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Psych211 Recommended Readings Notes

Course Code
Kathleen Bloom

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oChild development: an area of study devoted to understanding constancy band change from
conception through adolescence
oDevelopmental science: interdisciplinary field that includes all changes we experience throughout
the lifespan
o3 domains of development
1) Physical: changes in body size, proportions, appearance, functioning of body systems,
perceptual and motor capacities, and physical health
2) Cognitive: changes in intellectual abilities, including attention, memory, academic and
everyday knowledge, problem solving, imagination, creativity, and language
3) Emotional and social: changes in emotional communication, self-understanding, knowledge
about other people, interpersonal skills, friendships, intimate relationships, and moral
reasoning and behaviour
oThe 3 domains are not really distinct; they combine in an integrated, holistic fashion to yield the living,
growing child.
oPeriods of development:
oThe prenatal period (from conception to birth): the most rapid time of change, a one-
celled organism is transformed into a human baby
oInfancy and toddlerhood (birth to 2 years): brings dramatic changes in the body and brain
that support the emergence of a wide array of motor, perceptual, and intellectual capacities:
the beginnings of language; and first intimate ties to others
oEarly childhood (2 - 6): the body becomes longer and leaner, motor skills are refined, and
children become more self-controlled and self-sufficient. A sense of morality becomes
evident, and children establish ties with peers.
oMiddle childhood (6 – 11): children learn about the wider world and master new
responsibilities that increasingly resemble those they will perform as adults. Improved athletic
abilities; participation in organized games with rules; more logical thought processes; mastery
of fundamental reading, writing, math, and other academic knowledge and skills, and
advances in understanding the self, morality, and friendship
oAdolescence (11 – 18): thought becomes abstract and idealistic, and schooling is
increasingly directed towards preparation for higher education and the world of work. Young
people begin to establish autonomy from the family and to define personal values and goals.
oTheory: is an orderly, integrated set of statements that describes, explains, and predicts behaviours
oThey guide and give meaning to what we see
oOften serve as a sound basis for practical action
oOnce a theory helps us understand development, we are in a much better position to know
how to improve the welfare and treatment of children
oContinuous development: a process of gradually adding more of the same types of skills that were
there to begin with
oDiscontinuous: a process in which new ways of understanding and responding to the world emerge
at specific times
oStages: qualitative changes in thinking, feeling, and behaving that characterize specific periods of
ocontexts: unique combinations of personal and environmental circumstances that can result in
different paths of change
onature-nurture controversy: by nature, we mean inborn biological givens – the hereditary
information we receive from our parents at the moment of conception. By nurture, we mean the
complex forces of the physical and social world that influenc3e our biological makeup and
psychological experiences before and after birth.
oResilience: the ability to adapt effectively in the face of threats to development
oJohn Locke: ``blank state`` where children begin as nothing at all; their characters are shaped
entirely by experience. His views match nurture- the power of the environment to shape the child.

