Developmental psychology
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Developmental Psychology. Nature AND Nurture. Nature Genes, heredity, predispositions Nurture Environmental influences, culture, parents, peers Nurture works on what nature endows. Maturation. The natural sequenced process of development

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Nature and nurture
Nature AND Nurture

  • Nature

    • Genes, heredity, predispositions

  • Nurture

    • Environmental influences, culture, parents, peers

  • Nurture works on what nature endows.


  • The natural sequenced process of development

    • Regardless of nurture influences, all humans progress through the same stages at the same times.

  • Critical periods

    • A stage in development during which a person is best suited to learn a particular skill or behavior.

    • If not learned during critical period, it cannot be learned successfully in the future.

    • EX: critical period for language development


  • Mary Ainsworth – baby’s attachment to mother (main caregiver)

  • Separation anxiety

    • Fear of separation from caregiver

    • Each baby is different depending on security

  • Stranger anxiety

    • Fear of strangers

    • Develops by 8 months

Contact comfort
Contact Comfort

  • Harry Harlow – studied attachment in baby monkeys

  • Elements to experiment

    • Baby monkeys

    • 2 fake mother monkeys

      • Cloth, no food

      • Wire, food

  • Baby monkeys preferred cloth monkey without food

  • Contact comfort

    • Instinctual need to touch and be touched, especially for babies


  • Process by which some animals form immediate, instinctual attachment during a critical period

  • Conrad Lorenz – baby geese imprinted on him directly after birth

Theories on development
Theories on Development




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

  • Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

  • Schemas

    • Sets/concepts that organize information

  • Assimilation

    • New information is placed into existing schemas

      • Ex: A child has a schema for “doggie” (4 legs, tail) – sees a collie and a lab and puts both into the dog schema

  • Accommodation

    • New information changes existing schemas

      • Ex: Same child sees a cat and says “doggie” (4 legs, tail) – parent says no that is a cat  must change the dog schema to exclude cats

  • 4 cognitive stages through which all children pass

Sensorimotor stage
Sensorimotor Stage

  • Birth – 2

  • Experience and interact with the world through senses

  • Demonstrate…

    • Stranger anxiety

  • Must Learn…

    • Object permanence

      • The awareness that objects exist when not seen

      • EX: why Peek-A-Boo is so entertaining to babies

Preoperational stage
Preoperational Stage

  • 2-6/7

  • Demonstrate…

    • Egocentrism

      • Inability to see another person’s point of view

      • Think the world exists to meet their needs; not the same as selfishness

      • EX: the sun rose because they woke up, the sun set because they went to sleep

      • EX: cannot understand that sitting between you and the TV blocks your view

    • Artificialism

      • Natural events are caused by people

    • Animism

      • Objects are alive and conscious

  • Must Learn…

    • Conservation

      • Key properties of substances stay the same even if their shape or arrangement changes

      • EX: the same volume of liquid in 2 different shaped containers appears to be different if conservation is not understood

Concrete operational stage
Concrete Operational Stage

  • 6/7-12

  • Demonstrate…

    • Ability to think logically but not abstractly

      • EX: conservation

  • Must Learn…

    • Abstract thought

      • EX: hypothetical propositions

Formal operational stage
Formal Operational Stage

  • 12+

  • Demonstrates

    • Abstract thought and reasoning

      • Symbols, representations, hypothetical propositions

Criticisms of piaget
Criticisms of Piaget

  • Underestimates/simplifies children’s abilities

Kohlberg s theory of moral development
Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development

  • Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987)

  • Used the Heinz Dilemma to study moral development in children

  • A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radiation that a pharmacist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the pharmacist was charging 10 times what the drug cost him to make. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could raise only a small bit of money. He told the pharmacist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the pharmacist rejected the man’s plea saying that he had discover the drug and intended to make money from it.

  • Should Heinz steal the drug? Why?

  • 3 levels with 2 stages in each

Preconventional level
Preconventional Level

  • Birth – 9

  • Base moral judgments of the consequences of behavior

  • Stage 1

    • Avoiding punishment

    • EX: Heinz should not steal the drug because he will be punished with jail time.

  • Stage 2

    • Satisfying needs

    • EX: Heinz should steal the drug because his wife needs it.

Conventional level
Conventional Level

  • Adolescence

  • Base moral judgments on conformity to conventional standards of behavior

  • Stage 3 (~13 yrs)

    • Winning approval

      • EX: Heinz should steal the drug because that is what a good, loving husband should do.

      • EX: Heinz should not steal the drug because people should not steal.

  • Stage 4 (~16 yrs)

    • Law and order

      • EX: Heinz should not steal the drug because it is against the law to steal.

Postconventional level
Postconventional Level

  • Adulthood

  • Base moral judgments on personal values

  • Stage 5

    • Social order, laws have value and should not be violated unless for good reason

    • EX: Heinz should steal the drug, even though it’s against the law, because his wife’s situation is exceptional.

  • Stage 6

    • Universal ethics, the value of human life, justice, and dignity

    • EX: The pharmacist is greedy and Heinz should steal the drug because human life is more important that profit.

Criticisms of kohlberg
Criticisms of Kohlberg

  • Carol Gilligan

    • Kohlberg’s theory reflects how MALES make moral judgments, not females

    • Girls are taught to consider the needs of others over right/wrong

      • EX: Heinz should steal the drug because his wife needs it.  empathy for others = Stage 3

    • Boys are taught to argue logically rather than with empathy

      • EX: Heinz should steal the drug because life is more important that property  human rights = Stage 5/6

    • Gilligan says that girls reason on the same level, but they make judgments based on what has been taught as appropriate for girls.

      • EX: girls choose to be empathetic, not because they are simple thinkers, but because it affected by gender expectations.

Erikson s tasks of psychosocial development
Erikson’s Tasks of Psychosocial Development

  • Erik Erikson (1902-1994)

    • An individual passes through a series of dilemmas/tasks that must be tackled

  • 8 life tasks

Criticisms of erikson
Criticisms of Erikson

  • Applies more to males than females

  • Focuses too much on infancy