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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Theories of Human Development.docx

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PSYC 2450
Heidi Bailey

Chapter 2: Theories of Human Development Developmental Psychology th January 18 Major Controversies About Human Development 1. Nature/Nurture Issue Nature: Biological predispositions are most important Nurture: Environmental influences are most important 2. Active/Passive Issue Active: Children actively contribute to own development Passive: Children are passive recipients of environmental influence 3. Continuous/Discontinuity Issue Continuous: Development is additive and gradual Discontinuity: Development is a series of discrete stages Quantitative Change: incremental change in degree without sudden transformations Qualitative Change: change in kind that makes individuals fundamentally different than they were before; the transformation of paralinguistic infant into language user is viewed as qualitative change. Developmental stages: discontinuity theorists say we progress through developmental stages, each with a distinct phase; a period characterized by a particular set of abilities, motives, behaviours, or emotions that occur together and from a coherent pattern. Scientific Theories Parsimony: a criterion for evaluating the scientific merit of theories- a parsimonious theory is a theory with few principals that account for a large number of empirical evidence. Heuristic value: a criterion for evaluating the scientific merit of theories- a heuristic theory is one that continues to stimulate new research and discoveries. Good theories survive because they continue to stimulate new knowledge. Falsifiability: a criterion for evaluating the scientific merit of theories- A theory is falsifiable when it is capable of generating predictions that could be disconfirmed. The Psychoanalytic Viewpoint Freud’s Psychosexual Theory - Freud’s theory that states that maturation of the sex instinct underlies stages of personality development, and that the manner in which parents manage children’s instinctual impulses determines the traits that children display. - Freud relied on hypnosis, free association, and dream analysis because they gave some indication of unconscious motives (feelings, experiences, and conflicts that influence a person’s thinking and behaviour, but lie outside the person’s awareness) that patients had repressed (forced out of their conscious awareness) - Freud concluded that human development is a conflictual process; as biological creatures we have basic sexual and aggressive instincts that must be served; yet society dictates that many of these drives are undesirable and must be restrained. The way in which parents manage these sexual instincts plays a major role in shaping children’s conduct and character. Three Components of Personality 1. ID: the inborn component of the personality that is driven by instincts 2. Ego: the conscious, rational component of personality that reflects the child’s emerging abilities to perceive, learn, remember and reason. 3. Superego: develops around the ages of 3 and 6 as children internalize the moral values and standards of their parents. Stages of Psychological Development 1. Oral: Birth – 1 year  Pleasure from sucking, chewing, biting 2. Anal: 1-3 years  Pleasure from voluntary urination and defecation 3. Phallic: 3-6 years  Pleasure from genital stimulation  Oedipus and Electra complex 4. Latency: 6-11 years  Sexual conflicts repressed Sexual urges rechanneled 5. Genital: age 12 onward  Puberty reawakens sexual urges  Learn to acceptably express urges Fixation: arrested development at a particular psychosexual stage that can prevent movement to higher stages. i.e. punished for sucking thumb as a child might lead to oral fixation in adulthood such as smoking or oral sex. Contributions: - Idea of unconscious motivation - Focuses on later consequences of early experiences - Studies emotion side of human development Criticisms: -Generalizability -No real evidence of early conflicts affecting adult personality Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development - Theory of psychosocial development- differed from Freud in 2 important aspects: o First Erikson stressed that children are active, curious explorers who seek to adapt to their environments. o Emphasizes sociocultural rather than sexual determinants of development and posits of a series of 8 psychosocial conflicts that people must resolve. STAGE AGE KEY SOCIAL AGENT Basic Trust vs. Mistrust Birth -1 year Parents Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt 1 - 3 years Parents Initiative vs. Guilt 3 - 6 years Family Industry vs. Inferiority 6 - 12 years Teachers, Peers Identity vs. Role Confusion 12 - 20 years Society of peers Contributions: - Easier to accept than Freud’s - Remains more popular than Freud’s theory; has had lasting impact - Stages capture many central issues of life Criticisms: - Vague about the causes of development Learning Theories John B. Watson’s Behaviourism Behaviourism: Watson was the founder - main point was that we should make conclusions about observations on overt behavior rather on speculations about unconscious motives. - Viewed child as blank slate to be written on by experience. In this view people do not go through a series of stages, instead development is viewed as a continuous process of behavioral change that is shaped by peoples environments and may differ dramatically from person to person. - Habits are building blocks of human development - He set out to demonstrate that fear is acquired rather than inborn. He held that parents are huge influences and they should cut down on coddling if they want their children to develop good habits. - Little Albert Experiment: Baby is comfortable with rat until Watson instills fear by banging a bat whenever the rat is near. B. F. Skinner’s Operant Learning Theory (Radical Behaviourism) - People repeat acts that are reinforced- desirable consequence of an act. - i.e. Rat press bar that releases food pellet. - The Bar pressing is called the operant. - The food pellet that strengthens this response is called the reinforcer. - Operant Learning: a form of learning in which voluntary acts (or operants) become either more or less probable depending on the consequences they produce. - Development depends on external stimuli rather than on internal forces Albert Bandura’s Cognitive Social Learning Theory - Argues humans are cognitive beings- active info processors. - People are more likely to act on what they expect to rather than what actually will happen. - Emphasizes Observational Learning: learning that results from observing the behaviour of others. o Attend, encode, store, imitate o Not dependent on reinforcement Social Learning as Reciprocal Determinism Environmental Determinism: (Watson) the notion that children are passive creatures who are molded by their environments. Reciprocal Determinism: the notion that the flow of influence between children and their environments is a 2 way street- child is affected by environment and vice versa. Learning Theories Contributions: - Approach is precise and testable - Knowledge about basic learning - Practical applications (behavior modification) Criticisms: - Oversimplified - Ignores genetic contrib
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