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Chapter 10

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Gustavo Gottret

Know moral development -characteristics of Kohlberg's stages Chapter 10: Socio-Emotional Development in Middle and Late Childhood The Self The Development and Self-Understanding -in middle and late childhood, children increasingly define themselves through psychological traits and characteristics in contrast to the more concrete descriptions of younger children -elementary school children are more likely to define themselves in terms of social characteristics and social comparisons, such as smart, popular, dumb, etc. -social aspects of the self also increase at this point in development -elementary school children often included references to social groups in their self- descriptions -e.g.: as girl scouts, as Catholics, etc. -children younger than 7 made no reference to the information about other children's performances, however, many children older than 7 included socially comparative information in their self-descriptions -overall, in middle and late childhood, self-description increasingly involves psychological and social characteristics, including social comparison Understanding Others -during middle and late childhood, children show an increase in perspective taking, the ability to assume other people's perspectives and understand their thoughts and feelings -at about 6 to 8 years, children begin to understand that others may have a perspective because some people have more access to information -later, children become aware that each individual is aware of the other's perspective, and that putting one's self in the other's place is a way of judging the other person's intentions, purposes, and actions -perspective taking is important in whether children develop prosocial or antisocial attitudes and behaviours -in terms of prosocial behaviour, taking another's perspective improves children's likelihood of understanding and sympathizing with others when they are distressed or in need -during middle and late childhood, children also become more sceptical of others' claims -children become increasingly skeptical of some sources of information about psychological traits -e.g.: 10 year olds more likely to reject other children's self-reports that they were smart and honest Self-Esteem and Self-Concept -self-esteem refers to global evaluations of the self; it is also referred to self-worth or self-image -e.g.: a child may perceive that she is not merely a person, but a good person -self-concept refers to domain-specific evaluations of the self -e.g.: academic, athletic, appearance, etc. -self-esteem reflects perceptions that do not always match reality -a child's self-esteem might reflect a belief that is not necessarily accurate -e.g.: high self-esteem may refer to accurate, justified perceptions of one's worth as a person and one's successes and accomplishments, but it can also refer to an unnecessary sense of superiority over others -e.g.: low self-esteem may reflect an accurate perception of one's shortcomings or a distorted insecurity and inferiority -self-esteem has been linked, correlationally, with many aspects of children's development -there are moderate correlations between school performance and self-esteem, which do not suggest that high self-esteem produces better school performances -efforts to increase students' self-esteem may have not always led to improved school performance -children who are more physically active have considerably higher levels of self-esteem -physical activity is directly related to good health and may be indirectly related to components of high self-esteem, such as academic performance and body image -children with higher self-esteem have greater initiative -children are prone to both prosocial and antisocial actions -overtime, aggressive children with high self-esteem increasingly valued rewards that aggression can bring -achievement can improve self-esteem -children have the highest self-esteem when they perform competently in domains that are important to them (i.e.: academic skills, sports, etc,) -self-esteem and physical competence / appearance are related in childhood -emotional support and social approval from others can also influence children's self-esteem -children with low self-esteem often come from conflicted families or conditions in which they experience abuse or neglect (i.e.: situations where there was no support) Self-Efficacy -the belief that one can master a situation and produce favourable outcomes -BANDURA: self-efficacy is a critical factor in whether or not students achieve -self-efficacy = "I can" ; helplessness = "I cannot" -self-efficacy influences a student's choice of activities -students with low self-efficacy for learning may avoid learning tasks -students with high self-efficacy are more likely to expend effort and persist longer at a learning task Self-Regulation -middle and late childhood is characterized by the increased capacity for self-regulation -self-regulation involves deliberate efforts to manage one's behaviours, emotions, and thoughts, leading to increased social competence and achievement -increased self-regulation is linked to developmental advances in the prefrontal cortex (involved with cognitive control) Industry versus Inferiority -this is the 4th stage of Erikson's 8 stages of human development -appears during middle and late childhood -the term "industry" deals with the fact that children become interested in how things are made and how they work -when children are encouraged to make, build, and work, their sense of industry increases -parents who see their children's efforts at making things as "mischief" or "making a mess" may contribute to a sense of inferiority -children should be encouraged, not embarrassed, to try hard and do well -ADLER: believed that realization of the ideal and behaviour toward that goal were likely formed in the first few months of life -all factors that influence the child's development set up boundaries intended to help the child regulate his or her behaviour; the children learn to wriggle their way around these boundaries in order to attain a goal -the child's sense of the ideal directs this activity and often leads to a sense of inferiority, as we cannot always achieve our ideal -Adler believed that much behaviour, prosocial or otherwise, is a compensation for feelings of inferiority Emotional Development -in middle and late childhood, children further develop their understanding and self-regulation of emotion Developmental Changes -include: -an increased ability to understand complex emotions such as pride and shame; these emotions become less tied to the reactions of other people and become more internalized and integrated with a sense of personal responsibility -increased understanding that more than one emotion can be experienced in a particular situation -an increased