Chapter 5: Development and Socialization
Culture shapes many of the norms that govern our behavior (distance during a
conversation vary from culture to culture) (born that way vs. similar genetic
temperaments, but interact with difference environments)
- our ability to acquire knowledge has allowed us to succeed in different environments
- we must learn certain skills, we have certain biological potentials that enables us to
Sensitive Periods for Cultural Socialization
-- Sensitive period: time in an organism’s development that allows for the relatively easy
acquisition of a set of skills. If an organism misses the chance to acquire the skills, it
would have a tough time doing so after the sensitive period expired.
- some organisms specialize shortly after birth, and others (such as humans) can
specialize throughout their lives in some domains
- Most species = go through critical development transition from emphasizing the
acquisition of new skills to emphasizing the specialization and the exploitation of the
skills that have already been acquired (these transitions indicate the existence of a
Sensitive Period for Language Acquisition:
- language ability is a hallmark human characteristic (no other species is dependent on
their language skills or has a complex language system)
- language aided in survival (explain where danger was, success of a hunt, etc)
- Evidence for a sensitive period for language: people’s ability to discriminate among
different sounds (some people are not able to discriminate easily between some
phonemes that aren’t in their language)
- Infants are able to discriminate among all the phonemes humans are able to produce.
Come into the world able to recognize all diffstent types of sounds. it is functional to
perceive sounds categorically (within the 1 year of life, children begin to lose the ability
to distinguish between closely related sounds that are not in their own language)
- difficult to master a language once your sensitive period is closed
Bilingual individuals brain:
- those who learned their second language later in life: one part is active when
they hear it, and other is active when they hear the first language
- those who learned second language early in life: same part of the brain is active
Most compelling kind of evidence about sensitive period for language: experimentally
raise some children with no language input until they were 15, then try to teach them and
measure their performance (“forbidden experiments”)
- The Wild Boy ofAveyron = lived in the wild for most of his life. Was coached to
speak but it had little success. Never developed into a fully functioning adult.
- We are born biologically prepared to learn a language, and our early experiences
determine how our minds process the different kinds of human speech we encounter
Sensitive Periods for Acquiring Culture:
- Do people have a sensitive period for acquiring culture? - Study immigrants (the ways they adapt to a new culture)
= Findings: 1. Whether people moved to Canada at a young age or not,
and whether they had been in Canada for a long time or short time, did not influence their
2. People had a difficult time acquiring new cultural information after the
age of 15 (which gives evidence for a sensitive window)
Cultural Differences in Psychological Processes Emerge with Age:
- Some research shows: NorthAmericans expect things to stay the same in the future
whereas EastAsians expect that change will be nonlinear
With age, people from different cultures diverge in their psychological experiences.
How Do Early Childhood Experiences Differ Across Cultures?
- people are socialized into their respective cultural worlds by participating in specific
cultural practices and institutions.
- Key source of cultural practices that guide children’s development = interactions with
their parents (how parents structure their children’s early lives)
Infants Personal Space:
- Different cultural experiences can affect the rate of children’s physical development (ex:
some cultures encourage crawling, others do not)
- some cultures have a separate room for their babies, others sleep in the same bed as
their children well into their primary years
Indians: incest avoidance, protection of the vulnerable, female chastity anxiety,
and respect for hierarchy
Americans: incest avoidance, sacred couple, autonomy ideal
Authoritarian parenting: high demands on children, with strict rules and little open
dialogue between parent and child. Low levels of warmth or responsiveness by the
Authoritative parenting: child-centered approach in which parents hold high expectations
of the maturity of their children, try to understand their children’s feelings, encourage
children to be independent while maintaining limits and controls on their behavior.
Parental warmth, responsiveness, and democratic reasoning. (This leads to the most
desirable outcomes in terms of perceived parental warmth, acceptance, school
Permissive Parenting: characterized by parents being very involved with their children,
much expressed parental warmth and responsiveness, but placing a few limits and
controls on their behavior.
It is argued that these are in Western understanding and does not capture parenting styles
1. Important to note that manyAsian cultures, infants and toddlers are often
shown a great deal of indulgence with few demands or expectations placed on them until
they reach school age, when parents become stricter 2. The ways that warmth and responsiveness are communicated by parents vary
3. Authoritarian category had excluded one common element: the role of training.
-- Overly strict and controlling parenting can be seen as negative in Western cultures, in
non-western cultures it appears to be associated with increased family cohesion,
improved grades, but less happy children.
- North American children come to learn that they are an independent agent to
which their mothers respond, whereas the Chinese children learn that they are relational
beings who need to respond to their mothers.
Young children (age of 18 months) enter a period of accelerated word learning when
their vocabularies begin to increase dramatically.
- nouns are the first words that children tend to learn
Noun bias: preponderance of nouns relative to verbs and other relational worlds in young
children’s vocabularies (nouns are more salient, refer to concrete concepts, easier to
isolate from the environment)
Noun bias is difficult to identify in some cultural groups: Eas