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Chapter 1

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PSYC 351
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Chapter 1: Background and Theories DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY AND ITS ROOTS 1. What is Developmental Psychology?  Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour. Developmental Psychology is a branch which is concerned with the changes in behaviours and abilities that occur as development proceeds. Developmental psychologists study what these changes are and why they occur.  Two basic goals of developmental research: description and explanation.  Description is to identify children's behaviour at each point in their development. o When do babies begin to detect colors? o What do 5-year olds understand about the mind? o How do adolescents usually resolve conflicts with their peers?  Explanation is to determine the causes and processes that produce changes in behaviour from one point to the next o Examining genes inherited by children from their parents, o Examining biological characteristics of the human brain o Examining the physical and social environment in which children live o Examining the types of experiences they encounter 2. Why study children? 2.1. Period of rapid development- In humans, changes involving physical growth, social interactions, acquisition of language, memory abilities, and virtually all other areas of development are greatest during childhood. 2.2. Long-term influences- the events and experiences of the early years strongly affect an individual`s later development 2.3. Insight into complex adult processes- developing period are not so complex as it is in adulthood. The growing child is a showcase of developing skills and abilities, and researchers interested in different aspects of human development have taken advantage of this fact to understand adult behaviour 2.4. Real-world applications- product of research benefit children with real-world problems such as poverty, illiteracy, drugs, crime, effects of daycare, classroom teaching methods, and parental disciplinary techniques 2.5. Interesting subject matter- our love of children and our fascination with their behaviour and development 3. Historical views of Childhood 3.1. Ancient Greece and Rome  During Greek and Roman civilization  Concepts such as Infanticide (killing of newborns who were illegitimate, unhealthy, unwanted)  Severe punishment and exploitation of children were common, and not considered cruel or wrong  Children were bought and sold for service in brothels, sexual pleasure of adults  recognized the importance of the childhood years, but did not display the caring and protective attitudes toward children that exists today 3.2. Medieval and Renaissance periods  Following the collapse of the Roman empire, the Catholic Church attempted to improve the lives of children by promoting an image of them as being pure and innocent  church stood against infanticide and offered parents to send their kids away to the church  lowest level of education in history was around this time, who learned simple reading and writing instruction on religious studies  Then, renaissance period began, early in the 14th century-17th century. This era brought increased concern for the welfare of children  charitable institutions known as foundling homes were set up by wealthy individuals to take in sick, lost, and unwanted children  The foundling homes were a sign of the society`s growing belief that society had some responsibility for the care and protection of its youngsters  during renaissance, there was a re-emergence of scientific investigation in fields such as astronomy, medicine, and physics. During this time, psychology was primarily the concerns of philosophers and religious scholars. The science of psychology did not exist at this point. 4. Early Theorists- these early theorists offered theories of human behaviour 4.1. Johne Locke's ideas  all children are born equal, and the mind of a newborn infant is like a tabula rasa  tabula rasa- means "blank state, "used to describe the newborn's mind as entirely empty of innate abilities, interests, or ideas  All knowledge comes through experience and learning  Thus, children are neither innately good, nor innately bad; they are the products of their upbringing. Good environment-->good kid. Bad environment-->scoundrel.  Offered parents best methods for rearing their children  Stressed rewards and punishments (though not material ones or physical punishments).  Discipline should involve praise for appropriate behaviours and scolding for inappropriate behaviours  Children should be stimulated to begin learning at a very early age  Environmentalism 4.2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's ideas  Father of romanticism, which emphasized themes of sentimentality, naturalness, and innocence  children are born with knowledge and ideas that unfold naturally with age  development follows a predictable series of stages that are guided by the child's own interests and levels of development  Thus, the wisest approach to child rearing is not to instruct children formally, but to have them learn through exploration and discovery  innate processes are the driving forces in human development  Nativism- the theory that human development results principally from inborn processes that guide the emergence of behaviours in a predictable manner 4.3. Johann Gottfried Von Herder's ideas  an account of socialization into a group or community  everyone is born into a specific cultural community with a shared language and histroical traditions which shape the minds of the members of the community  opposed attempts to impose one culture's values on another  Argued for cultural relativism- the belief that each culture should be examined and evaluated on its own terms  placed emphasis on language, the means by which cultural practices and values are transmitted from generation to generation  studying the diversity of the world's languages offers insights into the