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Reading Lecture 1.docx

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David Haley

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Reading Lecture 1: Biological Roots of Developmental Psychology The Darwinian Legacy  Psychological capacities can be used and have important consequences in terms of the survival and reproduction of an individual  Evo theory: characteristics of human mind have phylogenetic precursors that must be observable I present day animals  Darwins purpose was to show that all those characteristics specific to humans (emotions, intelligence, etc) and used to support arguments against human participation in revolution, can be found in simpler form in most animals The Anecdotalists and the Origin of Comparative Psychology  Involved method for demonstrating continuity via collecting stories/ anecdotes about animals and their behaviors from diff sources= emphasized naturalistic and descriptive studies  Attempts to establish a commonality between animals and humans= anthropomorphic distortion in most of their obs, reports and interpretations  Anthropomorphism= attribution of human characteristics to other animals  Morgan’s cannon= if there are 2 or more possible explanations of some behavior, one should always choose the one presupposing the simplest of mental processes, even if it is the most unappealing  Wats glandson insisted that psychology must stick to observable and observable behavior is the movement of muscles and secretions of glands Some Early Conceptions of Psychological Development  Before the behaviorist movement, the systematic study of babies and small kids wasn’t possible in psych as no methods were available to evaluate these non verbal creatures other than anecdotal descriptions of their innocence or depravity  The oldest conception of development= preformationism= there is no development in the sense of qualitative changes and everything is formed from the beginning= kids= mini versions of adults  Preformation is conceptually in the tradition of instantaneous creation and original sin ultimate moment for this doctrine was when someone looked at the human sperm under a microscope and saw a little homunculus  With a change in intellectual climate, preformaitonism replaced with another way of thinking og dev= predeterminism via works of Rousseau, ppl became aware of the dev in the sense of qualitative changes during the life span development is an orderly and preordained progression through a series of distinct stages the goal of this progression is a good and perfect person and , as this end is predetermined, it can be best achieved in a supportive, nurturing and permissive environment, not an interactive one  Embryologists like Haeckel thought that thr series of highly ordered and predictable qualitative changes observable in the form and functioning of an embryo were reflections of progressive changes in the phylogenetic past of that embryo= embryo retraces in abbreviated form during its dev all of the evo changes that ts ancestors went to= Haeckel’s law= ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny  The predetrminist conception of dev as a series of qualitatively diff stages occurring in a prestablished an invariant sequence and having a predetermined end point was explained and supported by evo theory  The behaviorist movement established a methodology that for the first time allowed psychologists actually to investigate the developing organism experimentally  Environmentalism= denial of the existence of dev in which they have a big environmentalist viewpoint interested mainly in showing that the same contrived situation will modify all these subjects behavior in much the same way  Developmental and comparative psych converged in early 20 century  Schneirla: considered study of animal behavior to be an important part of biology, he found it essential to understand how the animals behavior fits its environmental circumstances and he incorporated the epigenetic concepts to explain animal behavior Principles of Developmental Science  Not all events that take place over the age of an indivudal are developmental these phenomena are only marked by certain general requirements and characteristics  Development requires an open system in which irreversible changes in organzieation can occur as a result of relations among elements within the system and as a result of transactions between the system and its surrounding environment  In addition to the property of irreversible progression, developing systems are active their activity is dynamic in the sense of attaining and maintaining a coherence of organization in relation to their environment developing systems seek input and transform it with their organizing properties  Environmental input becomes incorporated into the developing system and the activity of the system produces changes in the surrounding environment there are reciprocal contributions between developing systems and their environment as each becomes constructed Developing systems also show growth or changes in complexity with time since developing systems are coherent with their environment, they adjust to environmental variation As the adjustments of the system to the variation inherent in the environment become more complicated, coherence is threatened= diff more complex level of organization that reduces the complicated nature of the array of previous adjustments  Changes in coherence in the diff levels of organization= noton of stages of dev stage theories are important in dev psych== piagets cog dev the
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