The History of Child Development (1) Science of Child Development –Only about a century old Ancient times & Middle Ages –Children seen as innately evil –Discipline was harsh –Considered as property and servants –Age of 7 considered “age of reason” and expected to work alongside adults
The History of Child Development (2) Transition to modern thinking –18th & 19th century philosophers –Locke Tabula rasa = blank tablet Focus on role of environment & experience Social approval/disapproval powerful shapers of behavior –Rousseau Children inherently good Would naturally develop into moral adults
The History of Child Development (3) Industrial Revolution –Advent of “nuclear family” –Consisting of mother, father, children –Children more visible: childhood seen as unique time of life –Still labored in factories through early 20th century –20th century saw laws enacted to: Protect from strenuous labor Require attendance at school until certain age Prevent marriage until certain age Protect from sexual exploitation and parental abuse Establish Juvenile Courts to deal with children in the criminal justice system
The History of Child Development (4) Pioneers in study of Child Development –Darwin Theory of Evolution Kept a “baby biography” of infant son –Hall Credited with the founding of child development as an academic discipline Labeled adolescence a time of “storm and stress” –Binet and Simon Developed first standardized intelligence testing to help identify academically “at risk” school children in France
THEORIES of Child Development help us to EXPLAIN, PREDICT, and INFLUENCE Psychoanalytic theories –Freud - Erickson Behavioral and Social Cognitive theories –Watson - Gesell - Skinner - Bandura Cognitive theories –Piaget Biological theories –Darwin - Lorenz - Tinbergen Ecological theories –Bronfenbrenner Sociocultural theories –Vygotsky
Psychoanalytic Perspective Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Development Focus on emotional and social development and origins of personality traits Three parts of personality –Id Innate, unconscious, represents biological drives Demands immediate gratification –Ego Curbs the Id Compromises drives with social conventions –Superego Develops throughout infancy and early childhood Monitors the intentions and actions of the Id and the Ego Serves as the conscience and judges “right” and “wrong”
Psychoanalytic Perspective Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Development Five stages of Psychosexual Development –Oral B -18 mos. - gratification centers on mouth –Anal yrs. - gratification centers on anus and functions of elimination –Phallic yrs. - gratification centers on genitals –Latency yrs. - puberty - repression of sexual thoughts - develops social and intellectual skills –Genital Puberty - adult - renewal of sexual desires - seeks fulfillment through contact with opposite sex
Psychoanalytic Perspective Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development Modified and expanded Freud’s theory from 5 to 8 stages and included adult concerns Focuses more on social relationships and physical maturation rather than sexual or aggressive instincts Also places greater emphasis on the ego, or the sense of self Labeled them after “LIFE CRISES” rather than bodily parts
The Learning Perspective: Behavioral & Social Cognitive Theories Behaviorism - John B. Watson –Believed in the objective, scientific approach - that only observable behavior was relevant –Did not include any cognitive or introspective aspects –Was in opposition to the ideas of Arnold Gesell who believed “biological MATURATION” was the main focus of development –Watson emphasized BEHAVIOR PATTERNS –Gesell emphasized PHYSICAL ASPECTS
Terms and Concepts of Behavioral Theory Classical Conditioning: developed by Pavlov; reflex response is associated with a new stimulus Operant Conditioning: developed by Skinner; learning occurs due to its reinforcement effect –Reinforcement Stimuli that increases the frequency of the behavior they follow –Positive Reinforcers Increase the frequency of behaviors when they are APPLIED –Negative Reinforcers Increase the frequency of behaviors when they are REMOVED –Extinction No longer reacting to a previous stimulus due to lack of reinforcement
Punishment Punishment: aversive events that decrease the frequency of the behavior they follow Issues with punishment: –Does not offer alternative acceptable behaviors –Tends to suppress behavior only when its delivery is guaranteed (must be consistent and immediate) –Can create feelings of anger and hostility
Social Cognitive Theory Developed by Bandura; learning occurs by observing other people, by reading, by viewing characters in different media Observational learning occurs through modeling the same behavior of another person. Observational learning can lie latent until the behavior observed is needed or applicable. The people after whom we pattern our behavior are called models.
