Chapter 1 - History, Theory, and Research Strategies Flashcards Preview

PSYC 3351 Topics in Child Development > Chapter 1 - History, Theory, and Research Strategies > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 1 - History, Theory, and Research Strategies Deck (108):

Child development

an area of study devoted to understanding constancy and change from conception through adolescence


Developmental science

an interdisciplinary field which includes all changes we experience throughout the lifespan


Research conducted in child development is _______ and __________

Much of the research being conducted in child development is applied and is interdisciplinary


Domains of Development

1. Physical: changes in body size, proportions, appearance, functioning of body systems, perceptual and motor capacities, and physical health 2. Cognitive: changes in intellectual abilities, including attention, memory, academic and everyday knowledge, problem solving, imagination, creativity, and language 3. Emotional and social: changes in emotional communication, self-understanding, knowledge about other people, interpersonal skills, friendships, intimate relationships, and moral reasoning and behaviour


Periods of Development

1. The prenatal period: conception to birth 2. Infancy and toddlerhood: birth to 2 years 3. Early childhood: 2 to 6 years 4. Middle childhood: 6 to 11 years 5. Adolescence: 11 to 18 years 6. Emerging adulthood: 18 to 25 years


The prenatal period: conception to birth

Most rapid time of development


Infancy and toddlerhood: birth to 2 years

  • • Dramatic changes in brain and body
    • Emergence of a wide array of motor, perceptual and intellectual capabilities
    • Beginnings of language
    • First intimate ties to others
    • Infancy: year one
    • Toddlerhood: year two
    • Attachment extremely  is important during this stage


Early childhood: 2 to 6 years

• Body becomes longer and leaner • Motor skills are refined • More self-controlled and self sufficient • Make believe play • Language shows much growth • Morality becomes evident • Ties with peers


Middle childhood: 6 to 11 years

• • (Apprenticing themselves) across cultures at this age start engaging in activities designed to prepare them for adult life.

• Master responsibilities that resemble adult ones
• Improved athletic ability
• Participation in organized games with rules
• More logical thought prosses
• Better at following rules
• Literacy
• Master at fundamental reading, writing, math
• Advances in understanding of self, morality and friendship


Adolescence: 11 to 18 years

• Not hard and fast start and end date – start at sexual maturity, ends when you take your full adult place in society
• Physical changes – more adult like
• Sexual maturity
• Change in formal education – more future directed
• Abstract thinking
• Idealistic
• Preparation for adult roles
• Autonomy
• Personal values and goals


What do Theories do

• provide organizing frameworks for our observations • serve as a basis for practical action



an orderly, integrated set of statements that describes, explains, and predicts behaviour


basic issues in child development

Continuity Versus Discontinuity
One Course of Development Versus Many
Nature Versus Nurture
Active Versus Passive 


Continuity Versus Discontinuity

• Concerns whether a particular developmental phenomenon represents a smooth progression throughout the life span (continuity) or a series of abrupt shifts (discontinuity)
• Qualitative v Quantitative changes
• Is the difference entirely new abilities or just amount and complexity of the same abilities?
• Stages or slope of development
• Stability v plasticity– how a trait is the same or changing across development


Nature Versus Nurture

• Involves the degree to which genetic or hereditary influences (nature) and experiential or environmental influences (nurture) determine the kind of person you are
• Formulas to determine the degree of nature and nurture this are not good because they require them to be separable


One Course of Development Versus Many

Universal stages or context dependent development


Resilience Four Factors

The ability to adapt effectively in the face of threats to development 1. Personal characteristics – intelligence, socially valued talents, temperament, emotional control, 2. Parental relationship – warmth, appropriate expectations, monitoring, organized home environment 3. Social support outside family – strong bonds with caring adult, 4. Community resources and opportunities – good schools, available health care, social services, libraries, recreation centers, activities outside of school, community involvement.


In the medieval times

Childhood was considered a different stage of life and not just little adults. • Children dressed differently from adults. Looser more comftable clothing. • Manuals existed offering advice on child care; health, feeding, clothing, games • Laws recognized that children needed protection from mistreatment • Courts were more lenient with youths than with adults • Contradictory religious depictions existed, portraying children as innocent or as in need of purification


In the sixteenth century Reformation

The Puritan belief in original sin led to a dominant view of children as evil and stubborn • Children were dressed in stiff clothing to hold them in adult like postures • Children were beaten • Parents had a hard time sticking to extreme puritan practices dew to love and affection


In the seventeenth century Enlightenment

a period of ‘enlightenment’ brought new views of children and childrearing. Human dignity, respect, more humane treatment. • John Locke - Tabula rasa (blank slate) • Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the noble savage


