LECTURE 1

LECTURE 1 - 6/20/10 PSC 140 DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Sara...

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Unformatted text preview: 6/20/10 PSC 140 DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Sara Waters Summer Session I 2010 Overview of lecture Introduction to the topic Historical perspectives on children   Natural experiments in child development   Enduring themes in the study of development     What is developmental science? The @ield of study that focuses on the physical, intellectual, social, and emotional changes that children undergo from the moment of conception onward 1 6/20/10 Domains of child development   Brain   Neuronal processes   Physical   Fine and Gross Motor   Cognitive   Thinking and Knowing   Social and Emotional   Relationship to Self and Others Why do we study child development? To understand human nature  To be good parents  To improve society   Historical Figures     Plato 4th century B.C.   Children born with innate knowledge   Good childrearing is critical or children will grow up out of control 2 6/20/10 Historical Figures     Aristotle 4th century B.C.   Student of Plato Children gain knowledge through experience   Good childrearing is tailored to the individual child   Historical Figures   John Locke       17th century Enlightenment The child as tabula rasa It is parents’/society’s responsibility to shape the child properly Historical Figures   Jean ­Jacques Rousseau       18th century Enlightenment The child as noble savage Children will develop properly all on their own 3 6/20/10 Historical Background     Industrial revolution 18th and 19th centuries   Children as young as 5 working long hours at dangerous jobs   Social reform forbidding employment of young children catalyzed the practice of research on children Historical Figures     Charles Darwin 19th century   The “baby biography”   The child sheds lights on the evolutionary process Natural Experiments In what ways is development innate and in what ways is it in@luenced by the environment? 4 6/20/10 Wild Child       Genie ~13 ­year ­old found in Los Angeles, 1970 Life had been spent locked in a bedroom with little to no social contact   Found by authorities, taken to Children’s Hospital LA, and studied by researchers at UCLA The orphanages of Romania   Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu wanted to increase the country’s population   Contraception and abortion banned   Tax on childless couples   Financial bene@its for mothers of @ive or more   Many children abandoned as “orphans”   ~ 170,000 children in state ­run orphanages The orphanages of Romania   Appalling conditions, profound deprivation  Adequate nutrition  Harsh physical environment  No toys or stimulation  Little contact with caregivers  Children exhibited severe developmental impairments 5 6/20/10 Natural Experiments What can we learn from these tragic events regarding child development? Spectacular developmental gains following intervention   Longstanding impairments, in some areas more than others   The English and Romanian Adoptees Study assessments at 4, 6, 11, and 15 years   Enduring Theme: Nature AND Nurture   Nature   An individual’s biological endowment  ­ ­ Genes   Nurture   The range of Environments that in@luence development   Development is a product of both! Enduring Theme: Nature AND Nurture   Gene X Environment interactions   When a gene in@luences behavior only under certain environmental circumstances 6 6/20/10 CriNcal Periods   A period during which speci@ic biological or environmental events are required for normal development to occur   Imprinting in baby chicks SensiNve Periods   A period during which a particular experience (or lack of it) has an especially profound effect   Language development in young children Enduring Theme: The AcNve Child How do children shape their own development?   What they attend to (look at)   Their development of language   How they play 7 6/20/10 Enduring Theme: ConNnuity/DisconNnuity A continuous process of small, quantitative changes   Growth in vocabulary   Enduring Theme: ConNnuity/DisconNnuity   A discontinuous process of sudden, qualitative changes   Babbling to talking   Stage theories   Piaget   Erikson   Kohlberg Enduring Theme: ConNnuity/DisconNnuity   Whether development is continuous or discontinuous often depends on how you look at it 8 6/20/10 Enduring Theme: Individual Differences What makes individuals different from one another?   Genetics   Differential treatment by parents, others Differences in reactions to experiences   Differences in life choices Enduring Theme: Individual Differences Are individual characteristics stable over time?     Some characteristics more stable than others Environmental stability supports intra ­ individual stability   Niche ­picking Enduring Theme: Mechanisms of Change     The HOW of developmental change Variation   Differences within and among individuals   Selection   The survival and reproduction of organisms that are well adapted to their environment 9 6/20/10 Enduring Theme: Mechanisms of Change Variation and Selection apply to features of the individual   Brain development     Synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning   The development of behavior relies on such mechanisms Enduring Theme: Sociocultural Context   Sociocultural Context   The physical, social, cultural, economic, and historical circumstances of a child’s life Enduring Theme: Sociocultural Context Cross ­cultural studies reveal that common parenting practices are often speci@ic to that culture   Within a single society, differences in ethnicity and socioeconomic status affect child development   10 6/20/10 Enduring Theme: Children’s Welfare   Understanding children facilitates the ability to support children   Policies to protect and provide for children   Diagnosis and treatment of developmental problems   Developmentally ­appropriate educational practices 11 ...
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