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developmental psychology notes.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Mark Schmuckler

Chapter 1: Most theories agree that both biological and environmental factors play a role in development. No major theories support either side of the extreme. Two types of theories for speed of development. Continuous (gradual), and discontinuous (gradual set of steps until new behaviors are sudden leaps). Most researchers look for a middle ground here as well. 5 general approaches to field of child development: 1) structural organismic 2) learning 3) dynamic systems 4) contextual 5) ethological and evolutionary. Structural Organasmic Perspective Theoretical approaches that describe psychological structures and processes that undergo qualitative or stage-like changes over the course of development. Psychodynamic Theory Freuds theory that development, which proceeds in discreet stages is determined largely by genetic makeup combined with environmental encounters and the interactions of the id, ego, and superego. Freud, interested in emotions and personality, Piaget interested in thinking. Both used structural organasmic perspective. Psychosocial Theory Erik Eriksons theory of development that sees children developing through a series of stages largely accomplishment in social environment. Piagetian Theory a theory of cognitive development that sees the child as actively seeking new information and incorporating it into his knowledge base through the process of assimilation. Two stages: organization (view that intellectual development is a biological process, thus childs understanding changes in an organized manner over the course of development) and adapatation (intellectual changes occur as child becomes adapted to the world). Behaviourism (Watson, Pavlov, and Skinner) Focuses on learning of behavior. Theories of behavior must be based on direct observations of rewards and consequences of behavior and not on unobservable things such as human motive. Cognitive Social Learning Theory- Children learn through a combination of operant/classical conditioning and observation/imitation. Albert Bandura showed that children who were shown violent behavior were likely to repeat it. Four cognitive processes dictate how a child will learn by observation, they are: attend, retain, reproduce, and motivation to repeat. Information Processing approaches Focus on the flow of development through a childs cognitive system and on the specific operations the child performs between input and stimulus phases. Dynamic Systems Theory- individuals develop and function within systems. It encompasses a wide range of studies and topics but all topics discuss how development arises from the system as a whole and not one single factor. (Child learning to walk: gravity, muscle strength, surface area). Contextual Perspectives Sociocultural Theory - proposed by Lev Vygotsky that sees development as evolving out of childrens interactions with more skilled others in their social environment. Bronfenbrenners ecological theory stresses the importance of understanding not only the relationships between children and environmental systems (family, community) but among environmental systems themselves. There are five environmental systems: 1)microsystem (context in which children interact with institutions closest to them such as school and family.) 2) mesosystem (interrelations that occur among the components of the microsystem such asparent teacher conferences.) 3) exosystem (collection of settings that affect the childs environment but in which the child does not play a role such as friends of family, mass media, legal system) 4) macrosystem (represents values, ideologies, and laws of the society). 5) chronosystem (time based dimension that can alter the operation of all other levels such as puberty or the birth of a sibling.) The Lifespan perspective Sees development as a process that continues throughout the lifecycle. This incorporates historical factors that may influence development. For example, children born in the 50s were teenagers during the 60s and their development occurred during major social upheaval. Elder and Colleagues studied children who lived through the great depression. As a result of teenager boys being forced to work earlier to support the family and girls doing more housework, boys who had taken jobs preferred more modest but more secure jobs and women who married men who lacked ambition and raised children who were prone to angry outbursts due to ill-tempered parents. Ethiological and Evolutionary approach requires you to view and understand behavior in relation to the biology of the organism. Ethiological theory behavior must be viewed and understood as occurring in a particular context and as having adaptive of survival value. It is useful in for understanding that many behaviors may have a biological basis. For example crying can be seen as an elicitor to let the mother know that the baby needs something. This displays clear survival value. Although they view many elicitors as being biologically based, they also assume these behaviors are modified by environmentally based experiences (ex. Learning to mask emo
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