Developmental Psychology Notes

Detailed developmental psychology notes; hope they help :) & sorry for any mistakes!

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Behaviourism/Learning Theory
All behaviour is learned. There are three types of behaviour:
Classical Conditioning - learning by association, for instance, Ivan Pavlov
Food = Salivation
Food + Bell = Salivation
Bell = Salivation
Operant Conditioning - learning by consequences, for example, positive & negative
reinforcement such as praise, money and sweets or a slap on the wrist, prison etc.
Social Learning - watching other people by imitation, observation and modelling.
Cognitive Approach
Behaviour is explained by mental process such as memory, reasoning, attention, perception, decision
making and so on (Input Process Output).
Psychodynamic Theory
Behaviour is explained by unconscious decisions. For example, Freud believes unconscious wishes and
desires shape our behaviour and personality. He believes there are 3 parts - the ID (unconscious
sexual desires), the EGO (decision maker) and the SUPEREGO (guilty/moral conscious).
Biological Perspective
Behaviour is determined by biological processes such as hormones.
Humanistic Approach
We are in control of our own behaviour, no other forces.

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Attachment - Close emotional bond that lasts. Security, help and trust etc
When Do Attachments Begin?
Schaffer & Emerson Stage Theory
Schaffer and Emerson argued that infants go through three stages in the early development of
attachments to others.
1) Asocial Stage: 0 - 6 weeks, smiling and crying but not directed at any special individuals.
2) Indiscriminate Attachment: 6 weeks - 7 months, attention sought from different individuals.
3) Specific Attachment: 7 - 11 months, strong attachment to one individual.…read more

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Types of Attachment
Secure Attachment
Resistant Attachment
Avoidant Attachment
Mary Ainsworth - Strange Situation (1970)
Aim: To find out about different types of attachment.
Procedure: They got a group of children aged 12 to 18 months old and did a controlled observation
in a laboratory. First the mother and child were left in the room, then the mother left and a stranger
entered, then the stranger left and the mother returned and then recorded her findings.
Results: There were differences between behaviour and emotional responses.…read more

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Israeli infants lived a kibbutz or a collective society where everyone is looked after by members of
their community, however, they have close relationships with their mothers. Japanese children are
treated differently from Israeli children. The Japanese children are never left with a stranger. German
culture requires some interpersonal distance between parents and children, which may explain why
there are more anxious avoidant children.…read more

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The food and the mother are being associated. This is known as classical conditioning.
This is also associated with operant conditioning.
Mother provides child with other needs such as emotional comfort, security and attention.
Harlow's Monkey Study (1959)
Evidence against Cupboard Love Theory
Aim: Harlow's study in 1959 was to test whether monkeys prefer the activity of feeding to that of
the bodily comfort.…read more

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A sensitive period is when a particular development needs to occur, but does not have to during 0 - 5
years. A critical period is when something has to occur at the age of 0 - 2 or it will fail to develop
Klaus & Kennell (1976)
Evidence for Evolutionary Approach/Ethological Theory
They argued there is a sensitive period immediately after birth in which bonding occurs through skin
to skin contact.…read more

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Severe emotional problems may be cause by deprivation (when you have made an
attachment but it is broken).
Bowlby's Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis Evidence
Bowlby's view that separation from the primary caregiver leads to disruption and perhaps breaking
of the attachment bond, with long-term adverse effects and possibly permanent on emotional
Juvenile Thieves (1944)
Evidence for Bowlby's Theory
Aims: To find out if there was a link between early separation and having a lack of guilt or remorse
(emotional maladjustment).…read more

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Detachment, during which the child seems to behave in a less distressed way. If the mother
or caregiver re-appears during this stage, she is not responded to with any great interest.
Fortunately, most children do re-attach over time.
This study was important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was the first study of short-term
separation on young children. Secondly, it identified the main stages of response to separation and
finally, it highlighted the importance of minimising the adverse effects of separation.…read more

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There may be a sensitive rather than critical period of attachment because the damage
caused by deprivation is reversible.
2. 30 years after Bowlby's research, western attitudes towards childcare have changed.
Children are now accompanied by their parents when they go into hospital.
3. Institutional care has now been replaced by fostering and child centred care is very
Evaluation (Applies to All Deprivation Studies):
1. Most of the findings of divorce/deprivation are correlational.…read more

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Evidence for Bowlby's Theory - Privation
Rutter investigated the behaviour of children bought up in institutions. In the children's later life they
discovered that the children had more criminal psychiatric and social problems than in a sample of
people taken from the general population. The reason for these bad effects was because they had
multiple caretakers for a long time during their early upbringing. We can therefore conclude that
privation (the absence of a stable early attachment) may cause long term affects.…read more


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