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PSYCH 207 (48)
Chapter 1


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University of Waterloo
Jonathan Witt

Developmentalists have come to understand that inborn characteristics interact with environmental factors in complex ways. Baltes emphasized that as humans age, they adopt strategies that help them maximize gains and compensate for losses. Scientists who study age related changes across the lifespan often use three broad categories, called domains of development, to classify these changes. (physical domain, cognitive domain, social domain) these 3 domains do not function independently of one another. Studies of Canadian children have shown that a combination of a highly vulnerable child and a poor or unsupportive environment produces by far the most negative outcome. Universal changes- common to every individual in a species and are linked to specific ages group specific changes- shared by all individuals who grow up together in a particular group. Culture shapes not only the development of individuals, but also our ideas about what normal development is. individual differences- changes resulting from unique, unshared events In studies of adults, one important concept related to timing has been the idea of on-time and off-time events, the idea is that experiences occurring at the expected times for an individual’s culture or cohort will pose fewer difficulties for her than will off-time experiences. Developmental psychology uses the scientific method to achieve four goals: to describe, explain (theories), predict (hypothesis), and influence human development from conception to death. To generate explanations, developmentalists rely on theories, sets of statements that propose general principles of development The weakness of naturalistic observation is observer bias. So they use 2 observers. The measure for this procedure is known as inter-rater reliability. Correlations do not indicate causal relationships. In order to identify a cause, we have to carry out experiments. A key feature of an experiment is that participants are assigned randomly to one of two or more groups. When participants are randomly assigned to groups, the groups have equal amounts of variation with respect to characteristics such as intelligence, personality traits, height, weight, health status, etc. Quasi-experiments: compare groups without assigning the participants randomly. According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, all humans are born naturally good Current toy developers aim to promote a child’s cognitive development The Canadian psychological association was founded in 1938 in anticipation of the threat of war in Europe Summary The philosophical concepts of original sin (parental responsibility is intervene to correct), the blank slate (parental responsibility is to shape behaviors), and innate goodness (parental responsibility is to nurture and protect) have influences Western ideas about human development Darwin studied child development to gain insight into evolution. Hall published the first scientific study of children and introduced the concept of norms. Gesell studied the maturational milestones of development (Maturationally determined development occurred regardless of practice, training, or effort). Piaget identified 4 stages of cognitive development Today’s developmentalists recognize that change happens throughout the lifespan. They believe that every developmental change is a product of both nature and nurture. Development is a matter of changes both in degree (continuity) and kind (discontinuity). Contemporary developmental psychologists study 3 kinds of changes: universal, group-specific, and individual In cross-sectional studies, separate age group are each tested once. In longitudinal designs, the same individuals are tested repeatedly over time. Sequential designs combine cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons. Case studies and naturalistic observation provide a great deal of important information about individuals, but it usually isn’t generalizable to other individuals or groups. Correlational studies measure relationships between variables and can be done quickly. The information they yield is more generalizable than that from case studies or naturalistic observation. To
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