Developmental Approach in Psychology

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Developmental Approach

The developmental approach looks at changes that individuals go through during their lives. It has coommonly focused on child development but the approach is actually interested  in how we develop from the 'cradle to the grave'. 

Assumptions of the approach :

  • one assumption of the developmental approach is that there are clearly identifiable changes that occur in an individuals behaviour from conception to death.  
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how the developmental approach could explain

Age-related changes in children's ability to conserve mass, number and volume- the approach could explain this as the older the child, the more able they are to conserve mass, number and volume to their brain being more developed .e.g in the Samuel and Bryant study, they found out that older children in standard, one question and control had made fewer errors. 

Aggression - the approach could explain this as children grow through the learning process of observation, imitation and reinforcement in which they learn aggression e.g. in Bandura's experiment, children who observed adults being aggressive towards a bobo doll because aggressive themselves when shown the bobo doll later. 

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how the developmental approach could explain...

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Development of a phobia -  the approach could explain this as due to certain situations that a child might go through e.g. in the Freud case study, little Han's had sexual feelings for his mother, though he was told that this was improper and so these feelings were repressed. The only way for repressed feelings was to express them in another form, the form of a phobia in this case, of horses. 

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Describe 1 similarity and 1 difference between...

(EXAMPLE) Samuel and Bryant/ Freud :

  • Similarity - Both studies looked at how age linked with childrens development ( Freud - development of the oedipus complex and han's phobias with age / Samuel and bryant - age and its link with conservation)
  • difference - Freud was a longitudinal case study on one boy whereas Samuel and bryant was an experiment with 252 chidren. 
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  • Validity - the use of longitudinal case studies lead to rich, in-depth data into development e.g. Freud and little hands in which in-depth data was produced of his development over 2 years.
  • Usefullness- can be applied to everyday life, education, health e.g. Bandura in which the observation, imitation can be applied to why certain people could be angry and helps us understand peoples background life more.
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  • Ethical issues - Developmental approach seems to focus on child development and so this raises questions on consent of the experiements and the long term effect e.g. Bandura - could lead to a lasting effect of aggression on the children towards clowns or similar objects to bobo dolls.
  • reductionism - only ever focuses on one thoery of development and doesnt take into consideration any others e.g. Freud and the oedipus complex on Hans. 
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