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Development over the Lifespan
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  1. Development over the Lifespan Chapter 14

  2. Development over the Lifespan • From conception through the first year • Cognitive development • Moral development • Gender development • Adolescence • Adulthood • Are adults prisoners of childhood?

  3. Developmental Psychology • Developmental psychologists study physiological and cognitive changes across the lifespan, and how these are affected by culture, circumstance, and experience. • Some focus on mental and social development, including socialization, the process by which children learn the rules and behaviour expected of them by society.

  4. From Conception to the First Year • Prenatal development • The infant’s world • Attachment • How critical are the early years?

  5. Prenatal development Conception 30 Hours 6 weeks 4 months

  6. Agents That Cross The Placenta • German measles • X-rays, other radiation, toxic chemicals • Sexually transmitted diseases • Cigarette smoking • Alcohol • Drugs other than alcohol

  7. The Infant’s World • Physical abilities • Social skills • Culture and maturation

  8. Physical Abilities • Newborn Reflexes • Rooting • Sucking • Swallowing • Moro (“startle”) • Babinski • Grasp • Stepping

  9. Social Skills • Babies will turn their heads towards a face at 9 minutes old. • By 4-6 weeks babies are smiling regularly. • Synchrony • First conversations involve babies exchanging nonverbal signals with others in a rhythmic pattern.

  10. Culture and Maturation • Many aspects of development depend on cultural customs. • Examples include an infant’s ability to sleep alone. • Recommendation to have babies sleep on their back has affected onset of crawling. • As a result, many babies now skip crawling.

  11. Attachment • Contact comfort • Separation and security • What causes insecure attachment?

  12. Attachment • Attachment • A deep emotional bond that an infant develops with its primary caretaker. • Contact Comfort • In primates, the innate pleasure derived from close physical contact; it is the basis of the infant’s first attachment.

  13. Separation Anxiety • Tested using the Strange Situation Test • A parent-infant “separation and reunion” procedure that is staged in a laboratory to test the security of a child’s attachment. • Secure Attachment • A parent-infant relationship in which the baby is secure when the parent is present, distressed by separation, and delighted by reunion. • Insecure Attachment: • A parent-infant relationship in which the baby clings to the parent, cries at separation, and reacts with anger or apathy to reunion.

  14. What Causes Insecure Attachment? • Parenting that is truly abusive, neglectful or erratic. • Child’s genetically influenced temperament. • Stressful circumstances in the family.

  15. How Critical Are the Early Years? • During the first 15 months, there is an explosion of new synapses in the brain. As information is consolidated, these unnecessary synapses are pruned away. • Media has exaggerated and oversimplified research findings which have fostered public alarm and worry. • The brain continues developing after the first three years.

  16. Cognitive Development • Language • Thinking

  17. Language • Acquisition of speech begins in the first few months. • They are responsive to pitch, intensity, and sound. • By 4-6 months of age they can recognize their names and repetitive words. • By 6 months - 1yr, infants become familiar with sentence structure and start babbling. • By 11 months, infants use symbolic gestures. • 18-24 months, toddlers combine 2 or 3 words into sentences, known as telegraphic speech. • By age 6, average vocabulary between 8000 and 14 000 words.

  18. Thinking • According to Piaget, cognitive development consists of mental adaptations to new observations and experiences. • Adaptation takes two forms: • Assimilation or absorbing new information into existing cognitive structures. • Accommodation or modifying existing cognitive structures in response to experience and new information.

  19. Adaptation

  20. Piaget’s Stages of Development • Sensorimotor • Preoperational • Concrete Operational • Formal Operational

  21. Sensorimotor Stage (Birth - 2yrs) • Coordinates sensory information with bodily movements. • Major accomplishment is object permanence. • The understanding that an object continues to exist even when you cannot see or touch it.

  22. Preoperational Stage (2ys - 7yrs) • Focused on limitations of children’s thinking. • Children at this age could not reason. • Children were missing operations • Mental actions that are cognitively reversible. • Children were egocentric. • Seeing the world from only your point of view; the inability to take someone else’s perspective. • Children cannot grasp the concept of conservation. • Understanding that physical properties of objects can remain the same even when their form changes.

  23. “Conservation of Liquid” Task The critical question is always: “Why do you think so?”

  24. Conservation of Substance & Number • Conservation of Substance • Two identical balls of clay • One is deformed • “Do the two pieces have the same amount of clay?” • Conservation of Number • Two identical rows of pennies • One row is rearranged • “Do the two rows have the same number of pennies?”

  25. Concrete Operations Stage (7 - 12 yrs) • Children’s thinking is still grounded in concrete experiences and concepts but they can now understand conservation, reversibility and cause and effect.

  26. Formal Operations Stage (12 yrs through adulthood) • Teenagers are capable of abstract reasoning: • Understanding that ideas can be compared and classified. • Reasoning about situations not personally experienced. • Thinking about the future. • Searching systematically for solutions to problems.

  27. Vygotsky’s Theory • Emphasized the sociocultural influences on children’s cognitive development. • Child develops mental representations of the world through culture and language. • Adults play a major role in development through guidance and teaching. • Once children acquire language they use private speech, talking aloud to themselves to direct their own behaviour, which later become internalized and silent.

