Section C - 4 Mark Question (Developmental Approach)

4 mark question for section C of the developmental approach.

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Section C:
Describe how the developmental approach can explain a behaviour/phenomenon. (4 marks)
Describe how the developmental approach can explain aggression.
The developmental approach would explain aggression as a result of an interaction between nature
(genetics) and nurture (environment). From the study of Bandura we learn that aggression can be
learned through observation and imitation of a model i.e. social learning theory. The study also
demonstrates that boys are more physically aggressive than girls but there was no difference in
verbal aggression. The higher level of aggression in boys could be as a result of the higher level of
testosterone in their body in comparison to girls. Also boys were more physically aggressive because
aggression is seen as a more masculine trait and this is why there was some evidence of a same sex
effect in boys than in girls.
Describe how the developmental approach can explain conservation.
The developmental approach assumes that cognitive development is an ongoing process and that
such changes result from an interaction of nature and nurture. Piaget suggests that cognitive abilities
such as conservation are acquired through a series of stages known as the "Stages of Development"
which is universal amongst all children. The study of Samuel and Bryant demonstrates that children at
the pre-operational stage can conserve. In Piagets' study children were unable to conserve because
of a flaw in the methodology. Piaget asked children the same question twice; pre-transformation and
post-transformation. The children because confused and responded to demand characteristics and as
a results failed the conservation task. The Samuel and Bryant study also demonstrates that older
children made fewer errors; children made fewer errors in the one judgement condition and children
fewer errors on the number task and most errors on the volume task.
Describe how the developmental approach can explain phobias.
The developmental approach assumes that behavioural development is an ongoing process and that
such changes result from an interaction of nature and nurture. With regards to nature it can eb argued
that a phobia can develop when there is a conflict between the Id and Ego which gives rise to anxiety
within the "Self". Ego defence mechanisms are deployed to deal with the excessive anxiety.
Pathological behaviour such as a phobia will state to appear when defence mechanisms can no longer
cope. This is demonstrated in the case of Little Hans, where he had a conflict between a desire to be
with his mother and a castration anxiety. Hans displaced his fear of his father on to white horses
which represented his father (black around horses' mouth and black blinkers associated with father's
moustache and glasses). With regards to nurture, Little Hans' phobia can be explained because of an
actual event, where he witnessed a father telling his daughter that if she touches a white horse, it
may bite her.

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