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PSY210H5 (84)
Chapter 1


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University of Toronto Mississauga
Elizabeth Johnson

Notes From Reading C HAPTER  1: CHILD DEVELOPMENT : HEMES , HEORIES ,AND  M ETHODS   PGS . 2­41) Introduction - Child Development – Afield 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 - Better information about child development can help society protect and advance the well-being of children, and can also be used to shape social policy on behalf of children PART ONE: Themes of Development 1) Origins of Behaviour: Biological versus Environmental Influences - Arnold Gesell believed that the course of development was largely predetermined by biological factors o He focused on maturation (a genetically determined process of growth that unfolds naturally over a period of time) - John B. Watson assumed that biological factors placed no restrictions on the ways that the environment can shape the course of a child’s development - Today, modern developmentalists explore how biological and environmental factors, or nature and nurture, interact to produce developmental variations in different children 2) Pattern of Developmental Change: Continuity versus Discontinuity - Continuous process: (macroscopic) – each new event builds on earlier experiences o No stages as abilities are acquired smoothly and gradually o Developmental changes add to previous abilities without any abrupt shift o Change is cumulative and quantitative (ex: learning to swim, you get better) - Discontinuous process: (microscopic) – abrupt step-like change each qualitatively different from the one that precedes it in development o Involves stages and qualitative in nature 3) Forces ThatAffect Developmental Change: Individual Characteristics versus Contextual and Cultural Influences - Individual characteristics can affect the context and vise versa RISK TO HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT AND INDIVIDUAL RESILIENCE - One way to study development is by seeing how kids react to challenges or risks - Many seem to suffer permanent developmental disruptions, others show “sleeper” effects; they seem to cope well initially, but exhibit problems later in development - 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 CULTURES - Examining child development across cultures provides information about variation in the range of human potential and expression that may emerge in different circumstances of growth PART TWO: Theoretical Perspectives on Development - 2 main functions of a theory are: o Help organize information into coherent accounts of how children develop o They generate testable hypotheses or predictions about children’s behaviour - 5 general approaches in the field of development: 1) Structural-Organismic Perspectives - Freud and Piaget adopted the approach called structuralism describing the formal structure, or organization, of the system to provide insight into how the system worked Notes From Reading C HAPTER  1: CHILD  DEVELOPMENT : THEMES , THEORIES ,AND  M ETHODS   PGS . 2­41) - Freud: interested in emotions and personality, whereas Piaget: interested in thinking - Structural-Organismic Perspective – Theoretical approaches that describe psychological structures and processes that undergo qualitative or stage-like changes over the course of development o Both Freud and Piaget used this perspective in their theories PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORY - 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 three components of personality – the id, ego, and superego o Also emphasizes how experiences of early childhood shape development of adult personality - id – The person’s instinctual drives; the first component of te personality to evolve, the id operates on the basis of the pleasure principle - Ego – The rational, controlling component of the personality, which tries to satisfy needs through appropriate, socially acceptable behaviours - Superego – The personality component that is the repository of the child’s internalization of parental or societal values, morals, and roles o Develops a conscience, or the ability to apply moral values to her own acts - To Freud, personality development (changes in the organization and interaction of the id, ego and superego) involves five stages (oranges and pineapples look great) - Erik Erikson devised the most prominent of these theories in his psychosocial theory o 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 o Each stage is characterized by the personal and social tasks and risks o Stage of Development Age Period (Years) Freudian Eriksonian (task vs. risk) 0-1 Oral: young infant is preoccupied with Infancy: pleasurable activities such as eating, Trust vs. Mistrust sucking, and biting 1-3 Anal: emphasis on toilet training; firstEarly Childhood: experience with discipline and authority Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt 3-6 Phallic: increase in sexual urges arousePlay Age: curiosity and alerts children to gender Initiative vs. Guilt differences; period is critical to formation of gender identity 6-12 Latency: sexual urges repressed; School Age: emphasis on education and other Industry vs. Inferiority beginning of concern for others 12-20 Genital: altruistic love joins selfish lAdolescence: need for reproduction of species Identity vs. Confusion underlies adoption of adult 20-30 responsibilities (encompassed both Young Adulthood: adolescence and adulthood) Intimacy vs. Isolation 30-65 Adult: Generativity vs. Productivity 65+ Mature: Notes From Reading C HAPTER 1: CHILD DEVELOPMENT : THEMES , HEORIES ,AND  METHODS   PGS . 