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Psychology chapter 6 class notes (development over the lifespan)

Developmental psychology -

The psychology study of growth, change, and consistency through the lifespan.

Developmental psychology -Examines these changes from multiple perspectives

Examines how both heredity and environment influence these changes

Nature-nurture controversy -

Long-standing dispute over relative importance of nature (heredity) and nurture (environment) in their influence on behavior and mental processes.
e.g., ADHD-genetic component vs. environmental causes

Twin studies - (The Nature-Nurture Interaction)

Developmental investigations in which twins, especially identical twins, are compared in the search for genetic and environmental effects

What Innate Abilities Does the Infant Possess?

Newborns have innate abilities for finding nourishment, avoiding designed to facilitate survival.

Prenatal period -

The developmental period before birth

Placenta -

An organ that develops between the embryo/fetus and the mother

Teratogens -

Toxic substances that can damage the developing organism

Sensory abilities-(Neonatal Period from birth to one month)

visual and auditory preferences

Social abilities-(Neonatal Period from birth to one month)

mirror neurons

Innate reflexes-
(Neonatal Period from birth to one month)

Postural reflex
Grasping reflex
Rooting reflex
Stepping reflex


from one month to about 18 months

Neural Development

sensitive periods
brain development
Synaptic pruning

Maturation -

The unfolding of genetically programmed processes of growth and development over time

Maturation Timetable for Locomotion-


Maturation Timetable for Locomotion-1 month

Responds to sound
Becomes quiet when picked up
Vocalizes occasionally

Maturation Timetable for Locomotion-2 months

Smiles socially
Recognizes mother
Rolls from side to back
Lifts head and holds it erect and steady

Maturation Timetable for Locomotion- 3 months

Vocalizes to the smiles and talk of an adult
Searches for source of sound
Sits with support, head steady

4 months

Gaze follows dangling ring, vanishing spoon, and ball moved across table
Sits with slight support

5 months

Discriminates strangers from familiar persons
Turns from back to side
Makes distinctive vocalizations

6 months

Lifts cup and bangs it
Smiles at mirror image
Reaches for small object

Maturation Timetable for Locomotion- 7 months

Makes playful responses to mirror
Sits alone steadily

Maturation Timetable for Locomotion- 8 months

Vocalizes up to four different syllables
Listens selectively to familiar words
Pulls to standing position

Maturation Timetable for Locomotion- 10 months

Plays pat-a-cake

Maturation Timetable for Locomotion- 1 year

Walks alone

Infancy(from one month to about 18 months)

Contact comfort-physical contact
Harlow (1965)- the stimulation and reassurance derived from physical touch
Field (1986)-message for premature babies

Attachment-emotional relationship between child and parent

Bowlby (1969)-human attachment is innate

Ainsworth (1989)-attachment style

Secure attachment
Anxious-ambivalent attachment
Avoidant attachment

What Are the Developmental Tasks of Childhood?

Nature and nurture work together to help children master important developmental tasks in the areas of language, acquisition, cognitive development, and development of social relationships

Innateness theory of language -How Children Aquire Language

Children learn language mainly by following an inborn program for acquiring vocabulary and grammar

Language acquisition device (LAD) -

Structure in the brain innately programmed with some of the fundamental rules of grammar

Babbling stage>Vocabulary and grammar

One-word stage
Two-word stage
Telegraphic speech (short, simple sentences)
Morphemes (meaningful units of language that make up words)
Overregularization (e.g. using "hitted" and "feets")

Other language skills

Social rules of conversation (e.g., listening)
Abstract words (e.g. hope, truth)

Cognitive development -

The process by which mental abilities change over time

Piaget's stage theory-

Schemas - mental structures that guide your interpretation of concepts and events

Assimilation -

Mental process that incorporates new information into existing schemas

Accommodation -

Mental process that modifies schemas in order to accommodate new information

Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development

Concrete Operational
Formal Operational


Birth to about age 2
Child relies heavily on innate motor responses to stimuli
Sensorimotor intelligence
Mental representations
Object permanence


About age 2 to age 6 or 7
Marked by well-developed mental representation and the use of language.

Animalistic thinking

Concrete Operational

About age 7 to about age 11
Child understands conservation but is incapable of abstract thought
Mental operations

Formal Operational

From about age 12 on
Abstract thought appears

(Social and Emotional Development)Temperament -

An individual's inherited, "wired-in" pattern of personality and behavior

Socialization -

The lifelong process of shaping an individual's behavior patterns, values, standards, skills, attitudes and motives to conform to those regarded as desirable in a particular society

Most approaches to child rearing fall into one of the following four styles:

Authoritarian parents
Authoritative parents
Permissive parents
Uninvolved parents

Other factors influencing a child's development may include:

Effects of day care
Leisure influences

Erikson's Psychosocial Stages

Age/Period Principal Challenge
0 to 1 1/2 years Trust vs. mistrust
1 1/2 to 3 years Autonomy vs. self doubt
3 to 6 years Initiative vs. guilt
6 years to puberty Industry vs. inferiority
Adolescence Identity vs. role confusion
Identity vs. role confusion Intimacy vs. isolation
Middle adulthood Generativity vs. stagnation
Late adulthood Ego-integrity vs. despair

What Changes Mark the Transition of Adolescence?

Adolescence offers new developmental challenges growing out of physical changes, cognitive changes, and socioemotional changes

Adolescence -

Developmental period beginning at puberty and ending at adulthood

Rites of passage -

Social rituals that usually take place at about the time of puberty and serve as a public acknowledgement of the transition from childhood to adulthood

Puberty -

Onset of sexual maturity


Onset of menstruation, which signals puberty in girls------Around puberty, boys and girls become more aware of their physical attractiveness

Cognitive Development in Adolescence

Hormones rise to high levels
The frontal lobes undergo a "remodel"
Processes information through the amygdala rather than frontal cortex
This leads to sensation seeking and risk taking, and preoccupation with body image and sex
Adolescence brings Piaget's final stage of cognitive growth (abstract and complex thought)

Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Reasoning

Development of our sense of right and wrong
Using moral dilemmas responses fell into 6 categories/stages

Preconventional morality

Stage 1: Reward/punishment
Stage 2: Cost/benefit orientation; reciprocity

II. Conventional morality

Stage 3: "Good child" orientation
Stage 4: Law-and-order orientation

III. Postconventional (principled) morality

Stage 5: Social contract orientation
Stage 6: Ethical principle orientation

Critiques of Kohlberg's theory:

Culture and morality
Gender and morality

The increasing influence of peers

Identity crisis
Period of turmoil?

What Developmental Challenges Do Adults Face?

Nature and nurture continue to interact as we progress thorough a series of transitions in adulthood, with cultural norms about age combining with new technology to increase both the length and quality of life for many adults

Intimacy versus isolation-
(Early and Emerging Adulthood)

Intimacy-capacity to make a full commitment
Isolation-inability to connect with others in meaningful ways

Exploration and experimentation

work, lifestyle, worldviews

Challenges of Midlife

Peak period of life as opposed to "over the hill"
Generativity vs. stagnation


to make meaningful and lasting contributions to family, work, society, or future generations.
Most do not undergo a mid-life crisis
Most do not experience the "empty nest syndrome"

Late Adulthood: The Age of Integrity

According to Erikson, the final crisis involves ego-identity vs. despair

Ego-identity -

The ability to look back on life without regrets and to enjoy a sense of wholeness

The Last Developmental Problems You Will Face-Some of the most obvious changes that occur with age affect physical abilities such as:

Thinking, learning, and problem solving
Sexual functioning
Social interaction

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