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Chapter 1

Chapter 1- Themes and Theories 2480-Huron

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Psychology 2410A/B
Christine Tsang

Chapter 1 Themes and theories Objectives:  By the end you should know the 6 major themes of developmental psychology  4 major approaches in developmental research What is development?  Developmental researchers study the development of change  Developmental psychology: the study of all the physical and brain based changes that occur across an individuals lifetime ex// physical changes.  It is generally related to children as they experience the greatest amount of change over the shortest amount of time ex// triple in body weight over first two years  It is the development from when sperm fertilizes egg until death. Currently, elderly has been focused on.  Child development: a field of study that seeks to explain gradual changes in a Childs motor, cognitive, and other abilities by describing the changes, and discovering what causes these changes  Both of these take imperial and applied approaches What do they Study?  What is changing (i.e. year over year, how is this individual progressing)  What are the initial states of the individual (how did the individual start in life)  How are we different from infancy until now  Once the initial state and change state have been identified, we wonder what causes these changes ex// is it genetics? Or is it the environment? Why study it?  Government wants to organize different kinds of people who require different skills or needs  From and academic or research point of you: want to be able to predict different theories that results in certain outcomes ex// what would be required if someone has special needs  Want to be able to predict certain patterns to help individuals achieve developmental goals.  Fundamental perspective: we want to be able to control the outcome better  Overall, it is to know and predict Themes of Development (chart pg 4 and 5) Continuity vs. Discontinuity  Whether development is a continuous process, each phase building on earlier experiences or if it is discontinuous, where each phase is distinctly different than the one before (occurs in shifts). Ex// your crawling, next day walking, next day running) adolescence- marks a biological and social change  Continuous processes are quantitative (you can measure the grains of sand as the pile gets bigger) Discontinuous is qualitative as it is very different from the stage before.  This depends on the power of the lens. Those who look at things more closely will see that development that it gradually shifts, as opposed to a more distant approach where it occurs in distinct stages  Ex// cognitive can be a continuous process, as when you get older, you have better memory strategies. Young children memorize by rehearsing a list of words, older children tend to group words together. (You look at things more distantly and see that there is a change in memory strategy from when someone is younger to older)  However, it can be discontinuous as one day they might implement a more advanced memory strategy, while another day they might not.  Many psychologists take the middle of the road approach where they see that development is continuous, mixed with pronounced distinct phases  Ex-entering junior high –when the child first confronts new subjects, and the necessity to move among different teachers and classrooms  Ex-the onset of puberty is accompanied by changes in how adolescents think about their world  How do we examine different types of data?  First chart: each line represents a different child (age on x axis, ability increasing on y). The data looks discontinuous as it is broken up into steps and is not an individual line  The second chart: is the average of the data on the first graph, it is continuous as there are no real breaks but it is the same set of data. How is this possible?  You are looking at the whole population (by looking at the average) as opposed to each individual child. You are getting rid of the variance in the individual scores  The first graph, we are looking at individual people (closer up) second graph looking at the overall population (further distance)  If you have a more discontinuous perspective, you might be more inclined to look at each individual The active-passive child  Whether or not individuals take an active part in shaping development  Passive theory is that socializing agents, such as an individuals teaching, can shape development. Individuals progress passively in a form of destiny pattern. Historically it was more passive- school they just listened, did not participate.  Currently, it is the active approach in which children are active agents in controlling development. They will take socialization agents, such as the actions from their parents, modify them, to control their daily lives  Ex// if you believe development is active, you might think that having a really good educational system would be beneficial. Actively, depending on the teacher they can impact how you turn out. Passive is that if you turn out, it doesn’t matter what school you go to, or people you hang out with it is not going to change how you ultimately end up  Active vs. passive can be looked at from the perspective that the child has a choice. That ultimately, the child directs the course of his or her development out  Related to niche picking- we choose the niche we like to hang out in ex// if you go out or stay in Socio-cultural affects  Socio-cultural effects- it is recognized that children do not grow up in little bubbles; they have a context that grows beyond the family sphere. They are part of a larger community that has it own values, customs and beliefs  Beliefs on child-rearing  Family economic status  The kind of neighborhood you live in will effect the school you go to, the peers you make, and the type of learning styles  Family educational attainments  The majority of people who go to school have parents or grandparents with postgraduate degrees. Highly educated families will hang out with other educated families  Cultural vs. Generational effects  Some argue that culture free laws of development will soon be discovered that apply to all children in all cultures. Others believe that cultural settings play a major role in development  Between these extreme views, development will occur but culture elements will affect it. Ex// everyone is encouraged to walk, however in some countries it is earlier than others  Culture is not the same across borders  How is culture different now from parents?  