Cognitive-Developmental Theory Jean Piaget Observed and based his theory of child development on the consistent (although sometimes illogical) mental processes of children Terms and concepts –Scheme Pattern of action or mental structure involved in acquiring and organizing knowledge –Adaptation Interaction between the organism and the environment includes: –Assimilation: responding to new objects or events using existing schemes –Accommodation: adjusting or creating new schemes when something new doesn’t fit old scheme –Equilibration Assimilation allows cognitive harmony (equilibrium/balance) when assimilation cannot take place, the equilibrium is disturbed, and accommodation may be employed. Equilibration is at the heart of a child’s natural curiosity.
Evaluation of Piaget’s ideas He may have underestimated the ages of children’s capabilities. Many cognitive skills may develop gradually and not in distinct stages. He has however, provided a strong theoretical basis for further research in cognitive development.
Another Cognitive Perspective Information Processing Theory The brain is a sort of biological computer. Information Processing Theory is based on the computer as a metaphor for human cognitive processes. Terms and concepts –Encoding: input of information (enter data) –Storing: placing it in long term memory files from the short term/working files –Retrieving: finding the files and using the data/information to solve problems
Biological Perspective Ethology Biological Perspectives relate to all physical developments. Ethology is concerned with inborn, instinctive, behavior patterns. Fixed Action Patterns: built-in or instinctive behaviors (example: birds migrating to same place; sex hormone secretion during prenatal development resulting in masculine or feminine patterned brain)
Ecological Perspective Urie Bronfrenbrenner Ecology: the branch of biology dealing with relationships between living organisms and their environment. Ecological Systems Theory: incorporates psychological, social, emotional, and biological aspects. Stresses the two-way interactions between parent and child
Ecological Systems Theory Views settings/contexts of human development as multiple systems within a larger system Terms and concepts –Microsystem: interactions of the child with other people in the immediate setting such as the home, school, or peer group –Mesosystem: interactions of various settings with the microsystem such as the parent-teacher conference or the school field trip to the zoo –Exosystem: institutions which indirectly affect the development of the child such as the school board or the parent’s place of employment –Macrosystem: involves the interaction of the child with the beliefs, expectations, and lifestyle of their cultural setting –Chronosystem: refers to the influence that the changes over time have on development
Sociocultural Perspective Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory People are social beings who are affected by the cultures in which they live. Theory concentrates on the process of transmitting information and cognitive skills from generation to generation. Focus is on child’s social interactions. Views the child as adapting to his/her social and cultural interactions
Three Controversies in Child Development (1) Nature/Nurture Controversy Age old debate of which is more influential in development… – Nature (heredity) Do we come preprogrammed to be what we become regardless of where, by whom, and how we are raised? – Nurture (environmental influences) Or does the environment alone influence how we develop. Are we the tabula rasas simply awaiting someone to write on us? Today’s general opinion… – Most researchers agree that both nature and nurture play vital roles in nearly all areas of development.
Three Controversies in Child Development (2) Continuity/Discontinuity Controversy Continuous perspective (no specific “stages”) – Views development as a gradual process with no major qualitative changes Discontinuous perspective (stage theories) – Views development as a series of rapid qualitative changes ushering in new stages of development Freud and Piaget were discontinuous (stage) theorists. Certain aspects of physical development do occur in stages (early and adolescent growth spurts). Cognitive development remains in disagreement with researchers.
Three Controversies in Child Development (3) Active/Passive Controversy Active perspective – Maintains children are actively engaged in their own development – Assumes children have a natural love of learning – Proponents of open education that encourages children to explore and pursue their own unique talents adhere to this perspective Passive perspective – Maintains that children are passive and the environment acts on them to influence development – Assumes children must be “motivated” by their teachers – Such educators typically adhere to rigorous traditional teaching regimens that use rewards and punishments to promote learning.