history of humankind  emphasized the dynamic nature of culture and language  language and culture are not passively absorbed by children, but are continually reinterpreted and changed by the members of the community 4.4. Charles Darwin's ideas  Wrote On the Origin of Species  assumption 1: individual members of a species vary in many characteristics  assumption 2: some of these variations is biological in origin (hereditary)  assumption 3: most species produce more offspring than their environment can support-->competition-->survival of the fittest with the variation that is most supportive to survival in the environment  Natural selection- an evolutionary process proposed by Darwin, in which characteristics of an individual that increase its chance of survival are more likely to be passed along to future generations  did not directly address the issue of child development, but his views led other scientists to propose the principle of recapitulation  recapitulation- an early biological notion, later adopted by psychologist Hall, that the development of the individual repeats the development of the species (no longer scientifically supported)  helped launch the scientific study of the child  kept growth record of his son "Doddy"  baby biography approach- method of study in which apparent studies the development of his or her own child 5. Pioneers of Child Psychology 5.1. Stanley Hall  conducted and published the first systematic studies of children in North America  favoured the theory of recaputalation  supported evolutionary theory like Darwin. Darwin's evolutionary theory and Heckel's recaputalation theory had great influence on him 5.2. James Baldwin  First academic psychologist in Canada  studied infant development, used baby biography approach  examined topics such as the origins of handedness, colour vision, suggestibility and imitation in infancy  argued that development progresses through a sequence of stages,  stressed the interaction of heredity and environment  influenced Piaget's theorizing about development 5.3. John Watson  supporter of Locke's environmentalist position  His new approach was termed as "behaviourism"  behaviourism is a theory of psychology, that human development results primarily from conditioning and learning processes  The most common research method was "introspection"- which involved engaging research participants in a task and then having them try to look inward and report on the processes occurring in their minds. However, Watson did not like this approach for several reasons. 1) little agreement across participant' description of their internal experience. 2) Watson felt psychology should be more scientific and deal with the objective. 3) If the results were not applicable beyond humans, he rejected that approach  Believed that simple conditioning process explained how human behaviour changes over time  He believed that all human behaviour began as simple reflexes. Then various combinations of simple behaviours become conditioned to many stimuli in the environment  over the years, speech becomes more sophisticated, then silent (thinking, reasoning, and problem solving)  He felt that it was important to study the first steps in the conditioning process that produces complex human behaviour  Pavlovian conditioning process formed the core of Watson's behaviouristic theory  His call for objectivity in psychology, paved the way for experimental psychology to become more like natural sciences (i.e. precise experimental procedures and emphasis on observable and measurable behaviours) 5.4. Arnold Gesell  Did not agree that human development mirrors the evolution of the species  Believed that development is guided primarily by biological processes and neglected the crucial role of environmental factors  He felt that growth and the emergence of motor skills should follow very predictable patterns  Environment may affect the age at which certain skills appear, but never affects the sequence or pattern of development  described Maturation- it is the biological process that many theorists believed, was responsible for human development.  Used observational methods and a large sample size of different ages , Gesell conducted the first large-scale study to examine children's behaviour in great detail-->results: high degree of uniformity in children's development; pattern of development was the same, although some appeared sooner or later  Established statistical norms- a timetable of age ranges indicated when normal growth and development milestones are typically reached  used film camera, one way mirror 5.5. Sigmund Freud  Made two major contributions to psychology 5.5..1.His model of personality and techniques of psychoanalysis continue to represent a major school of thought in psychotherapy. 5.5..2.His contribution to psychology was his stage theory of psychosexual development.  He used his patients' and his own recollections of childhood experiences to construct a comprehensive model of child development  Central theme of Freudian developmental theory: each child is born with a certain sexual energy, known as libido, which is biologically guided to certain locations on the body, called erogenous zones, as the child grows.  Sexual energy is the ability to experience physical pleasure  The arrival of the libido at different erogenous zones marks a new stage in the child's psychosexual development, and during that stage, the child feels the most pleasure in that area of the body  Freud identified 5 stages  Successful movement of libido from one movement to another requires that the child receives the proper amount of physical pleasure from each erogenous zone  Theory of personality formation. If libido doesn't move properly, then it will remain fixated in that erogenous zone.  Phallic stage is the most complicated stage. During this stage, children become sexually attracted to the parent of opposite sex (aka. Oedipus complex) -->experience conflict from a powerful rival-->children resolves this conflict in two ways: repression and identification  Repression is the forcing of desires into the unconscious, and wiping out the memory of those feelings.  