John Locke

o Tabula rasa (blank slate) o Parents as rational tutors, carful instruction, good example, and rewards o Apposed physical punishment o Kindness and compassion not harshness o Theories of continuous, nurture, many path, focused development that has high plasticity at later ages. o He saw kids as having little impact on their own development. o Ahead of his time


Jean-Jacques Rousseau

o noble savage – naturally endowed with a sense of right and wrong o harmed by adult training o four stages of development – infancy, childhood, late childhood, adolescence o Discontinuity, nature (maturation), one path



A genetically determined, naturally unfolding course of growth. Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Toward the turn of the twentieth century Scientific Beginnings

Study of child development rapidly evolved. Improved methods of research and theories. Darwin o theory of recapitulation o contributed to developmental theories G. Stanley Hall o founder of the child-study movement G. Stanley Hall With Arnold Gesell o launched the normative approach Binet and Simon o the first successful intelligence test



• Darwin noted that early prenatal growth is strikingly similar in many species • Others form theory of recapitulation based of Darwin’s observations • Darwin’s focus on the adaptive value of both physical and behavioural characteristics has contributed to developmental theories


G. Stanley Hall,

founder of the child-study movement Influenced by Darwin’s ideas of evolution


G. Stanley Hall With Arnold Gesell

launched the normative approach Gesell – parenting advice, children are naturally knowledgeable about their own needs and parents should respond to their cues


normative approach

Measures of behavior are taken on large numbers of individuals and age related averages are computed to represent typical development.


Binet and Simon

• The government asked Binet to help place children in classes when they when to a public education system
• In the early 1900s, Binet and Simon developed the first successful intelligence test
• Interdisciplinary, worked with teachers
• In 1916, updated to the Stanford-Binet in the US
• Designed for school placement, but not always used that way



where we see the development of some of the theories that continue to be influential today Psychoanalytic perspective o Freud o Erikson Behaviourism o John Watson o B.F. Skinner o Albert Bandura (Social learning theory) Cognitive-developmental theory o Piaget


Psychoanalytic perspective And the stages

Freud’s view of personality development, in which children move through a series of stages in which they confront conflicts between biological drives and social expectations. The way these conflicts are resolved determines psychological adjustment 1. Oral stage, birth-1 year 2. Anal stage, 1-3 years 3. Phallic stage, 3-6 years 4. Latency, 6-11 years 5. Genital stage, adolescence


Psychosexual theory

Freud’s theory, which emphasizes that how parents manage children’s sexual and aggressive drives in the first few years of life is crucial for healthy personality development


Freud’s theory of three components to the personality

• The id is present at birth, represents our basic biological needs and desires, and works on the hedonistic principle • The ego is present once we’re able to follow simple rules, is conscious and rational, and works on the reality principle • The superego is present once we internalize rules, develops through interactions with parents, and is no more reasonable than the id


Psychosocial theory And stages

Erikson’s theory, which emphasizes that at each Freudian stage, individuals not only develop a unique personality but also acquire attitudes and skills that help them become active, contributing members of society
1. Basic trust v mistrust, birth-1 year - balance
2. Autonomy v shame and doubt, 1-3 years –potty training
3. Initiative v guilt, 3-6 years – balance
4. Industry v inferiority, 6-11 years – how you feel you’re doing and not how you are doing objectively
5. Identity v role confusion, adolescence
6. Intimacy v isolation, emerging adulthood
7. Generativity v stagnation, adulthood
8. Integrity v despair, old age
Erikson was a neo-freudian but unlike Freud he saw that development occurs throughout the life span and the culture plays a role.


The Psychoanalytic Perspective Strengths And Weaknesses

Strengths • Emphasis on the individual’s unique life history as worthy of study and understanding • Has inspired a wealth of research on many aspects of emotional and social development Weaknesses • Strong commitment to the clinical approach has led to failure to consider other methods • Poor testability



(If you can’t obersive it then you shouldn’t study it)
an approach that regards directly observable events—stimuli and responses—as the appropriate focus of study and that views the development of behaviour as taking place through classical and operant conditioning and observational learning


John Watson

• Behaviourism
• classical conditioning
• inspired by Pavlov
• Little Albert study – they were going  to extinguished the fear because of an affair with research assistant


B.F. Skinner

• Behaviourism
• Didn’t work with kids he worked with rats
• operant conditioning
• effects of reward and punishment


