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Child Psychology Notes.docx

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Elizabeth Johnson

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Chapter 1Child Development Themes Theories and MethodsThemes of DevelopmentChildrens development has three key issues of themes pertaining to psychological growth the themes are o Origins of human behaviour o Pattern of developmental change over time o Individual and contextual factors that define and direct child development There are also many aspects of development o Biological o Cognitive o Linguistic o Emotionalo Social Origins of Behaviour Biological versus Environmental InfluencesArnold Gesell an early psychologist who focused solely on biological factors concentrated on maturation a genetically determined process of growth that unfolds naturally over a period of timeJohn B Watson an early behaviourist believed that biological factors placed no restrictions on the ways that the environment can shape the course of a childs developmentModern developmentalists explore how biological and environmental factors or nature and nurture interact to produce developmental variations in different childrenPattern of Developmental Change Continuity versus DiscontinuityTwo basic patterns of developmental change are debated o Some psychologists view development as a continuous process whereby each new event builds on earlier experiences development is a smooth and gradual accumulation of abilities without abrupt changes o Some psychologists view development as discontinuous and propose that the changes are abrupt and steplike each qualitatively different from the one that precedes itMost contemporary child researchers see development as fundamentally continuous but interspersed with transitions that may appear sudden eg overlapping waves model which suggests that children use multiple strategies in thinking and that cognition involves constant competition amongst different strategies Forces That Affect Developmental Change Individual Characteristics versus Contextual and Cultural InfluencesMany resolve the differences between emphasis on individual characteristics versus situationalcontextual influences by adopting an interactionist viewpoint stressing the dual role of individual and contextual factorsRisks to Healthy Development and Individual ResilienceOne important way in which individual characteristics have been studied is by examining how different children respond when they are confronted with situational challenges or risks to healthy developmentIndividual children respond to risks eg biological psychological environmental in different ways o Many suffer permanent developmental disruptions o Some show sleeper effects they seem to cope well initially but exhibit problems later in development o Others exhibit resilience and are able to deal with the challenge o Some children when they confront new risks later in life seem better able to adapt to challenges than children who have experienced little or no risk Researching across CulturesExamining child development across cultures provides information about variation in the range of human potential and expression that may emerge in different circumstance of growthTheoretical Perspectives on DevelopmentTheories serve two main functions that are critical to scientific understanding in general and to the study of developmental psychology in particular o They help organize and integrate existing information into coherent and interesting accounts of how children develop o They generate testable hypotheses or predictions about childrens behaviourMost developmental psychologists today might be considered theoretically eclectic in that they mix and match concepts from different theories to enable them to explain different types of observationsStructuralOrganismic PerspectivesStructuralism is the view that by describing the formal structure or organization of the system they were interested in this description would provide insight into how the system worked adopted by Freud and Piaget who were interested in psychological developmentBoth Freudinterested in emotions and personality and Piaget interested in thinking used the structuralorganismic perspective which are theoretical approaches that describe psychological structures and processes that undergo qualitative or stagelike changes over the course of developmentPsychodynamic TheoryPsychodynamic theory is Freuds 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 three components of personalitythe id ego and superegoThe id is the persons instinctual drives the first component of the personality to evolve the id operates on the basis of the pleasure principleThe ego is the rational controlling component of the personality which tries to satisfy needs through appropriate socially acceptable behavioursThe superego is the personality component that is the repository of the childs internalization of parental or societal values morals and rolesTo Freud personality developmentthat is changes in the organization and interaction of the id ego and superegoinvolves five stages o In the oral stage the young infant is preoccupied with pleasurable activities such as eating sucking and biting o In the second to third year anal stage the child enters the anal stage and learns to postpone personal gratification such as the pleasure of expelling feces as he is trained to use the toilet o During the phallic stage age 36 curiosity about sexual anatomy and sexuality appears Freud saw this stage as critical to the formation of gender identity o During the latency period from about 6 years of age to puberty sexual drives are temporarily submerged and children avoid relationships with peers of the other gender o In the last stage the genital period sexual desires emerge and are directed toward peersOne of Freuds primary contributions to developmental psychology is his emphasis on how early experiences especially in the first six years of life influence later developmentFor Freud the way in which the child negotiates the oral anal and phallic stages has a profound impact on emotional development and the adult personality Another contribution of Freuds thinking to contemporary developmental psychology is the vital role that emotional attachment early in life especially to the mother has in socioemotional development Psychosocial theory is Eriksons theory of development that sees children developing through a series of stages largely through accomplishing tasks that involve them in interaction with their social environmentPiagetian TheoryPiagetian theory is a theory of cognitive development that sees the child as actively seeking new information and incorporating it into his knowledge base through the process of assimilation and accommodation
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