Lecture 4: Methods & Developemtnal Contexts Methods Experiments Natural experiments Naturalistic observation Longitudinal versus cross-sectional versus cross-sequential (accelerated longitudinal design) Cohort effects Attrition Challenges of doing research with children of different ages Challenges of doing research with children from different cultures model
Lec. 4 outline continued Contexts of Development Marasmus, hospitalism, failure to thrive, institutionalization Urie Bronfrenbrenner’s model Biological environment Species wide characteristics Individual characteristics Immediate environment Family, including bidirectional effects Neighborhood Peer group Day care/schooling Social and economic environment Economic (including maternal employment) Nontraditional parenting Single, Gay/lesbian, foster, divorce SES and poverty, homlessness Cultural environment Interactions among the levels in Bronfrenbrenner’s
Experiments Advantage – clearly establishes causality Problem– many of the things we would like to investigate it would be unethical to intentionally do to a child to investigate its effect (e.g., child abuse, starvation) Natural experiments provide a partial solution to this limitation
Naturalistic Observation Advantage – ecological validity Disadvantages: – Many uncontrolled variables – Usually not a random sample
Design of Developmental Studies Longitudinal – to understand changes with age follow the same children as they grow older Crossectional – study groups of children of different ages and “presume” the differences between the age groups are a consequence of development. Cross-sequential (accelerated longitudinal) – combines the two designs above. Is particularly good for revealing cohort effects and helps in understanding non-random attrition.
Challenges of working with different age groups Does the task mean the same thing at different ages. Ceiling and floor effects.
Challenges of doing research with children from different cultures Does the task mean the same thing to individuals from different cultures. Do they respond to research situations similarly. What norms do you use?
Contexts of Development Feral Children (the wild boy of Aveyron) Rene Spits (1945)—orphanages Romanian orphanages more recently Concepts – Marasmus, hospitalism, failure to thrive, institutionalization
Biological Environment/Individual Child Species-wide characteristics – Strongest evidence for the importance of heredity Physical characteristics Propensity to learn Propensity to be social and emotional – Individual differences Traits/temperaments – Interaction between the genetics and environment canalization
Child’s Immediate Environment Family – Bidirectional effects – Fathers (direct & indirect effects0 – Siblings – Day care (no demonstrable negative effect) – Peer group (symmetrical relations) – Neighborhood – collective socialization – School - John Dewy (good or bad) –
Social and Economic Context Social Capital Theory Maternal employment Single Parents Divorce Non-traditional families SES – poverty Homelessness--unemployment
Poverty in US Graph in text looks encouraging with rates going down between 1960 and 2000, although uneven for children with an increase between 1970 and 1990. Unfortunately, poverty rate for children increased between 2000 to 2010 from 16.2% to 22.0% Cycle of Poverty