Chapter 2: theories of development Flashcards Preview

Developmental PSYC213 > Chapter 2: theories of development > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 2: theories of development Deck (32):


A set of orderly statements to describe, explain and predict behaviour in various domains 


The continued existence of theory depends on scientific verification


Qualities of a good theory:

• Internally consistent
• Provide meaningful explanations
• Open to scientific evaluation
• Stimulate new thinking and research

• Provide guidance in application 


Different questions theories ask/ how they differ

• Does development occur through maturation or experience?

• Is development continuous or discontinuous?

        • Process or stage?

• Is development active or passive?

        • Mechanistic vs. organismic models

• Are theories broad or narrow in scope? 


Psychodynamic theories

• Development an active dynamic process

• Influence of biological drives and conscious and unconscious elements

• Structure of personality

    • Id – pleasure principle
    • Ego – reality principle
    • Superego – conscience 

Sigmund Freud 1856-1939


Freud's psychosexual stages and developmental processes

  • Oral: birth - 1 year
  • Anal: 1-3 years (toileting)
  • Phallic: 3-6 years (genitals and gender role development)
  • Latency: 6-12 years (suspended sexual activity)
  • Genital: 12 - adulthood (genitals and stimulation, onset of puberty)

refer to notes for further info


Erikson's psychosocial theory

• Expanded and refined Freud’s stages – “Neo- Freudian”

• Stage theorist

• Eight stages and each stage associated with a crisis to be resolved

• Development was reversible 

Erik Erikson 1902-1994


Erikson's 8 stages of development

basic trust vs mistrust:  birth -18 months

autonomy vs shame and doubt:  1-2 years

intiative vs guilt: 3-6 years

industry vs inferiority: 7-11 years

identity vs role vonfusion: adolescence

intimacy vs isolation: 20s and 30s

generativity vs stagnation: 40s and 60s

ego integrity vs dispair:  60s onwards



refer to notes

A image thumb

Psychodynamic theories help us understand:

• Formation of attachments

• Development of autonomy and self-control

• Development of intimate relationships in adolescence and adulthood 



Long-lasting change in behaviour, based on experience or adaptation to the environment 



• We respond based on whether the situation is:

    • Painful or threatening

    • Pleasurable

• Associative learning 


Classical conditioning

John Watson 1878-1958

• “Little Albert”

Albert liked the furry rat

Rat is then presented with loud ‘CRASH’

Albert cried because of the noise

Eventually, sight of the rat made Albert cry 

A image thumb

Operant conditioning

• Individual learns the consequences of ‘operating’ on the environment

• Learned relationship between behaviour and its consequences

• Skinner formulated original ideas by working with animals, then applied them to humans 


B.F. Skinner 1904-1990 


Operant conditioning: reinforcement

• Strengthens response; increases likelihood of behaviour reoccurring

• Can be positive or negative

• Positive: giving a reward

• Lollies for finishing a task; saying “well done!”

• No chores for getting an A+ on homework 


Operant conditioning: punishment

• Weakens response; decreases likelihood of behaviour reoccurring

• Can be positive or negative
    • Positive: Adding something aversive

          • Getting scolded; smacking
    • Negative: Removing something pleasant

          • Taking away car keys; getting a time out 


Social Cognitive Learning Theory 

Albert Bandura proposes developmental change through observational learning:

    • Imitation
    • Modelling: vicarious reinforcement

• Reciprocal determination – interaction between individual and environment

• Four-step model of observational learning 


Bhevaiour modification definition

What is behaviour modification based on?

What is it useful for managing?

Defined as a specific set of techniques that is based on operant conditioning and social cognitive learning used to eliminate undesired behaviours and increase desirable responses

Based on:

• Operant conditioning
• Social cognitive learning 

Useful for managing:

• Eating disorders
• Delinquent behaviours

• Other developmental and behavioural issues such as fears, language delays, aggression 


What are cognitive developmental theories focused on?