Social learning theory

an approach that emphasizes the role of modeling, or observational learning, in the development of behaviour
• Albert Bandura, importance of cognition in our ability to learn from others
• Selecting what to imitate based on vicarious reinforcement and punishment, personal standards, and self-efficacy
• Children slowly become more selective on what they imitate
• Because of enfaces on thinking and the thought process of the child this theory can also be called “social-cognitive theory”
• Model general principals and not exact behaviors


Behaviourism and Social Learning Theory Contributions and Criticisms

Contributions • Applied techniques, such as behaviour modification Criticisms • Focuses too narrowly on reinforcement and modeling, to the exclusion of other aspects of children’s physical and social worlds • Underestimating children’s active contributions to their own development


Cognitive-developmental theory And stages

an approach introduced by Piaget that views children as actively constructing knowledge as they manipulate and explore their world and that regards cognitive development as taking place in stages • Sensorimotor stage, birth-2 • Preoperational stage, 2-7 • Concrete operational stage, 7-11 • Formal operational stage, 11 onwards Piaget believed that the structures of the mind adapts to better fit its external environment. He believed that children eventually reach an equilibrium their internal mental structures and the information they encounter in the everyday world. He used open ended clinical interviews where a child’s answer would determine the next question.


Cognitive-developmental theory Strengths And Weaknesses

Strengths • Piaget founded the field of cognitive development, and drew thousands of researchers to its study • He’s sparked research that has led to the formation of educational philosophies still used today Weaknesses • Underestimated the competencies of young children—training and familiarity matter more than he predicted • Insufficient attention to social and cultural influences • Is development truly stage-like?


Recent Theoretical Perspectives

• Information Processing • cognitive neuroscience • Ethology and Evolutionary Developmental Psychology • Evolutionary developmental psychology • Sociocultural theory • Ecological systems theory • Dynamic systems perspective


Information Processing Theory

• an approach that views the human mind as a symbol-manipulating system through which information flows and that regards cognitive development as a continuous process • Researchers in the IP tradition often use flowcharts and computer simulations to specify the steps that we take in turning ‘input’ into ‘output’ • Many information processing models focus in on narrow areas of study, but some do consider broad age changes in children’s thinking • Children are seen as active in their development • Most information processing theories see development as continuous (though there are exceptions)


Information Processing Strengths And Weaknesses

• Commitment to rigorous research methods
• Precise accounts of thinking and problem solving

• IP theories are much better at analyzing thinking into its components than at putting those components back together into a comprehensive theory
• Virtually ignores any aspect of cognition that isn’t linear and logical (like creativity and imagination)


Developmental cognitive neuroscience

an area of investigation that brings together researchers from psychology, biology, neuroscience, and medicine to study the relationship between changes in the brain and the developing child’s cognitive processing and behaviour patterns
It is a new area of study because they didn’t have the technology until recently.


Improved brain-imaging techniques are making it possible for researchers to begin

• Investigating the influence of various experiences on brain development • Clarifying the brain bases of many learning and behaviour disorders • Examining the effects of various treatments and interventions on brain functioning



an approach concerned with the adaptive, or survival, value of behaviour and its evolutionary history Lorenz and Tinbergen’s study of survival-promoting behaviours such as imprinting led to the concept of a critical period


critical period and sensitive period

Critical period - a period of time in which imprinting must occur or it will not happen at all. Sensitive period – a time that is biologically optimal for certain capacities to emerge. It can happen later but at greater difficulties • Many researchers believe the idea of a sensitive period is more appropriate for application to humans


John Bowlby

• John Bowlby applied ethological theory to understanding human infant-caregiver relationships • According to Bowlby, infant smiling, babbling, grasping, and crying are social signals designed to help ensure that caregivers approach, care for, and interact with Baby


Evolutionary developmental psychology

• an approach that seeks to understand the adaptive value of species-wide cognitive, emotional, and social competencies as those competencies change with age • These researchers often look for similarities between human behaviour and that of other animals • They consider the adaptive value of behaviours, as well as past adaptive value of behaviours that may no longer be adaptive in modern society • They want to understand the entire organism-environment system


Sociocultural theory

• Vygotsky’s theory, in which children acquire the ways of thinking and behaving that make up a community’s culture through cooperative dialogues with more knowledgeable members of their society • Social mediated process of cognitive development • Vygotsky believed children go through several stagewise changes throughout development (When they acquire language, When they enter school) • Vygotsky also stressed continuous changes in children’s thinking that occur as they engage in frequent dialogues with more experienced members of their culture • What children learn would be culturally dependent • Children not only learn facts from others, but also acquire tools of intellectual adaptation


Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory Strengths And Weaknesses

