Life Span Development Lecture 3

Marina Sangkavichai
Psychology 1
Nature versus Nurture Debate
Nature: the influence of our inherited
characteristics on our personality, physical
growth, and social interactions
Nurture: the influence of the environment on
personality, physical growth, intellectual
growth and social interactions
Aristotle said “ A human is a social animal
destined to live in close relationships with
important others.”
How do the bonds of attachments to others
In all cultures, infants develop an intense
bond with their caregivers.
Infants prefer familiar faces and voices
At 8 months, some infants may develop a fear of
strangers called stranger anxiety.
 They may greet strangers with crying and reaching
for family caregivers.
 Interesting: Babies have “schemas” ( mental molds
or concept of their caregivers ) unfamiliar faces
don’t fit their schemas.
How do infants become attached?
Infants become attached to those-typically their
parents-who are comfortable, familiar, and
responsive to their needs
 Interesting research: for many years, developmental
psychologists reasoned that infants became
attached to those who satisfied their needs for
In the 1950’s, a man named Harry Harlow bred
monkeys for learning studies. He separated
monkeys from their mothers raised them in
sanitary, individual cages which had baby blankets.
 Surprisingly infant monkeys became attached to
their blankets. When taken out to launder, the
monkey became distressed.
 This contradicted the “nourishment” hypothesis
since the blankets provided no food.
 Video: Harlow and Rhesus Monkeys and Harlows
Harlow created two artificial mothers. One
was a bare wire cylinder with a wooden head
which dispensed food.
The other, a cylinder wrapped in a terry cloth---which cylinder do you think the monkey
Even though the bare wired cylinder provided food,
the monkey preferred the cylinder with terry cloth!
 Like human infants clinging to their mothers, the
monkeys would cling to their cloth mothers when
 Other studies have shown other qualities---rocking,
warmth, and feeding- made the cloth mother even
more appealing.
Secure: explored happily and used mother as
an anchor. When toddler is reunited, she is
easily soothed
Avoidant: willing to explore but did not look
at mother for support.
Ambivalent: mixed feelings, mixed reaction
when mother returns
Disorganized-disoriented: some babies seem
undecided on how to react to mothers return.
Video: Strange situation
Securely attached infants have sensitive
responsive care givers can play comfortably
in their mother’s presence, exploring a new
Securely attached children approach life with
a sense that the world is predictable and
Other infants who grow up with insensitive,
unresponsive mothers---mothers who attended to
their babies when they felt like doing so but ignored
them at other times-had infants who often became
insecurely attached. Disorganized/disoriented
attachment style.
 Harlow’s monkey studies showed striking effects.
When put in a strange situations without their
artificial mothers, the deprived infants were
Erik Erikson theorized that securely attached
children form a lifelong attitude of trust
rather than fear.
It is often debated, but many researchers
now believe that our early attachments form
the foundation for our adult relationships. Do
you agree or disagree?
Babies reared in institutions without the stimulation
and attention of a regular caregiver or locked away
at home under conditions of abuse or extreme
neglect are often withdrawn, frightened, even
 Imprinting: children and animals become attached
to whatever moves and cares for them during the
first few hours of their birth!
Adolescence is the culturally defined period
between childhood and adulthood. Socially the
adolescent is no longer a child, yet not quite an
 Length of adolescence varies from culture to
culture. In North America, most 14 year old girls live
at home and go to school.
 In contrast, many 14 year old females in rural
villages of the Near East are married and have
Adolescence is marked by physical changes
Examples are:
 Girls starting periods
 Boys deepening their voices
Height changes
Adolescence is also marked by a search for identity
and purpose. “ Who will I be in the future?” Can you
Imaginary audiences: ( people they imagine
are watching them ). Teenagers act like
others are aware of their thoughts and
This leads to painful self-consciousness. For
example, my brother believing everyone was
staring at his pimple.
Type of thought common to adolescents in
which young people believe themselves to be
unique and protected from harm.
