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Psychology 262 Natalie B. Phelps M.S. Ed. NCC Chapter 1 (History, Theories, and Methods). History, Theories, and Methods. What Is Child Development? Coming to Terms with Terms Why Do We Study Child Development? What Are Theories of Child Development? Why Do We Have Them?

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psychology 262 natalie b phelps m s ed ncc chapter 1 history theories and methods
Psychology 262 Natalie B. Phelps M.S.Ed. NCCChapter 1(History, Theories, and Methods)
history theories and methods
History, Theories, and Methods
  • What Is Child Development?
    • Coming to Terms with Terms
  • Why Do We Study Child Development?
  • What Are Theories of Child Development?
    • Why Do We Have Them?
  • The Psychoanalytic Perspective
  • The Learning Perspective: Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories
  • Operant Conditioning of Vocalizations in Infants
    • The Cognitive Perspective
    • The Biological Perspective
    • The Ecological Perspective
  • Developing in a World of Diversity:
    • Influence of the Macrosystem on the Development of Independence
    • The Sociocultural Perspective
  • Controversies in Child Development
    • The Nature–Nurture Controversy
    • The Continuity–Discontinuity Controversy
    • The Active–Passive Controversy
  • How Do We Study Child Development?
    • The Scientific Method
    • Gathering Information
    • Correlation: Putting Things Together
    • The Experiment: Trying Things Out
    • Longitudinal Research: Studying Development over Time
    • Ethical Considerations
  • Professionals from many fields are interested in child development. They include psychologists, educators, anthropologists, sociologists, nurses, and medical researchers. Each brings his or her own brand of expertise to the quest for knowledge.
what is child development
What Is Child Development?
  • A child is a person undergoing the period of development from infancy to puberty
  • The term infancy derives from Latin roots meaning “not speaking,” and infancy is usually defined as the first 2 years of life, or the period of life before the development of complex speech.
    • We stress the word complex because many children have a large vocabulary and use simple sentences well before their second birthday.
  • Researchers commonly speak of two other periods of development that lie between infancy and adolescence: early childhood and middle childhood.
    • Early childhood encompasses the ages from 2 to 5 years.
    • Middle childhood generally is defined as the years from 6 to 12.
  • In Western society, the beginning of this period usually is marked by the child’s entry into first grade.
  • To study development, we must also look further back to the origin of sperm and ova (egg cells), the process of conception, and the prenatal period.
  • We also describe the mechanisms of heredity that give rise to traits in both humans and other animals.
  • Maturation is the unfolding of genetically determined characteristics. All that is needed for maturation is the passage of time.
qualitative quantitative
Qualitative & Quantitative
  • Development is the orderly appearance, over time, of physical structures, psychological traits, behaviors, and ways of adapting to the demands of life.
  • The changes brought on by development are both qualitative and quantitative.
    • Qualitative changes are changes in type or kind. Consider motor development. As we develop, we gain the abilities to lift our heads, sit up, crawl, stand, and walk. These changes are qualitative.
    • However, within each of these qualitative changes are quantitative developments, or changes in amount. After babies begin to lift their heads, they lift them higher and higher. Soon after children walk, they begin to run. Then they gain the capacity to run faster.
growth and development
Growth and Development
  • Growth is usually used to refer to changes in size or quantity, where as development also refers to changes in quality.
  • During the early days following conception, the fertilized egg cell develops rapidly. It divides repeatedly, and cells begin to take on specialized forms.
  • However, it does not “grow” in that there is no gain in mass.
    • Why? It has not yet become implanted in the uterus and therefore is without any external source of nourishment.
child development is
Child Development Is…….
  • Child development is a field of inquiry that attempts to understand the processes that govern the appearance and growth of children’s physical structures, psychological traits, behavior patterns, understanding, and ways of adapting to the demands of life.
who is interested in child psychology
Who Is Interested In Child Psychology?
  • Psychologists
  • Educators
  • Anthropologists