tendency to take into account the events leading to emotional reactions -marked improvement in the ability to suppress or conceal negative emotional reactions -the use of self-initiated strategies for redirecting feelings -a capacity for genuine empathy Emotional Intelligence -emotional intelligence initially proposed in 1990 as a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and other's feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and action -emotional intelligence involves 4 main areas: 1) developing emotional self-awareness -i.e.: the ability to separate feelings from actions -i.e.: recognizing feelings and building a vocabulary for them -i.e.: seeing the links among thoughts, feelings, decisions, and reactions 2) managing emotions -i.e.: being able to control anger -i.e.: realizing what is behind a feeling (e.g.: seeing the hurt that triggers anger) 3) reading emotions -i.e.: taking the perspective of others 4) handling relationships -i.e.: the ability to solve relationship problems Coping with Stress -as children grow older, they more accurately appraise a stressful situation and determine how much control they have over it -older children generate more coping alternatives to stress and use more cognitive coping strategies -they can shift their thoughts to something less stressful (i.e.: looking at a new perspective, reframing, or changing their perception of a stressful situation) -to help children cope with stress, we should: -constantly reassure children of their safety and security -allow children to retell events and be patient when listening to them -encourage children to talk about any disturbing or confusing feelings, reassuring them that such feelings are normal after a stressful event -protect children from re-exposure to frightening situations and reminders of the trauma -help children make sense of what happened, keeping in mind that children may have misunderstood what took place Moral Development and Gender -Piaget proposed that younger children are characterized by heteronomous morality and move to autonomous morality -a 2nd major perspective on moral development was proposed by Lawrence Kohlberg -he suggests there are 6 stages of moral development (even though Piaget's cognitive stages of development serve as the underpinnings for his theory) -3 stages are universal; development from one stage to another is fostered by opportunities to take the perspective of others and to experience conflict between one's current stage of moral thinking and the reasoning of someone at a higher stage Moral Development -a key concept in understanding moral development is internalization, the developmental change from behaviour that is externally controlled to behaviour that is controlled by internal standards and principles -as children and adolescents, their moral thoughts become more internalized Kohlberg's Level 1: Preconventional Reasoning -the lowest level in moral development -the individual shows no internalization of moral values -moral reasoning is controlled by external rewards and punishments Stage 1 -heteronomous morality: moral thinking is often tied to punishment Stage 2 -individualism, instrumental purpose, and exchange: individuals pursue their own interests but also let others do the same -thus, what is right involves an equal exchange -e.g.: people are nice to others so that others will be nice to them in return Kohlberg's Level 2: Conventional Reasoning -internalization is immediate -individuals abide by certain standards (internal), but they are the standards of others (external), such as parents or society Stage 3 -mutual interpersonal expectations, relationships, and interpersonal conformity: individuals value trust, caring, and loyalty to others as the basis of moral judgments -children and adolescents often adopt their parents' moral standards at this stage, seeking to be thought of by their parents as "good" Stage 4 -social systems morality: at this stage, moral judgements are based on understanding the social order, law, justice, and duty -e.g.: adolescents may say that for a community to work effectively, it needs to be protected by laws that are adhered to by its members Kohlberg's Level 3: Postconventional Reasoning -the highest level in Kohlberg's theory of moral development -morality is completely internalized and is not based on others' standards -the individual recognizes alternative moral courses, explores the options, and then decides on a personal moral code Stage 5 -social contract or utility and individual rights: at this stage, individual reason that values, rights, and principles, transcend the law -laws and social systems can be examined in terms of the degree to which the preserve and protect fundamental human rights and values Stage 6 -universal ethical principles: at this stage, the person has developed a moral standard based on universal human rights -when faced with a conflict between law and conscience, the person will follow conscience even though the decision might involve personal risk -these levels and stages occur in a sequence and are age related -most children use level 1 preconventional reasoning based on external rewards and punishments -adolescents reason at stage 3, with some signs of stage 2 and 4 -in early adulthood, a small number of individuals reason in postconventional ways -through research, it was found that the moral stages appeared somewhat later than Kohlberg initially envisioned, and reasoning at the higher stages (i.e.: stage 6) was rare Influences on the Kohlberg Stages -although moral reasoning at each stage presupposes a certain level of cognitive development, Kohlberg argued that advances in children's cognitive development did not ensure development of moral reasoning -moral reasoning also reflects children's experiences in dealing with moral questions and moral conflict -by presenting arguments slightly beyond the children's level of moral reasoning, researchers created a disequilibrium that motivated the children to restructure their moral thought -this applies the concepts of equilibrium and conflict that Piaget used to explain cognitive development -Kohlberg emphasised that peer interaction and perspective taking are critical aspects of the social stimulation that challenges children to change their moral reasoning -the give and take among peers gives children an opportunity to take the perspective of another person and to generate rules democratically -encounters with any peers can produce perspective-taking opportunities that may advance a child's moral reasoning Kohlberg's Critics -key criticisms involve the link between moral though and moral behaviour, inadequate consideration of culture's role and the family's role in moral development, and the significance of concern for others Moral Thought and Moral Behaviour -in Kohlberg's theory has been criticised for placing too much emphasis on moral thought and not enough emphasis