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PSY210H5 (84)
Chapter 1


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University of Toronto Mississauga
Elizabeth Johnson

Chapter 1: Child Development: Themes, Theories, and Methods Textbook and Class Notes • child development - a field of study that seeks to account for the gradual evolution of the child’s cognitive, social, and other capacities first by describing changes in the child’s observed behaviours and then by uncovering the processes and strategies that underlie these changes Themes Of Development 1.Origins of behaviour: biological vs. environmental influences: • most contemporary theories recognize that both biological and environmental factors influence human development,but they disagree about the relative importance of each of them, or the balance b/w them • today, researchers explore how biological and environmental factors interact to produce developmental variations 2. Pattern of developmental change: continuity vs. discontinuity: • some psychologists view development as a continuous process whereby each event builds n earlier experiences (continuity) • others view development as a series of discrete steps/stages in which behaviours get reorganized into a qualitatively new set of behaviours 3.Forces that affect developmental change: Individual characteristics vs. contextual and cultural influences: • an interactionist viewpoint stresses the dual role of individual and contextual factors children respond differently to situational factors • • examining child development across cultures provides info about variation in the range of human potential and expression that may emerge in different circumstances of growth Theoretical Perspectives On Development 1.Structural-Organismic Perspectives: • structural-organismic perspective - theoretical approaches that describe psychological structures and processes that undergo qualitative or stage-like changes over the course of development • psychodynamic theory - Freud’s theory that development, which proceeds in discrete stages, is determined largely by biologically based drives shaped by encounters with the environment and through the interaction of 3 components of personality - the id, ego, and superego • psychosocial theory - Erikson’s theory of development that sees children developing through a series of stages largely through accomplishing tasks that involve them in interaction with their social environment • Piagetian theory - a theory of cognitive development that sees the child as actively seeking new info and incorporating it into his knowledge base through the processes of assimilation and accommodation 3.Learning Perspectives: • behaviourism - holds that theories of behaviour must be based on direct observations of actual behaviours and not on speculations about such unobservable things as human motives • behaviourists - John Watson, Ivan Pavlov, and B.F. Skinner • classical conditioning - a type of learning in which individuals learn to respond to unfamiliar stimuli in the same way they are accustomed to respond to familiar stimuli of the two stimuli are repeatedly presented together • operant conditioning - a type of learning in which learning depends on the consequences of behaviour; rewards increase the likeli
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