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Chapter 1

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PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

PSYC 2450 – Chapter 1: Introduction to Developmental Psychology and its Research Strategies Development  Systematic continuities and changes in the individual over course of life  2 processes that underlie developmental change 1. Maturation  Biological unfolding of the individual according to species-typical biological inheritance and an individual person’s biological inheritance  Become capable of walking and uttering first meaningful words at 1  Reach sexual maturity between 11 and 15  Partly responsible for psychological changes ex. increasing ability to concentrate, solve problems and understand other peoples thoughts and feelings 2. Learning  Process through which our experiences produce a relatively permanent changes in our feelings, thoughts and behaviours  Learn to feel, think, and behave in new ways from our observations of and interactions with parents, teachers and other important people and events we experience  Three major goals in developmental psychology: describe, explain and optimize development  Normative development: typical patterns of change  Ideographic development: individual variations in patterns of change  Developmentalists seek to understand important ways developing humans resemble each other and how they are likely to differ as they proceed through life Basic Observations about the Character Development A Continual and Cumulative Process  First 12 years extremely important  Who we are as adolescence effects experiences later in life  Continually changing and is a cumulative process  Prenatal period – conception to birth  Infancy – birth to 18 months  Toddler period – 18 months to 3 years  Preschool period – 3 - 5  Middle childhood - 5 -12 (until puberty)  Adolescence – 12 or so until 20 (or when become independent from parents)  Young adulthood – 20 to 40  Middle age – 40 to 65  Old age – 65 or older Holistic Process  Unified view of developmental process that emphasizes important interrelationships among the physical, mental, social and emotional aspects of human development  used to divide developmentalists into 3 camps 1. those who studied physical growth and development including bodily changes and sequencing of motor skills 2. studied cognitive aspects like perception, language, learning and thinking 3. psychosocial aspects like emotions, personality and growth of interpersonal relationships Plasticity  capacity for change; a developmental state that has the potential to be shaped by experience  response to positive or negative experience  good because children with horrible starts can often be helped to overcome their deficiencies Historical/Cultural  each culture, subculture and social class has certain set of beliefs, values, customs and skills it passes to younger generations  content of the cultural socialization has strong influence on attributes and competencies individual displays  influenced by societal changes ex. internet, wars, gay/lesbian movement etc. Human Development in Historical Perspective  contemporary western societies described as “child-centered”  parents focus much of their lives on their children: time and money educating and caring for them  excuse children from shouldering full responsibility Childhood in Premodern Times  had few, if any rights  not values by elders  ancient Carthaginanians often killed children as religious sacrifices and often embedded them in walls to ‘strengthen’ the structures  until 4 century CE, roman parents legally allowed to kill deformed, illegitimate or unwanted infants  once infanticide was outlawed kids left in wilderness to dies, or sold as servants or objects of sexual exploitation  even wanted children treated poorly back then ex. Spartan boys trained to become warriors, cold baths to toughen them at 2, taken from homes at 7, beaten and starved to teach discipline  children viewed as family “possessions”  medieval era – dressed as miniature adults, law made no distinction between childhood and adult offences Toward Modern-Day Views on Childhood th th  Change in 17 and 18 centuries  Religious leaders stressed children were innocent and helpless souls who need protecting from adults  Decided to send young people to school  Still family possessions but parents discouraged from abusing them  After WWll number of high school graduates and postponed marriages increased to pursue college education Early Psychological Perspectives on Childhood  Hobbes: original sin – idea that children are inherently negative creatures who must be taught to rechannel their selfish interests into socially acceptable outlets  Rosseau: innate purity – idea infants are born with an intuitive sense of right and wrong that is often misdirected by the demands and restrictions of society  Locke: tabula rasa – mind of an infant is a “blank slate” and that all knowledge, abilities, behaviours and motives are acquired through experience  Darwin – recorded baby biographies that stimulated interest in the study of development  Baby biography: detailed record of an infant’s growth and development over a period of time Origins of a Science of Development  Hall – recognized as one of founders of development psych  Used questionnaires  Understanding of world grows rapidly in childhood  Logic of young children not logical at all  Freud – one of first theories to explain development  Formulated psychoanalytic theory off notes and observations he took when treating patents for emotional disturbances Research Methods  Scientific method – 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 – extent to which a measuring instrument yields consistent result both over time and across observers  Validity – extent to which a measuring instrument accurately reflect what researchers trying to measure Self-Report Methodologies  Structured interviews or structured questionnaires – technique in which all pa
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