on moral behaviour -moral reasons can sometimes be a shelter for immoral behaviour -people can display virtuous thoughts but engage in immoral behaviour -BANDURA: people usually do not engage in harmful conduct until they have justified the morality of their actions to themselves -immoral conduct is made personally and socially acceptable by portraying it as serving socially worthy or moral purposes -altruism involves an unselfish interest in helping someone else -often, this is an area involved in research on moral behaviour Culture and Moral Development -Kohlberg's theory may be culturally biased -mostly non-Europeans provided support for the universality of Kohlberg's first 4 stages -individuals in diverse cultures developed through these 4 stages, in sequence -stage 5 and 6 were not in all cultures -Kohlberg's scoring system does not recognize the higher-level moral reasoning of certain cultures, thus making his system more culture-specific than he envisioned -e.g.: communal equity and collective happiness in Israel, the sacredness of all life forms in India, and collective moral responsibility in New Guinea would not be scored at the highest level because they are not based on principles of justice -Kohlberg's approach does capture much of the moral reasoning voiced in various cultures, but his approach misses or misconstrues some important moral concepts in particular cultures Family and Moral Development -Kohlberg thought that family processes are unimportant in children's moral development -parent-child relationships are usually power-oriented and provide children with little opportunity for mutual give-and-take or perspective taking; instead, these are provided by peer relations -developmentalists emphasize inductive discipline which uses reasoning and focuses children's attention on the consequences of their actions for others and this positively influences development -as well, parents' moral values influence children's developing moral thoughts -nonetheless, peers play an important role in the development of moral reasoning Gender and the Care Perspective -GILLIGAN: Kohlberg's theory reflects a gender bias -his theory is based on a male norm that puts abstract principles above relationships and concert for others or a justice perspective that sees the individual as standing alone and independently making moral decisions -his theory puts justice at the heart of morality -GILLIGAN argues for a care perspective which is a moral perspective that views people in terms of their connectedness with others and emphasizes interpersonal communication, relationships with others, and concern for others -experts conclude that there is no evidence to support Gilligan's claim that Kohlberg downplayed females' moral thinking -there are some differences in how boys and girls tend to interpret some aspects of moral situations -females rated prosocial dilemmas (those emphasizing altruism and helping) as more significant than males did -young adolescent girls used more care-based reasoning about dating dilemmas than boys Social Conventional Reasoning -some argue that Kohlberg did not adequately distinguish between moral reasoning and social conventional reasoning -social conventional reasoning focuses on conventional rules that have been established by social consensus to control behaviour and maintain the social system -social conventional judgments are concepts of social organization -moral reasoning focuses on ethical issues and rules of morality -moral rules are not arbitrary like conventional rules -moral rules or obligatory, widely accepted, and somewhat impersonal; involve rules about lying, cheating, stealing, violence, etc., because violation of these rules affronts (causes offence) ethical standards that exist apart from convention -moral judgments involves concepts of justice Prosocial Behaviour -the study of prosocial moral behaviour places more emphasis on the behavioural aspects of moral development -children engage in both immoral antisocial acts such as lying and cheating, and prosocial moral behaviour such as showing empathy and acting altruistically -prosocial behaviour often occurs more often in adolescence than in childhood -during the first years, children usually share for the fun of the social play ritual or out of imitation, rather than for reasons of empathy -at about 4 years of age, a combination of empathic awareness and adult encouragement produces a sense of obligation on the part of the child to share with others -children believe they have the obligation to share, but do not necessarily think they should be as generous to others as they are to themselves -during the elementary years, children begin to express objective ideas about fairness -they use the word 'fair' synonymously with equal or same -during the middle to late elementary years, children believe that equity may sometimes mean that people with special merit or special needs deserve special treatment -children's sharing behaviour is affected by both developmental factors and the immediate environment -studies show that adult authority has only a small influence on children's sharing -the give-and-take of peer requests and arguments provides the most immediate stimulation of sharing Moral Personality -there are 3 possible components: 1) Moral Identity -individuals have a moral identity when moral notions and moral commitments are central to their lives -they construct the self with reference to moral categories -violating their moral commitment would place the integrity of their self at risk 2) Moral Character -a person with moral character has the willpower, desires and integrity to stand up to pressure, overcome distractions and disappointments, and behave morally -a person of good moral character displays moral virtues such as honesty, truthfulness, and trustworthiness, as well as those of care, compassion, thoughtfulness, and considerateness 3) Moral Exemplars -moral exemplars are people who have lived exemplary moral lives -their moral personality, identity, character, and set of virtues reflect moral excellence and commitment Gender Gender Stereotypes -are broad categories that reflect general impressions and beliefs about females and males -e.g.: a well-adjusted boy was supposed to be independent, aggressive, and powerful; a well- adjusted girl was supposed to be dependent, nurturing, and uninterested in power -gender stereotypes are still present in today's world Gender Similarities and Differences -the following similarities and differences are averages, have considerable overlap between the sexes, and are primarily due to biological factors, socio-cultural factors, or both Physical Development -women have twice the body fat of men, concentrated around the breasts and hips -fat in men is likely to go to the abdomen -males grow to be 10% taller than females -females have a longer lif
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