  • Sociologists
  • Nurses
  • Medical Researchers
why do we study child development
Why Do We Study Child Development?
  • p. 3 (groups) READ
  • To Gain Insight into Human Nature
  • To Gain Insight into the Origins of Adult Behavior
  • To Gain Insight into the Origins of Sex Differences and Gender Roles, and the Effects of Culture on Development
  • To Gain Insight into the Origins, Prevention, and Treatment of Developmental Problems
  • To Optimize Conditions of Development
what views of children do we find throughout history
What Views Of Children Do We Find Throughout History?
  • In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, children often were viewed as innately evil, and discipline was harsh.
  • Legally, medieval children were treated as property and servants. They enjoyed no civil rights.
  • They could be sent to the monastery, married without consultation, or convicted of crimes.
  • Children were nurtured until they were 7 years old, which was considered the “age of reason.”
  • Then they were expected to work alongside adults in the home and in the field.
  • They ate, drank, and dressed as miniature adults.
  • However, this means that more was expected of them,not that they were given more privileges.
philosopher john locke 1632 1704
Philosopher John Locke (1632–1704)
  • The Englishman John Locke (1632–1704) believed that the child came into the world as a tabula rasa—a “blank tablet” or clean slate—that was written upon by experience.
  • Locke did not believe that inborn predispositions toward good or evil played an important role in the conduct of the child.
  • Instead, he focused on the role of the environment or of experience.
  • Locke believed that social approval and disapproval are powerful shapers of behavior.
philosopher jean jacques rousseau 1712 1778
Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712– 1778)
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712– 1778), a Swiss–French philosopher, reversed Locke’s stance.
  • Rousseau argued that children are inherently good and that, if allowed to express their natural impulses, they will develop into generous and moral individuals.
what do you think
What Do You Think?
  • Philosophers
  • John Locke or Jean-Jacques Rousseau
industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
  • Family life came to be defined in terms of the nuclear unit of mother, father, and children, rather than the extended family.
  • Children became more visible, fostering awareness of childhood as a special time of life.
  • Still, children often labored in factories from dawn to dusk through the early years of the 20th century.
  • In the 20th century, laws were passed to protect children from strenuous labor, to require that they attend school until a certain age, and to prevent them from getting married or being sexually exploited.
  • Juvenile courts see that children who break the law receive fair and appropriate treatment in the criminal justice system
charles darwin 1809 1882
Charles Darwin (1809 –1882)
  • Darwin is perhaps best known as the originator of the theory of evolution.
    • But he also was one of the first observers to keep a baby biography, in which he described his infant son’s behaviors in great detail.
g stanley hall 1844 1924
G. Stanley Hall (1844 – 1924)
  • G. Stanley Hall (1844 – 1924) is credited with founding child development as an academic discipline.
  • He adapted the questionnaire method for use with large groups of children so that he could study the “contents of children’s minds.”
alfred binet 1857 1911
Alfred Binet (1857– 1911)
  • The Frenchman Alfred Binet (1857– 1911), along with Theodore Simon, developed the first standardized intelligence test (IQ Test) near the turn of the 20th century.
  • Binet’s purpose was to identify public school children who were at risk of falling behind their peers in academic achievement.
american behaviorism john watson
American Behaviorism John Watson
  • “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in, and I’ll guarantee to train them to become any type of specialist I might suggest—doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief, and, yes, even beggar and thief, regardless of their talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and the race of their ancestors” (Watson, 1924, p. 82).
new thinking
New Thinking
  • John B. Watson, the founder of American behaviorism, viewed development in terms of learning.
  • He believed in Locke’s idea that children come into the world as a tabula rasa—that their ideas, preferences, and skills are shaped by experience.
  • Nature V.S. Nurture debate in the study of children.
    • Which would Watson lean toward?
      • Nurture- the importance of the physical and social environments
nature v s nurture debate
Nature V.S. Nurture Debate

