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Theories of Development

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Presentation on theme: "Theories of Development"— Presentation transcript:

1 Theories of Development
The Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence by Kathleen Stassen Berger Seventh Edition Chapter 2 Theories of Development Slides prepared by Kate Byerwalter, Ph.D., Grand Rapids Community College

2 What Theories Do A developmental theory provides a framework for understanding human development; it also guides research. Example: The idea that early experiences impact later development is a theory.

3 Testing the Theory Researchers use the scientific method to test theories. Generate question Create hypothesis Test hypothesis Analyze data; draw conclusion Publish results

4 Grand Theories The “Grand Theories” were the first, comprehensive theories in psychology. They focus on development as it applies to ALL individuals.

5 The 3 Grand Theories Psychoanalysis (Freud)
Behaviorism (Watson, Skinner, Pavlov) Cognitive (Piaget)

6 Psychoanalytic Theory
Key terms: id, ego, superego repression psychosexual stages unconscious mind AKG/PHOTO RESEARCHERS, INC.

7 Psychoanalytic Theory (cont.)
Each psychosexual stage (oral, anal, etc.) includes potential conflicts—how a person resolves the conflicts determines their personality and behavior. Example: Too strict toilet training may create an “anal retentive” personality.

8 Erik Erikson (1902–1994) Erik Erikson created a theory of psychosocial development. CORBIS

9 Erik Erikson (cont.) Erikson’s theory has 3 psychosocial stages, in which people face “crises,” or tasks, at different ages. His theory focuses on the impact of relationships in shaping personality.

10 Behaviorism Our experiences shape who we are.
John Watson (“psychology should be about things we can observe” ) Behaviorism includes classical and operant conditioning, social learning

11 Operant Conditioning (B. F. Skinner)
Behaviors are learned through reinforcements and punishments. Example: A child gets sent to room for hitting his brother. (Hopefully) The punishment will decrease the likelihood of him hitting his brother in the future.

12 Quiz: Name That Behaviorist!

13 Social Learning Behavior is learned through observation and imitation of others (modeling). We model people who we admire. Examples: Children learn aggression from TV, gender roles from peers and adults.

14 Cognitive Theory Jean Piaget’s 4 Stages sensorimotor pre-operational
concrete operational formal operational YVES DEBRAINE / BLACK STAR

15 Cognitive Theory (cont.)
Cognitive equilibrium—state of mental balance. If threatened, how do we achieve equilibrium again? Assimilation: incorporate new events into existing schemas Accommodation: change schema

16 Cognitive Theory (cont.)
Example: A 10 month old learns that a red ball bounces. If given a blue ball, he will bounce it too (assimilation). If given a red tomato (which looks like a red ball), he may try to bounce it. He needs to accommodate his schema of round, red things.

17 Summary of Grand Theories

18 Limitations of Grand Theories
In testing grand theories, it turned out that people are much more complex than the grand theories allowed for. Example: Not all children react to a reinforcement in the same way. The theories ignored culture and genes.

19 Mini-Theories Mini-theories focus on a specific area of development. Example: a study of the development of motor skills in premature infants

20 Emergent Theories Emergent theories arise from several accumulated minitheories and may be the new systematic and comprehensive theories of the future. Example: Results of many studies on motor skills in premies may lead to a new theory of motor skill development.

21 Sociocultural Theory Sociocultural theory states that development results from the dynamic interaction between person and social and cultural forces. Research often includes comparisons among children of various nations and ethnic groups.

22 Lev Vygotsky Lev Vygotsky was a pioneer of sociocultural theory.

23 Vygotsky (cont.) Guided participation—tutor engages learner in joint activities, providing instruction and direct involvement in learning Zone of proximal development—range of skills learner can perform with assistance but not independently


25 Epigenetic Theory Emphasizes the interaction between genes and the environment—the newest developmental theory. Genetic-environmental Interactions genes never function alone


27 Epigenetic Theory (cont.)
Genetic-environmental Interactions Each human has a genetic foundation that is unique. But, all humans have powerful instincts and abilities that arose from our biological heritage, through selective adaptation.

28 Genetic Adaptation Selective adaptation: genes for the traits that are most useful will become more frequent, thus making survival of species more likely. Example: Humans have genes that foster language–those may have helped us avoid lethal diseases.

29 With, On, and Around the Genes
Epi = with, around, before, after, on, or near = surrounding factors epigenetic—surrounding factors that affect expression of genetic instructions Example: Height is affected by genes and nutrition.

30 Contributions of Each Theory
Psychoanalytic theory has made us aware of importance of early childhood experiences. Behaviorism has shown effect of immediate environment on learning. Cognitive theory shows how intellectual process and thinking affect actions.

31 Contributions (cont.) Sociocultural theory has reminded us of the importance of culture in learning. Epigenetic theory reminds us of the power of genes in interaction with the environment.

32 So which theory is “right”?
No one theory explains all human development. Eclectic perspective Approach taken by most developmentalists in which they apply aspects of each of the various theories rather than staying with just one.

33 Nature-Nurture Nature: the influence of biology, genes. Nurture: the influence of environment. Example: Are you smart because of your genes, or your upbringing? The real question is HOW MUCH influence each has, and how they interact.

34 Difference or Deficit? Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a behavior is simply a “difference” or a “deficit” for a child. Examples: When is a child “too thin”? Are only children “emotionally distressed”? Is unmarried motherhood a problem?

35 Quiz Yourself: Theories
Which phrases regarding early development go with which theory? “intimate maternal care is crucial” “encourage infants to explore!” “malnutrition may alter height” “what will you reinforce and model?” “co-sleeping is part of our culture”

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