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Chapter 2

Psychology 2320A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Neuroplasticity, Anxiety Disorder, Brainstem

Course Code
Elizabeth Hayden

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Chapter 2 Theories and Causes
Tend to look at biological influences, emotional, behavioural and cognitive,
Biological Influences
o Prenatal history, major illnesses, injuries
o Those with anxieties and fears which are affected by levels of stress hormones
are more likely to have parents with similar problems
o Inherited tendency to response to environment with heightened arousal
o Inherited genes that influence phonological awareness
Emotional Influences
o Distress, emotional signals
o Inability to regulate feelings of arousal, distress or agitation
Behavioural and cognitive influences
o Avoiding events that may elicit fear or avoidance
o Try to chance aspects of environment
o Look at reinforcement techniques
o Ones interpretation of events
Family, cultural and ethnic influences
o Peer relationships, social settings, larger ethnic identity
Theoretical Foundations
Study of abnormal child behaviour requires an appreciation of developmental processes
as well as individual and situational events that can have a major bearing on the course
and direction of a particular childs life
Most clinical and research activity begins with a theoretical formulation for guidance
and information
Theory is essentially a language of science that allows us to assemble and communicate
existing knowledge more comprehensively
o Allows us to make education guesses and predictions about behaviour based on
samples of knowledge, moving forward to explore explanations
Knowledge, skill, and evidence must be added to bring these theoretical clues to life
Etiology = study of causes of childhood disorders
o Considers bio, psych, environmental interactions
Bio has focused on possible causes such as: structural damage, dysfunction,
neurotransmitter imbalances, genetic influences
Psych and env models emphasize role of env toxins, early experiences, learning
opportunities, sociocultural contexts etc
o Desried as auses ut are priaril risk fators
Moved from one-dimensional models
Developmental Psychopathology Perspective
= approach to describing and studying disorders of childhood, adolescence, and beyond
in a manner that emphasizes importance of developmental processes and task
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framework for organizing study of abnormal child psych around milestones, educational
emphasizes role of developmental processes, importance of context, and influence of
multiple and interacting events in shaping development
framework is adopted to describe to dynamic, multidimensional process
central belief is to understand maladaptive behaviour, one must view it in relation to
what is normative for a given period of development
highlighting processes such as language and peer relations
emphasizes importance and complexity of bio, familial and sociocultural factors in
predicting and understanding developmental changes
below is three prominent assumptions
Abnormal Development is Multiply Determined
look beyond current symptoms and consider developmental pathways and interacting
events that contribute to expression of a particular disorder
assess current abilities by using multiple sources of data on ability to function
Child and Environment are Interdependent
extends influence of multiple causes by stressing how the child and environment are
interdependent how they influence each other
o departs from tradition of viewing the environment as acting on the child to cause
changes in development, and instead argues that children also influence their
own environment
concept of interdependence appreciates how nature and nurture work together
children elicit different reactions from the same environment; different environments
such as home or school, elicit different reactions from same child
transaction = dynamic interaction of child and environment
o one can not be seperated from the other
a transactional view regards both children and the environment as active contributors
to adaptive and maladaptive behaviour
o kids act on their environment, and vice versa
aordig to this POV, hildre’s psh disorders do’t reside ithi the hild, or solely
due to environmental causes
o emerge as combination of factors
Abnormal Development Involves Continuities and Discontinuities
few psych disorders suddenly emerge without some warning signs or connections to
earlier developmental issues
note some forms of abnormal child behaviour may be continuous or discontinuous
across childhood, adolescence and adulthood in either consisted or transformed
continuity = developmental changes are gradual and quantitative
o expressed as amount that can be measured (weight, height) and future
behaviour patterns can be predicted from earlier patterns
discontinuity = developmental changes are abrupt and qualitative
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o expressed as qualities that cant be measured numerically and that future
behaviour is poorly predicted
continuity is well supported for early onset and persistent conduct disorders, which has
significant likelihood on later evolving into serious antisocial acts
o e.g. aggression
other problem behaviours such as EDs seem to follow more discontinuous pattern
concepts of continuity and discontinuity apply to the understanding of abnormal and
normal development
o even with wide fluctuations, children show some degree of consistency in
organizing their experiences and interacting with their environment
degree of continuity or discon. Will vary depending on changing environmental
circumstances and transactions between child and environment
these continual changes will affect the childs developmental
Changes, Typical and Atypical
age in years is an arbitrary way to segment continuous sequences of development
childrens behaviours both adaptive and maladaptive are interconnected with their
environment and influenced by their biological makeup
developmental cascades = process by which a childs previous interactions and
experiences may spread across other systems and alter their course of development,
like a chain reaction
o helps to explain how processes that function at one level or domain of behaviour
can affect how the child adapts to other challenges later on
An Integrative Approach
since no single theoretical orientation can explain various disorders, must be familiar
with many models each contributes important insights into normal and abnormal
even models with more than one primary cause can be limited by the boundaries of
their discipline or orientation
each model is restricted in its ability to explain abnormal behaviour to the extent that it
fails to incorporate important components of other models
psych theories are tools to study human behaviour; the more you learn what these tools
can and cant do and which tool to use for which purpose, more knowledgeable and
skilled you will become
no single integrative theory fully captures the diversity of perspectives and findings
Developmental Considerations
even though childrens psych disorders have different symptons and causes, they share
common ground: they are indication of adaptional failure in one or more areas of
adaptational failure = failure to master or progress in accomplishing developmental
o at the broadest level, children with psych disorders differ from children their
own age in some aspect of normal development
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