Theories- can’t be proven wrong Framework-means of organizing thought about a subject or concept -introduces and describes the theory and explains why the research under study exists Cognitive Development- study of changes in memory, thought, and reasoning processes that occur throughout the life span Social Cognitive Theory- view of psychologists who emphasize behaviour, environment, and cognition as the key factors in development Nativist- view that almost all behaviour is reflexive or due to inborn ideas-> nature Empiricist- view that humans are born with no ideas or knowledge of behaviour-> they learn through experience-> nurture Classical Conditioning- form of learning where a child or other organisms learn to associate two stimuli Operational Learning- occurs when a child learns the contingency between a particular behaviour (operant) and the consequence (good or bad) through a system of reinforcement and punishment Little Albert-experiment performed by John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner-> believed that condition is the primary mechanism through which children learn about the world-> classical conditioning -studied a baby called ‘Albert B’ between the ages of eight to eleven months-> Albert was exposed to a number of stimuli and nor fear response was elicited, the baby usually tried to play with the items presented to him-> when Albert reached for a white rat, the researchers struck a steel bar with a hammer to produce a loud clang that scared little Albert-> after a few exposures to the rat paired with the frightening noise, Albert began to display a fear response to the rate alone->then generalized this fear to other stimuli that were somehow similar to the rat, including furry objects, and a white mask-> acquisition of fear responses Scientific Method -method used to gain knowledge that focus on: Verifiability- good scientific hypothesis or experimental result can be tested by other people Objectivity- result that is based on observable phenomena and is uninfluenced by emotions or personal points of view Reliability- any fact or experience must be able to be replicated B.F Skinner -studied what motivates behaviours Reinforcement- behaviours are repeated when they are rewarded Punishment- avoid behaviours with unfavourable outcomes -discovered that receiving attention is a powerful reinforcer for young children-> will even act out in the hopes of receiving negative attention Intermittently Reinforced Behaviour-discovered it’s far more difficult to extinguish it than behaviour that has been consistently reinforced -sometimes not rewarded, but the perception remains that next time there may be a rewarded Jean Piaget -emphasized the importance of the interaction between environment and maturational factors in development -focused on how different ways of thinking and reasoning develop -influenced by naturalistic observation of children-> children go through a sequence of stages Little Scientists- children like to explore and learn Schema-mental framework or body of knowledge that organizes and synthesizes information about a person, place, or thing -our progression is marked by the building and rebuilding of it 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 experiences Equilibration- process within Piaget's theory that reorganizes schemata Stages of Cognitive Development Sensorimotor Stage-birth to two years -orderly progression of increasingly complex cognitive development -infants build an understanding of their environment primarily through their sensory and motor abilities-> reflexes are replaced by voluntary behaviour-> actively explores and experiments with objects -begins to develop fragile mental representations at about eight months-> fails to understand that objects continue to exist when they can’t see them Object Permanence-marked by the understanding that objects do not disappear when they are out of sight -developed after eight months A-not-B Error-indicates preservative error as, for example, an infant continues to look for an object where he last found it, despite seeing the object placed elsewhere Preoperational Stage-two to seven years old -begins to understand symbolic representation, pretend play, and thinking logically -inability to perform operations or reversible mental processes Egocentric- self-centeredness-> sees the world from their own perspective and cannot understand that others have knowledge, beliefs, or visual perspectives different from their own Conservation-understanding that specific properties of objects remain the same despite apparent changes in the shape or arrangement of those objects-> has trouble with it -motivation and other various factors influence how children understand it for example if the object was candy, children would pick the group with the most candy -children begin to use their hands to point out things that are right even though they are verbally wrong-> gesturing suggests that they are getting close of mastering the task -before children start to use and understands numbers, they acquire a basic sense for rules about quantity-> ‘number sense’ that allows them to discriminate between different quantities Scale Error- children interact with miniature toys of items as if they were the real thing such as toy cars Concrete Operational Stage-children come to understand conservation, perspective taking, and other concepts, such as categorization, cause-and- effect relationships, manipulating numbers, and logically problem solving -seven to twelve years old-> marks transition to adolescence Transitivity- recognition that if X is more than YY, and Y is more than Z, then X is more than Z Formal Operations Stage-capable of more formal kinds of abstract thinking and hypothetical reasoning -develops scientific thinking, such as gathering evidence and systematically testing possibilities -twelve years old to adulthood -not universally achieved, but if achieved, not able to apply forms of reasoning across all domains and would be limited to areas where they had expertise Cons: -doesn’t account for variability in child development -modern research techniques have demonstrated that the cognitive capacity of infants is much greater than Piaget theorized-> Renee Baillargeon demonstrated object permanence in infants as young as three and a half months old-> five months earlier than Piaget predicted-> other researchers have found that infants seem to show an understanding of statistical sampling, which is the ability to attribute goals to other people, and the ability to detect patterns in sounds -vagueness of the mechanisms of change, such as the concepts of assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration may make intuitive sense, how they work is difficult to define clearly -emphasized the physical environment more than the social environment Socio-Cultural Theory -theory of cognitive development that emphasizes the importance of environmental factors, including cultural influences on development -Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget agreed, but Vygotsky concentrated more on social environment and Piaget concentrated more on the physical environment Intersubjectivity-understanding between two individuals of the topic they are discussing allows them to communicate effectively -encompasses: Joint Attention- ability to share attention with another towards the same object or event Social Referencing- tendency of a person to look to another in an ambiguous situation to obtain clarifying information Social Scaffolding- w hen 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 fit the child's current performance-> child's competence increases, less guidance is given Lev Vygotsky Zone of Proximal Development -increased potential for problem solving and conceptual ability that exists for a child if expert mentoring and guidance are available -falls between being too easy to be engaging and too difficult to grasp -viewed language as one of the driving forces behind development-> Piaget saw language as a product of developmental processes-> for example, in egocentric self-talk observed in young children until around the age of seven, for example a child saying “I will draw a doggy” before doing it-> Piaget would argue it is a function of egocentrism and children in the preoperational stage view speech as something that people do without actually understanding its true communicative function-> Vygotsky would argue that the child’s non-communicative declaration reflects their construction of a mental plan of action, and a form of mental progression which is a way to internalize linguistic processes until the age when language is sufficiently mastered that it can remain in the form of verbal tough rather than speech Erik Erikson -a framework, not a theory, because it cannot be tested or disproved -viewed lifespan development as a series of stages defined by the resolutions to crises’ faced by the developing child regarding how to deal with their environment Crises- developmental tasks that can resolve in either a positive or negative way -recognized that conflict with one’s social and physical environment as continues into adulthood- > development is a process that lasts until death Trust vs. Mistrust-birth to twelve months -infants rely totally on others to look after their well-being-> if needs are met, infant learns to trust their caregivers, and if not, the infant learns mistrust Autonomy vs. Shame and Self-Doubt-one to three years old -children’s ability to interact with and understand the world increases dramatically-> children will gain either a sense of autonomy during this time, or, if their exploration is too often met with punishment or excessive scrutiny by overbearing parents, a sense of shame and doubt develops in themselves Initiative vs. Guilt-three to six years old -children have begun to achieve control over their actions and begins to set goals for themselves-> positive resolution to the setting of goals is learning a fee
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