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Lifespan Development. Developmental Psychology - psychological changes across the entire life span Themes: Stages Critical periods Gradual changes Heredity vs environment. Genetics. A.Chromosomes, DNA, Genes B.Genotype/Phenotype C.Dominant/Recessive Genes

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Lifespan development

Lifespan Development

  • Developmental Psychology - psychological changes across the entire life span

  • Themes:

    • Stages

    • Critical periods

    • Gradual changes

    • Heredity vs environment



  • A.Chromosomes, DNA, Genes

  • B.Genotype/Phenotype

  • C.Dominant/Recessive Genes

  • D.Sex-Linked Recessive Characteristics

    • Color blindness, night blindness, hemophilia

Prenatal development

Prenatal Development

  • Germinal period— 0-2 weeks

  • Embryonic period— 2-8 weeks

  • Fetal period— 8 weeks to birth

  • Provides very different qualitative info than “trimesters”

Lifespan development

8 week embryo

Lifespan development

12 week fetus

Lifespan development

18 week fetus

Lifespan development

20 weeks (5 months)

Lifespan development

24 weeks (6 months)

Lifespan development

28 weeks (7 months)

Lifespan development

32 weeks (8 months)

Lifespan development

  • Amniotic sac

  • Umbilical cord

  • Placenta

  • Teratogens—any agent that causes a birth defect (e.g., drugs, aspirin, ibuprofin, radiation, nicotine, alcohol, viruses)

Reflexes inborn behaviors that have been selected for b c they have survival value

Reflexes – inborn behaviors that have been selected for b/c they have survival value

  • Blinking

  • Rooting (orient head/mouth)

  • Sucking

  • Grasping

  • Stepping

  • Babinski (toes)

  • Moro (startle)



  • All senses functioning before birth

  • Vision

  • Visual acuity (fuzzy)

  • can see color, but prefer bold B/W contrast

  • minimal tracking of moving objects

  • will mimic facial expressions in first month

  • Hearing – can orient toward sounds

  • Smell – will turn head away from unpleasant odors

  • Taste - prefer sweet to sour tastes

  • Touch – will react to virtually any touch, especially painful stimuli

Physical development

Physical Development

  • Brain and neuron development

    • At birth, brain is 25% of adult weight

      • By 5, brain is 95% adult size

    • Body weight is only 5% of adult weight

  • Motor skill development

    • 3 mos – grasping

    • 6 mos – standing

    • 12 mos - walking

Social and personality development

Social and Personality Development

  • Temperament - inborn predisposition to react to stimuli - physiological

  • Easy — adaptable, positive mood, regular habits

  • Difficult — intense emotions, irritable, cry frequently

  • Slow to warm up — low activity, somewhat slow to adapt, generally withdraw from new situations

  • Average — unable to classify (1/3 of all children)

Attachment john bowlby

Attachment – John Bowlby

  • Attachment-- emotional bond between infant and caregiver

  • Parents who are consistently warm, responsive, and sensitive to the infant’s needs usually have infants who are securely attached

  • Parents who are neglectful, inconsistent, or insensitive to infant’s needs usually have infants who are insecurely attached

Lifespan development

  • Attachment

  • Survival value – protection

  • Contact comfort

  • Separation anxiety

  • Culturally influenced

Ainsworth s strange situation

Ainsworth’s Strange Situation

  • Used to study quality of attachment in infants

  • Observe child’s reaction when mother is present with the child in a “strange” room

  • Observe the child’s reaction when mother leaves

  • Observes the child’s reaction when mother returns

Attachment styles

Attachment styles

  • Secure

  • Avoidant

  • Resistant

  • Disorganized

  • Internal Working Model – schema

  • Secure style 70% likely to continue

  • Insecure styles 30% likely to continue


Gender role development

Gender Role Development

  • Gender—cultural, social, and psychological meanings associated with masculinity or femininity

    • Different than “sex”

  • Gender roles—various traits designated either masculine or feminine in a given culture

  • Gender identity—A person’s psychological sense of being male or female

Gender differences

Gender Differences

  • Toy preferences

  • “aggressive” play

  • “rigidity” in sex-role stereotypes

Social learning theory

Social Learning Theory

Gender roles are acquired through the basic processes of learning, including reinforcement, punishment, and modeling

Gender schema theory

Gender Schema Theory

  • Gender-role development is influenced by the formation of schemas, or mental representations, of masculinity and femininity

  • Trucks are for boys and dolls are for girls

  • Girls can be mommies and boys can be daddies

  • Gender permanence – age 5

Piaget s theory of cognitive development

Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

  • Jean Piaget (1896–1980) Swiss psychologist

  • Constructivist - “children are active thinkers, constantly trying to construct more advanced understandings of the world”



  • Jean Piaget’s stages

  • Adaptation

    • assimilation

    • accommodation

  • Sensorimotor 0-2

  • Preoperational 2-7

  • Concrete operational 7-11

  • Formal operational 11 +

  • Object permanence, egocentrism, conservation

Sensorimotor stage birth 2 years

Sensorimotor Stage (birth – 2 years)

  • Use of senses and motor actions

  • Child perceives and manipulates but does not “reason”

  • Symbolic thought emerges with brain maturation, experience, and language development

  • Object permanence is acquired

Preoperational stage 2 7 years

Preoperational Stage (2–7 years)

  • Emergence of symbolic thought

  • Centration

  • Egocentrism

  • Lack of the concept of conservation

  • Animism

Lifespan development

Video of Megan

Concrete operational stage 7 12 years

Concrete Operational Stage (7–12 years)

  • Increasingly logical thought

  • Classification and categorization

  • Less egocentric

  • Ability to understand that physical quantities are equal even if appearance changes (conservation)

  • Inability to reason abstractly or hypothetically

Formal operational stage age 12 adulthood

Formal Operational Stage (age 12 – adulthood)

  • Hypothetico-deductive reasoning – can manipulate problems in the mind

  • Emerges gradually

  • Continues to develop into adulthood



  • Transition stage between late childhood and early adulthood

  • Sexual maturity is attained at this time

  • Puberty--attainment of sexual maturity and ability to reproduce

  • Health, nutrition, genetics play a role in onset and progression of puberty



  • Puberty – rebirth into adulthood

  • Menarche – spermarche

  • Biological growth precedes cognitive, emotional growth

  • “Storm & Stress”?

