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Flashcards in study of development Deck (32):

Hoffnung: Landmarks of development

Birth Startle reflex Visual/auditory Cries/soothes
Infancy (0-2 years) Walking, standing Language, searching Attachment
Early childhood
(2-5 years)
Writing, climbing Dramatic play Gender roles
Middle childhood
(6-12 years)
Riding a bike Reading, writing Friendships
(12-18 years)
Puberty Abstract thinking Dating
Early adulthood
(20-40 years)
Peak of fertility Postformal thought Finding a mate, job
Middle adulthood
(40-60 years)
Decline in fertility Expertise in an area Death of parents
Late adulthood and
beyond (60+ years)
Decline in physical
Wisdom Retirement, death
of spouse/partner


The ‘invention’ of childhood

Important to also consider briefly the history of developmental
• Aries (1962) in medieval times children considered to be
miniature adults, no distinct stage of childhood
• Graduated to adulthood around 7/8 years and so no
• Distinctiveness of childhood began to emerge with Rousseau
(1712-1778), Darwin (1877) and Gesell (1926)
• With these start to get the ‘norms’ of childhood emerging
• But also need to be mindful of developmental diversity


Psychodynamic Theories: Freud

Three hypothetical metal structures:
• Id:
• Present at birth
• Unconscious
• Impulsive
• Ego:
• Rational
• Conscious
• Problem solving
• Superego:
• Moral, ethical component


Stages of psychosexual development

Oral (birth – 1 year): feeding and weaning
• Anal (1-3 years): toilet training
• Phallic (3-6 years): gender role and moral development
• Latency (6-12 years): suspended sexual activity
• Genital (12 – adulthood): puberty and mature sexual
• Importance of conflict resolution and use of defence
mechanisms to deal with conflict
• Issues of ‘fixation’ at a s


FREUD Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong influence on contemporary thinking
• First to draw attention to the role of the unconscious
• Influential in psychotherapy in confronting unconscious
• First to highlight the importance of early experiences for later
• Highlighted importance of emotions
• Not easy to test
• McMillan (1991:548) “...a theory in search of some facts.”


Psychodynamic Theories: Erikson

Personality development a psychosocial process: internal
psychological factors and external social factors both important
• Developmental changes occur throughout a person’s lifetime.
Influenced by 3 interrelated factors:
◦ The individuals biological and physical strengths and limitations
◦ The person’s unique life circumstances and developmental history
◦ Social, cultural and historical influences in a person’s lifetime
• Developed a theory of 8 stages, each stage with a crisis to resolve
• Different to Freud as focused on more of a lifespan approach to
development – personality not “set in stone” during first 5 years of
• Development reversible


Eriksons psychosocial stages

Psychosocial stage Approximate age Description
Trust vs. Mistrust Birth – 1 year Development of trusting
relationships (hope)
Autonomy vs. Shame and doubt 1 – 3 years Control over bodily functions
and activities (will)
Initiative vs. Guilt 3 – 6 years Testing limits of self-assertion
Industry vs. Inferiority 6 – 12 years Mastery, competence and
productivity (competence)
Identity vs. Role confusion 12 – 19 years Identity and coherent selfconcept
Intimacy vs. Isolation 19 – 25 years Achieve intimate relationship
and career (love)
Generativity vs. Stagnation 25 – 50 years Productive activity to contribute
to future generations (care)
Ego integrity vs. Despair 50 years + Belief in integrity of life


Erikson’s psychosocial stages explained

Trust vs. Mistrust (birth – 1 year): infants need to learn to
trust their caregivers to meet their needs. Responsive
parenting critical
• Autonomy vs. Shame and doubt (1-3 years): children must
learn to be autonomous, do things for themselves or they will
doubt their own abilities
• Initiative vs. Guilt (3-6 years): devise and carry out bold
plans, but need to learn not to impinge on rights of others
• Industry vs. Inferiority (6-12 years): children must master
important social and academic skills and keep up with their
peers, otherwise will feel inferior
Identity vs. Role confusion (12-20 years): adolescents ask who they
are and must establish social and vocational identities, otherwise they
will remain confused about the roles they should play as adults
• Intimacy vs. Isolation (20-40 years): young adults seek to form a
shared identity with another person, but may fear intimacy and
experience loneliness and isolation
• Generativity vs. Stagnation (40-65 years): middle-aged adults must
feel that they are producing something that will outlive them, either as
parents or as workers, otherwise they will become stagnant and selfcentred
• Integrity vs. Despair (65 years+): older adults must come to view their
lives as meaningful in order to face death without worries and regrets


ERIKSON Strengths and Weaknesses

Generally more widely accepted than Freud’s
• Focus on the interaction of biological and social
• Particularly useful in theorising adolescence
• Sometimes vague and difficult to test
• Might be a useful description but does not
adequately explain how development occurs


Behavioural Theories: Skinner

B. F. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning.
Based on principles of reinforcement
• Positive reinforcement: rewarding that increases
the likelihood of recurrence under similar
• Negative reinforcement: increases chances of
recurrence but through removing undesirable or
unpleasant stimulus
• Punishment: reduces a particular response
• Shaping: learning of new behaviours through the
building on existing skills


