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Discuss some of the assumptions that stage theorists such as Freud, Erikson and Piaget have in common
See d’ment as DISCONTINUOUS with DISTINCT stages
See d’ment as UNIVERSAL (although Erikson views stages may be expressed diff in diff cultures)
See d’ment as caused by biological-maturational forces within the individual, however all three acknowledge
impact of e’ment (Freud – early parenting, Erikson – social demands, Piaget – experiences)
Erikson & Piaget both viewed humans as ACTIVE in d’ment, whereas Freud viewed as passive
On which elements of learning would Watson, Skinner and Bandura agree? Where would their diffs lie?
View d’ment as LEARNING
View learning as CONTINUOUS process of behaviour change that is CONTEXT SPECIFIC and can differ enormously
from person to person based on experiences
View d’ment as mostly NURTURE based – product of environment
Emphasise power of positive reinforcement
Where Watson and Skinner viewed humans as PASSIVE in d’ment, with learning being a direct response to
e’mental stimuli, Bandura viewed them as ACTIVE, choosing, building and changing their e’ments, not just shaped
by them
Bandura placed more emphasis on the role of cognitive processes in learning – and highlighted the role of
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING, a more cognitive form of learning than conditioning because learners must pay
attention, construct and remember mental representations, retrieve these representations from memory later,
and use them to guide behaviour
Bandura’s Bobo Doll experiment showed that children could learn a response neither elicited by a conditioned
stimulus (classical conditioning) nor performed and then strengthened by a reinforcer (operant conditioning), both
of which focus on directly experienced consequences, but could learn through VICARIOUS REINFORCEMENT:
watching a model and seeing the consequences of the model’s behaviour
Watson focused more on the EMOTIONAL REACTIONS (pleasant associations, phobias) that are learned, whereas
Skinner and Bandura focused on the SKILLS that are learned
Explain the main reason why Vygotsky was one of Piaget’s early critics, and outline the main diffs btw their
perspectives on cognitive d’ment
Where Piaget saw children as independent explorers, Vygotsky saw them as social beings who develop their minds
through guided participation in culturally important activities in which parents, teachers, and other knowledgeable
members of their culture provide ‘scaffolding’ or support that facilitates learning.
Piaget focused on NATURE (maturation interacting with experience guides all through the same stages), whereas
Vygotsky focused more on NURTURE (the impact of the child’s e’ment both socially and culturally)
Piaget saw d’ment as DISCONTINUOUS, progressing through UNIVERSAL stages that are the same for all children,
Vygotsky saw d’ment as CONTINUOUS and CONTEXT SPECIFIC, depending on the child’s experiences and the
mental tools, such as language, that the culture values and makes available
Piaget saw that individual, egocentric processes become more social (eg egocentric speech becomes social speech)
whereas Vygotsky saw that social processes become individual psychological ones (eg social speech becomes inner
speech) ie Piaget saw children’s habit of talking to themselves as they work as evidence that preoperational
thinkers cannot yet take perspectives of other people and have not mastered the art of social speech. Whereas
Vygotsky saw this private speech as a critical step in d’ment of mature thought and the forerunner of the silent
thinking-in-words that adults engage in every day (ie a sign of cognitive maturity, not immature egocentrism)
Piaget maintained that cognitive d’ment influences language d’ment, Vygotsky argued that language shapes
Piaget focused on importance of PEERS, viewing that cog conflict triggered by diff perspectives of other children is
not so overwhelming that it cannot be resolved, Vygotsky maintained that ADULTS are important as they pass on
cultural tools of thinking
Piaget claimed d’ment precedes learning – children cannot master certain things until they have the requisite cog
structures), Vygotsky claimed learning precedes d’ment (tools learned w adult help become internalised)
Piaget claimed training can mediate d’ment, whereas Vygotsky claimed training is largely ineffective in ‘speeding
up’ d’ment
Erikson’s theory, which was based on Freud’s approach, is considered one of the first lifespan theories. Describe how
Erikson goes beyond Freud’s view in formulating a lifespan theory, highlighting key diffs btw the two.
Placed less emphasis on sexual urges as the drivers of d’ment and more emphasis on SOCIAL INFLUENCES such as
peers, teachers, schools and broader culture
Placed less emphasis on the unconscious, irrational and selfish id and more on the RATIONAL EGO and its adaptive
Held a more POSITIVE view of human nature, seeing people as ACTIVE in their d’ment, largely rational, and able to
Put more emphasis on d’ment AFTER ADOLESCENCE, believing psychosocial growth continues during adulthood –
provided much of current theory on the adolescent stage of the lifespan (identity vs role confusion)
Did not agree personality fixed after first five years of life
Whereas Freud believed a person could become stuck in a particular stage (fixation), Erikson believed whether the
conflict of a stage is successfully resolved or not, the individual is pushed by both biological and social demands
onto the next stage – however unsuccessful resolution of a conflict will influence how subsequent stages play out
Compare and contrast Piaget and Kohlberg’s theories of moral d’ment. How do these theories about moral d’ment
contribute to our understanding of moral behaviour?
