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Chapter 1

PSYC 208 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Tabula Rasa, Paul Baltes, Developmental Psychology

5 pages106 viewsFall 2012

Course Code
PSYC 208
Maria Weatherby

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Chapter 1: Independent Questions
I. The Scientific Study of Human Development
1. Define developmental psychology.
- Developmental psychology is the study of age-related changes in our bodies, behaviour,
thinking, emotions, social relationships, and personalities.
A. Philosophical Roots
2. Identify the key ideas and the implied parental responsibilities of:
(a) The doctrine of original sin
- attributed to 4th century North African philosopher Augustine of Hippo
- taught that all human are born with a selfish and stubborn nature
- to reduce the influence of this inborn tendency towards sinfulness, Augustine taught,
humans must seek redemption by leading a disciplined life
- parents are responsible for facilitating the child’s struggle to overcome an inborn
tendency to act immorally by restraining and correcting the child’s immoral tendencies
disciplining/punishing children when they are misbehaving
- differences in adults are a result of a struggle to overcome their inborn tendencies
(b) Rousseau (innate goodness view)
- claimed that all human beings are naturally good and seek out experiences that help
them grow
- believed that children need only nurturing and protection to reach their full potential
- parents must refrain from interfering in her attempts to nurture her own development
- in contrast, poor outcomes occur when a child experiences frustration in her effots to
express the innate goodness with which she was born
(c) Locke (empiricism blank slate)
- claimed that the mind of a child is a blank slate
- Empiricism view that humans possess no innate tendencies and that all differences
among humans are attributable to experience
- parents should mold children into whatever they want them to be
differences among adults can be explained in terms of the differences in their
childhood environments rather than as a result of a struggle to overcome their inborn
tendencies, as the original sin view proposed
(d) If you attended an elementary school that endorsed a policy to reduce teacher control
because students are viewed as naturally possessing the desire or internal motivation to work
hard, this policy would best reflect the ideas of b. (Choose between 2 a, b, or c)
B. The Study of Human Development Becomes a Science
Since the 1930s philosophical ideas have been translated into scientific theories. In turn, scientific
theories are tested/evaluated using scientific research methods. This section reviews some of the
early scientific theories that have paved the way for the more contemporary scientific theories,
which are covered in chapter two.
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3. (a) What concept did Darwin’s theory of evolution contribute to developmental psychology?
- the concept of developmental stages comes from the evolutionary theory
critics of baby biographies claimed that studying children for the purpose of proving a
theory might cause observers to misinterpret or ignore important information
(b) What concept did Hall contribute to developmental psychology? Define this concept.
- Hall contributed the concept of norms. Norms are average ages at which developmental
milestones are reached
- could be used to learn about the evolution of species as well as to track the development of
individual children
(c) What concept did Gesell contribute to developmental psychology? Define this concept.
- concept of maturation
- maturation is a genetically programmed sequential pattern of change
C. A Brief History of the Roots of Psychology in Canada – (optional reading – not on exams)
II. Contemporary Developmental Psychology
4. Identify the THREE ways that contemporary developmental psychology has changed since
the early days (see introductory paragraph only).
1) the term development now encompasses the entire human lifespan rather than just
childhood and adolescence.
2) developmentalists have come to understand that inborn characteristics interact with
environmental factors in complex ways.
3) the pioneers thought of change almost exclusively in terms of norms, whereas today’s
developmentalists view norms as representing only one way to measure change.
A. The Lifespan Perspective
5. (a) Your textbook states that the lifespan perspective invites interdisciplinary investigations.
What unique contributes do psychology, anthropology, and sociology typically make to the
study of human development.
- Psychologists – enhance understanding of human development
- Anthropologists – information about culture
- Sociologists – race, socioeconomic status, social factors on individual development
- Biology – physiological foundations of human behaviour
(b) Define the lifespan perspective.
- current view of developmentalists that changes happen throughout the entire human
lifespan and that changes must be interpreted in light of the culture and context in which they
occur; thus, interdisciplinary research is critical to understanding human development
(c) What did one of the early leaders in the lifespan perspective (Paul Baltes) propose about
- plasticity – capacity for positive change, in response to environmental demands is possible
throughout the entire lifespan\
- human beings age, adopt strategies to help them maximize gains and compensate for losses
B. The Domains of Development
6. Although there are multiple factors that influence human development, no single theory has
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