Skinner: Implications for developmental psychology

Strong emphasis on the power of positive reinforcement and
general discouragement of physical punishment in childrearing
• Skinner proposed that the course of human development
depends on an individual’s learning experiences
• Skinner’s theory can help to explain many aspects of human
• Has been used in several applied behavioural and cognitive
behavioural interventions in both clinical and educational
• But is there too little attention placed on the role of cognitive


Behavioural Theories: Bandura

Bandura proposes that developmental change occurs
largely through observational learning
• Famous for his ‘Bobo doll’
• Learning is reciprocally determined
• Emphasises importance of thinking about self and others – social cognitive theory
• Important roles of modelling and imitation
◦ Imitation: child directly reinforced for copying actions of others
◦ Modelling: child learns behaviours through observing someone
else getting reinforced for their actions
• Key role of child’s individual cognitive abilities


Bandura: Implications for developmental psychology

Bandura’s work has been useful in explaining
gender development, and also development of
aggression and impacts of TV and other media
• Taken as a tool for counsellors and therapists
• But as with other learning theorists, can it explain
human development?
• Early learning theorists put too little attention on
biological influences on development


Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Probably one of the most influential theorists in
developmental psychology
• Thinking develops in a series of increasingly
complex stages
• Became interested in the wrong answers that
children gave
• Became clear that young children don’t just know
less, but that they think qualitatively differently to
older children
• Developed a stage theory that spans cognitive
development from infancy to adolescence


Piaget: Key concepts

Constructivism: children active learners in their environment
• Importance of interaction between biological maturation and experience
• Scheme: a systematic pattern of thoughts that allows he child to organise
their thinking about particular concepts and experiences in order to make
sense of their world
• Assimilation: process by which individual interprets new experiences in
terms of existing schemes
• Accommodation: child changes existing scheme in order to better make
sense of reality
• Also important is social transmission of learning from others and physical


Piaget’s developmental stages

Sensorimotor stage Birth – 2 years Infants use their senses to explore their
world. Initially formed of innate reflexes,
but become deliberate and coordinated.
By end achieve object permanence and
start to use symbolic thought
Preoperational 2 – 7 years Use symbolic thought to develop
language, pretend play etc. Thinking still
not logical: egocentric thought and failure
to conserve
Concrete operational 7 – 11 years Concrete operations allow them to
classify and organise. Can form logical
thoughts, but still struggle with
hypothetical and abstract problems
Formal operational 11 years and older Can think about abstract concepts and
purely hypothetical possibilities. Can
systematically test ideas


PIAGET Strengths and Weaknesses

Piaget a pioneer and incredibly influential developmental
• Basic premises of qualitatively different thinking, active actors
and interaction between nature and nurture still widely
accepted today
• Wide scale testing of his ideas has shown some support
• Influential in education and child-rearing
• Too little said about influences of motivation and emotion
• Underestimation of young children’s abilities
• Too little emphasis on role of parents and significant others
• Issues of cultural generalisability


Paul Baltes et al (1979/1980)

Paul Baltes provides an important perspective through his emphasis on the nature of development and important historical influences on development.
Baltes and Nesselroade (1979) identified three influences which are determined by the interaction of biological and environmental factors.
The three influences are:
Normative age-graded: have a strong relationship with chronological age. Can be biological and/or environmentally determined, for example, onset of puberty in adolescence, or the school starting age of 5 or 6 years
Normative history-graded: influences that are associated with a particular historical time. Examples include war or famine, or the advent of technological changes such as the television or internet technologies
Non-normative events: these events do not occur in any normative age-graded or history-graded manner, and are things that are not shared by everyone within a particular group. Examples include an accident resulting in brain damage, or the effects of divorce.


Bronfenbrenner’s ecological system

The ecological system comprises of sets of people, settings, recurring events, cultural values and programs that are related to one another, have stability and influence the person over time.
Microsystem: examples include family, school, peer group. Important issues within this system include is the person regarded positively and accepted? Is the person given an active role in the reciprocal relationships?
Mesosystem: examples include connections between microsystems such as home-school, school-neighbourhood. Important issues within this system include do the settings respect each other? Do settings present basic consistency in values?
Exosystem: settings in which an individual does not directly participate. Examples include spouse or parents place of employment, local school board. Important issues within this system include how well do social supports for families balance stresses for parents?
Macrosystem: the overarching aspects for an individual. Examples include ideology, social policy and shared assumptions about human nature. Important issues within this system include are some groups valued at the expense of others (e.g. sexism, racism)? Is there an individualistic or a collectivistic orientation within the wider society?


Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)

Russian, therefore discovered late by UK and
North American psychologists
• An active Marxist which had an impact on his
psychological thinking and theorising
• Culture is key – regarded human psychology as
entirely social
• Development does not occur within the child but
between the child and their environment
• Different developmental pathways depending on
the cultural context of the child


Zone of Proximal Development

Highlights important influence of interactions on
• ZPD = the distance between what a child can do
independently and what the child can do with an
adult or more advanced peer – the gap between
what they know and what they could potentially
• Scaffolding by adult or more advanced peer
• What is in the ZPD today will be in the zone of
actual development tomorrow (Vygotsky, 1978)



Vygotsky placed great importance on language
• Any learning must be seen in context of culture
• Learning from two interactions:
• Firstly through cooperation with others: peers, teachers,
parents and other significant others
• Secondly through the ‘symbolic representativeness’ of the
child’s culture: through its art, language, play, games,
songs etc
• Interaction between child and culture
• Society providing a framework for understanding


Cultural Tools

All human learning involves the use of cultural
• E.g. language, calculus, art, maps etc.
• All human functioning therefore sociocultural
• These systems become part of the shared
knowledge of a culture
• Individual learning will be shaped by the use of
such tools
• Play important role in learning


Why is culture important?

Emphasises that human functioning cannot be separated
from the context of their activities
• Provides an understanding of development in context
• Glick (1975) Kpelle sorting task
• Demonstrates the different ways of organising the world
• Taxonomic categories valued in literate situations, but not
necessarily valued by all
• This kind of work poses challenges to earlier views
concerning the abilities and intelligence in different cultures


Normative-crisis model

Assumes development progresses in sequential
• Individuals all follow the same sequence
• Each stage qualitatively different to last, and build
upon previous
• Assumes change at least partly influenced by
biological and maturational changes
• Examples of this approach include:
• Erikson
• Vaillant
• Levinson


Vaillant: Styles of adult coping

Age of
20 – 30 years Increasing autonomy from parents;
marriage, parenthood and establishing
more intimate friendships
30 – 40 years Consolidating and strengthening
marriage and career; devotion to hard
work and career advancement
Midlife transitions 40 – 50 years Painful reassessment and reordering of
the experiences of adolescence and
young adulthood; heightened selfawareness
and exploration of forgotten
‘inner self’ opening the way for achieving
greater generativity
Midlife 50 years + Leaving behind compulsive involvement
with occupational apprenticeships;
becoming increasingly self-r


Reflections on Vaillant

A lengthy longitudinal study that began in 1940
and was followed up again as late as 1990, where
there were still 173 participants
• All of the participants were men – heavy focus on
career. Would this be a similar story for 1940s
• What about socio-historical influences?
• What about cultural influences?


Levinson: Seasons of adult lives

Biographical study of 40 men aged 35-45 years
• Identified three eras or ‘seasons’
◦ Early adulthood (17-45 years)
◦ Middle adulthood (45-60 years)
◦ Late adulthood (60 years +)
• Will return to Levinson’s applications to women in later
weeks, but again important to note based on men
• Still question or what constitutes ‘normal life events’
• Can a stage theory be generalised to everyone?


Timing of Events Mode

Views life events as a series of markers of
developmental change
• Markers may be normative or non-normative
• Normative: transitions that follow an age- appropriate social timetable, e.g. Work, marriage,
parenthood etc.
◦ Internalised social clock tells individuals whether they are
‘on time’
• Non-normative: less predictable. May include
normative events that occur at the ‘wrong’ time,
e.g. Marrying ‘late
Strong focus on external contexts and conditions
• Can help us to understand variations in adult development
• Draws attention to developmental importance of social
• Highlights differences to theorising about child development
◦ Increase in importance of social and psychological conditions and
◦ Adults may play


Theorist Summary

Freud Psychosexual conflict; stage theory; ends at 12 years +
Erikson Psycho social crises; lifespan theory; stage theory
Skinner Assume weak role for nature; continuous (no-stage) theory
Bandura Imitation; weak role for nature; continuous development
Piaget Theory of cognitive development; stage theory; active learner
Baltes Continuous theory; individualised development
Bronfenbrenner Contextual, interactive; continuous theory
Vygotsky Cultural/historical influences; continuous theory, weak role for nature
Normative-crisis Stage theories; active role for individual
Timing of events Continuous theory; strong role for experience and active individual


How do we study development?

Cross-sectional study Observes people of different ages at one point of time
Longitudinal study Observes the same group(s) of people at different points in time
Naturalistic observation Observes people in naturally occurring situations or circumstances
Experimental observation Observes people where circumstances are carefully controlled
Correlational study Observes the tendency of two behaviours or qualities of a person to
occur or vary together; measures this tendency statistically
Survey Brief structured interview or questionnaire about specific beliefs or
behaviours of large numbers of people
Interview Face to face conversation used to gather complex information from
Case study Investigation of one individual or small number of individuals using a
variety of sources of information
Ethnography Observation of a culture or a particular social group through detailed
field notes. Attempts to capture the cultures unique values and social


Ethical considerations

Tend to engage with a range of vulnerable populations in
developmental psychology
• Ethics therefore a key concern in any research project
• Focus on three issues primarily:
• Confidentiality
• Full disclosure of purpose
• Respect for freedom to participate
• These principles make up the notion of informed consent that
can be given by individuals in order to participate in a study
• In some cases individuals may not be able to give informed consent
and this will be provided by a parent or guardian