John Watson V.S. Arnold Gesell

  • Arnold Gesell expressed the opposing idea that biological maturation was the main principle of development:
    • “All things considered, the inevitability and surety of maturation are the most impressive characteristics of early development. It is the hereditary ballast which conserves and stabilizes growth of each individual infant” (Gesell, 1928, p. 378).
  • Watson was talking largely about the behavior patterns that children develop, whereas Gesell was focusing mainly on physical aspects of growth and development.
  • Theory
    • A formulation of relationships underlying observed events. A theory involves assumptions and logically derived explanations and predictions.
sigmund freud 1856 1939
Sigmund Freud (1856 –1939)
  • He has been lauded as the greatest thinker of the 20th century, the most profound of psychologists.
  • He preached liberal views on sexuality but was himself a model of sexual restraint. He invented a popular form of psychotherapy but experienced lifelong psychologically related problems such as migraine headaches, fainting under stress, hatred of the telephone, and an addiction to cigars.
  • Freud formulated the psychoanalytic theory of development and the formFreud theorized that people, because of their childhood experiences, are only vaguely aware of the ideas and impulses that actually occupy the greater depths of their minds of psychotherapy called psychoanalysis.
  • He focused on the emotional and social development of children and on the origins of psychological traits such as dependence, obsessive neatness, and vanity.
  • Freud believed that most of the human mind lies beneath consciousness, like an iceberg. The child you are observing is doing and saying many things—crying, crawling, running, talking, building, playing—but all this is the tip of the iceberg.
  • Conscious
  • The preconscious mind is near the surface.
    • It contains ideas and feelings that are presently beyond awareness, but children and adults can become aware or conscious of them simply by focusing attention on them.
  • The unconscious mind contains genetic instincts and urges such as hunger, thirst, sexuality, and aggression that we only partly perceive because of the depth of their fury.
id ego super ego
Id EgoSuper-ego
  • Freud proposed that the psyche could be divided into three parts: Ego, super-ego, and id.
  • The parts of the human personality are intense and often at war with one another.
  • The only psychic structure present at birth is the id.
    • The id is unconscious and demands instant gratification of biological drives.
  • The ego begins to develop when children learn to obtain gratification for themselves, without screaming or crying.
    • The ego curbs the appetites of the id and makes plans that are in keeping with social conventions so that a person can find gratification yet avoid the disapproval of others.
  • The superego develops throughout infancy and early childhood.
    • It brings inward the wishes and morals of the child’s caregivers and other members of the community. Throughout the remainder of the child’s life, the superego will monitor the intentions and behavior of the ego and hand down judgments of right and wrong. If the child misbehaves, the superego will flood him or her with guilt and shame
  • Freud pointed out that behavior is determined and not arbitrary.
  • He pointed out that childhood experiences can have far-reaching effects.
  • He noted that we have defensive ways of looking at the world, that our cognitive processes can be distorted by our efforts to defend ourselves against anxiety and guilt.
erik erikson 1902 1994
Erik Erikson (1902– 1994)
  • Erik Erikson (1902– 1994) modified and expanded Freud’s theory.
  • Freud's view of child development looks at psychosexual development and sought to understand how children develop identities, learn to understand their own sexual and aggressive tendencies, and develop into adults with particular personality characteristics, and references.
erikson s theory
Erikson's Theory
  • Erikson's theory was considered less pessimistic than Freud's and sought to explain how humans develop as a result of “crisis” events in their lives.
  • Erikson did not consider crisisto be bad. A crisis is simply a developmental challenge that, when dealt with and resolved positively, moves the person forward in a positive way to the next stage in their development.
classical conditioning ivan pavlov 1849 1936
Classical Conditioning Ivan Pavlov (1849 –1936
  • Classical conditioning is a simple form of learning in which an originally neutral stimulus comes to bring forth, or elicit, the response usually brought forth by a second stimulus as a result of being paired repeatedly with the second stimulus.
  • Bed-wetting
figure 1 1 p 13
Figure 1.1, p. 13
  • Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)
    • A stimulus that elicits a response from an organism without learning.
  • Unconditioned Response (UCR)
    • An unlearned response. A response to an unconditioned stimulus.
  • Conditioned Stimulus (CS)
    • A previously neutral stimulus that elicits a response because it has been paired repeatedly with a stimulus that already elicited that response.
classical conditioning
Classical Conditioning
  • Baby nursing
    • If the mother says the infants name, then touches the cheek and nurses the infant, the child will eventually learn to turn his head in the direction of the sound of his name being said.
      • In this example, the neutral stimulus - or the conditioned stimulus(the sound of his name) - comes to be associated with a stimulus that automatically evokes a response (the unconditioned stimulus) to the touch on the cheek which elicits a predictable response (the unconditioned response).
    • Eventually, the new stimulus (the sound of his name) will come to elicit the same response that used to be evoked by the touch on the cheek. When the child turns his head in the direction of the sound of his name being said, it is called a conditioned response.
ivan pavlov 1849 1936
Ivan Pavlov (1849 –1936
  • Who was he?
    • Web Sites
operant conditioning b f skinner
Operant Conditioning B. F. Skinner
  • Skinner, a behaviorist, developed principles of operant conditioning and focused on the role of reinforcement of behavior.
  • Shaping
  • For Example
    • If I want to teach my son to ties his shoes, I may first reward him for finding his shoes. Then I may reinforce him for getting them on his feet, then I may reinforce him for making the first cross-over of his shoelaces, and so on.
social cognitive theorists albert bandura
Social Cognitive TheoristsAlbert Bandura
  • These theories look at the interplay between the child's behavior, cognitive characteristics, and the environment.
    • A child, may demonstrate artistic talent. The parents might reinforce this, praise the child, place pictures on the refrigerator, etc. This may convince the child that he is “a good drawer” which encourages him to draw more and try harder.
cognitive perspective
Cognitive Perspective
  • The cognitive perspective focuses on the development of the child's mental processes.
jean piaget
Jean Piaget
  • According to Piaget, children learn to categorize (create internal mental representations of the external world) through the processes of assimilation and accommodation.
      • A child might learn that a small furry creature is called a kitten. When she sees a puppy, her first guess might be to call it a kitten. This is assimilation. The child attempts to categorize similar things into the same category. After all, the puppy is also small and furry. But the child will learn that the two creatures are different (one meows and the other barks) and will “accommodate” this information by creating a new scheme for “puppy.”
jean piaget continued
Jean PiagetContinued…
  • Jean Piaget – child development
    • Sensorimotor State (0-2 yrs) – object permanence
    • Preoperational Stage (2-7 yrs) – intuitive thought, egocentric
    • Concrete Operation Stage (7-11 yrs) – conservation
    • Formal Operations (11 and up) – abstract principles, hypothetical possibilities
  • p. 20 (table 1.2)
lev vygotsky
Lev Vygotsky
  • Lev Vygotsky who suggested that children are greatly influenced by the child's social interactions within the home. Vygotsky viewed the child's development as adaptive to both the social and cultural environments in which the child is being raised.
    • Vygotsky included in his theory a concept called zone of proximal development.
      • A child with an older sibling, for example, may start to engage in behaviors earlier in development than a child without such assistance.
continuity vs discontinuity nature vs nurture
Continuity VS. Discontinuity(Nature VS. Nurture)
  • Theories of continuity assume that child development is gradual and slow.