Strengths • Evidence does suggest that children in different cultures develop different skills and strengths Weaknesses • Vygotsky may have neglected the biological side of development • Vygotsky de-emphasized children’s capacity to shape their own development


Ecological systems theory

Bronfenbrenner’s approach, which views the child as developing within a complex system of relationships affected by multiple levels of the surrounding environment, from immediate settings of family and school to broad cultural values and programs Bronfenbrenner refers to his model as a bioecological model, indicating a fairly equal balance between genetic and environmental influences


Systems of the Ecological systems theory

Microsystem: the innermost level of the environment, Mesosystem: connections between children’s immediate settings Exosystem: social settings that do not contain children but that affect children’s immediate settings Macrosystem: cultural values, laws, customs, and resources that influence experiences and interactions at inner levels of the environment Chronosystem: temporal changes in children’s environments,



• System of the Ecological systems theory • the innermost level of the environment, consisting of activities and interaction patterns in the child’s immediate surroundings • Relationships here are bidirectional • There are also indirect influences on relationships



• System of the Ecological systems theory temporal changes in children’s environments, which produce new conditions that affect development; these changes can be imposed externally or arise from within the child


Dynamic systems perspective

• a view that regards the child’s mind, body, and physical and social worlds as a dynamic (changing), integrated (all parts influence each other) system. A change in any part of the system leads the child to reorganize his or her behaviour so the various components of the system work together again but in a more complex and effective way
• Dynamic systems theorists often choose to study children while their abilities are in transition
• Dynamic systems theories are interactionist nature and nature influencing each other
• view the child as active in development
• "fixed action patterns," or highly repeatable movements seen in birds and other animals, were also relevant to the control and development of human infants.
• dynamic systems theory is the broadest and most encompassing of all the developmental theories.
• Constant, fluid, emergent or non-linear, and multidetermined.
Dynamic systems theory’s greatest impact has been in early sensorimotor development.


According to the Dynamic systems perspective development of new abilities depends on

The child’s genetic heritage The environment, and opportunities presented up to this point The child’s motivation The skills the child has already developed


Common Methods of Gathering Information

by observing them, by asking them, or some combination thereof


Interview can be either ______ or______

structured or clinical

structured - is where each participant is asked the same set of questions – you can compare across individuals

Clinical – is flexible conversation style meant to understand the participants point of view – you can get in-depth and into an individual and respond to unexpected responses


Clinical, or case study, method

a method in which the researcher attempts to understand an individual child by combining interview data, observations, and sometimes test scores



a method in which the researcher attempts to understand the unique values and social processes of a culture or a distinct social group through participant observation—living with its members and taking field notes over an extended period of time


Correlational design

a research design in which the researcher gathers information on individuals without altering participants’ experiences and then examines relationships between variables. Does not permit inferences about cause and effect.


Correlation coefficient

a number, ranging from +1.00 to –1.00, that describes the strength and direction of the relationship between two variables The closer the absolute value is to 1, the stronger the correlation Correlations can be positive or negative


Experimental design

a research design in which the investigator randomly assigns participants to treatment conditions. Permits inferences about cause and effect In the most basic type of experiment, we manipulate an independent variable and measure a dependent variable


Matching assignment

is a procedure in which all participants are measured in advance on some characteristic; for every participant in one treatment group who scores a certain way on that characteristic, one with a similar score is placed in the other treatment group


Field experiments

are studies in which researchers do manipulate the independent variable, but do so in natural settings This decreases the amount of control, but may increase generalizability



are studies in which participants are already in naturally-occurring groups, and the two groups are compared on some dependent variable A study comparing people of different cultures or genders, or comparing preterm to full-term infants, is a quasi-experiment


Longitudinal design

a research design in which participants are studied repeatedly at different ages
Longitudinal studies are unique in their ability to answer questions about the stability of traits and the effects of early experiences on later outcomes
Problems with longitudinal studies: bias sampling, high cost, practice effects, dropout rates (the type of people the drop out, for example SES)


Cohort effects

The effects of cultural-historical change on the accuracy of longitudinal and cross-sectional findings. Children born in a particular time period are influenced by a particular set of cultural and historical conditions

2 Types
In a longitudinal study, cohort effects can threaten external validity.
In cross-sectional studies, cohort effects can threaten internal validity


Cross-sectional design

a research design in which groups of people differing in age are studied at the same point in time This allows researchers to compare abilities or behaviours of different-aged children, without concern about attrition or practice effects Problems with cross-sectional design: It is not useful for investigating stability or the effects of early experience Cohort effects now become a threat to internal validity


