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Chapter 1-5

PSYB20: Chapter 1-5

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Mark Schmuckler

Chapter 1 Child Development: Themes, Theories, and Methods Child development study about the gradual evolution of the childs cognitive, social, and other capacities first by describing changes in the childs observed behaviours and then by uncovering the processes and strategies that underlie these changes Research in child development is relatively new: Charles Darwin conducted research on infants sensory capacities and emotions - Later, scientists such as John B. Watson, Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget began to make contributions in this area Most significant events in Canadian developmental psychology: James Mark Baldwin - Important figure in history of research on child development through his work on mental development - Use daughter as subject and published papers on topics such as handedness, suggestion + will in infants, and imitation St. Georges School for Child Study in Toronto - Important landmark opening - Initially headed by William Emet Blatz who was known for his study of the Dionne quintuplets Dionne quintuplets group of 5 sisters raised from 2 months-8 years in a special compound that was on display to public Promoted study of child development Better information about child development can help society protect and advance well- being of children; used to shape social policy on behalf of children Themes of Development Scientists discover 3 key issues of themes regarding to psychological growth: Biological, Cognitive, and Linguistic - These themes concern the origins of human behaviour, pattern of developmental change over time, and individual + contextual factors that define child development Origins of Behavior: Biological vs. Environmental Influences Both biological and environmental factors play role in development but the relative importance of each is not often discussed; earlier theories supported extreme positions: Arnold Gesell: biology - Believed course of development predetermined by biological factors - Research concentrated on maturation genetically determined process of growth that unfolds naturally over a period of time John B. Watson environment - Emphasized environment - Believed that biological factors placed no restrictions on ways environment can shape a person Modern developmentalists explore how biological + environmental factors (nature + nurture) interact to produce developmental variations in different children Research on child maltreatment finds that children w/ certain genetic characteristics are more likely to exhibit behaviour problems than are children without these characteristics - Children with it living in abusive environment are more likely to be maltreated - Combination of childs biological characteristics, way expresses and abusive environment puts child at risk - Children understand and explore world around them. - Active nature supports interaction btw biology + environment - Children actively influence and modify their actions of parents and people interact with - Active, dynamic process child contributes to process Pattern of Developmental Change: Continuity vs. Discontinuity Two basic patterns are debated about how to describe developmental change: Continuous (see figure 1-1a) - Development as gradual series of shifts in capacities, skills, and behaviour w/o any abrupt changes - Each new event builds on earlier experiences - Example: learning how to swim, we see gradual improvement from day to day (incremental changes) Discontinuous (see figure 1-1b) - Development involves abrupt, step-like changes where each is qualitatively different from one preceding it - Development is a series of discrete steps or stages in which behaviours get reorganized into a qualitatively new set of behaviours Contemporary child researchers see development as continuous/quantitative but sometimes interspersed w/ periods of change that are discontinuous/qualitative - Robert Sieglers overlapping waves model suggest children use variety of strategies in thinking and learning and that cognition involves constant competition among different strategies rather than a use of a single strategy at a given age (see figure 1-1c) Forces that Affect Developmental Changes: Individual Characteristics vs. Contextual and Cultural Influences Child development occurs in variety of settings; developmental psychologists differ on their emphasis on individual characteristics vs. situational/contextual influences (most adopt the interactionist view stressing role of both) Risks to Healthy Development and Individual Resilience - Important way that individual characteristics have been studies is by examining how different children respond when they are confronted w/ situational challenges or risks to healthy development Risk come in many forms; either biological or psychological (ex: serious illness or living with a psychotic parent) or environmental (ex: family income) Individual children respond to risks in different ways: o Some suffer permanent developmental disruptions o Others show sleepers effect initially cope well and exhibit problems later in development o Others exhibit resilience and able to deal with challenge 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 - Cultures dont differ only across national boundaries but within single countries (ex: Canada have wide range of subcultural groups representing diverse traditions) Theoretical Perspectives on Development Theories serve 2 main functions critical to scientific understanding: 1. help organize and integrate existing information into coherent and interesting accounts of how children develop (parsimony) 2. generate testable hypotheses or predictions about childrens behaviour (falsifiable) - child psychology, no theory complete on its own - developmental psychologists eclectic- mix and match from different theories to explain different types of observations Main Theories of Child Development: - describe the formal structure, organization of system = structuralism Structural-Organismic Perspectives - Freud and Piaget adopted the approach structuralism; their theories focused on different aspects of development Freud interested in emotions and personality 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 - Both saw that the stages were universal that all members were thought to experience these stages - Psychodynamic Theory: Psychodynamic theory 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 3 components: id, ego, and superego Developing personality consists of 3 interrelated parts: 1. id persons instinctual drives; the first component of the personality to evolve, the id operates on the basis of the pleasure principle 2. ego the rational, controlling component of the personality, which tries to satisfy needs through appropriate, socially acceptable behaviors 3. superego the personality component that is the repository of the childs internalization of parental or societal values, morals, and roles and develops a conscience Personality development means changes in the organization and interaction of the id, ego, and superego which involves 5 stages: 1. oral infant preoccupied with pleasurable activities such as eating, sucking, and biting n d r d 2. anal during the 2 -3 year, child learns to postpone personal gratification, such as pleasure of expelling feces as he learned to use the toilet 3. phallic curiosity about sexual anatomy and sexuality appears (critical to formation of gen
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