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Week 16 Online Lecture Summary

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PSYC 100

Week 16 Online notes: Major theories of Developmental Psychology 1. Early 20 -Century Theories • A theory is an idea or conceptual model that is designed to explain existing facts and make predictions about new facts that might be discovered • Have to develop a hypothesis to test a theory— a statement that tentatively expressed a cause-and-effect relationship between two or more events • Human development can be thought of in terms of: o cognitive growth o emotional maturation o a physical phenomenon o phase that ends at adult hood o slow process that continues to death o part if a system o small part if a web of systems o an accumulation of cultural knowledge by an individual • Classical conditioning was founded by Watson— believed that conditioning is the primary mechanism to which children learn about the world • B.F Skinner was interested in what motivates behaviors— believed that people tend to repeat behaviors that are rewarded( reinforcement0 and avoid behaviors with unfavorable outcomes (punishment) • Skinner found that receiving attention is a powerful reinforcer for young children o Act out in the hopes of receiving even negative attention • Also found it is more difficult to extinguish behavior that has been intermittently reinforced then behavior that has been consistently reinforced • Intermittently reinforced behavior is something not rewarded— affects the expectations of the reinforcement, person is not surprised when not rewarded and the perception remains that next time there may be a reward • Skinner says we reinforce unwanted behavior in children by giving in to their demands • Jean Piaget theorized that humans develop through a series of four stages that roughly map onto key ages • Emphasized the importance of interaction between environmental and maturational factors in development • Developed a theory of cognitive development— said cognitive abilities develop in staged and that children of similar ages have similar cognitive abilities • Said children at similar ages make similar errors in problem-solving tasks and that all children go through the same sequences of development stages • They must become capable at each stage in order to progress to the next • Believed that our progression through these stages is marked by the building and rebuilding of schemata • Schema— mental framework or body of knowledge that organized and synthesized information about a person , place or thing • We organize, synthesize and understand information about our surroundings • There is a cyclic process of assimilation, accommodation and equilibration • Assimilation— process by which new information about the world is incorporated into existing schemata • we don’t need to revise the scope of that schema when we incorporate new data into a schema • Accommodation— process by which existing schemata are modified by new experiences • Information was not be entirely explainable by the schema its placed in— we either slightly adjust the parameters of that schema or believe that the new information is an exception to the rule • Equilibration— process within Piaget’s theory that reorganizes schemata • When we reach the point where the original schema no longer holds true and we must form an entirely new schema— holds a more advanced schema that has incorporated more sophisticated data and is more stable than the old • The four stages: 1. Sensorimotor Stage: • First period in Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, lasting from birth to two years • Marked by orderly progression of increasing complex cognitive development • Infants build an understanding of their environment primarily through their sensory and motor abilities • Many reflexes fade and are replaced by voluntary behaviors • Begin to actively explore an experiments with objects • Begin to develop fragile mental representation at about 8 months— gain the concept of object permanence and with search for objects that they have hidden • Object permanence— feature of Piaget’s sensorimotor period marked by the understanding that objects do not disappear when they are out of sight • A-not-B error— Piaget task that indicates preservative error as an infant continues to look for an object where he last found it, despite seeing the object placed elsewhere (related phenomenon to object permanence) 2. Preoperational Stage: • represents a four-to-five transitional period between first being able to think symbolically and being able to think logically • 2-6 or 7 years of age • Emphasizes the inability of the child to perform operations or reversible mental processes • Substantial cognitive development in symbolic representation and the beginnings of logical reasoning • Symbolic representation is used any time an object or image stands in for another— written worlds representing concepts and sounds to a box used in play as a car or a dollhouse • Children are quite egocentric in this stage— self-centeredness, preoperational children can see the world only from their own perspective • Children have troubles with the concept of conservation— understanding the specific properties of objects remain the same despite apparent changes in the shape or arrangement of those objects 3. Concrete Operational stage: • Children come to understand conservation perspective taking and other concepts such as categorization • From ages 7- 11 or 12— end of this stage marks the transition into adolescence • Children master conservation problems— problems that require them to consider more than one variable becomes less challenging as well • Children experience growth in their ability to understand feelings and thoughts of others (perspective taking) • Comprehend more complicated cause and effect relations and begin to understand logical problem solving • Use of logic is challenging as well as extending an idea of one context to another 4. Formal Operational Stage: • Individuals first become capable of more formal kinds of abstract thinking and hypothetical reasoning • Extends from the end of concrete operations into adulthood • Person gains the ability to think about abstract concepts and formulate and test hypotheses in a logical and scientific way • Piaget believes this stage is not universal— development for many ends at concrete operations • Also said people who did reach this stage are not able to apply these forms of reasoning to all domains— limited to fields in which they had expertise • Piaget’s theory does not account for variability in child development • Modern researchers have also demonstrated that the cognitive capacity is much greater than Piaget theorized • Piaget says that physical environment interactions are more important than social o environments • Lev Vygotsky developed the socio-cultural theory • Socio-cultural theory— the theory of cognitive development that places emphasis on environmental factors, including cultural influences • Vygotsky and Piaget agreed about the importance of active interaction with the environment for development • Vygotsky places much more emphasis on the social environment • Piaget focused on the physical environment • Intersubjectivity—an understanding between two individuals of the topic they are discussing • One of the important elements of socio-cultural theory because it encompasses both joint attention and social referencing • Joint attention— the ability to share attention with another towards the same object or event— useful for learning • Social referencing— the tendency of a person to look to another in an ambiguous situation to obtain clarifying information • Social scaffolding is obtained by our social environments that contain a wealth of knowledge about the nature of the world and of successful ways to exist within it as embodied in the people around us • Social scaffolding— when a mentor or guide supports a learner by matching his or her efforts to a child’s developm
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