Developmental psychology
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DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. Section 1: Physical Development & Parenting. Developmental Psych: Physical Development & Parenting. The Developmental Psych Approach Continuous vs. Discontinuous Stability vs. Change Stage Theory (same order for everybody / not necessarily the same age).

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Developmental psychology


Section 1: Physical Development & Parenting

Developmental psych physical development parenting
Developmental Psych: Physical Development & Parenting

  • The Developmental Psych Approach

  • Continuous vs. Discontinuous

  • Stability vs. Change

  • Stage Theory

    • (same order for everybody / not necessarily the same age)

Prenatal development


conception – 2 weeks

period of rapid cell division


2 weeks – 3 months

cells attach to mother’s uterine wall & organs develop


3 months - birth

developing human organism

Prenatal development teratogens
Prenatal Development - TERATOGENS

  • TERATOGENS: Agents that can reach the developing embryo or fetus and cause harm

    • Alcohol

    • Nicotine

    • Drugs (both prescription drugs & “street” drugs)

    • Viruses (the flu)

    • Toxoplasmosis (contact with cat feces)

    • Food poisoning

  • Teratogens and Prenatal Development

  • Infant reflexes

    • Grasping

    • Startle (Moro Reflex)

    • Rooting

    Play three movies

    Infant vision

    • A baby’s vision improves dramatically during the first 6 months as children become able to accommodate (focus)


    Babies’ vision is 40x less accurate than adults at seeing fine details

    1 MONTH

    Most of the cells in the visual cortex are not yet coated in myelin. Poor contrast sensitivity & color recognition.

    2 MONTHS

    A newborns rods are fairly mature but their cones are not, making it difficult to decipher fine lines and color.

    3 MONTHS

    Dramatic change occurs as the visual cotex begins to control vision better. Vision has caught up to other senses. Depth perception is still not accurate.

    6 MONTHS

    A baby can focus at different distances as well as an adult can. Their ability to see fine details is only 8xworse than ours, 5x better than it was at birth.


    Between age 6-7 years, a child’s vision reaches adult values

    Babies like to look at complex shapes & faces


    the process by which animals form attachments during a limited critical period early in life

    • Owen the baby hippo & Mzee, the 130-year-old tortoise


    Tink the dachsaund & her piglet “puppy”, Pink.

    Imprinting koko s kitten
    IMPRINTING: Koko’s Kitten

    Imprinting duck with a dog
    IMPRINTING: Duck with a Dog

    Newborn capacities
    Newborn Capacities

    • Habituation: describes infants’ decreasing responsiveness to repeated stimuli. Researchers infer that newborns have cognitive ability to differentiate between different visual stimuli.

    Why don’t we remember earlier events?Our brains are still developing

    Limited language before age 3 – we remember in words

    What’s your earliest memory?Our earliest memories rarely predate our 3rd birthday. This is called “INFANTILE AMNESIA”.



    Biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior that are relatively unaffected by experience

    • In terms of brain development, natural maturation causes neural interconnection to multiply rapidly after birth.

    • However, severe deprivation and abuse will retard development. Furthermore, increased stimulation will cause early neural connections.

    • Maturation sets the basic course of development; experience adjusts it.

    Diana baumrind
    Diana BAUMRIND

    key name

    1927 -

    • Research on parenting styles

    Parenting styles


    rhymes with “Totalitarian”

    “Because I said so.”

    Authoritarian parents impose rules and expect obedience.


    Permissive parents submit to their child’s desires, make few demands and use little punishment.



    “Let’s talk about it.”

    Authoritative parents encourage open discussion and allow for exceptions when enforcing rules.

    Parenting styles consequences
    PARENTING STYLES - consequences


    rhymes with “Totalitarian”

    • anxious, withdrawn, and unhappy disposition

    • poor reactions to frustration

      • (girls are particularly likely to give up & boys become especially hostile)

    • do well in school

      • (studies may show authoritative parenting is comparable)

    • not likely to engage in antisocial activities

    Parenting styles consequences1
    PARENTING STYLES - consequences


    -poor emotion regulation (under regulated)

    -rebellious and defiant when desires are challenged.

    -low persistence to challenging tasks

    -antisocial behaviors

    Parenting styles consequences2
    PARENTING STYLES - consequences


    • -lively and happy disposition

    • -self-confident about ability to master tasks.

