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Chapter 1

chapter 1 - developmental.doc

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Colleen Loomis

Introduction to Developmental Psych Chapter 1 - Development - systematic continuities and changes in individual that occur between conceptions and death - continuities - ways in which we remain stable over time or continue to reflect our past - developmental sciences - study of phenomena; is a multidisciplinary enterprise - developmental psych - devoted to identifying/explaining the continuities and changes that individuals display over time - developmentalist - any scholar who seeks to understand the developmental process What causes us to develop? - 2 important processes - 1. maturation - 2. learning - maturation - developmental changes in body/behaviour that result from aging processes rather than learning, injury, illness or other life experience - learning - relatively permanent change in behaviour that results from one’s experiences or practice - we change in response to our environments What goals to developmentalists pursue? - 3 major goals: - 1. describe - 2. explain - 3. optimize development - description: observe behaviour of people of different ages, looking at how people change over time - necessary to focus on typical patterns of change (normative development) and individual variations in patterns of change (ideographic development) - starting point - explain: hope to determine why people develop as they do and why people develop differently than others - optimize: applying what they have learned in attempts to help people develop in positive directions - practical side to study of human development that has led to such breakthroughs to: - 1. promote strong affectional ties between fussy, unresponsive infants and frustrated parents - 2. assist children with learning difficulties to succeed at school - 3. help socially unskilled children and adolescents prevent emotional difficulties that could result from having no close friends and being rejected by peers Some basic observations about the character of development continual and cumulative process - first twelve years are extremely important for setting the stage for adolescence and adulthood - human development is best described as a continual and cumulative process - one constant is change Aholistic process - developmentalists - 3 camps: - 1. those who studied physical growth and development (bodily changes and sequencing of motor skills) - 2. those who studied cognitive aspects of development (perception, language, learning and thinking) - 3. those who concentrated on psychosocial aspects of development (emotions, personality, growth of interpersonal relationships) - holistic perspective - unified view of developmental process that emphasizes the important interrelationships among the physical, mental, social and emotional aspects of human development Plasticity - capacity for change - developmental state that has the potential to be shaped by experience Historical/cultural context - each culture, subculture and social class has a particular pattern of beliefs, values, customs and skills - development is influenced by social changes Human development in historical perspective - contemporary western societies - child-centred Childhood in premodern times - early days - children had few, if any rights - ancient carthaginians often killed children as religious sacrifices and embedded them in the walls of buildings to “strengthen” these structures toward modern-day views on childhood - 17th and 18th centuries - attitudes toward children and child rearing began to change - children were innocent and helpless, and should be shielded from the wild and reckless behaviour of adults - accomplished this by sending young people to school - children still considered family possessions - servants and workers - parents were now discouraged from abusing sons and daughters early philosophical perspectives on childhood - speculation about human nature led philosophers to carefully consider each of the following issues - 1. are children inherently good or bad? - 2. are children driven by inborn motives and instincts or are they products of their environment? - 3. are children actively involved in shaping their characters or are they passive creatures moulded by parents, teachers and other agents of society? - original sin - idea that children are inherently negative creatures who must be taught to re- channel their selfish interests into socially acceptable outlets - innate purity - idea that infants are born with an intuitive sense of right and wrong that is often misdirected by the demands and restrictions of society - tabula rasa - idea that mind of infant is a “blank slate” and that all knowledge, abilities, behaviours and motives are acquired through experience - hobbes - children must learn to re-channel their naturally selfish interests into socially acceptable outlets - locke - child’s role is passive because the mind of an infant is a blank slate on which experience writes its lessons - rousseau - believed children are actively involved in shaping of their own intellects and personalities Children as subjects of study: the baby biographies - baby biography - detailed record of an infant’s growth and development over a period of time Development of children’s rights in Canada - society is moving toward a recognition that children are entities in their own right and should be afforded the economic security guaranteed to other members of society Origins of a science of development - charles darwin - recorded baby biographies that stimulated interest in the study of development - g. stanley hall - one of the founders of development psychology - freud - developed one of the first theories to explain development - theory - set of concepts and propositions designed to organize, describe and explain an existing set of observations - hypothesis - theoretical prediction about some aspect of experience Research strategies: basic methods and designs Research methods in child and adolescent development - understand why developmentalists consider it essential to collect all these facts Scientific method - use of objective and replicable methods to gather data for the purpose of testing a theory or hypothesis - dictates that investigators must be objective and allow their data to decide the merits of their thinking Gathering data: basic fact-finding strategies - reliability - extent to which a measuring instrument yields consistent results, both over time and across observers - reliable - yields consistent info over time and across observers - validity - extent to which a measuring instrument accurately reflects what
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