  • Body Image

  • Peers become more important, distance from parents (individuation) Search for Identity

  • Coming to terms with new emotions (& hormones and moods)

  • Popularity and acceptance

Social relationships

Social Relationships

  • Parent-child relationship is usually positive

  • May have some periods of friction

  • Peers become increasingly important

  • Peer influence may not be as bad as most people think.

Erikson s theory

Erikson’s Theory

  • Biological and Social

  • Eight psychosocial stages - crises

  • Outcome of each stage varies along a continuum from positive to negative

Identity development

Identity Development

  • Identity vs. role confusion - adolescence

  • Successful resolution leads to positive identity

  • Unsuccessful resolution leads to identity confusion or a negative identity

Stage 1 birth 1 trust vs mistrust

Stage 1 (birth–1)Trust vs. Mistrust

  • Infants must rely on others for care

  • Consistent and dependable caregiving and meeting infant needs leads to a sense of trust

  • Infants who are not well cared for will develop mistrust

Stage 2 1 3 years autonomy vs shame and doubt

Stage 2 (1–3 years) Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

  • Children are discovering their own independence

  • Those given the opportunity to experience independence will gain a sense of autonomy

  • Children that are overly restrained or punished harshly will develop shame and doubt

Stage 3 3 5 years initiative vs guilt

Stage 3 (3–5 years)Initiative vs. Guilt

  • Children are exposed to the wider social world and given greater responsibility

  • Sense of accomplishment leads to initiative, whereas feelings of guilt can emerge if the child is made to feel too anxious or irresponsible

Stage 4 5 12 years industry vs inferiority

Stage 4 (5–12 years) Industry vs. Inferiority

  • Stage of life surrounding mastery of knowledge and intellectual skills

  • Sense of competence and achievement leads to industry

  • Feeling incompetent and unproductive leads to inferiority

Stage 5 adolescence identity vs confusion

Stage 5 (adolescence)Identity vs. Confusion

  • Developing a sense of who one is and where one is going in life

  • Successful resolution leads to positive identity

  • Unsuccessful resolution leads to identity confusion or a negative identity

Stage 6 young adulthood intimacy vs isolation

Stage 6 (young adulthood)Intimacy vs. Isolation

  • Time for sharing oneself with another person

  • Capacity to hold commitments with others leads to intimacy

  • Failure to establish commitments leads to feelings of isolation

Stage 7 middle adulthood generativity vs stagnation

Stage 7 (middle adulthood)Generativity vs. Stagnation

  • Caring for others in family, friends, and work leads to sense of contribution to later generations

  • Stagnation comes from a sense of boredom and meaninglessness

Stage 8 late adulthood to death integrity vs despair

Stage 8 (late adulthood to death)Integrity vs. Despair

  • Successful resolutions of all previous crises leads to integrity and the ability to see broad truths and advise those in earlier stages

  • Despair arises from feelings of helplessness and the bitter sense that life has been incomplete

Kohlberg s theory of moral development

Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development

  • Assessed moral reasoning by posing hypothetical moral dilemmas and examining the reasoning behind people’s answers

  • Proposed six stages, each taking into account a broader portion of the social world

Levels of moral reasoning

Levels of Moral Reasoning

  • Preconventional—moral reasoning is based on external rewards and punishments

  • Conventional—laws and rules are upheld simply because they are laws and rules

  • Postconventional—reasoning based on personal moral standards

Adult development

Adult Development

  • Genetics and lifestyle combine to determine course of physical changes

  • Social development involves marriage and transition to parenthood

  • Paths of adult social development are varied and include diversity of lifestyles

Types of love robert sternberg

Types of Love – Robert Sternberg

  • Passionate love (romance, lust, infatuation, physical)

  • Intimate love (closeness, truly knowing another, sharing yourself, emotional)

  • Commitment (enduring, walking toward the future side by side)

Passion (biological)

Passion + Intimacy = romantic love

Passion + commitment = fatuous love

Intimacy (emotional)

Commitment (rational)

Intimacy + commitment = companionate love

Passion + Intimacy + commitment = consummate love

Parenting styles diana baumrind p 387 388

Parenting Styles - Diana Baumrind – p. 387-388






Promote high SE

But low SC

Promote high SE, SC


High social skills,

Achievement, identity

Self-centered, entitled




Promote low SE, SC


Demand obedience

Impulsive, depressed,


Angry, resentful,


Late adulthood

Late Adulthood

  • Old age as a time of poor health, inactivity, and decline is a myth

  • Activity theory of aging—life satisfaction is highest when people maintain level of activity they had in earlier years

Death and dying

Death and Dying

  • In general, anxiety about dying tends to decrease in late adulthood

  • Kubler-Ross stages of dying

    • Denial

    • Anger

    • Bargain

    • Depression

    • Acceptance

  • Not universally demonstrated

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