    • -well developed emotion regulation

    • -developed social skills

    Developmental psychology1


    Section 2: Cognitive Development

    Piaget cognitive development
    Piaget & Cognitive Development


    A concept or framework that organizes and interprets information


    Adjust your schema to fit new information

    Make new information fit into existing schemas


    “Heart” =


    Make new information fit into existing schemas


    Adjusting your schema to fit new information

    Assimilation vs accommodation


    When a student downloads music by an artist that is already on the iPod, this can be compared to assimilation (adding a new bit of info to an existing schema).


    When a student downloads music by a new artist, this can be compared to accommodation (creating a new 'folder' is like building a new schema)

    GENDER SCHEMAA concept or framework that organizes and interprets information about what it means to be a boy or a girl

    How do we develop our gender schemas?

    Jean piaget

    key name

    Jean PIAGET


    • Constructed a stage theory of Cognitive Development

    • Observed that children think differently than adults

    Piaget s 4 stages of cognitive development
    Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development

    Sensorimotor Birth – 2 years

    stage 1

    Lack object permanence (until about age 8-10 months)

    • Develop separation anxiety at about 12 months.

    • Stranger anxiety also occurs in this stage.

    Piaget s 4 stages of cognitive development1
    Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development

    • Preoperational 2 – 6 years

    stage 2

    • Egocentric(which does not (in Piagetian thought) mean selfishness, but rather the inability to take another's perspective or even to recognize that others have different perspectives and points of view. )

    • Use of symbols(especially language; difficulty using more than one category)

    • Representational thought

    • Role Playing

    • Animism, or the tendency to attribute psychological properties to inanimate objects.


    • Giving animal/human qualities to inanimate objects

    Piaget s 4 stages of cognitive development2
    Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development

    Concrete 6 – 12 years

    stage 3

    By age 7, develop law of conservation

    Children (age 6-12) gain a fuller understanding of conservation and other mental operations that allow them to think logically, but only about concrete events.

    • Can sort objects into multiple categories

    • (color & size, for example)

    Piaget s 4 stages of cognitive development3
    Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development

    Formal 12 years - adult

    stage 4

    The child (12-adult) gains the capacity for hypothetical-deductive (“What if” scenarios) thought

    • Can engage in hypothetical thought and in systematic deduction and testing of hypotheses

    Formal 12 years - adult

    • In one scientific thinking task, the child is shown several flasks of what appear to be the same clear liquid and is told one combination of two of these liquids would produce a clear liquid. The task is to determine which combination would produce the blue liquid

      • The concrete operational child just starts mixing different clear liquids together haphazardly

      • The formal operational child develops a systematic plan for deducing what the correct combination must be by determining all of the possible combinations and then systematically testing each one

    Evaluation of piaget s theory
    Evaluation of Piaget’s Theory

    • Recent research has shown that rudiments of many of Piaget’s key concepts (e.g., object permanence) may begin to appear at earlier stages than Piaget proposed

      • For example, research that involved tracking infants’ eye movements has found that infants as young as 3 months continue to stare at the place where the object disappeared from sight, indicating some degree of object permanence

    Evaluation of piaget s theory1
    Evaluation of Piaget’s Theory

    • Not all people reach formal operational thought

    • The theory may be biased in favor of Western culture

    • There is no real theory of what occurs after the onset of adolescence

    • Despite refinements, recent research has indeed shown that cognitive development seems to proceed in the general sequence of stages that Piaget proposed

    Piaget s stages of cognitive development

    Developmental psychology2


    Section 3: Attachment, moral reasoning & death

    Lev vygotsky sociocultural theory of cognitive development
    Lev VygotskySociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development

    • Contrasts with Piaget (who emphasized maturation ((nature)) and development in stages ((discontinuity))

    • Vygotsky emphasized the role of the environment (nurture) and gradual growth (continuity).

    Lev vygotsky sociocultural theory of cognitive development1
    Lev VygotskySociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development

    • Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) – the range between the level at which a child can solve a problem working alone and the level at which a child can solve a problem with the assistance of an adult.

      • working closely with an instructor, a child works close to the upper limit of his capabilities.

      • The child eventually will be able to work at that high level independently.

      • Once the goal (upper limit) is achieved, it becomes the new lower limit of that child’s ZPD.

    Harry harlow

    key name

    Harry HARLOW


    • Conducted a study of attachment in monkeys. (1963-1968).

    • Monkeys preferred the comfort of a cloth surrogate "mother" over that of a wire one – proving that attachment is about more than just supplying food .

      Harlow's experiment

      Harlow's experiment - part 2

    Baby Monkeys Raised In Isolation

    • Overly aggressive or;

    • Overly fearful

    • Incapable of mating when older

    Mary ainsworth

    key name



    • Conducted the “Strange Situation Test” of Attachment (1960s).