They may feel unique, they somehow feel
protected from dangers of the world and so
do not take the precautions they should. May
result in unwanted pregnancy, reckless
driving, drinking and driving and drug use.
Peer groups: brains, nerds, jocks, dancers, rappers,
gothic, new wave, cheerleaders
There is increased identification with peer groups.
Which group did you belong to in high school or did
you have a group?
Peer group: consisted of people who show similar
social status ( also ways of being ).
Facilitates identity formation
Conformity to peer group
How would you define adulthood? What
would make someone in this society an adult?
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
What steps will you take to get there?
Moral development: starts in childhood and
continues into young adulthood. During this
period we acquire values, beliefs, and
thinking abilities that guide responsible
Moral values come through in sharper focus
during adolescence
Kohlberg posed dilemmas to children of different ages to
study moral development.
Dilemma: A woman in Europe was dying from a rare
disease. Her only hope was a drug that a local druggist
had discovered. The druggist was charging ten times more
than it cost him to make it. Heinz, the husband of the
dying woman, had desperately tried to borrow money to
buy the drug but he could borrow only half of the amount
he needed. He went to the druggist, told him that his wife
was dying, and asked to let him pay the druggist later or
to sell the drug at a lower cost. The druggist refused,
saying he had discovered the drug and he was going to
make money from it. Later, Heinz broke into the
druggist’s store to steal the drug for his wife. Should
Heinz have done that? Why?
Preconventional Stage: actions are evaluated in
terms of possible punishment, not goodness or
badness, obedience to power is emphasized. “ He
shouldn’t steal the drug because he could get
caught and sent to jail.” ( avoiding punishment ).
 Before age 9, most children show this type of
morality of self interest.
 Also obey to gain concrete awards ( if you do it,
you’ll be a hero ).
Conventional Stage: reasoning is based on a
desire to please others or to follow accepted
rules and values. ( authority )
Example: People will see him as a thief. He
should not break the law and wife’s condition
doesn’t justify stealing it.
Postconventional: follows self accepted moral
principles. This affirms people agreed-upon rights (
People have a right to live ).
 As our thinking matures, our behavior also becomes
less selfish and more caring
 Our thinking becomes less selfish and looking for
more towards society. Empathy for others.
Starting and establishing a career 18-75
Asking what life is all about/Trying to find
meaningful work and relationships
Starting a family, taking on new roles ( such
as parents, careers, etc.)
Adolesence 13 to early twenties
Goal is deciding who or what they to be in terms
of occupation, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior
patterns. Failure to do this leads to confusion,
withdrawal or blending into the crowd.
Early Adulthood twenties to thirties
Being able to share who they are with another
person in a close committed relationship. Failure
to do this may suffer from loneliness or isolate
themselves from others.
Key Benefits
Years of attendance correlates well with how
you manage your life.
Many cognitive gains between the first and
last year of college
Provides you with valuable feedback about
your skills and abilities
Opportunities for more friends and social
Middle Adulthood Forties and Fifties
 The challenge is to be creative, productive, and
nurturant of the next generation. Failure to do this
will be passive, self centered, feel that they have
done nothing for the next generation.
 Late Adulthood Sixties and Beyond
▪ Issue is whether a person will reach wisdom, spiritual
tranquility, a sense of wholeness, and acceptance of his
or her life.
Bernice Neugarten examined the lives of 200 people
between 70 and 79. 75% were satisfied with their lives after
Older persons generally do not become isolated and
neglected by their families. Most prefer to live apart from
Stay active and interested in life! Have friends of all ages!
Older person who lives alone is not necessarily desolate and
 Few elderly persons ever show signs of senility or mental
decay and few ever become mentally ill.
 John Glenn at age 77 became the oldest person to fly into
space in October 1998.
 Age is being re-defined I.e. 30’s is the new 20’s.
Not being married by 30 is not a bad thing anymore. End of
Life expectancy use to be 50-60/ now its 75-80
End of lecture