Identification is when after repression, they compensate for this loss by making a determined effort to adopt the characteristics of the same sex parent, a process called identification  However, His ideas are vague, cannot be scientifically disproven, not based on measurable and verifiable observation, but rather on unobservable mechanisms such as unconscious motives  Rejection of both a purely nativistic and a strictly enviornmentalist explanation of human behaviour  first to argue for an interactionist perspective, which views both inborn processes and environmental factors as significant contributors to the child's development 5.6. Erik Erikson  His model was based on Freud's theory, but differed in some major ways.  Believed that development continues throughout life with an eight-stage model that continues into old age  Interactionist perspective: Each person is guided through the psychosocial stages by genetic processes, but the individual's social and cultural surroundings help determine how the conflicts are resolved at each stage and so also contribute heavily to personality development  developed a psychosocial model, in contrast to psychosexual model of Freud, of personality which emphasized on social and cultural influences  model was based on the study of normal individuals and emphasized the positive, healthy aspects of personality whereas Freud's drew heavily on his work with patients in psychoanalysis  believed that children progress through a predictable, non-random series of stages. This progression timetable was built into our genes  Believed that each individual's ultimate goal is the quest for identity, which develops gradually across the eight stages. But at each stage, a positive personality characteristic associated with the search for identity conflicts with a negative characteristic resulting from interactions with the social world i.e. feeling of autonomy by a child who learned how to control his/her bladder and bowel function. But these new abilities also tend to cause conflict in the child's social world (i.e. shame, doubt). Best resolution: the child leaving the stage with a strong sense of the positive personality characteristic but also with a small degree of the negative characteristic  identity in Erikson's theory is the component of personality that develops across the eight stages of life and that motivates progress through the stages ISSUES IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY 1. Nature versus Nurture  The scientific controversy regarding whether the primary source of developmental change rests in biological (nature) factors or in environmental and experiential (nurture) factors  Nurture view was taken up by Watson  Nature position formed the basis of the theories of Hall and Gesell  In reality, both high levels of achievement and aggressive behaviour are best understood in terms of a combination of biological and experiential factors 2. Continuity versus Discontinuity  Two components: pattern of development (whether it is continuous or discontinuous) and connectedness of development (whether it is continuous or discontinuous)  continuity model is often associated with the belief that human behaviour consists of many individual skills that are added one at a time, usually through learning and experience; emphasizes quantitative change  discontinuity model usually hold that development is guided primarily by internal biological factors; discontinuous because of the discontinuous nature of the changes taking place in the underlying structures of the body and brain; development is thought to involve qualitative changes in previous abilities or behaviours 3. Normative versus Idiographic development  The question of whether research should focus on identifying commonalities in human development or on the causes of individual differences  These are two different focus of study of researchers  normative development- research focusing on what children have in common or how development is similar for all children  idiographic development- research focusing on differences in development from one child to the next  normative research involves the search for universals of development- behaviours or patterns of development that characterize all children everywehre.  idiographic research centres on the individual child and the facotrs that produce human diversity THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT: COGNITIVE-DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACHES This theory emphasizes on cognition. According to this theory, the changes we witness in children's behaviours and abilities arise largely from changes in their knowledge and intellectual skills. Major goal of psychologists of this tradition are to answer questions like: what do children know? how this knowledge is organized, and how it changes or develops). They try to locate the sources of cognitive change- be it reorganization of cognitive structures, faster processing of information, or growth in general knowledge 1. Piaget's theory He called his area of study "genetic epistemology"- Piaget's term for the study of children's knowledge and how it changes with development. He wasn't interested in what they know. He was interested in how they think, acquire and use those knowledge Clinical method was Piaget's principal research method, which involved a semi-structured interview with questions designed to probe children's understanding of various concepts According to Piaget, human development can be described in terms of functions (inborn biological processes that are the same for everyone and remain unchanged throughout life) and their purpose is to construct cognitive structures, which continue to change throughout life 1.1. Cognitive structures 1.1.1. Intelligence is a process - it is not something that a child has, but something that a child does 1.1.2. Schemes- Piaget's term for the cognitive structure
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