    • Results showed that securely attached children:

      will explore freely while the mother is present

      will engage with strangers

      will be visibly upset when the mother departs

      will be happy to see the mother return

      will not engage with stranger if mother is not in room

      The Strange Situation Experiment

    Ainsworth s attachment styles
    Ainsworth’s attachment styles

    • Insecure-avoidant (20%) – not distressed at mother leaving or stranger arriving; cool response when mother returns

    • Probably caused by distant mothers

    Ainsworth s attachment styles1
    Ainsworth’s attachment styles

    • insecure- resistant (12%) – clingy to mother; traumatized by every stage of the experiment; distrustful of their mothers

    • Caused by over-bearing, controlling mothers

    Erik erikson

    key name

    Erik ERIKSON


    • Constructed a stage theory of Psychosocial Development

    (Birth - 18 months)

    THE MAJOR EVENT IS FEEDING The infant will develop a sense of trust only if the parent or caregiver is responsive and consistent with the basic needs being met. The need for care and food must be met with comforting regularity. The infant must first form a trusting relationship with the parent or caregiver; otherwise a sense of mistrust will develop.

    Trust vs. Mistrust

    STAGE 1:

    (18 months – 3 years)

    THE MAJOR EVENT IS TOILET TRAINING (AND FEEDING AND DRESSING THEMSELVES)Toilet training as well as feeding and dressing themselves is how the toddler strives for autonomy. It is essential for parents not to be overprotective at this stage. A parent's level of protectiveness will influence the child's ability to achieve autonomy. If a parent is not reinforcing, the child will feel shameful and will learn to doubt his or her abilities.

    Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

    STAGE 2:

    (3 – 6 years)

    THE MAJOR EVENT AT THIS STAGE IS INDEPENDENCE. The child continues to be assertive and to take the initiative. Children in this stage are eager for responsibility. It is essential for adults to confirm that the child's initiative is accepted no matter how small it may be. If the child is not given a chance to be responsible and do things on their own, a sense of guilt may develop. The child will come to believe that what they want to do is always wrong.

    Initiative vs. Guilt

    STAGE 3:

    (6- 12 years)

    THE MAJOR EVENT AT THIS STAGE IS ATTENDANCE AT SCHOOL As a student, the children have a need to be productive and do work on their own. They are both physically and mentally ready for it. Interaction with peers at school also plays an imperative role of child development in this stage. The child for the first time has a wide variety of events to deal with, including academics, group activities, and friends. Difficulty with any of these leads to a sense of inferiority.

    Competence (Industry) vs. Inferiority

    STAGE 4:

    (12 – 18 years)

    The major event at this stage is ESTABLISHING PEER RELATIONSHIPS At this stage, adolescents are in search of an identity that will lead them to adulthood. Adolescents make a strong effort to answer the question "Who am I?" Erikson notes the healthy resolution of earlier conflicts can now serve as a foundation for the search for an identity. If the child overcomes earlier conflicts they are prepared to search for identity.

    Identity vs. Role Confusion

    STAGE 5:

    (19 – 40 years)

    In this stage, the most important events are love relationships.Intimacy refers to one's ability to relate to another human being on a deep, personal level. An individual who has not developed a sense of identity usually will fear a committed relationship and may retreat into isolation.

    Intimacy vs. Isolation

    STAGE 6:

    (40 – 65 years)

    In this stage, the most important EVENT IS PARENTING. In this stage generativity refers to the adult's ability to care for another person. Generativity has a broader meaning then just having children. Each adult must have some way to satisfy and support the next generation.

    Generativity vs. Stagnation

    STAGE 7:

    (65 years - death)

    IN THIS STAGE, THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT IS ACCEPTANCE OF ONE’S LIFE. According to Erikson, achieving a sense of integrity means fully accepting oneself and coming to terms with the death. Accepting responsibility for your life and being able to undo the past and achieve satisfaction with self is essential. The inability to do this results in a feeling of despair.

    Ego Integrity vs. Despair

    STAGE 8:

    Failure to resolve a developmental challenge results in conflict throughout adulthood

    Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

    Failure to resolve a developmental challenge results in conflict throughout adulthood.

    Lawrence kohlberg

    key name

    Lawrence KOHLBERG


    • Constructed a stage theory of Moral Development

    • Said that we make moral decisions based on an “ethic of justice”

    Kohlberg stages of moral development
    Kohlberg Stages of Moral Development

    Ethic of JUSTICE

    Elisabeth kubler ross

    key name

    Elisabeth KUBLER-ROSS


    • Identified the 5 Stages of Grief:






      (Scrubs) (Simpsons)