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Chapter 13

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PSYC 3450
Karl Hennig

Chapter 13 Peers as Socialization Agents - some theorists believe that peers may contribute as much (or even more) to a childs or an adolescents development as adults do - they are that there are two social worlds of childhood: 1) adult/child interactions and 2) involving the society of ones peers - developmentalists know that occasionally peers are bad influences but they clearly have the potential to affect their playmates in a number of positive ways who is a peer and what functions do peers serve? - Websters dictionary defines a peer as one that is of equal standing with another - developmentalists also think of peers as social equals or individuals who are operating at similar levels of behavioral complexity - thus, children who differ somewhat in age could still be considered peers the significance of peer interaction - early research on peer influence was heavily influenced by theorists from the ethological tradition who sought to determine the adaptive significance of child/child interactions - ethologists propose that peer interaction may be a special form of social behavior that has been selected over the course of evolution to promote the development of adaptive patterns of social conduct in each successive generation some of the specific functions that child/child interaction might serve: same-age (equal status) interactions: age-mates typically have roughly equal status and must learn to appreciate others perspectives, negotiate and compromise, and cooperate if they are to play amicably or achieve other joint objectives - thus, equal status contacts are likely to contribute to the development of social competencies that are difficult to acquire in the nonegalitarian atmosphere of the home mixed-aged interactions: (interactions among children who differ in age by one year or more) - although these interactions are somewhat unbalanced, these asymmetries may help children to acquire certain social competencies - one study revealed that the presence of younger peers may foster the development of compassion, caregiving and prosocial inclinations, assertiveness and leadership - younger children also benefited by acquiring a variety of new skills from older peers and by learning how to seek assistance and defer gracefully to more powerful associates - however there is a crucial difference between sibling and peer contacts, for ones status as a sibling is fixed by order of birth and ones peer status is more flexible depending on the associates one chooses frequency of peer contacts - between the ages of 2 and 12 children spend more time with peers and less time with adults - youngsters of all ages also spend less time with age-mates than with children who were more than a year older or younger than they were - gender-segregation also became more apparent with age and once this became increasingly apparent, boys and girls experience different kinds of social relationships - boys tend to form packs whereas girls form pairs how important are peer influences? - peer interactions may promote the development of many social and personal competencies that are not easily acquired within the decidedly nonegalitarian parent/child relationship Harlows work with monkeys - Harlow and his associates raised rhesus monkeys with their mothers and denied them an opportunity to play with peers to find out if youngsters who have little/no contact with peers will be abnormal called mother only monkeys - the monkeys failed to develop normal patterns of social behavior and when they were exposed to peers they chose to avoid them - when they did approach a peer they were highly aggressive and antisocial which persisted into adulthood - in a different study, peer only monkeys were observed to cling tenaciously to one another and form strong mutual attachments but became highly agitated over minor stresses and as adults they were aggressive toward monkeys from outside their group a human parallel Pg. 455 the development of peer sociability - sociability: ones willingness to interact with others and to seek their attention or approval peer sociability in infancy and toddlerhood: infants have the capacity to form attachments to caregivers and for entering relationships with peers- by 6-7 months babies will often smile, vocalize and gesture to other babies and occasionally offer them toys - 6-10 month olds show simple social preferences and choose to play with a partner that they have seen help rather than hurt a companion - between 12 and 18 months, toddlers begin to react more appropriately to each others behaviour, partaking in more complex exchanges - however theres still question about whether these action/reaction episodes qualify as true social disclosure for 12 to 18 month olds often seem to treat peers as particularly responsive toys that they can control by making them gesture, smile, or laugh - by 18 months almost all infants display coordinated interactions with age-mates that are clearly social in character - they imitate each other and will often gaze and smile at their partners - by 20-24 months toddlers play has a strong verbal component: playmates often describe their ongoing play activities to each other (i fall down!) or try to influence the role their partner should assume (you go in playhouse) - both social and cognitive developments contribute to the growth of peer sociability over the first 2 years - toddlers who are securely attached are more outgoing and more attractive as playmates - thus, sensitive caregiving contributes to positive social skills: thoughts, actions and emotional regulatory activities that enable children to achieve personal or social goals while maintaining harmony with their social partners - 18-24 month olds display truly coordinated, reciprocal interactions at the time that they first display self-awareness on the rouge test - early interactive skills may depend very heavily on social-cognitive development - a sense of intersubjectivity- the ability to share meaning, intentions and goals - is absolutely essential for the emergence of intricate pretend play activities that unfold and become progressively more complex sociability during the preschool period: between the ages of 2 and 5, children become more outgoing and direct their social gestures to a wider audience - 2-3 year olds are more likely to remain near an adult and seek physical affections whereas 4-5 year olds consist of playful bids for attention or approval directed at peers rather than adults - Mildred Partern found that preschoolers play activities could be placed into 4 categories arranged from least to most socially complex: 1. nonsocial activity: watch others play or engage in solitary play/ignore others 2. parallel play: children play side by side but interact very little/dont influence one another 3. associative play: share to
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