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Chapter 1

Midterm Notes - Chapters 1,2 and 4.docx

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PSYC 250
Tanya Broesch

Chapter 1 2/23/2013 3:21:00 PM Developmental Psychology  Uses scientific method o Research must be consistent with other disciplines Adaptation: A trait that is designed and preserved by the process of natural selection because that trait confers a reproductive advantage in the environment in which it evolved.  Evolutionary perspective; natural selection o An organism is designed for solving age-specific problems - Development happens in all species because all individuals die, allowing a niche to be formed for the new generation Why Study Developmental Psychology?  Vital information is obtained from examining a Species-Typical Environment: An environment that provides the features that the genome needs or “expects” in order to develop typically o Environments that are universal to humans o Differences or deviations from this STE may/may not effect the development of that child  Creates room for research experiments  Able to manipulate variables (Quantitative data)  Observe natural “deviations” (Qualitative data)  Story of Nell..  Provides insight into the psychological processes of an adult o Yields clues about developmental components and processes o Stages of development (Piaget)  Interactions with child development aids parenting as well as education systems o Examples;  Does it matter if a parent speaks to a pre-verbal child?  What rewards/punishments should there be?  What visual experiences are important in development? Nature vs. Nurture th  4 century B.C.E; writings of Aristotle and Plato  Aristotle o He was a classic Empiricist: Believed that all knowledge depends upon direct experiences or empirical observation. The newborn’s mind is a “blank slate,” and requires exposure to information in order to gain knowledge o Recognized early individual differences o Questioned how children differed in their interests and skills o Suggested that ideal education would be altered to fit the needs of each child in order for them to excel o ** Emphasized the role of the environment in shaping the child (Nurture)  Both Aristotle and Plato believed that young boys were “naturally,” unruly and aggressive hence the idea proposed consisted of special education to teach these young boys discipline and self-control.  Nature/Nurture debate was born  Plato o He was a classic Nativist (aka; rationalism): Views development as being driven primarily or exclusively by internal forces. The information needed for development is assumed to exist within the developing child. Often this information is presumably kept in the genes. o Children were born with innate knowledge  A child would only have to recall an “animal,” and does not need to be taught the concept o **Emphasized the role of innate knowledge that shapes the child (Nature)  The empiricist tradition influenced the British isles while the nativist view was adapted by the European continent Influential Psychologists in Developmental Psychology  John Locke was also an empiricist o “Blank slate,” was referred to as tabula rasa in Latin o held an extreme view that ALL knowledge was a result of experience and mind accepted it with the use of sensory inputs (rejected all notions of innate concepts)  Nurture was the focus; societal and parental influences  Parents were able to mold the child to whichever person they desired through reward/punishment o He believed that all children were created equal (Blank slate)  This idea later influenced the law; all people are equal before the law  Jean-Jacques Rousseau o Carried a nativist view  He thought that children had conceptual understandings and knowledge (including concepts of justice and fairness) that unfolded through maturation  Acknowledged the nurture aspect and interactions between the child and his/her environment  Referred to children as “noble savages,” and therefore, giving them freedom is ideal in terms of education  Stated that the age of reason was around 12 years of age; a sense of right/wrong existed very early  Suggested free exploration over formal education  The empirical study of child development started in earnest in the late 19th and early 20 thcenturies  Charles Darwin o In 1877; published an article entitled, “A Biographical Sketch of the Infant,” which described his son’s development  The method became known as the baby biography: An intensive study that describes the activities of an individual baby, typically the scientist’s own child or close relative  His prediction of the similarity between the developing human child and animal child was inaccurate  G. Stanley Hall o Founder of developmental psychology o Thought that children should be educated according to their emerging needs and abilities and that these could be illuminated  Considered evolutionary theories; influenced by Darwin’s work o Exposed the theory of recapitulation: idea that developmental changes parallel species’ changes through evolutionary time o Emphasized maturational processes  ** Believed that children developed following an inherent plan that would unfold more or less automatically given the proper circumstances o Initiated the Normative approach: The study of development in which norms or averages are computed over large populations and individual development is compared in terms to these norms o Founded American Psychological Association  Arnold Gesell o Student of Stanley Hall o Studied motor, social and personality development Measured and described the norms of typical development and made this information available to parents and physicians so they could know what milestones to expect at any given age (First person to introduce this approach using normative study)  John B. Watson o Father of Behaviorism o He was the first to follow Locke’s assertion that what drives behaviour and shapes development is a person’s learning based on experience o He believed that variation between individuals was not at all due to any internal differences between people but was