  • how thinking and problem-solving skills develop 

Piaget's cognitive theory


Piaget: Cognitive Stage Theory

• Clinical method
• Combining observation with flexible questioning

• Development begins with an inborn ability to adapt to the environment, E.g., exploring a room 

as a result of both maturation and experience, thinking develops through a series of increasingly sophisticated stages, each incorporating the achievements of previous stages


Piaget's cognitive stages

  • Sensorimotor: Birth -2 years
  • Preoperational: 2-7 years
  • Concrete operational: 7-11 years
  • Formal operational: 11- adulthood
  • Post-operational?


A image thumb

Sensorimotor stage:

  • Birth - 2 years
  • coordination of sensory and motor activity; achievement of object permenance
  • infants begin to develop their knowledge fo the world through their senses


Preoperational stage:

  • 2-7 years
  • use of language and symbolic representation
  • ego-centric view of the world
  • make-believe play
  • thinking lacks logic


Concrete operational stage:

  • 7-11 years
  • solution of concrete problems through logical operations
  • objects are organised into heirarchies and classes and subclasses
  • thinking is not yet abstract


Formal operational stage:

  • 11 - adulthood
  • systematic solution of acutal and hypothetical problemsusing abstract symbols
  • capacity for abstract, systematic thinking
  • capable of deducing testable inferences


Piaget's concepts:

• Direct learning: scheme development
      • Scheme: systematic pattern of thoughts, actions, and

        problem-solving strategies

• Adaptation: How children handle new information in     light of what they already know; schemes deepened or modified via:

     • Assimilation

     • Accommodation
• Social transmission: influence through observation of

• Physical maturation: biologically determined changes 


Two processes of adaptation:

  • Assimilation: Incorporating new information into existing schemes
    • Interpret and respond to events in terms of an   existing scheme
  • Accommodation: Changing structures to include new information
    • Change existing scheme when faced with new ideas or situations in which the old schemes no longer work 


Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory 

• Four interactive, overlapping contexts

– Microsystem

– Mesosystem

– Exosystem
– Macrosystem

Environment an ever- changing system 

Contextual theory


Lev Vygotsky 1896-1934 Contextual theory

Zone of proximal development

  • Cognitive development ‘context specific’
  • Higher mental functions associated with social interactions and dialogues with parents, teachers, peers and others
  • Zone of proximal development (ZPD)
    • The range in which tasks need support from more knowledgeable adults and peers
    • Support through scaffolding 


The application of contextual theories

• Understanding how individual development interacts with the context in which it occurs

• Examination of the multiple factors influencing issues

• Vygotsky’s ZPD important in understanding the development of problem solving and the culturally specific nature this may take 


Vaillant's normative crisis model developmental periods

  • Age of establishment (20-30 years): increasing autonomy from parents; marraige, parenthood and establishing more intimate friendships
  • Career consolidation (20-40 years): consolidating and strengthening marraige and career, devotion to hard work and advancement
  • Midlife transition (40-50 years): hieghtened self-awareness and exploration of forgotten inner-self opening the way for achieveing greater generativitiy
  • Midlife (50 or older): becoming increasingly self-reflective nurturant and expressive


Timing-of-Events model

• Normative life events (on time)

• Non-normative life events (off time)

• Internalised social clock tell individuals if they are ‘on time’

• Accounts for variability in adult experience

• Focus on the impact of social expectations and the more active, self-conscious role of adults 


Dynamic Systems Perspective 

• Recognition that children’s development both consistent and variable

• System seen as dynamic, constantly in change

A change in one part of the system requires child to reorganise their behaviour to form a new system

Can account for a range of individual differences due to unique experiences of each child 


Comparisons and implications of theories

• Theories help to systematically organise ideas

• Theories can stimulate new thinking and guide

understandings and professional practice


• No one theory can provide a complete explanation, but together may be complementary

• Need to remain critical in our considerations about theories