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1 Human Development Fundamental Issues in Developmental Psychology.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Human Development Fundamental Issues in Developmental Psychology."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Human Development Fundamental Issues in Developmental Psychology

2 2 zBasic question: What shapes the way we change over time? zFocus on psychological changes across the entire life span zEvery area of psychology can be looked at from this perspective ybiological development ysocial development ycognitive / perceptual development ypersonality development

3 3 Fundamental Issues: Nature vs. Nurture zWhat is role of heredity vs. environment in determining psychological makeup? yIs your IQ inherited or determined by nutrition and early environment? yIs there a ‘criminal’ gene or does poverty lead to criminal behavior? yIs sexual orientation a choice or genetically determined? zThese are some of our greatest societal debates zMistake to pose as ‘either / or’ questions

4 4 Fundamental Issues: Is Development Continuous? zDevelopment means change - change can be abrupt or gradual zTwo views of human development ystage theories: there are distinct phases to intellectual and personality development ycontinuity: development is continuous zThese views have been applied to social, personal and intellectual development

5 5 Fundamental Issues in Developmental Psychology zCritical period - Are there periods when an individual is particularly sensitive to certain environmental experiences? yAre the first hours after birth critical for parent- child bonding? yIs first year critical for developing trust? yEasier to learn a language before age 10? zAre there individual differences in stages and critical periods?

6 6 Developmental Research Methods zCross-sectional - performance of people of different age groups is compared zLongitudinal - performance of one group of people is assessed repeatedly over time zSequential - combines cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches in a single study

7 7 Physical and Psychological Development Related zPhysical development begins at conception zPhysical maturity sets limits on psychological ability yvisual system not fully functional at birth ylanguage system not functional until much later zPrenatal environment can have lifetime influence on health and intellectual ability

8 8 Prenatal Development zConception - when a sperm penetrates the ovum zZygote - a fertilized egg zGerminal period - first two weeks after conception zEmbryonic period - weeks three through eight after conception zFetal period - two months after conception until birth

9 9 Prenatal Influences on Development zTeratogen - any agent that causes a birth defect (e.g., drugs, radiation, viruses) zFetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) ycluster of defects occurring in infants born to mothers that drink heavily during pregnancy yleading cause of mental retardation ycan be totally prevented by abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy

10 10 Infant Abilities and Perceptions zWhat does an infant feel and perceive? zWilliam James said, “booming, buzzing confusion.” Was he right? yIs infant vision just a blur? yIs infant sound just buzzing and booming? zHe was probably wrong, but infants have limited ability to communicate, so it is hard to tell what they experience

11 11 Infant Abilities zInfants are born with immature visual system ycan detect movement and large objects zOther senses function well on day 1 ywill orient to sounds yturn away from unpleasant odors yprefer sweet to sour tastes zBorn with a number of reflex behaviors

12 12 Infant Reflexes zRooting - turning the head and opening the mouth in the direction of a touch on the cheek zSucking - sucking rhythmically in response to oral stimulation zBabinski - fanning and curling toes when foot is stroked

13 13 Infant Reflexes zMoro - throwing the arms out, arching the back and bringing the arms together as if to hold onto something (in response to loud noise or sudden change in position of the head) zGrasping - curling the fingers around an object

14 14 Methods for Studying Infants zInfant reflexes provide insight into their mental life ygaze duration related to visual perception yhead turning related to auditory attention ysucking, reaching, kicking can be used to measure interest

15 15 Infant Perception zNot just a blur or a buzz zIn first week ywill recognize their mother’s smell ywill show preference for novel stimuli ygaze at face-like pattern rather than similar non face-like pattern

16 16 Infant Perception zInfants explore their environment in whatever way their physical development permits zAt 2-3 months will grasp object and put in mouth to explore zAt 3-4 months will manipulate object, examine it visually, selectively attend to novel objects or events

17 17 Infant Perception zA basic question is how knowledge of the properties of physical objects arises yobject permanence yobjects can’t pass through other objects ydropped objects fall zResearch on infant selective attention ymeasure gaze duration ycreate physically impossible events yinfants notice at 3-4 months zDepth perception- visual cliff

18 18 Summary zDevelopmental psychology concerned with psychological change over the life span zIssues are very broad yheredity vs. environment ystages vs. continuous change yAre there critical periods? yprenatal influences yHow much ability are we born with?

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