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Three Themes:

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Three Themes:

  • Continuity of Development

  • Nature & Nurture

  • The “Active” Child

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Continuity of Development

“Are we consistently and gradually changing across development or do we make big shifts to qualitatively new behaviors?”

<p>“Are we consistently and gradually changing across development or do we make big shifts to qualitatively new behaviors?”</p>
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Nature & Nuture

  • Nature: our biological endowment

  • Nuture: environment, physical and social

  • How do they work together?

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The “Active” Child

The Active/Passive Child Debate: to what degree do children influence their own development?

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Passive Child

children are at the mercy of their environment- they can’t change how they develop

  • John Locke’s “Blank Slate”

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Active Child

children are participating in their own development

  • elicit different responses from adults, other kids

  • different interests lead to different expertise

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Five Foundational Perspectives of Child Development

  1. The Biological Perspective

  2. The Learning Perspective

  3. The Psychodynamic Perspective

  4. The Cognitive/Development Perspective

  5. The Contextual Perspective

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The Biological Perspective

Key Assumption: Development is rooted in biology

  • Maturational Theory

    • Dr. Arnold Gesell

  • Ethological Theory

    • Konrad Lorene & “Imprinting”

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Maturational Theory

The idea that reflects a specific and prearranged scheme or plan within the body

  • Major limitation: fails to consider any major environmental factors

  • Dr. Arnold Gesell: based on 50 years of observational research. There’s a strong focus on growth of the nervous system - as the nervous system grows the min develops and behavior changes accordingly

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Ethological Theory

views development from an evolutionary perspective

  • behaviors are adaptive: we develop in a certain way because it aids in our survival

  • Critical/Sensitive Period: the time in development when a specific type of learning can take place; before or after the critical period, the same learning is difficult or even impossible

    • Konrad Lorene & “Imprinting”

    • Eg. learning languages

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The Learning Perspective

Key Assumption: Development is determined largely by a child’s environment (nature)

  • Operant Conditioning

    • B.F. Skinner

  • Social Cognitive Theory

    • Albert Bandura

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Operant Conditioning

consequence of behavior

  • Skinner’s Rats

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Social Cognitive Theory

behaviors develop as children observe a combination of reward, punishment, and others’ behaviors

  • children will mimic those they see rewarded and avoid behavior when someone is punished

    • Albert Bandura - The Bobo Doll Study

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The Psychodynamic Perspective

Key Assumption: Development unfolds according to resolution/lack of resolution of “conflicts” at different stages

  • Psychodynamic Theory (Freudian Theory)

  • Psychosocial Theory

    • Erik Erikson

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Psychodynamic Theory

early experiences establish patterns that endure throughout a person’s life

  • Conflict

    • Id, Ego, Superego

  • Sigmund Freud

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Id

primitive instinct

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Ego

rational/practical aspect, directly influenced by the real world

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Superego

moral aspect

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Psychosocial Theory

development consists of a sequence of stages, each defined by a key crisis/challenge, people grow due to their responses to crises in their lives

  • Erik Erikson

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The Cognitive-Developmemtal Perspective

Key Assumption: Development reflects children trying to make sense of the world

  • Jean Piaget’s Theory

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Jean Piaget’s Theory

different stages of thinking that develop through children’s shifting competencies and changing theories of the world

<p>different stages of thinking that develop through children’s shifting competencies and changing theories of the world</p>
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The Contextual Perspective

Key Assumption: Development is driven by the interaction of a child’s immediate and distant environments (“all nurture” - but includes direct and indirect influences)

  • Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory

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Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory

emphasizes the role “experts” in converting cultural expectations and knowledge to the next generation

  • children’s development is enmeshed with the culture in which they grow up

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The Scientific Method

  1. Choose a question

  2. Formulate a hypothesis

  3. Develop a method to test the hypothesis

  4. Draw a conclusion

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Measurements

  1. Systematic observation

  2. Sampling behaviors with task

  3. Self-reports

  4. Physiological measures

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Systematic Observation

Naturalistic (watched in re-life) and Structured (researchers create a setting)

  • Strengths

    • allows researchers to study “natural” behaviors

    • can allow access to behavior that is difficult to measure experimentally

  • Weaknesses

    • must be aware that observation alone could distort behavior

    • lack of control over potential confounding variables

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Sampling Behaviors with Tasks

Create an activity that will elicit the behavior of interest

  • Strengths

    • convenience

    • a bit more “controlled” than simple observation

  • Weaknesses

    • have to be very careful that measure is valid

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Self-reports

children’s answer to questions about the topic of interest (questionnaire/interview)

  • Strengths

    • convenience

    • are often a direct measurement of the topic

  • Weaknesses

    • answers may not be accurate

      • relying on memory

      • Response bias

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Response Bias

participants are more likely to give “socially acceptable” answers rather than the truth

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Physiological Measures

measuring children’s physiological response to stimuli

less common and usually used in conjunction with other behavioral measures

  • strengths

    • provides converging evidence that confirms behavioral findings

  • Weaknesses

    • not practical/available for all areas of study

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Reliability

will your result hold up over time

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Validity

are your results genuine

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Representative Sampling

use of participants that together accurately reflect the population of interest

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Population

broad group of interest

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Sample

a subset of the population (used for study)

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Research Design

conceptual approach to your study (the outline)

correlational and experimental studies

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Correlational Study

examine the relation between variables as they exist naturally in the world

  • will tell you if variables the data points organized in a discernable pattern (positive, negative, no correlation)

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Correlational Study Strengths and Weaknesses

  • convenience

  • behavior is measured as it occurs naturally

  • correlation does NOT mean causation

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Experimental Study

investigator systematically varies the independent variable to assess the impact on the dependent variable

<p>investigator systematically varies the independent variable to assess the impact on the dependent variable</p>
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Experimental Study Strengths and Weaknesses

  • only way to assess causality

  • sometimes not possible given your research questions

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Capturing change overtime - age-related methods

  • longitudinal design

  • cross-sectional design

  • longtidinal-sequential

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Longitudinal Design

the same individuals are observed or tested repeatedly at different points in their lives

<p>the same individuals are observed or tested repeatedly at different points in their lives</p>
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Longitudinal Design Strengths and Weaknesses

  • most direct way to watch growth occur

  • only way to answer the continuity of growth

  • takes A LOT of time and resources

  • cohort effects

  • selective attrition

  • practice effects

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Cohort Effects

a group of people who share a common set of demographic characteristics or experiences

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Practice Effects

improvements in cognitive test performance due to repeated evaluation with the same or similar test materials

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Selective Attrition

certain participants drop out over time

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Cross-Sectional Design

different groups of children are tested at developmental points of interest

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Cross-Sectional Design Strengths and Weaknesses

  • convenient

  • solves many of the issues with longitudinal design (cohort and practice effects)

  • does not tell you about continuity of development

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Longitudinal-Sequential Design

sequences of samples, each tests longitudinally (is both longitudinal and cross-sectional)

<p>sequences of samples, each tests longitudinally (is both longitudinal and cross-sectional)</p>
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Longitudinal-Sequential Design Strengths and Weaknesses

  • provides information about continuity

  • attenuates risk of practice and potential cohort effects

  • not as much continuity as pure longitudinal

  • more time consuming than pure cross-sectional

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