How We Study Child Development Gathering Information Scientists value evidence that is obtained only by using the empirical approach. There are a number of research approaches that provide valid empirical data. Other types of conclusions that rely solely on strong argumentation, or reference to authority figures are not evidence. These are referred to as anecdotal, and do not provide valid conclusions.
Types of Developmental Research Methodologies Naturalistic observation Case study Correlation Experiment Longitudinal Cross-sectional Cross-sequential
Naturalistic Observation These studies are conducted in “the field” –“real-life” settings: homes, schools, playgrounds, etc. Researchers observe the natural behavior of the subjects –They try to be as unobtrusive as possible and “blend-in” without being noticed.
Case Study A careful in depth account of the behavior of a single individual. It may include direct observations, questionnaires, standardized tests, and interviews or information from public records. Researchers are cautious in drawing conclusions when using this method.
Correlation: Putting Things Together Correlation: attempt to determine whether one behavior or trait being studied is correlated or indicates a relationship with another behavior or trait; never indicates cause and effect Correlation coefficient: this is a statistical index ranging from to +1.00; the closer to or the stronger the correlation
Positive correlation: statistical relationship where increases or decreases in measurement correspond with increases or decreases in the other (example: attendance increased and grades increased) Negative Correlation: statistical relationship where increases in one measure are matched with a decrease in the other (example: attendance increased, however, grades decreased) Correlation: Putting Things Together
Figure 1.6 – Examples of Positive and Negative Correlations
Limitations of Correlational Information Correlations can show relationships only; they never show cause and effect Selection factors are a term used to describe a research bias. –i.e., it may seem “logical” to assume that violent media makes people more aggressive, but it may also be that more aggressive people choose violent media
The Experiment: Trying Things Out Defining “Experiment” –A method of research where one group of subjects gets a treatment and another group does not –Subjects are observed to decide if the treatment changed their behavior –Usually undertaken to prove a hypothesis A hypothesis is a proposed answer to a question that the researcher seeks to prove either right or wrong. Example: a researcher might hypothesize that TV violence will cause aggressive behavior in children
The Experiment: Trying Things Out Terminology and concepts –Independent and Dependent Variables Independent Variable –The thing being manipulated by the experimenters Dependent Variable –The measured result –Experimental and Control Groups Experimental Group –Receive the treatment (independent variable) Control Group –Subjects do not receive the treatment (independent variable) –Random Assignment Used to avoid the bias of a selection factor –Ethical & practical considerations Sometimes research can be done with animals that would not be allowed on human subjects and can be generalized to humans.
Longitudinal Research: Studying Development Over Time Seeks to study development over time Some studies have spanned more than 50 years. Most cover only a few months or years. Same people are observed repeatedly over time insuring valid comparisons. Changes are recorded. Drawbacks –Can be difficult to find volunteers –Many subjects fall out of touch as time passes. –Some subjects may die.
Cross-Sectional Studies Cross-sectional research –Observes and compares different subjects of different ages at the same time Major obstacles – Cohort Effect Cohort is a group of people born around the same time. They experience cultural events unique to their particular age group. In longitudinal studies, they know they have observed the development of the same individuals over a span of time. In cross-sectional research, they can only hope that subjects will be comparable.
Cross-Sequential Research Combines longitudinal and cross-sectional methods to overcome their respective research drawbacks Full span of the ideal longitudinal study is broken up into convenient segments. Minimizes the number of years needed to complete a study Follows subjects of different ages for lesser periods of time Obvious advantage is faster completion of study (cuts time in half). Testing and retesting provides some of the continuity of a longitudinal study; by observing both samples at the same age (a time-lag comparison), it can be determined if they are truly comparable or if the difference is associated with the cohort effect.
Figure 1.7 – Example of Cross-Sequential Research
Researcher’s Ethical Considerations Do no physical or psychological harm Informed consent is needed (from guardians if minors). Participation must be voluntary. Participants can withdraw from study at any time for any reason. Participants should be offered information about the results of the study. Identities of participants remain confidential Research plans should be presented to a committee of colleagues for approval before proceeding.