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Suggests the possibility of many courses of development and of high plasticity at later ages due to
new experiences. Regarded development as continuous
oJean-Jacques Rousseau: did not believe in blank state; instead they are noble savages, naturally
endowed with a sense of right and wrong and an innate path for orderly, healthy growth.
oConcept of stage
oMaturation: refers to a genetically determined, naturally course of growth
oDiscontinuous, stagewise process that follows a single, unified course mapped out by
oNormative approach: measures of behaviour are taken on large numbers of individuals and age-
related averages are computed to represent typical development (G.Stanley Hall)
oPsychoanalytic perspective: children move through a series of stages in which they confront
conflicts between biological drives and social expectations. How these conflicts are resolved
determines the person`s ability to learn, to get along with others, and to cope with anxiety.
oFreud`s psychosexual theory: emphasizes that how parents manage their child`s sexual and
aggressive drives in the first few years is crucial for healthy personality development
oId: the largest portion of the mind, is the source of basic biological needs and desires
oEgo: the conscious, rational part of personality, emerges in early infancy to redirect id`s
impulses so that they are discharged in acceptable ways
oSuperego: conscience, develops through interactions with parents, who insist that children
conform to the values of society
oEricson`s psychosocial theory: emphasized that in addition to mediating between id impulses and
superego demands, the ego makes a positive contribution to development, acquiring attitudes and
skills that make the individual an active, contributing member of society
oBehaviorism: directly observable events – stimuli and responses – are the appropriate focus of study
oclassical conditioning: stimulus and response, repeated stimulus to result in the same response
ooperant conditioning theory: the frequency of a behaviour can be increased by following it with a
wide variety of reinforces or decreased through punishment
oSocial learning theory: the most influential, devised by Albert Bandura emphasizes modeling, also
known as imitation or observation learning, as a powerful source of development
oBehaviour modification: consists of procedures that combine conditioning and modeling to
eliminate undesirable behaviours and increase desirable responses.
oCognitive-developmental theory: children actively construct knowledge as they manipulate and
explore their world
oPiaget`s stages of cognitive development
oSensorimotor (birth to 2): infants `think` by acting on the world with their senses
oPreoperational (2 to 7): use symbols to represent their earlier sensorimotor discoveries.
Lacks the logic of the two remaining stages
oConcrete operation (7 to 11: reasoning becomes logical and better organized. Can organize
using hierarchies of classes and subclasses however thinking falls short of adult intelligence
(not abstract)
oFormal operational (11 years on): can start with a hypothesis, deduce testable inferences,
and isolate and combine variables to see which inferences are confirmed. Can also evaluate
the logic of verbal statements without referring to real-world circumstances.
oInformational processing: the human mind might also be viewed as a symbol-manipulating system
through which information flows
oDevelopmental cognitive neuroscience: the study of the relationship between changes in the brain
and the developing child's cognitive processing and behaviour patterns
oEthology: the adaptive, or survival, value of behaviour and its evolutionary history
oSensitive period: a time that is biologically optimal for certain capacities to emerge because the
individual is especially responsive to environmental influences. However, its boundaries are less well-
defined than are those of a critical period. Development can occur later, but it is harder to induce.

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oEvolutionary developmental psychology: it seeks to understand the adaptive value of species-
wide cognitive, emotional, and social competencies as those competencies change with age.
oSociocultural theory: focuses on how culture is transmitted to the next generation (Lev Vygotsky)
oEcological systems theory: views the child as developing within a complex system of relationships
affected by multiple levels of the surrounding environment.
oLevels of Bronfenbrenner's model
oMicrosystem: consists of activities and interaction patterns in the child's immediate
oMesosystem: encompasses connections between microsystems, such as home, school,
neighbourhood and child-care center
oExosystem: consists of social settings that do not contain children but that nevertheless
affect children's experiences in immediate settings
oMacrosystem: consists of cultural values, laws, customs, and resources
oChronosystem: life changes can be imposed on the child. Alternatively, they can arise from within
the child, since as children get older they select, modify, and create many of their own settings and
oDynamic systems perspective: the child's mind, body and physical and social worlds form an
integrated system that guides mastery of new skills. The system is dynamic, or constantly in motion. A
change in any part of it-from brain growth to physical or social surroundings-disrupts the current
organism-environment relationship. When this happens, the child's activity reorganises his or her
behaviour so the various components of the system work together again but in a more complex,
efficient way.
Method Description Strengths Limitations
Observation of
behaviour in natural
Observations of
behaviour in a lab,
where conditions are
the same for all
Reflects participant's
everyday behaviours
Grants each participant
an equal opportunity to
display the behaviour of
interest. Permits study
of behaviours rarely
seen in everyday life.
Cannot control
conditions under which
participants are
May not yield
observations typical of
participants' behaviour
in everyday life.
οƒ˜Clinical interview
οƒ˜Structured interview,
questionnaires, and
Flexible interviewing
procedure in which the
investigator obtains a
complete account of the
participant's thoughts
Self-report instruments
in which each
participant is asked the
same questions in the
same way
Comes as close as
possible to the way
participants think in
everyday life. Great
breadth and depth of
information can be
obtained in a short time.
Permits comparisons of
participants' responses
and efficient data
collection. Researchers
can specify answer
alternatives that
participants might not
think of in an open-
ended interview.
May not result in
accurate reporting of
information. Flexible
procedure makes
comparing individual's
responses difficult.
Does not yield the same
depth of information as
a clinical interview.
Responses are still
subject to inaccurate
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