entirely due to differences in how they were reared o Famous quote; “Give me a dozen, healthy infants – and I’ll guarantee to train him to become any type of specialist … “ o His perspective rooted Pavlov’s conditioning  All behaviour could be attributed to a series of simple associations o Famous for “Little Albert” experiments  11 year old boy; built a fear of white rats  Idea that parents could control children’s behaviour by controlling stimulus and response pairings  Jean Piaget o Theories of cognitive development; most influential o Noticed quantitative differences in response due to age along with qualitative differences in how children at different ages thought and perceived the world around them o He was interested in examining how children think and how knowledge changes during development  Genetic Epistemology: describes the process of cognitive development from birth through late adolescence o Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development: described children’s development through stages which predicted that children attained a certain set of cognitive skills at a certain stage. Children were thought to be limited to the skills characterized by that stage until the reached the next stage at which point a whole new set of cognitive skills were available to them o He invented the Clinical Method: involved a semi-structured interview with a planned set of questions that may have probed areas of interest depending on children’s responses  Lev Vygotsky o During the time of his research, there was much emphasis on culture, collectivism and socialism o Stressed on the importance of social context on development o Emphasized the influence of culture on a child’s development and the effect that culture could have as the child moved through the stages of cognitive development o Showed interest in the transmission of cultural values, beliefs, attitudes and life skills to the next generation o Thought that much of child’s development resulted from dialectical process: a process of shared problem-solving  How a child obtains knowledge/skill from an adult by imitating, listening and being taught repetitively o Another contribution; Zone of proximal development: The tasks a child can complete with and without adult support  Nature and Nurture go hand-in-hand and leave development incomplete without the others’ influence An Evolutionary Perspective on Development 1. It promotes research that is consistent with what is known about evolution by natural selection o An example of inconsistency; the idea that the infant’s mind is flexibly teachable without constraint and without biological imperatives (blank slate)  There is innate knowledge, instincts based on natural selection that have prevailed from our ancestors  Psychological processes promote survival and reproduction 2. It provides guidance in terms of hypothesis testing o The functional perspective that the evolutionary framework provides allows us to make sense of the interaction between a developing organism and environment  Evolutionary psychologists are not genetic determinists; the idea that genes lead to specific phenotype outcomes o Rather, they acknowledge the broad environment while considering genetic inheritance  Genes do not inevitably lead to predetermined outcomes  Only evolution by natural selection can explain otherwise improbably complex traits  John Bowlby coined the term, “environment of evolutionary adaptedness,” also known as the EEA: the condition under which our ancestors lived and to which our morphological and psychological features are adapted o Example; Black moths outcompete white moths o The aspect of the EEA that is relevant depends on the psychological process we want to study (e.g. vision or language) Maladaptive Behaviours Today  In some ways the modern world is like the EEA and in others, it is not depending on the psychological processes of interest (scarcity for sugars and fats  obesity today) o Natural selection works on adaptations not on behaviours o Evolution is slow o Evolution of complex adaptations is particularly slow o Increasing complexity makes it beneficial mutations less likely  Natural selection does not shape behaviour directly; it can only shape our psychological processes, the processes that underlie the behaviour Chapter 2 2/23/2013 3:21:00 PM Piaget’s model of psychological development was a stage theory. Children were thought to complete each stage in turn, always in the same order. Sensorimotor  Birth to 2 years  Initially endowed with only reflexes, the infant interacts with the physical and social world on a physical basis. The infant is perceptually bound. She makes progress by associating sensory experiences and her own actions.  Motor activity and physical interaction for knowledge acquisition o Trial and error o Does not predict reactions o Early language development starts o At around 8 months, there is signs of Object Permanence: A child’s understanding that an object still exists even when it can no longer be observed directly. A major development in this period, according to Piaget. o Sub-Stages: 1. Preoperational  2 to 7 years  In this stage, the child learns to use symbols such as words and numbers  Cognitive development is rapid  Development of pretend and symbolic play  Cannot distinguish if liquid amounts are still equal in tall or short Concrete Operational  Approximately 7 to 11 years  The child can now perform mental operations, which allows the logical problem-solving that preoperational children cannot do. Still, the child can only apply these operations to concrete objects  Thinking is less egocentric  Children understand operations such as conservation of number, mass and liquids  Know conservation of liquid Formal Operations  12 years to adulthood  The child can now perform mental operations on abstract or hypothetical entities  Multiple variables to predict outcomes According to Piaget, as children moved from one stage to the next, corresponding changes took place across domains all at once. Three Sources of Developmental Change  A
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