  • Discontinuity theories look at development as occurring in major leaps in which the child experiences qualitative changes with time.
  • Hypothesis

guess what will happen

  • Correlation Co-efficient
      • R = +1.0 + -1.0

(+ or -)

helps understand the hypothesis

  • Correlational Method
    • This involves statistically determining the degree to which two events occur together. If I determine that a child cries more often when loud noises are present, I can say that these two events are positively correlated. With a negative correlation, whatever happens to one variable (it goes up or down), the opposite will happen to the other variable.
correlation co efficient continued
Correlation Co-efficientContinued…
  • It should be noted that correlations do not tell us what causes things to happen.
    • Perhaps wearing tight shoes is correlated with having headaches. We do not know from this correlation if wearing tight shoes causes one to have headaches or if having headaches causes one to tie one's shoes tightly. We simply know that these two events tend to co-occur in predictable ways.
experimental method independent variables dependent variables
Experimental MethodIndependent Variables & Dependent Variables
  • The experimental method involves the systematic manipulation of variables (referred to as independent variables) and measuring the impact of those manipulations on outcomes that we measure (referred to as dependent variables).
    • If we have half of a group of children watch violent television and the other half watch non-violent television, degree of violent television viewing (which we have manipulated) would be the independent variable. If we then measure amount of aggression in these children, that measurement represents our dependent variable.
how to study children over time
How to study children over time?
  • Inlongitudinalresearch, a cohort or group of children (or adults) of the same age are studied over a period of time.
    • (Iceland family trees)
  • In cross-sectionalresearch method in which a number of different cohorts are studied at one point in time.
    • For example, cognitive development could be studied in one-year-olds, in 3-year-olds, in five-year-olds, etc. at one point in time. A problem with this method, though, is that differences may not be due to actual changes in the children over time but rather due to differences among cohorts; this is called a cohort effect.
  • Cross-sequential researchincludes aspects of both methods, following different aged cohorts for a shorter period of time.
    • If we wanted to study changes in intelligence during adolescence, we could compare 10-year-olds, 15-year-olds, and 20-year olds, following all three groups for five years.
review of chapter 1
Review of Chapter 1
  • Describe the major theories of child development.
  • Behavioristic theories of child development assume that children will repeat behaviors for which they have been reinforced and will cease engaging in behaviors for which they have been punished.
  • Freudian psychoanalytic theory assumes that children are driven by aggressive and sexual urges and that development involves efforts to
  • curb these impulses and live productively in society.
  • Erikson's theory focused on social development and the crises that occur in one's life that predict how one will enter the next stage of development.
  • Cognitive theories focus on how the child is processing information, storing information, forming representations of the world, or learning to categorize the world.