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Theories of Development

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1 Theories of Development
Chapter Two: Theories of Development PowerPoints prepared by Cathie Robertson, Grossmont College

2 What Theories Do Developmental theory—systematic statement of principles and generalizations that provides a coherent framework for studying development

3 What Theories Do, cont. Theories
form basis for hypotheses that can be tested by research studies formulating right question is more difficult that finding right answers generate discoveries offer insight and guidance by providing coherent view

4 What Theories Do, cont. Different Types
grand theories—comprehensive, traditional theories originated in psychology minitheories—theories that focus on specific area of development originated more in sociology through study of social groups and family structures emergent theories—new, comprehensive groupings of minitheories multidisciplinary approach includes historic events and genetic discoveries

5 Grand Theories Grand Theories—powerful framework for interpreting and understanding change and development that applies to all individuals in all contexts, across all contents


7 Psychoanalytic Theory
Psychoanalytic theory interprets human development in terms of motives and drives

8 Freud’s Ideas Sigmund Freud
Three stages of development in first six years oral, anal, phallic in early childhood, latency and then adolescence, genital each stage includes potential conflicts how a person experiences and resolves conflicts determines personality and patterns of behavior

9 Erikson’s Ideas Erik Erikson, a follower of Freud, proposed 8 developmental stages, each characterized by a developmental crisis trust vs. mistrust autonomy vs. shame initiative vs. guilt industry vs. inferiority identity vs. role diffusion intimacy vs. isolation generativity vs. stagnation integrity vs. despair


11 Behaviorism Behaviorism is built on laws of behavior and processes by which behavior is learned focus: ways we learn specific behaviors that can be described, analyzed, and predicted with scientific accuracy

12 Laws of Behavior Conditioning—any process in which behavior is learned
Classical conditioning—Ivan Pavlov process by which a neutral stimulus become associated with a meaningful stimulus stimulus and response (respondent conditioning) Operant conditioning—B. F. Skinner process by which a response is gradually learned via reinforcement or punishment also called instrumental conditioning


14 Social Learning Extension of learning theory that includes modeling which involves people observing behavior and patterning their own after it Modeling process in which people observe, then copy behavior Alfred Bandura—most likely to occur if model is admired or observer is inexperienced self-efficacy motivates people to change themselves and their contexts

15 Cognitive Theory Focuses on the structure and development of thought processes, which shape perceptions, attitudes, and actions. Jean Piaget’s 4 Stages sensorimotor pre-operational concrete operational formal operational

16 Cognitive Theory, cont. Cognitive equilibrium—state of mental balance
Cognitive adaptation—assimilation, accommodation of ideas



19 Mini-theories: examples
Attachment theory (Ainsworth) Disengagement theory Activity theory

20 Emergent Theories Emergent theories arise from several accumulated minitheories and may be the new systematic and comprehensive theories of the future

21 Sociocultural Theory: Vygotsky
Seeks to explain growth of individual knowledge, development, and competencies in terms of guidance, support, and structure supplied by the society human development is the result of dynamic interaction of the developing persons and their surrounding culture

22 Guided Participation Guided participation—tutor engages learner in joint activities, providing instruction and direct involvement in learning Apprenticeship in thinking—mentor provides instruction and support needed by novice

23 The Zone of Proximal Development
Zone of proximal development—range of skills learner can perform with assistance but not independently learner is drawn into learning by teacher Cultural variations: Basic principles are universal, but skills, challenges, and opportunities vary from culture to culture, depending on the values and structures of the culture’s society


25 Epigenetic Theory Emphasizes the interaction between genes and the environment—the newest developmental theory stresses that we have powerful instincts and abilities that arise from our biological heritage. Timing and pace of certain developmental changes are genetically guided performism—everything is set in advance by genes and then is gradually manifested in the course of maturation

26 With, On, and Around the Genes
Genetic refers to the entire genome that makes up the particular genes that cause each person to be unique each human has a genetic foundation that is unique epigenetic theory acknowledges the powerful instincts and abilities that arise from our biological heritage

27 With, On, and Around the Genes, cont.
Epi = with, around, before, after, on, or near = surrounding factors epigenetic—surrounding factors that affect expression of genetic instructions some surrounding factors may be stress factors; others may be facilitating factors Genetic-environmental Interactions genes never function alone

28 Genetic Adaptation Adaptation of the Genes
selective adaptation means that genes for the traits that are most useful will become more frequent, thus making survival of species more likely

29 What Theories Can Contribute
Psychoanalytic theory has made us aware of importance of early childhood experiences Behaviorism has shown effect of immediate environment on learning Cognitive theory helps us understand how intellectual process and thinking affect actions

30 What Theories Can Contribute, cont.
Sociocultural theory has reminded us that development is embedded in a rich and multifaceted context Epigenetic theory emphasizes interactions between inherited forces and immediate contexts


32 What Theories Can Contribute, cont.
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 The Nature-Nurture Controversy
Is it heredity or environment that shapes us? How much is a result of any given characteristics, behavior or pattern of development is a result of genes and how much is a result of experiences Policy and practice: nature/nurture theories are implicit in many public policies

34 Theoretical Perspectives on Hyperactivity and Homosexuality
AD/HD and homosexuality—How and to what extent are nature and nurture involved in each case? Evidence from AD/HD research that it can come from either

35 Theoretical Perspectives on Hyperactivity and Homosexuality, cont.
Earlier assumptions about homosexuality: more nurture than nature. As hypotheses tested, nurture was revealed as less crucial sexual orientation may be a matter of nature sexual expression may be a matter of cultural attitude (nurture) but not sexual orientation evidence supporting nature as main factor (e.g., affect of genetic linkage, prenatal hormones)

36 Theoretical Perspectives on Hyperactivity and Homosexuality, cont.
Ideology often adds to complexity and polarization of opinions on many subjects when nature and nurture are considered Important to separate assumptions from facts done via research and testing of hypotheses

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