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Chapter 1

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PSYC 2450
Jennifer Mc Taggart

Unit 1: Entering A Child’s World (Chapters 1 and 2) Overview: The history of the study of child psychology • Has "childhood" always existed? • How long have we been scientifically studying this period of human development? • Who are the key people who have contributed to this field of scientific investigation? Basic concepts in the study of children • How do we talk about child development? • What are the processes, domains, periods of development? Key influences on development • How do heredity, the environment and maturation affect development? • What are the major influences affecting the context within which we develop? Theoretical issues and perspectives • Researchers offer us hypotheses, data, explanations and predictions ~ all governed by perspective. What are these various perspectives on development, and the resulting issues? • Is there an emerging consensus among researchers? Research methods, ethics and methodology • How do we study children? • What are the advantages and disadvantages related to the differing ways in which we can collect data? • Are there things about child development that we cannot ethically study? Victor: The Wild Boy of Aveyron  Emerged as 12 year old from forest, after training still couldn’t speak and was totally focused on his own needs  First systematic attempt to study child development The Study of Child Development: Then and Now  Child Development: study of processes of change and stability in human children  Quantitative Change: change in number or amount, e.g. height, frequency of communication  Qualitative Change: change in kind, structure or organization, discontinuous and unpredictable, e.g. change from nonverbal child to one that understands words  Most people show underlying stability in aspects of personality and behaviour, e.g. consistently shy Early Approaches  Baby Biographies o Journals kept to record early development of single child o Dietrich Tiedemann (1987/1787) - observations of son’s motor, sensory, language and cognitive development  Sucked on cloth tied around something sweet rather than nurse’s thumb and concluded sucking was “not instinctive, but acquired”  John Locke o Viewed infant as blank slate that we write on to create the person we want  Jean Jacques Rousseau o Believed development occurs naturally in predetermined, internally regulated stages o Children are born good and are warped only by bad environments  Charles Darwin o Emphasized developmental nature of infant behaviour o Individuals best fit to survive by adaptation to the environment got to reproduce Developmental Psychology Becomes a Science  At end of 19 century had unlocked mystery of conception and were arguing nature vs. nurture  Immunization allowed for lower infant mortality rates and abundant cheap labour made children less needed for workforce  G. Stanley Hall - “father of child study movement” o Published Adolescence which emphasized that adolescence is a different period of development than childhood  James Baldwin and Frederick Tracy o Focused on mental development in children o Stressed interaction of nature and nurture  Alfred Binet o Developed first individual intelligence test - Binet-Simon Scale  John Dewey o Saw developmental psychology as tool for fostering socially desirable traits  Maria Montessori o Education based on self-chosen activities in environment that encourages orderly progress from simple to complex tasks  John B. Watson - “father of modern behaviouralism” o Saw no limits to trainability of human beings  Arnold Gesell o Conducted studies of normative stages in development  Donald O. Hebb - “father of cognitive psychobiology” o Researched effects of early experience in children - lead to formation of organizations such as Head Start in the U.S.  Research has been interdisciplinary Studying the Lifespan  William E. Baltz o Carried out longitudinal project at Regal Road Public School, studied behavioural difficulties and adjustment of 1,400 children till adolescence and adulthood o Helped develop lab school for Dionne Quintuplets (1 5 identical twins) o Ideas on security in childhood were influential on Mary Ainsworth who studied attachment formation New Frontiers  Shifts reflect progress in understanding and new research challenges or builds on previous  Also reflects new technology and cultural understanding (e.g. cameras to detect gazing patterns of infants)  More findings have direct application to parenting, education, health and social policy The Study of Child Development: Basic Concepts Domains of Development  Physical Development: growth of body, brain, sensory capabilities, motor skills, health o Can influence other domains of development (e.g. many ear infections may develop language at slower rate)  Cognitive Development: changes in mental ability (learning, memory, language, reasoning, creativity) o Closely related to physical and emotional growth  Psychosocial Development: changes in personality, emotional life and social relationships Periods of Development  Social Construction: concept about nature of reality based on societally shared perceptions / assumptions o No single definable moment when child becomes adolescent o Chippewa - 2 periods of childhood (birth until walking and then walking until puberty), adolescence for us is part of their adulthood  Individual differences occur but basic needs must be met and certain tasks must occur in order for development to occur Typical Major Developments in the Five Periods of Child Development Age Period Physical Cognitive Psychosocial Genetics interact with environmental influences, Ability to learn, Prenatal Period basic body structures form, remember and respond brain growth spurt begins, - (Conception - Birth) most rapid physical growth, to stimuli are greatest vulnerability to development environment Ability to learn, remember and respond All body systems operate at are present, use of Becomes attached to varying degrees, brain grows symbols and ability to parents, self awareness Infancy and Toddlerhood in complexity, highly develops, shift from (Birth - 3) sensitive to environment, solve problems ndvelops dependence to physical growth and motor by end of 2 year, autonomy, interest in skills are rapid comphrension and use other children increases of language develops rapidly Self concept becomes more complex, self- Egocentric but esteem is global, independence initiative, Growth is steady, appearance understanding of others’ self control and care all becomes more slender and perception grows, increase, gender Early Childhood proportions are more adult- cognitive immaturity like, appetite diminishes and leads to illogical views of identity develops, play (3 - 6 years) sleep problems are common, world, intelligence is more imaginative and handedness occurs, fine and becomes more social, altruism, aggression and gross motor skills strengthen predictable, memory fearfulness is common, and language improves family is still focus but other children become more important Egocentrism diminishes, begin to think logically Self concept becomes Growth slows, strength and but concretely, memory more complex and Middle Childhood athletic skills improve, and language stills affects self-esteem, (6 - 11 years) respiratory illnesses are increase, children gradual shift of control common but health is benefit from formal from parent to child, generally better schooling, some children peers are central show special needs / importance strengths Search for identity Can think abstractly and becomes central, Physical growth is rapid, use scientific reasoning, relationships with Adolescence reproductive maturity immature thinking can parents are generally (11 - about 20 years) occurs, health risks might persist in attitudes / good, peer groups test occur from behavioural issues (e.g. smoking) behaviours, education self-concept but may focuses on preparations exert anti-social influence Influences on Development  Interested in both experiences that happen to everyone and individual differences to see the influence they have on development Heredity, Environment and Maturation  Heredity: inborn influences or traits inherited from biological parents, nature  Environment: totality of nonhereditary or experiential influences on development, nurture o Includes socialization (introduction to value system of culture), family, socio-economic status, ethnicity  Blend of both: intelligence is strongly affected by heredity, also important how much stimulation parents provide and the amount of peer influence  Maturation: unfolding of a natural sequence of physical and behavioural changes including readiness to master new abilities - e.g. walking and talking o Acts with heredity and environment a
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