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Canada (158,433)
Psychology (1,867)
PSY311H5 (58)
Chapter 1

Chapter One Theories of Social Development

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Stuart Kamenetsky

Chapter One Introduction Theories of Social Development What is the Study of Social Developmentsocial behaviour and how it changes as children get older description of childrens ideas about themselves and other people their relationships with peers and adults their emotional expressions and displays and their ability to function in social groups studying social development shows how children differinfluence of parents and peers school media culture biology on childrens social behaviour and ideas gather information about social development to help people make better decisions about childrens lives Social Development A Brief Historyrecent enterprisemedieval period children viewed as mini adults no distinct periodmany children died in infancy and early childhood if they survived they were forced to labor in mines and fields child labor laws introduced in 1800s scientific study of children development began by Charles Darwin Hall used questionnaires to document childrens activities feelings and attitudes Watson argued that conditioning and learning were the processes by which social and emotional behaviour are acquired and modifiedSigmund Freud offered a more biologically oriented view claiming that social development was the product of how adults handled childrens basic drives infants drive to suckArnold Gesell 1928 offered a different view of social development social skills like motor skills simply unfold over the course of infancy and childhoodCritical Questions about Social Development 1 How do Biological and Environmental Influences Affect Social DevelopmentNature vs Nurturenature hereditary and maturationGesell was an early advocate of nature view nurture learning and experienceWatson placed emphasis on environment by properly organizing the environment can train an infant both biological and environmental factors influence social development today the question is how the expression of a particular inherited biological characteristic is shaped modified and directed by a particular set of environmental circumstances 2 What Role Do Children Play in Their Own Developmentearly scholars believed children were simply passive organisms who were shaped by external forcesdevelopmental psychologists currently believe that children are active agent who shape control and direct the course of their own development curious seekers that intentionally try to understand and explore the world about them children engage in interchanges called transactional ex children ask parents for help solving problem parents offer advice childrens interaction with their parents and peers are modifiedGenie A Wild Childkept away from socializationstrapped to potty chair during the day and wire cage at nightshe only knew words no more or stop itwalked with her hands out like a bunny hopshe was incontinent unsocialized malnourishedwith therapy and training she learned some words she became sociable with familiar adultsexpressed herself through sigh language never able to master grammarthere are critical periods early in life and development is irreparably impaired if children lack sensory and social stimulation from their environment during these periods 3What is the Appropriate Unit for Studying Social Developmentfocus on the individual child as the unit of analysis shifted to social dyad social interactions and exchanges between pairs of children or between children and their parents and investigate social relationships between these individuals dyads triads and groups 4 Is Development Continuous or Discontinuous some see development as a continuous process with each change building on earlier experiences in an orderly waythey see development as smooth and gradual without any abrupt shifts along the pathothers see development as a series of discrete steps and see the organization of behaviour as qualitatively different at each new stage or plateauPiaget and Freud proposed stage theories scientists who endorse a continuous view of development suggest that noticeable changes in behaviour are simply part of an ongoing series of smaller shifts looking at it from a distance we can see there are stages however if you look at it closely such changes do not happen suddenly overtime change proceeds in a less linear and a less steplike fashion than continuous or stage theories suggest today it is seen as basically continuous but interspersed with transitional periods in which changes are relatively abrupt transitional periods learning to walk onset of puberty
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