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Ch 1 social dev.docx

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Stuart Kamenetsky

Ch. 1: introduction Social Development: A brief History -the study of children’s development is a relatively recent enterprise. In the medieval period ppl viewed children as miniature adults and did not even recognize childhood as a distinctive period deserving attention -essentially took a while for people to recognize children’s value and vulnerability -scientific study of children’s development began with the pioneering work of evolutionary biologist, Charles Darwin. Followed by Stanley Hall Did you know -newborns can recognize their own mothers by smell -even 2 year olds experience jealousy -aggressive behaviour in an 8yr old can predict criminal behaviour at age 30 -infants in orphanages have lower levels of the “love” hormone -child abuse can lead to changes in children’s brain functioning -having a close friend can make up for being rejected by classmates -adolescent girls who have grown up without a father have a 1 in 3 chance of becoming a teen mother Critical questions about Social development 1. How do biological and environmental influences affect social development? -in early history of dev. Psych, scholars took opposing sides on what was known as the nature- nurture debate. -the nature side argued that biology is destiny and the course of development is largely predetermined by genetic factors, which guide the natural maturation (a biologically determined process of growth that unfolds over a period of time)or unfolding of increasingly complex social skills and abilities -the nurture side assumed that genetic factors put no restriction on the ways that environemental events shape the course of children’s development and claimed that by properly organizing the environment they could train any infant to become and athlete, architect, or an attorney -today no one supports either of these extreme positions. Modern Scholars realize that both biological and environmental factors influence social development (although they may disagree about the relative importance of each) -today the question is not which factor, biology or environment, determines development but rather how expression of an inherited biological characteristic is shaped, modified, and directed by a particular set of environmental circumstances 2. What role do Children play in their own development? -early scholars tended to believe that children were simply passive organisms who were shaped by external forces. -Today most scholars have moved away from the simple view -over the course of development, children participate in reciprocal interchanges with these other people, interchanges that are best described as transactional (ongoing interchanges between social partners such as a parent and child across time that result in modifications of the social behaviour of each) 3. What is the appropriate unit for studying social development? -psychologists’ study of social development has typically focused on the individual child as the unit of analysis. -focus has shifted to social dyads (a pair of social partners, such as friends, parent and child, or marital partners) -researchers now study the nature of social interactions and exchanges between these individuals -also social triads and larger groups 4. Is development continuous or discontinuous? -a fourth question that developmental psychologists have asked is how to characterize the nature of developmental change. -some see development as a continuous process with each change building on earlier experiences in an orderly way. They see development as smooth and gradual witout any abrupt shifts along the path -others view development as a series of discrete steps and sees the organization of behvaior qualitatively different at each new stage or plateau -today, most social development scholars recognize the value of both continuous and discontinuous views; they see development as basically continuous but interspersed with transitional periods in which changes are relatively abrupt 5. Is social behaviour the result of the situation or the child? -do children behave differently in different situations? -today, dual contributions of person and situation 6. Is social development universal across cultures? -children grow up with different experiences. -some aspects are universal, others are not universal and are attributable to culture. 7. How does social development vary across historical eras? -overall cultural shifts and specific historical events both leave their mark on children’s social and emotional development. Abrupt and gradual changes. 8. Is social development related to other developmental domains? -social development influences and is influenced by emotional, cognitive, language, perceptual, and motor development 9. How important are mothers for children’s social development? -although mothers are clearly important in children’s social development, other people including fathers, siblings, grandparents, peers, teachers, and religious leaders are also important influences 10. Is there a single pathway for social development? -children may start out at a similar place but end up at very different points (Multifinality) -children may follow different paths but end up at the same point (equifinality) 11. What influences how we label children’s social behaviour? Three sets of factors – characteristics of the child, the adult, and the contact – influence social judgements and, in turn, how social behaviors are labeled. 12. Do Developmental psychologists own social development? -scholars in a variety of fields including paediatrics, psychiatry, anthropology, economics, law, and history have made valuable contributions to the field of social development Theoretical Perspectives on Social Development -theories help organize and integrate knowledge into a coherent account of how children develop and foster research by providing testable predictions about behaviour. Historically grand theories reflected attempts to account for all aspects of development. Modern theories tend to be more narrowly focused attempts to explain specific aspects of social development Psychodynamic Perspective -psychodynamic theory: Freuds theory tht development is determined by innate biologically based drives shaped by encounters with the environment in early childhood -in Freud’s psychodynamic theory, basic biological drives motivate the child. Early experiences are essential for determining later behaviour -Id: instinctual drives that operate on the basis of the pleasure principle -ego: the rational component of the personality, which tries to satisfy needs through appropriate, socially acceptable behaviors. -superego: the personality component that is the repository of the child’s internalization of parental or societal values, morals, and roles. -Erikson expanded Freud’s theory to include social and cultural influences on development. His psychosocial theory is organized around a series of fundamental personal and social tasks that individuals must accomplish at each stage -psychosocial theory: Erikson’s theory that each stage of development depends on accomplishing a psychological task in interaction with the social environment -generativity: a concern for the people besides oneself, especially a desire to n
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