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Midterm # 1 Study Guide This includes all textbook notes, and lots of examples of experiments that go with each topic. I studied off these notes and almost got perfect on my midterm.

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Ori Friedman

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PSYCH 211 Midterm 1 Material B.B.
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- Study by Emily Werner:
o Based on children in Hawaii
o Illustrated some of the ways that biological and environmental factors combine to influence
child development
Prenatal or birth complications more likely to develop physical handicaps, mental
illnesses, etc (some children are resilient to these adverse conditions)
However, complications + good home environment no psychological
Why Study Child Development?
- Raising children
o Gain info and understanding that can help parents/teachers raise successful kids
o Effective approaches to managing child’s anger or distress:
Express sympathy to child
Help child find positive alternatives of expressing anger
The “turtle technique” – retreating to think about the situation
- Choosing social policies
o Gain insight into social-policy issues related to children and to help society adopt policies that
promote children’s well-being
o Should funds be used to try to prevent problems, or to cure existing ones?
o How much trust should be placed on a child’s testimony in court?
“Simon Says” experiment:
Children were told to touch various parts of their body, and other children’s
Month later, social workers interviewed the kids and had to find out what they
o Repeated questioning often caused children to change their responses
Can be reliable witnesses if shielded from leading questions
Anatomically correct dolls useful, but fine line between play and reality so many
inaccurate claims occur
- Understanding human nature (general)
o Can later upbringing in a good home counteract a bad childhood?
Romanian orphanage study:
Children that were severely malnourished were adopted by British families who
provided loving homes
o Found that physical development inversely related to length of stay in
orphanage prior to adoption
Intellectual and social development also similar pattern
o Children were flexible if deprivation lasted no longer than 6 months

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PSYCH 211 Midterm 1 Material B.B.
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Historical Foundations of the Study of Child Development
- Early philosophers’ views of children’s development
o Plato and Aristotle were interested in how children’s development is influenced by their
Plato emphasized self-control and discipline
Born with innate knowledge
Aristotle discipline but fitted to the needs of the child
Born with nothing; all knowledge is from experience
John Locke set good examples, no over indulgences, discipline
child is born tabula rasa (blank slate)
Rousseau give children max freedom; let them learn things on their own
- Social reform movements
o Improve children’s lives by changing living conditions
Harsh conditions of industrial revolution
New law forbidding employment of children under age 10
- Darwin’s theory of evolution
o Presented “baby biography” about his son William’s development
Represented one of the first methods for studying children
o Many other topics such as: innate fear of natural dangers, attachment to mothers, sex
differences, etc
- The emergence of child development as a discipline
o Freud’s psychoanalytic theory – biological drives are a crucial influence on development
o Watsons behaviorist theory children’s development is determined by environmental factors
(esp. rewards and punishments)
Enduring Themes in Child Development
- Basic questions about child development:
1) How do nature/nurture shape development?
a. Nature: biological endowment; genes received from parents
Eg appearance, personality, intelligence, etc
b. Nurture: the environments, both physical and social, that influence our development
Eg the womb, our homes, school, people we interact with, etc
2) How do children shape their own development? (the active child)
First occurs through their selection of what to pay attention to
Animals, moving objects, mom vs stranger (usually stares at mom)
Learning to speak
Playing, role-play
Contribution to own development increases as they grow up

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PSYCH 211 Midterm 1 Material B.B.
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3) Is development continuous or discontinuous?
Continuous development: the idea that changes with age occur gradually
Eg like growth of a tree
Discontinuous development: the idea that changes with age include occasional large
Eg like caterpillar cocoon butterfly
Piaget’s conservation of liquid problem:
Pour water from a short glass to a tall thin glass
o 4 year old more water in taller glass
o 6 year old water obviously stays same volume
How does this change occur?
Stage theories: approaches that propose that development involves a series of
discontinuous, age-related phases
o Eg Piaget’s theory of cognitive development
o Freuds theory of psychosexual development
o Eriksons theory of psychosocial development
o Kohlberg’s theory of moral development
4) How does change occur? (mechanisms)
Role of brain activity, genes, and learning experiences in development of effortful
attention can be analyzed
Effortful attention focusing attention, controlling emotions, etc
5) How does sociocultural context influence development?
Physical/social environment, culture, economic circumstances, point in history
These circumstances are the sociocultural context that make up a childs
Most important parts: the people they interact with and the environment they live in
Institutions also play a role (although not as important)…eg school, religious
inst, sports teams, etc
Also…society and its wealth, values, laws, politics, etc
Different areas = different culture
o Eg the differences in sleeping arrangements across cultures
USA babies get their own cribs and rooms
Emphasizes independence
Other countries (eg Italy, Japan) babies sleep with the mom
Emphasizes mother-child relationship
Socioeconomic status (SES): a measure of social class based on income and education
Poorer families’ children tend to do less well, have more health problems, etc
Resilient children tend to have certain qualities:
o High intelligence
o Easygoing personality
o Adaptability
o Close relationship with one parent or another adult
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