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Chapter 1-5

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Stuart Kamenetsky

Chapter 1Introduction Theories of Social DevelopmentChapter SummarySocial DevelopmentThe field of social development includes descriptions of social behaviors individual differences in social behavior and changes in social behavior with age as well as explanations for these changes and differencesSocial Development A Brief HistoryThe scientific study of social development began with Darwins work in the 1800s Subsequently competing views were expressed in Watsons behaviorally oriented theory Freuds biologically inspired theory and Gesells maturational theoryCritical Questions about Social DevelopmentHow do biological and environmental influences affect social development Modern developmental psychologists recognize the importance of both biological and environmental influences and are concerned with discovering the ways in which these factors interact to produce developmental differencesWhat role do children play in their own development Most developmental psychologists believe that children actively shape control and direct the course of their own developmentWhat is the appropriate unit for studying social development Although researchers have typically focused on individual children they have increasingly recognized that other units such as dyads triads and social groups are also importantIs development continuous or discontinuous Some theorists view social development as a continuous process whereby change takes place smoothly and gradually Others see development as a series ofqualitatively different stages or steps The more closely we examine development the more we see ebbs andflows in the acquisition of social skillsIs social behavior the result of the situation or the child Most developmental psychologists stress the complementary roles of situational factors and child differencesIs social development universal across cultures Most developmental psychologists agree that cultural contexts should be considered but believe that universal aspects of development such as emotions language and communication coexist with cultural variationsHow does social development vary across historical eras Both abrupt and gradual changes in society influence social developmentIs social development related to other developmental domains Social development influences and is influenced by emotional cognitive language perceptual and motor developmentHow important are mothers for childrens social development Although mothers are clearly important in childrens social development other people including fathers siblings grandparents peers teachers and religious leaders also are important influencesIs there a single pathway for social development Children may start out at a similar place but end up at very different points multifinality or they may follow different paths but end up at the same point equifinalityWhat influences how we label childrens social behavior Three sets of factorscharacteristics of the child the adult and the contextinfluence social judgments and in turn how social behaviors are labeledDo developmental psychologists own social development Scholars in a variety of fields including pediatrics psychiatry anthropology economics law and history have made valuable contributions to the field of social developmentTheoretical Perspectives on Social DevelopmentTheories help organize and integrate knowledge into a coherent account of how children develop and foster research by providing testable predictions about behavior 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 developmentPsychodynamic PerspectiveIn Freuds psychodynamic theory basic biological drives motivate the child Early experiences are essential for determining later behaviorErikson expanded Freuds theory to include social and cultural influences on developmentHis psychosocial theory is organized around a series of fundamental personal and social tasks that individuals must accomplish at each stagePsychodynamic theories helped shape many concerns of modern social development including the effects of early experience in the family and the psychological roots and importance of aggression morality gender roles and attachment However the central claims of the theories are difficult to test empiricallyTraditional Learning PerspectiveTraditional learning theories emphasize how new behaviors are acquired through a gradual and continuous process of learning The theories had important applications and have been used in homes schools and clinics to reduce childrens behavior problems Their lack of attention to developmental changes is a limitationCognitive Social Learning TheoryBandura focused attention on observational learning The notions of reciprocal determinism and selfefficacy were important additions to this theoretical position The lack of attention to developmental issues the limited ecological validity of the findings and the limited recognition of the roles of biology and culture are shortcomings of the theorySocial InformationProcessing TheoryThis approach focuses on how children take in use and remember information to make decisions about social actions The lack of developmental focus the limited role allocated to emotion and the heavy emphasis on deliberate decision making rather than automatic or habitual responding are limitations of this perspectiveCognitive Developmental PerspectiveIn Piagets theory of development children actively seek new experiences and from them construct mental structures They assimilate new information into existing structures and accommodate structures when the information doesnt fit Piagets focus on stages has been questioned and his lack of emphasis on emotions culture and social behavior make his theory of limited use in the field of social developmentSocial Cognitive Domain TheoryThis perspective focuses on how children learn to make social judgments about their worldAccording to this approach childrens social judgments are domain specificVygotskys Sociocultural TheoryThis theory focuses on the contributions of social and cultural factors to childrens development Children grow and change as a function of their own efforts and the guidance of more skilled others The theory does not describe how interactions change over the course of developmentSystems Perspective
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