  28. Evaluating Piaget’s Theory • Stage changes are neither as clear-cut nor as sweeping as Piaget believed. • Children sometimes understand more than Piaget believed. • Preschoolers are not as egocentric as Piaget thought. • Cognitive development depends on the child’s education and culture • Piaget overestimated the cognitive skills of many adults.

  29. The Infant as Intuitive Physicist • Infants look longer at objects that seem to violate physical laws than those that do not. • Surprise indicates that their expectations were violated. • They must know what is physically plausible for this to occur.

  30. Moral Development • Moral reasoning • Kohlberg’s approach • Gilligan’s approach • Moral behaviour • Strategies for teaching moral behaviour • Power assertion • Induction

  31. Moral Reasoning: Kohlberg’s Theory • Preconventional Level • Punishment and obedience • Instrumental relativism • Conventional Level • Good boy-nice girl • Society-maintaining • Postconventional Level • Social contract • Universal ethical principles

  32. Criticisms of Kohlberg’s Theory • Tends to overlook educational and cultural influences. • Some cultural differences not reflected in this theory. • Moral reasoning is often inconsistent across situations. • Moral reasoning is often unrelated to moral behaviour.

  33. Moral Reasoning: Gilligan’s Theory • Argued that men tend to base their moral choices on abstract principles of law and justice and women based moral decisions on principles of compassion and caring.

  34. Criticism of Gilligan’s Theory • Meta-analyses do not suggest such a difference occurs. • Both sexes use abstract principles when resolving abstract dilemmas and care perspectives when resolving personal dilemmas. • Moral reasoning of either kind unrelated to behaviour.

  35. Moral Behaviour • In addition to cognitively understanding right from wrong, children’s ability to behave morally is based on the development of moral emotions such as shame, guilt and empathy. • Techniques used by parents include power assertion and induction.

  36. Strategies for Teaching Moral Behaviour • Power assertion • Parent uses punishment and authority to correct child’s misbehaviour. • Users tend to be authoritarian. • Induction • Parent appeals to child’s own resources, abilities, sense of responsibility, and feelings for others in correcting misbehaviour. • Users tend to be authoritative.

  37. Gender Development • Defining gender identity and gender typing. • Influences on gender development.

  38. Gender Identity and Gender Typing • Gender Identity • The fundamental sense of being male or female; it is independent of whether the person conforms to social and cultural rules of gender. • Gender Typing • Process by which children learn the abilities, interests, personality traits, and behaviours associated with being masculine or feminine in their culture.

  39. Influences on Gender Development • Biological factors • Biological researchers believe that early play and toy preferences have a basis in prenatal hormones, genes, or brain organization. • Cognitive factors • Cognitive psychologists suggest that toy preferences are based on gender schemas or the mental network of knowledge, beliefs, metaphors and expectations about what it means to be male or female. • Learning factors • Gender appropriate play may be reinforced by parents, teachers, and peers.

  40. Adolescence • The physiology of adolescence • The psychology of adolescence

  41. The Physiology of Adolescence • Adolescence • The period of life from puberty to adulthood. • Puberty • The age at which a person becomes capable of sexual reproduction. • Menarche • A girl’s first menstrual period.

  42. Timing of Puberty • Onset of puberty depends on genetic and environmental factors. • For example, body fat triggers the hormonal changes. • Early versus late onset. • Early maturing boys have more positive views of their bodies and are more likely to smoke, binge drink, break the law. • Early maturing females are usually socially popular but also regarded by peer group as precocious and sexually active. They are more likely to fight with parents, drop out of school and have a negative body image.

  43. The Psychology of Adolescence • Turmoil and adjustment • Separation and connection • Ethnic identity and acculturation

  44. Turmoil and Adjustment • Extreme turmoil and problems with adjustment are the exception rather than the rule. • Three kinds of problems are more likely • Conflict with parents. • Mood swings and depression. • Higher rates of rule breaking and risky behaviour.

  45. Separation and Connection • Adolescents are trying to separate from parents but remain connected. • Individuation • The process of developing own opinions, values, and styles of dress and look. • Quarrels with parents represent a shift from one-sided parental authority to a more reciprocal adult relationship.

  46. Ethnic Identity and Acculturation • An important task of adolescence is identity development. • Especially important in ethnically diverse societies is finding a balance between ethnic identity, a close identification with one’s religious or ethnic group, and • acculturation, an identification with the dominant culture. • Bicultural, assimilation, separatist, marginal

  47. Adulthood • Stages and ages • The transitions of life • Old age

  48. Erikson’s Eight Stages - I • Trust vs. Mistrust • Infancy (0-1 year) • Autonomy vs. Shame and doubt • Toddler (1-2 years) • Initiative vs. Guilt • Preschool (3-5 years) • Industry vs. Inferiority • Elementary School (6-12 years)

  49. Erikson’s Eight Stages - II • Identity vs. Role confusion • Adolescence (13-19 years) • Intimacy vs. Isolation • Young adulthood (20-40 years) • Generativity vs. Stagnation • Middle adulthood (40-65 years) • Integrity vs. Despair • Late adulthood (65 and older)

  50. Current Approaches: Adult Development • Psychological concerns can occur at anytime in life therefore stage theories are no longer used to understand how adults change or stay the same. • Adult development involves the interrelations among: • biological changes • personality traits • personal experiences • historical and cultural events • the particular environments in which they live • the friends & relationships they have