Technology  Previously smoking was not considered bad for a pregnant woman Individual Differences  People who are interested in individual differences are interested in what causes these variations. It is partially due to genetic factors, but there are other factors associated with it.  Risk and resilience  What makes people resilient to risk factors?  Resilience: ones capacity and ability to cope with risk factors. Ex- Obama was raised in a single parent household, pushed around, now president of the United States  Risk: anything that can hinder optimal development:  Biological: disease  Environmental: being born into a single parent household  Demographic- relating to the structure of populations-ex low economic status.  Some people do not only cope with risk, but are enhanced by it.  Resilient individuals show three types of attributes:  Positive Individual attributes- those who have an easy temperament an high self esteem can cope with risk factors  Protective factors from a supportive family- presence of a warm supportive parent can combat poverty, divorce, etc  Factors outside the family such as social agencies or institutions ex// peer group can affect both children and parental coping efforts  Studies of r and r show that development does not occur on a single common pathway, and it is the types and typing of experiences can have great impacts n development (ex// if they fail a grade) Interaction among domains  What does the individual bring to the environment?  Children grow up in different environments, however do children behave in differently depending on the setting, or do their individual predispositions cause them to behave despite the environment  A more interactionist approach suggests that it is a combination. Ex// one who is more aggressive will tend to involve themselves in more aggressive contexts ex// gangs Nature vs. Nurture  Biology extremists believe that biology is destiny and development is the process of maturation (a genetic process of growth that naturally occurs overtime). We have a program we are born with and we just need to let genes take their course  Arnold Gesell advocated this perspective, however John B Watson suggested that genetics put no limitations on development, and if placed in the right environment one can become a Mozart  Empiricism:  “Tabula rasa” no innate ideas.  Believes that it is the environment that causes us to become who we are  For example, if you are starting a school, and you believe that genetics is the main cause of entrance to the school. As in entrance exam, you would look at the quality of the parents and the genetic quality of that child’s ancestry. If you are an empiricist you would look at the neighborhood they live in, the kind of family they grew up in ex parenting status, socioeconomic status. You would look at the past schools that they went to  When looking at curriculum: empiricism would have lots of field trip, taking them to different environments. For biological you would look at the bare minimum, as they would naturally be predisposed to intelligence.  Currently, it is the study of how these two factors interact to produce development ex// certain hormones and experience of aggression creates aggressive behavior, both genetic inheritance and nutrition affect physical and social development. Main Effects Model Interactional Model  This is where psychologists have moved. In this model you can see we have both environments and genes, but neither really determine the outcome. There is a middle point of view. However this is a very simplistic model Transactional Model  Now we think of it as a transactional mode, in which tme is taken into consideration along with genes and environment. The arrows are going back and forth because your genes have an initial state which will interact with the initial environment, therefore affecting the environment at a different point in time.  It is a non-linear model of development.  Heritability is the percentage of phenotypic expression in a population due to the variability of genetics. Ex- ones eye colour is 100% due to genetic of your parents If you have blue eyes its because noth of your parents had blue eye gene. Hieght is an example of a traight that is not 100% heritable. In some cultures it it, but it others it is not. In third world countries, where malnutrition is at play, the environment is take into consideration. Major Themes of Development-interactions among domains  Examples of how differet domains interact with one another to effect development  How do cognitive and moor development affect one another-Motor development affects cofgnitive gevelopment as once they becoe mobile, babies become more curious. They become curious about the world abt what makes this curiosity possible is their ability to walk  Others include language and cognitive development- language enables cognitive development  Niche Picking  Refers to when ones genetic disposition causes on to choose environmental activities that suits ones genetic disposition. This suggests that there is an interaction between nature and nurture.  Ex- how do people become great athletes? It that they are naturally athletic and able to skate at a young age  Development within a given domain does not occur in isolation. Historical Shifts in Approaches to Development  Biology normative approach  behaviorism  cognitive approaches Broader perspectives  Darwin showed that scientists could study children; Watson, Freud, and Piaget further studied children. Most significant event in Canadian psychology was when James Mark Baldwin (1889) was appointed to U of T and used his own daughter to study imitation, suggestion, handedness, and will in infancy  St George School of child development in 1926 was another milestone. Originally run by William Emet Blatz who did a three year study on Dionne quintuplets- five sisters were raised from two months to eight years in a compound on display Theories of Development  Theories help organize information into coherent and interesting accounts of how children develop  They lead to testable hypotheses or predictions about how children develop Learning perspectives  When talking about a learning theory: how do the principles of learning affect or impact how we become as adults? How does it impact the level of change that we see in the individual?  Behav
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