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PSYC 2110
Gillian Wu

Developmental Psych: CHAPTER 1 WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT?  Development: systematic continuities and changes in the individual that occur b/w conception and death o Systematic changes: orderly and patterned changes (not changes like mood or changes in appearance) o Continuities: ways we stay the same or can reflect on the past  Developmentalist: anyone who studies developmental sciences (psychology being the largest discipline to study this) What causes us to develop?  2 processes for developmental change: maturation and learning  Maturation: biological unfolding of an individual due to inheritance o This includes things like learning how to talk, sexual maturity, and death o It also includes psychological maturity like the ability to understand ones feelings, and solving problems  Learning: how our experiences cause changes in our ABC’s What Goals do developmentalist Pursue?  (3) Goals: to describe, explain and optimize development  Describing development: focus is on both describing typical patterns of development (normative development) and individual variations (ideographic development) – overall description is used to explain “facts”  Explaining development: used to understand why ppl develop the way they do, and why others develop differently  Optimizing development: applying what they have learned to attempt to help ppl develop in a positive direction – this is the practical side of studying human development such as in the following examples: o Promoting ties between fussy kids and frustrated parents o Assisting children with success in school o Helping socially unskilled children Some Basic Observations about the Character of Development  It is a continual and cumulative process: the first 12 years of life are very important in setting the stage for adulthood (the changes that do occur are important for the future)  It is a holistic process: the physical, cognitive, and social aspects all work together for ones development  Development is plastic, such that ppl can change from being either +ve to – ve or vice versa  Development of a child differs based on their social and cultural class, but also based on the historical era which they were raised (based on war, technological breakthroughs, or social movements like the gay/lesbian movement) Human Development in Historical Perspective Childhood in Pre-modern Times  During very early times, children were allowed to be sacrificed and embedded into walls for additional structural support; deformed or otherwise unwanted children, were also killed by their Roman parents  After the outlaw of killings, children were still raised in strict confines; in Sparta they were preparing for the military, and were also given cold baths to toughen them  It wasn’t until 12 century CE that infanticide with murder was banned  In the medieval times, children were depicted as dressing as “mini” adults and there were no difference between child and adult offenses Toward Modern-Day Views on Childhood  17th and 18 era, the view on children changed: children started attending school, parents were discouraged from abusing children and instead should show warmth and affection th  20 century: invention of adolescence as people who were no longer children, but not yet ready to be adults Philosophical Perspectives on Childhood  Original sin: idea proposed by Hobbes’s that children are inherently selfish egoists who must be restrained by society  Innate purity (named differently in lecture slides): Rousseau’s idea that children have an innate idea of right and wrong, which is corrupted by society  Tabula rasa: idea by Locke, that states children have blank slate minds, and they have no inborn tendencies, so how they turn out is based on their worldly experiences Children as Subjects of Study: The Baby Biographies  Baby biographies: published data from the investigators own children  Darwin created a baby biography of his son, to investigate if children display evidence of being like their nonhuman ancestors and that non-trained children can retrace the steps of evolution, as the “descent of man” o Problems w/ the biographies: hard to compare, not totally objective (could have been bias so the researcher could have found what they were looking for), data was only based on a single child Origins of a Science of Development  Stanley Hall: conducted the first large scale study of children (founder of dev. Psyc); he developed the questionnaire to explore the contents of a childs mind o He wrote the book “Adolescent” which was the first book to call this phase of life into attn.  The
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