Sequential design (aka cross-sequential design)

a research design in which several similar cross-sectional or longitudinal studies (called sequences) are conducted at varying times Essentially, you test several groups of children, different ages, then test those same children again at a later date


Microgenetic design

a research design in which investigators present children with a novel task and follow their mastery over a series of closely spaced sessions Typically, studies involve just a small number of children who are at an age when change is considered imminent


Ethical issues in research with children Major considerations

• generally similar to issues in research with adults • However, children may require more protection than adults from psychological impact of studies • Also, consent is a somewhat different issue when working with children major considerations • Protection from harm • Informed consent • Privacy • Knowledge of results • Beneficial treatments


Ethical issues in research with children Other issues

Deception is somewhat dicey in any study, but is even more so when dealing with children; their basic faith in adults, and their ability to understand later that deception was used and was necessary, must be considered If, during the course of the study, it is discovered that a child is in jeopardy, protecting the child takes precedence over all other ethical considerations and all scientific goals


The three domains of development are



The period of early childhood focuses on changes from _____________ years.

2 years to 6


Unlike Freud, Erikson pointed out that normal development must be

understood in relation to each culture’s life situation.


According to Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory

children actively construct knowledge as they manipulate and explore their world.


According to Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory, during the preoperational stage

thinking is symbolic but illogical.


Information-processing theorists are interested in

the precise steps individuals use to solve problems and complete tasks.


Ecological systems theory has moved to the forefront of the field of developmental psychology because

it offers the most complete account of contextual influences on children’s development.


Which of the following questions would a dynamic systems theorist ask?

On hearing the word ape, how does a 2-year-old figure out the category of objects to which it refers?


By what age should researchers respect and enhance children’s thinking by giving them a full explanation of the purpose of the research activities in language they can understand?

7 years old


How might Domains of Development all influence one another?

How you look could cause people to treat you different.
Your social environment (father) could impact physical development
Children who are not given attention might stop growing
Your cognive skills could cause to be placed in new social environments
Your social skills could cause you to be held back or exelaerated in school or areas where cognitive skills are required


Active Versus Passive

Weather a child plays a role in the direction of their own development.


Systematic observation

Systemic observation is a method of setting up a study in psychology in order to eliminate or reduce bias. This is crucial for many psychological studies to ensure that the results are objective. In order for this to work, rules must be in place for observation. It can be either naturalistic or structured naturalistic – go in to the field to observe structured – set up a laboratory simulation to observe


How are questionnaire superior to interviews?

Larger sample size
Diverse sample
Less embarrassment (honesty)


Are there ways in which interviews are superior to questionnaires?

More in-depth – ask follow up questions
Body language
Can answer questions from pertiepants
Can get illiterate people or kids responses


What advantages do observational methods have over self-report?

More honest results
Might not have accurate self-awareness
Observe context


What advantages do self-report methods have over observational

Larger sample size
Study things that are hard to observe (sexual activity)
Understand the participants thoughts and feelings that might not be clear from observation


Why are we unable to determine cause and effect from correlation? Three reasons

Effect might be the cause There might be a third factor involved They could be intertwined, both causing each other


What major drawbacks does the case study method present? Why do we continue to use it?

Small sample size and unique subjects means you cannot generalize
Threat of participant dropping out

We still use it for rare cases or for ethical concerns about recreating circumstances in the lab


Examples of positive or and negative correlations

Positive – height and weight Negative – booze and coordination


What is the major advantage of an experiment over a correlational study? Why, then, do we continue to conduct correlational studies?

Can determine cause and effect. We still use correlations because it can be a way to gather data in large amounts, for things we cannot recreate for an experiment, as a starting place to decide if to do an experiment.


external validity and internal validity

External validity is the extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and to other people Internal validity reflects the extent to which a causal conclusion based on a study is warranted. Inferences are said to possess internal validity if a causal relation between two variables is properly demonstrated.


Theory in Child Development  TABLE 2


Ethics in Child Research TABLE


Cross Sectional Comparisons DIAGRAM


Strengths and Limitations of Research Methods TABLE 1


Studying The Child TABLE


Theroys in Child Development



Strengths and Limitations of Reasearch Mathods



Piaget Stages



Emerging adulthood: 18 to 25 years

• Still haven’t taken adult place in society
• Educational requirements hold back from being an adult
• Period of Exploration
• More common if in post-secondary
• Brain development is still occurring
• Most do not (take on adult roles in society at 18)


Fear of strangers is

Human nature


Attachment to inanimate objects is… (security blanket)

Socialized (in cultures that baby’s do not sleep with parents)