2­41) Integrity vs. Despair PIAGETIAN THEORY - Piagetian Theory –Atheory of cognitive development that sees the child as actively seeking new information and incorporating it into his knowledge base through the processes of assimilation and accommodation - Uses two basic principle of biology and biological change: organization and adaptation o Organism reflects the view that human intellectual development is a biologically organized process o Adaptation to describe the process by which intellectual change occurs as the human mind becomes increasingly adapted to the world - According to Piagetian theory, all children go through 4 stages of development: o Sensorimotor stage (birth – 2) o Preoperational stage (2 – 7) o Concrete operational (7 – adolescence) o Formal operation (adolescence) 2) Learning Perspectives BEHAVIOURISM - Behaviourism – Theories of behaviour must be based on direct observations of actual behavior and not on speculations about such unobservable things as human motives o Exemplified in the work of John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov, and B.F. Skinner - Classical Conditioning – Atype of learning in which individuals learn to respond to unfamiliar stimuli in the same way they are accustomed to respond to familiar stimuli if the two stimuli are repeatedly presented together o Watson used Pavlov’s notion to explain many aspects of children’s behavior, such as fear - Operant Conditioning – Atype of learning in which learning depends on the consequences of behaviour; rewards increase the likelihood that a behavior will recur, whereas punishment decreases that likelihood o Skinner’s notion was also applied to children’s behaviour o Positive reinforcement of a particular behaviour in the for of praise or a special treat was shown to increase the likelihood that a child would exhibit that behaviour again o Punishment in the form of criticism or the withdrawal of privileges can decrease the chance that a child will repeat the same behaviour COGNITIVE SCIAL LEARNING THEORY - Cognitive Social Learning Theory – Learning by observing and imitating others - Albert Bandura: children who saw adult kicking and punching a Bobo clown doll, they were more likely to attack and play aggressively compared to the children who didn’t see the adult model - Children select specific behaviour to imitate, and their imitation relies on how they process this information - Four cognitive processes govern how well a child will learn by observing another person: o Attention  Retention  Reproduction  Motivation INFORMATION-PROCESSING APPROACHES - Information-ProcessingApproaches – Focus on the flow of information through the cognitive system, beginning with an input (stimulus) and ending with an output (response) Notes From Reading C HAPTER  1: HILD  DEVELOPMENT : THEMES , THEORIES, AND M ETHODS   PGS . 2­41) 3) Dynamic Systems Perspectives - Dynamic Systems Theory – Individuals develop and function within systems o Studies the relationships among individuals and systems and the processes by which these relationships operate - Principles of dynamic systems theory: o Complexity: each developmental issue has unique parts but they are also related to each other o Wholeness and Organization: whole system is organized and studies as a unit o Identity and Stabilization: the identity of the system remains intact o Morphogenesis: chances in the system; system must be able to grow and adapt to internal and external changes o Equifinality: most individuals reach the same developmental milestones, regardless of how they get there 4. Contextual Perspectives SOCIOCULTURAL THEORY - Sociocultural Theory – Proposed by Lev Vygotsky: developments results from the social interactions a child develops with more skilled people - Vygosky’s theory: best understood in relation to social and cultural experience - As children develop, different tools help children to function more effectively in solving problems and understand the world BRONFENBRENNER’S ECOLOGICAL THEORY - Ecological Theory – Stresses he importance of understanding relationship of child and environment and relations among such systems themselves - Microsystem – The context in which children live and interact with the people and institutions closest to them o Example: parents, peers and school - Mesosystem – Interrelations that occur among the components of the microsystem with which the child interacts o Example: parents interacting with teachers - Exosystem – Collection of settings that impinge on a child’s development but in which the child does not play a direct role o Example: parent’s work life may affect child’s life if they have to travel a lot - Macrosystem – System that surrounds the microsystem, mesosystem, and exosystem, and that represents the values, ideologies, and laws of the society or culture - Chronosystem – The time-based dimension that can alter the operation of all other levels, from microsystem through macrosystem THE LIFESPAN PERSPECTIVE - Lifespan Perspective –Atheory that sees development as a process that continues throughout the life cycle, from infancy through adult-hood and old age - Age Cohort – People born within the same generation 5) Ethological and EvolutionaryApproaches ETHOLOGICAL THEORY - Ethological Theory – Behaviour must be kept to its own context in which it occurred and must be viewed and understood in the light of that particular context (setting) - Method of study: observation of children in their natural surroundings - Goal: develop detailed descriptions and classifications of behaviour - It is useful for understanding that many behaviours seen across a range of cultures, such as smiling and crying, may have a biological basis and play an importan
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