Donette Steele, M.A. / Clinical Psychology

Developmental Psychology Chapter One Study Guide

Chapter 1:

 

The People and The Field

 

What is Developmental Psychology?

 

Who does this research?

Child Psychologists

Gerontologists

Multidisciplinary approach

Biologists

Chemists

Nurses

Neuroscientists

Anthropologists

 

What do we study?

Prenatal life, childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, and gerontology - in effect, the lifespan of humans - is the subject of developmental psychologists.

 

Aspects from conception to birth through living to dying

 

Changes in capabilities, both thinking & moving

Working and playing

Cultural, social and biological influences on behavior

What makes us healthy? What diseases ravage us?

How do different cultures or other conditions effect change?

 

Why study development?

You, your friends and acquaintances, the people around you, your spouse, your children, your parents – everyone changes as they grow. 

Can we predict what those changes will be and how those changes will occur? 

Would it help you in your life to know how different people at different ages will react?

Would it help to know the variables that make change occur?

 

What factors influence development?

 

The impact of cohort

 

A cohort is our birth group

Example is the baby boomers (1946 to 1964)
Baby boomers can also be broken into separate cohorts
 

 

Changing conceptions of childhood

 

Children required for farm labor

 

Children farmed out for the industrial revolution

 

Children as blank slates and noble savages

 

Mandatory Education in High School

 

Child welfare laws

 

Adolescents and the Emerging Adulthood

 

Changing conceptions of old age

 

Lifespan improvements – increasing lifespan

 

Improving the quality of foods and antibiotics

 

Chronic Diseases of old age on the increase

 

The young and the old-old – new categories

 

Changing ideas about adult life

Is there only one acceptable behavior that defines an “adult” life?

 

Woman at home - man working

Honor and respect; the elderly - retirement age

Divorced and never married families

Childless couples and interracial couples

 

What Impacts Life –

 

Socioeconomic status

 

Within the United States -

Decreasing income leads to decreasing health, education & longevity

Other parts of the world dire conditions of poverty still exist

 

Culture

 

Gender and economic casts attitudes towards divorce & arranged marriage

Collectivism vs. Individualism

 

Gender

Roles, aggression, life expectancy & stereotypes

 

Theories

 

Broad theories attempt to explain behavior for all ages. 

 

Stage theories attempt to explain behavior at various ages of life.

 

Five broad theories:

 

Behaviorism – it’s all Nurture

Watson and Skinner

Classical conditioning

Operant conditioning

Reinforcement and extinction

 

We should not study thinking and only study what is observable

 

Find the rules of rewards

 

Social Learning – more Nurture

 

Bandura

Modeling and Learning by imitation

Self efficacy

 

Attachment - Nurture & Nature

 

Bowlby and Harlow

Parental treatment in early life

Caregiver comfort

Biologically programmed

 

Evolutionary psychologists - Nature

Behavior is genetic

We behave in ways that kept our ancestors alive

Nature is more important than Nurture

 

Behavioral Genetics - Nature

Studies of fraternal (dizygotic) and identical (monozygotic) twins

Adoption studies compare twins against both adoptive and birth parents

Looking for environmental  and genetic factors of traits

 

IQ has a heritability index of +.8

 

Nature and Nurture together

Living is Evocative

 

What behaviors do we evoke in others?

 

Reciprocal determinism

 

When a person’s thinking, behavior and environment mutually influence each other

 

Interactions between people are bidirectional

 

Living is Active

 

What activities do we actively seek out?

 

Our tendencies to seek out activities are shaped by our genetics. Seeking out those activities will increase our abilities in those areas, increasing the difference between us and them has we develop.

 

Nurturing helps us express our Nature

 

A genius IQ - without proper nutrition and forced to work as a migrant worker with no chance of proper education - will be wasted

 

We need the correct person-environment fit

Interactions of nature in any given trait are dependent on the canalization of the gene.

 

Highly canalized genes are those that do not react strongly to environmental influences

 



Stage Theories

 

Piaget

Piaget’s cognitive development theory

 

Qualitatively different stages exist in the way thinking develops

 

Sensorimotor stage

 

Preoperational stage

 

Concrete operational stage

 

Formal operational stage

 

Schemas & Assimilation & Accommodation

 

Focused on children

 

 

Erikson

 

Erikson’s psychosocial tasks

 

Erikson believed that we continue to develop throughout our lifetimes

 

Eight stages each with its own bifurcating task

 

Trust, Autonomy, Initiative, Industry, Identity, Intimacy, Generativity and Integrity

 
Successful navigation of initial tasks is required to successfully navigate later tasks
 
Successful navigation means finding a balance between the two tasks

 

Putting it all together:

 

The developmental systems approach

 

We need all the theories to completely understand human development.

 

We need to understand that complex relationships exist between everything.

 

We must take everything into consideration when examining human life development.

 

Research Methods

 

Two strategies for exploring causes:

 

Experiments manipulating variables

 

The scientific method, independent and dependent variables, control groups, placebos, random assignments

 

Correlational studies

 

Self Reports, Surveys, Case studies & Naturalistic Observations

 

Correlation does not mean Causation

 

Validity vs. Reliability

 

Bias

 

Cross-sectional studies:

 

Getting a single snapshot of groups

Different age groups compared at the same time

 
Gives differences between age groups
 
Does not tell us the changes that occur with age

 

Longitudinal studies:

 

The gold standard developmental science design

Test at intervals - one group over many years

 
Requires lots of time and expense
 
The longer it continues the more biased the sample becomes

 

Quantitative research

Research scientists use a lot of statistical analysis

We must quantify the differences within groups

Even genetics is used as an independent variable

 

Qualitative research

 

Involves in-depth studies of individuals

 

 

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