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Chapter 11

PSY100Y5 Chapter 11: Human Development Across Lifespans

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Dax Urbszat

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Chapter 11 – Human Development Across Lifespans
oYour life provides an interesting illustration of the two themes that permeate the study of human
development: transition and continuity
oDevelopment is the sequence of age-related changes that occur as a person progresses from conception to
oDevelopment however is a life span process and can be divided into four broad periods; a) prenatal period
(between conception and birth) b) childhood, c) adolescence, d) adulthood
oThe prenatal period is divided into three phases; a) the germinal stage (first two weeks), b) the embryonic
stage (two weeks to two months), c) the fetal stage (two months to birth)
oDuring the prenatal period, a zygote is created through fertilization and it becomes a microscopic mass of
multiplying cells
oIn the embryonic stage, most of the vital organs and bodily systems begin to form in the developing
organism (called an embryo). Most miscarriages occur during this period and birth defects are also due to
problems that occur in this stage
oThe final stage, the fetal stage, is where the fetus becomes capable of physical movements
oSometime between 22 weeks and 26 weeks, the fetus reaches the age of viability - the age at which a baby
can survive in the event of a premature birth
oTeratogens are any external agents, such as drugs or viruses, that can harm an embryo or fetus
oPrenatal development proceeds through the germinal, embryonic and fetal stages at the zygote is
differentiated into a human organism. Development may be affected by maternal malnutrition, maternal
drug use and some maternal illnesses
The Wondrous Years of Childhood
oMotor development refers to the progression of muscular coordination required for physical activities (ie:
walking, crawling, sitting up, running, manipulating objects, etc)
oSome of the principles that are apparent in motor development is the cephalocaudal trend – the head-to-foot
direction of motor development. There’s also the proximodistal trend; the centre-outward direction of motor
oProgress in motor development is attributed to infants’ experimentation and their learning and remembering
of the consequences of their activities
oDevelopmental norms indicate the median age where individuals display various behaviors/abilities
oTemperament refers to characteristic mood, activity level and emotional reactivity
oIn a longitudinal design, investigators observe one group of participants repeatedly over a period of time;
this is usually extended over many years
oIn a cross-sectional design, investigators compare groups of participants of differing age at a single point in
time; this can be completed at a quicker pace and for cheaper but may reflect cohort effects
oCohort effects occur when differences between age groups are due to the groups growing up in different
time periods; thus longitudinal designs tend to be more sensitive to developmental changes
oIn Harry Harlow’s studies of attachment, he removed monkeys from their mothers and raised them in a lab
with two artificial “substitute mothers”. This experiment made Bowlby argue that there must me biological
basis for attachment and thus infants are biologically programmed to emit behavior (ie.: smiling, cooing,
clinging) that triggers an affectionate, protective response from adults
oMary Ainsworth used the “strange situation procedure”, a method whereby infants are exposed to a series
of eight separation and reunion episodes to assess the quality of their attachment
oAinsworth found that the attachment a child has with her parents follow three patterns; a) a secure
attachment, b) anxious-ambivalent attachment, c) avoidant attachment and years later, researchers added a
fourth category, known as d) disorganized-disoriented attachment
oBased on their attachment experiences, children may develop internal working models of the dynamics of
close relationships that influence their future interactions with people
Becoming Unique: Development and Theories

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oStage theories assume that a) individuals must progress through specified stages in a particular order, as
each stage builds on the previous one, b) progress through these stages is strongly related to age and c)
development is marked by major discontinuities that usher in dramatic transitions in behavior
oErikson’s Stage Theory accounts for both continuity and transition in personality development
Erik Erikson’s Stage Theory
Stage 1 Trust vs. Mistrust; year 1 of life – child depends on adults
Stage 2 Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt; years 2-3 of life – potty training (personal responsibility)
Stage 3 Initiative vs. Guilt; years 3-6 – parents need to support child’s independence
Stage 4 Industry vs. Inferiority; years 6 – puberty – children learn to function effectively
Stage 5 Identity vs. Confusion
Stage 6 Intimacy vs. Isolation
Stage 7 Generativity vs. Self-Absorption
Stage 8 Integrity vs. Despair
oCognitive Development refers to transitions in youngsters’ patterns of thinking, including reasoning,
remembering and problem solving and this investigation was realized by Jean Piaget
oPiaget’s model is a stage theory of development, as he proposed that youngsters progress through four
major stages of cognitive development; a) the sensorimotor period (birth – 2 years old), b) the
preoperational period (2 – 7 years old), c) the concrete operational period (7-11 years old) and d) the formal
operational period (11+ years old)
oAccording to Piaget, children progress in their thinking through the complementary processes of
assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation involves interpreting new experiences in terms of existing
mental structures without changing them
oAccommodation, in contrast, involves changing existing mental structures to explain new experiences
Piaget’s Stage Theory
Stage 1 Sensorimotor ; symbolic thought – i.e : mental image of a favorite toy – object performance
Stage 2 Preoperational; shortcomings – principle of conservation; flaws (centration, irreversibility, etc)
Stage 3 Concrete Operational – mastering reversilibty and decentration; problem-solving skills
Stage 4 Formal Operational – abstract concepts and more systemattic in nature of thinking; logical
oLev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory devised a theory whereby he places enormous emphasis on children’s
cognitive development and how it’s fuelled by social interactions with parents, teachers and older children
who can provide invaluable guidance. He also asserted that culture exerts great influence over cognitive
growth and argued that language acquisiton plays a crucial role in fostering cognitive development; he thus
saw cognitive development as an apprenticeship than a journey
oThe zone of proximal development (ZPD) is the gap between what a learner can accomplish alone and what
he or she can achieve with guidance from more skilled partners; scaffolding facilitates learning
oKohlbers theory focuses on moral reasoning rather than overt behaviour
oKohlberg presented his subjects with thorny moral questions, such as Heinz’s dilemma
oKohlberg found that individuals progress through a series of three levels of moral development; these can
be broken into two sublevels, yielding a total of six stages and each represents a different approach to
thinking about right and wrong
Kohlberg’s Stage Theory
Stage 1 : Punishment Orientation
Preconventional Level
Right and wrong are determined by
what is punished
Stage 2 : Naive Reward
Right and wrong are determined by
what is rewarded
Stage 3 : Good boy/Good girl
Conventionnal Level
Right and wrong are determined by
close others’ (dis)/approval
Stage 4 : Authority Orientation Right and wrong are determined by
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