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Developmental Psychology Textbook Notes.docx

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Mark Schmuckler

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Developmental Psychology Textbook Notes Chapter 1 Child development- sub area of child psychology (could include lifespan development); identifies and describes changes in the childs cognitive, emotional, motor and social capacities and behaviours from conception until adolescence. o Uncovers the process that makes these changes occur. Darwin was instrumental in helping form the discipline of child development o Conducted research on infants sensory capabilities and young childrens emotions o He demonstrated that scientists could study infants and children One of the earliest and most significant events in Canadian developmental psychology was the appointment of James Baldwin to University of Toronto in 1889 o Instrumental for his work on mental development o Used his own daughter as a subject to examine handedness, suggestion and will in infancy and imitation William Emet Blatz o Headed the st.georges school for child study in Toronto o Known for his three year study of the Dionne quintuplets raised on a special compound for public display o Studying these sisters did a lot for promoting the study of child development in Canada We should learn about child development because: o Can help society protect and advance the well being of children o Used to shape social policy on behalf of children Three key issues pertaining to psychological growth found by scientists are o The origins of human behaviour o The pattern of developmental change over time o The individual and contextual factors that define and direct child development Origins of Behaviour: Biological vs Environmental Influences Arnold Gessel- believed that development was largely predetermined by biological factors o Concentrated on maturation- a genetically determined process of growth that unfolds naturally over time John Watson- thought development was mostly based on the environment o Assumed biological factors placed no restrictions on the ways that environment can shape the course of a childs development o He claimed that with the right environment, he could create a genius or even a criminal There are no theories today that support these extreme beliefs o We explore how nature and nurture interact to form child development Socializing agents such as parents, peers or teachers do not simply mould the child, instead children actively influence and modify the actions of their parents and other people who they interact with Pattern of Developmental Change: Continuity vs Discontinuity Continuous development- smooth and gradual accumulation of abilities o Developmental changes add to/build on earlier abilities in a quantitative way without abrupt shifts or changes to the next Discontinuous development- choppy and qualitative change in development o i.e. learning how to swim- random day you have much more skill than the day before (choppy strokes turn into smooth glides in the water) Most contemporary child researchers see development as basically continuous or quantitative but sometimes interspersed with periods of change that are discontinuous or qualitative Robert Sieglers overlapping waves model suggests that children use a variety of strategies in thinking and learning and that cognition involves constant competition among different strategies rather than the use of a single strategy at a given age o The child uses several strategies at varying levels of sophistication o From a macroscopic perspective, development appears generally continuous; but at a microscopic level, we can observe the specific qualitative changes Forces That Affect Developmental Change: individual Characteristics vs Contextual and Cultural Influences Developmental psychologists differ in their emphasis on individual characteristics vs situational or contextual influences Many resolve the controversy by adopting an interactionist viewpoint, stressing the dual role of individual and contextual factors o i.e. children with aggressive personality traits may seek out context in which they can display these characteristics, thus, they're more likely to join a gang or something violent rather than the church choir One important way that individual characteristics have been studied is by examining how different children respond when they are confronted with situational challenges or risks to healthy development o Some risks are biological or psychological i.e. an illness, or living with a psychotic parent or environmental, such as family income Individual children respond to risks in different ways: o Some kids show sleeper effects- they seem to cope well initially, but exhibit problems later on in development o Some exhibit resilience and are able to deal with the challenge o Some, when confronted with new risks later in life, seem better able to adapt to challenges than children who have experienced little or no risk o A recent trend in resilience research has been to identify factors that promote resilience under normal conditions Theoretical Perspectives on Development Its not important that a developmental theory focuses on children. Whats important is that a theory describes psychological change or development over time Theories serve two main functions o Help organize and integrate existing information into coherent and interesting accounts of how children develop o Generate testable hypotheses or predictions about childrens behaviour Most developmental psychologists today are considered theoretically eclectic; they mix and match concepts from different theories to help them explain different observations Structural-Organismic Perspectives Structural-organismic perspective- theoretical approaches that describe psychological structures and processes that undergo qualitative or stage-like changes over the course of development Structuralism- describing the formal structure or organization of the system of interest in hope that the description could provide insight into how the system worked. Adopted by Piaget and Freud Freud was interested in emotions and personality whereas Piaget was interested in thinking o Yet, both devised theories that incorporated their mutual interest in biology, especially evolutionary theory o Both used what is known as the structural-organismic perspective in their theories and shared the view that the organism goes through discontinuous changes over the course of development They saw these stages as universal- everyone went through them regardless of environment Psychodynamic Theory Sigmund Freud introduced his psychodynamic theory in which early childhood experiences shape the development of adult personality o Development is determined largely by biologically based drives shaped by encounters with the environment and through the interaction of three components of personality: the id, ego and superego The infant is largely under control of the id- or instinctual drives but gradually becomes more controlled by the ego. The ego is the rational/reality principle and gratifies needs through socially appropriate behaviour. With further development, the superego emerges when the child internalizes parental or societal norms roles and values and develops a conscience, or the ability to apply moral values to his or her own acts Personality development to Freud includes 5 stages (oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital) One of Freuds primary contributions to developmental psychology is his emphasis on how early experiences (esp the first 6 years) influence later development o i.e. infants who have unsatisfied oral needs may smoke as adults Erik Erikson devised the psychosocial theory o The most influential for current research in child development is the stage of adolescence, in which the child focuses on identity development and seeks to establish a clear and stable sense of self Piagetian Theory 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 and accommodation It is a structural-organismic theory to describe intellectual development It uses two basic principles of biology and biological change: o Organization-reflects the view that human intellectual development is a biologically organized process Thus, the childs understanding of the world changes in an organized way over the course of development o Adaption describes the process by which intellectual change occurs as the human mind becomes increasingly adapt to the world He proposed that all children go through four stages of cognitive development and each is categorized by qualitatively different ways of thinkin
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