Introduction to Developmental Psychology

Definition of Development (and by who)
The process by which an organism (human or animal) grows and changes through its lifespan (prenatal, infancy and childhood). (Smith et al., 2003)
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Who previously studied development and how? What are two disadvantages of this method?
It was previously studied via observations by Darwin, but these lacked scientific rigour and were anecdotal (can’t generalise these findings).
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What did Piaget do in the 1920's?
Blended observations and experiments (naturalistic VS experimental).
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Evaluation of Naturalistic Methods
A: High ecological validity. D: Prone to confound variables.
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Evaluation of Experimental Methods
D: Low ecological validity (development doesn’t normally occur in laboratory settings). A: Controlled variables (children are exposed to the same conditions). D: Children may become nervous or struggle to adapt.
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5 Domains of Child Development
1) Physical 2) Cognitive 3) Psychosocial 4) Emotional 5) Linguistic
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Age Periods
1) Prenatal 2) Infancy 3) Preschool/Early Childhood 4) Middle Childhood 5) Adolescence
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Infancy Development
Involves rapid changes from birth to toddlerhood. 1) Physical 2) Social 3) Intellectual 4) Emotional
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3 Central Concerns of Developmental Psychology
1) Continuity 2) Sources of Development 3) Plasticity
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Continuity (what is it?)
Development as continuous VS discontinuous. Continuous → Small, gradual processes of change. Discontinuous → Periods of rapid growth and development, emergence of new forms of thought and behaviour (distinct change).
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Continuity (stage theories (1) and by who?)
(Flavell, 1971) 1) Stages distinguished by qualitative changes (crawling to walking, using different muscle groups). 2) Stage transitions marked by other aspects of change (changes to quality of attachment).
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Continuity (stage theories (2) and by who?)
(Flavell, 1971) 3) When changes occur, they are rapid (90 days between crawling to walking). 4) Behavioural and physical changes are coherent.
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Developmental Functions
U-Shaped Function → Infant stepping reflex.
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Sources of Development (what is it?)
Developmental psychology assesses the contribution to the development of nature and nurture and the interaction between them.
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Sources of Development (nature)
(genetics) → What are we born with? (inherited biological predispositions)
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Sources of Development (nurture)
(environment) → The impact of our environment (socio-cultural influences).
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Plasticity (what is it?)
The degree to which, and the conditions under which, development is open to change and intervention.
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Early Research (critical and sensitive periods)
CRITICAL PERIODS → Lorenz, imprinting and language development. SENSITIVE PERIODS → Language development (are we still able to learn language later in life even when we’ve been deprived during our childhood?).
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Research Methods (observational vs laboratory)
Observational Studies → Can’t control what you study but more naturalistic. Laboratory Studies → Can control what you study but less naturalistic.
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4 Developmental Designs (participants, ages, historical times)
1) Cross-Sectional 2) Longitudinal Studies 3) Cohort Design 4) Cohort Sequential Design
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Developmental Design (Cross-Sectional)
One specific point in time, snapshot.
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Developmental Design (Longitudinal Studies)
Allows study of progression, difficult to retain participants over time, takes time to answer the question.
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Developmental Design (Cohort Design)
Determines impact of historical time.
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Developmental Design (Cohort Sequential Design)
Combines older and more recent times.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

It was previously studied via observations by Darwin, but these lacked scientific rigour and were anecdotal (can’t generalise these findings).

Back

Who previously studied development and how? What are two disadvantages of this method?

Card 3

Front

Blended observations and experiments (naturalistic VS experimental).

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

A: High ecological validity. D: Prone to confound variables.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

D: Low ecological validity (development doesn’t normally occur in laboratory settings). A: Controlled variables (children are exposed to the same conditions). D: Children may become nervous or struggle to adapt.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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