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Chapter 1

Chapter 1- Introduction to Developmental Psychology and Its Research Strategies.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2450
Heidi Bailey

Chapter 1: Introduction to Developmental Psychology and Its Research Strategies Developmental Psychology January 11 th What is Development? Development: refers to systematic continuities and changes in the individual that occur between conception (father’s sperm penetrates mother’s ovum creating new organism) and death. - These changes are systematic meaning they are orderly, patterned, and relatively enduring. - Continuities: refers to the ways in which we remain the same or continue to reflect our past. Developmental Psychology: branch of psychology devoted to identifying and explaining the continuities and changes that individuals display over time. - Developmentalist: refers to any scholar regardless of discipline who seeks to understand the developmental process. What Causes Us To Develop? Maturation: refers to the developmental changes in the body or behaviour that result form the aging process rather than from learning, injury, illness or some other life experience. (i.e. increasing ability to concentrate, solve problems, and understand another person’s thoughts or feelings.) Learning: relatively permanent change in behaviour (or behavioral potential) that results from ones experiences or practice. - Changes in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. - We change in response to our environments, particularly in response to the actions and reactions of the people around us. What Goals do Developmentalists Pursue? - Three major goals of the developmental sciences are to describe, to explain and to optimize development. Normative Development: developmental changes that characterize most or all members of a species; typical patterns of development. Ideographic Development: individual variations in the rate, extent or direction of development - Explain development by determining why people develop as they typically do and why some people develop differently then others. - Optimize development by applying what they have learned in attempts to help people develop in positive directions. Character of Development Prenatal period = Conception – birth Infancy = Birth – 1 8 months Toddler period = 18 months – 3 years Preschool period = 3 – 5 years Middle childhood = 5-12 or so years (until onset of puberty) Adolescence = 12 or so – 20 years A Holistic Process: unified view of developmental process that emphasizes the important interrelationships among the physical, mental, social, and emotional aspects of human development. Plasticity: capacity for change; developmental state that has the potential to be shaped by experience. Historical/Cultural Context: Each culture, subculture, and social class transmits a particular pattern of beliefs, values, customs, and skills to its younger generations, and the content of this socialization has a strong influence on the attributes and competencies that individuals display. - Development is also influenced by societal changes: wars, technological breakthroughs (internet), gay or lesbian movement. History of Development Childhood in Pre-modern Times - In the past children were not treated as well; Romans were entitled to kill their deformed or unwanted children. After it was outlawed to kill children, children were left to die and be sold as servants; even wanted children were treated harshly by today’s standards. - In Sparta Rome men were treated harshly to toughen them for war and in Carthage Rome and Sparta for several years they treated infanticide as acceptable and not equal to the killing of a child. - Medieval times brought more equality to children and there was no difference between adult and children offences. Toward Modern-Day Views on Childhood - During the 17 and 18 centuries, attitudes towards children and child rearing began to change. Schools were made and the primary purpose was to provide moral and religious education. Children were still considered family possessions, but abuse was looked down upon. - Formal recognition of adolescence as a distinct phase of life came in the 20 th century- happened because the increasing complex technology of industrial operations placed value on obtaining an educated labour force. Laws were th placed in the late 19 century to restrict child labor and make schooling compulsory. Teens were placed in the same setting and all hanging out and its then they became known as their own distinct class. Early Philosophical Perspectives on Childhood Original Sin (Thomas Hobbes): idea that children are inherently negative creatures who must be taught to rechannel their selfish interests into socially acceptable outlets. Innate Purity (Jean Jacques Rousseau): idea that infants are born with an intuitive sense of right and wrong that is often misdirected by the demands and restrictions of society. Tabula Rasa (John Locke): the idea that the mind of an infant is a “blank state” and that all knowledge, abilities, behaviours and motives are acquired through experience. - Locke and Hobbes maintained children should be passive in their own development and parents mould them. Rousseau on the other hand believed children should be active participants in their own development- described child as motivated explorer. Baby Biographies: a detailed record of an infant’s growth and development over a period of time. (i.e. Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution: studied his son and noted that untrained infants share many characteristics with their non-human ancestors, illustrating further the descent of man) Development of Children’s Rights In Canada 3 changes that affected the development of children’s rights in Canada are: - Moved from being viewed as family property to dependents in need of state protection - The recognition that children were semi-independent individuals with rights of their own. - Moving toward recognition that children are entities in their own right and should be afforded the economic security guaranteed to other members of society. Origins of Science of Development - Stanley Hall: considered to be the founder of developmental psychology- he th set out in the late 19 century to collect more objective info on samples, he developed the questionnaire. - Sigmund Freud: developed one of the first theories to explain development – Psychoanalytic theory. Theory: a set of concepts and propositions designed to organize, describe, and explain an existing set of observations. Hypothesis: a theoretical prediction about some aspect of experience. Research Methods in Child and Adolescent Development The Scientific Method: the use of objective and replicable methods to gather data for the purpose of testing a theory or hypothesis. It dictates that, above all, investigators must be objective and must allow their data to decide the merits of their thinking. Reliability: the extent to which a measuring instrument yields consistent results, both over time and across observers. Validity: the extent to which a measuring instrument accurately reflects what the researchers intended to measure. Self-Report Methodologies Interviews & Questionnaires: (structured) a technique in which all participants are asked the same questions in precisely the same order so that the responses of different participants can be compared. The Clinical Method: a type of interview in which a participant’s response to each successive question or problem determines what the investigator will ask next. Observational Methodologies Naturalistic Observation: method in which the scientist tests hypotheses by observing people as they engage in everyday life activities. (i.e. schools, public parks or playgrounds) Time Sampling: a procedure in which the investigator records the frequencies with which individuals display particular behaviours during the brief time interv
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