What are the main emphases of behavioural and social cognitive learning theory? Outline how each theory
contributes to our understanding of human growth and d’ment.
 Both behavioural and social cognitive learning theory emphasise the role of the e’ment on development and
basically deny the influence of genetics all together.
 Both theories believe that development is essentially learning, and that it is a continuous process of behaviour
changes that is context specific and can differ enormously from person to person
Several abilities are considered important early signs of a theory of mind. Describe the emergence of these skills
across an infant’s first two years of life.
Several abilities are considered important early steps in developing of a theory of mind:
 Imitation: Reveals an ability to mentally represent others’ actions and the goals or intentions behind them
 Understanding intentions: By 6m of age, children prefer a “helper” character
 Joint attention: Around 9m of age, infants engage in joint attention, showing awareness that other people have
different perceptual experiences, and that two people can share that experience. Joint awareness is also a good
predictor of later social competence
 Pretend play: Between 1-2yrs of age, shows a primitive understanding of diffs btw make-belief and reality
 Emotional understanding: Comforting a playmate who is cry reflects an understanding that other people have
emotions and these emotions can be influenced for good or bad
 False belief task: some researchers claim infants as young as 15m understand that people can hold false beliefs
Describe how the sense of self develops in adolescence, particularly self-esteem. In your answer, consider how
adolescent egocentrism, the imaginary audience, and the personal fable impact on the behaviour of teenagers.
Adolescence is a key time for development of the self. Adolescents begin to see themselves in
* more psychological terms than physical (eg “I am kind” vs “I have brown eyes”)
* more abstract terms than concrete (eg “I am a truthful person” vs “I love sport”)
* more differentiated – appreciate thay are different “selves” in different social contexts eg family vs friends
* more integrated and coherent – can explain these discrepant self-perceptions
* more reflective, greater self-awareness – painfully self-conscious
Self-esteem continues the declining trend seen in later childhood (adolescents become more knowledgeable and
realistic about their strengths and weaknesses, experiencing the transition from primary to high school, puberty)
however adolescents as a group still maintain good levels of self-esteem despite this.
David Elkind: Formal-operational thought may prepare the adolescent to gain a sense of identity, but can also lead to
adolescent egocentrism – difficulty in differentiating one’s own thoughts and feelings from those of other people – two
* Imaginary audience: confusing your own thoughts with those of a hypothesised audience “They’re all
looking at me!” “Everyone thinks I’m a slob”
* Personal fable: tendency to think that you and your thoughts and feelings are unique “No one has ever felt
as heartbroken/in love as me!”. This concept may lead adolescents to feel that rules that apply to others do
not apply to them
Elkind hypothesised these two stages should increase when formal operations are first being acquired and then
decrease as adolescents get older, gain fuller control of formal operations and assume adult roles that require deeper
consideration of others’ perspectives. However, they may persist when adolescents have insecure r’ships with parents
How would a social learning theorist describe moral socialisation and the acquisition of moral behaviour?
 Moral behaviour is learned through observational learning and reinforcement and punishment priciples
 Strongly influenced by situational factors – eg how closely a teacher watches exam takers, how easy to steal from a
jewellery store
 Due to these situational influences, what we do (moral performance) is not always reflective of our internalised
values and standards (moral competence) – eg Peer pressure
 Moral cognition is linked to moral action through self-regulatory mechanisms that involve monitoring and
evaluating our own actions, disapproving of ourselves when we contemplate doing wrong and approving of
ourselves when we behave responsibly or humanely
 Moral disengagement: ability to avoid self-condemnation when engaged in immoral behaviour by justifying,
minimising or blaming others for one’s actions (eg a person who feels that aren’t being paid enough may feel
justified in stealing from employer). People who have perfected techniques of moral disengagement tend to be the
ones involved in most antisocial/unethical behaviour
10. Describe the age-related changes in physical functioning for middle aged adults and the factors that can influence
these changes. Discuss what can be done to minimise declines in physical functioning.
Middle age = 40-65yo
Skin becomes wrinkled, dry and loose. Hair thins and turns grey.
Put on weight – However, as people move into their 60’s, they typically lose weight, but not from losing fat, but from
losing valuable muscle and bone
Declines in: capacity of the heart and lungs, ability to regulate temperature, ability of immune system to fight disease,
reserve capacity of many organ systems
Slower walking pace – walking pace can actually predict survival – faster 75yo more likely to be alive 5-10yrs later
Lower handgrip strength – associated w greater functional limitation and disabilities 25 years later
Females experience menopause
Minimising decline: healthy lifestyle and exercise
11. Discuss how heredity and the e’ment can jointly influence d’ment. Provide examples of how twin and adoption
studies have contributed to our knowledge and understanding of these influences.
Genes do not determine anything, rather genes and e’ment co-act to influence d’ment and behaviour.
Interrelationship btw an individual’s genes and that individual’s e’ment
 Passive: Ways in which genes influence the kind of HOME e’ment parents provide to offspring (eg sociable parents
transmit social genes and also create highly social home e’ment = children more sociable
 Evocative: Ways in which genes influence the SOCIAL reactions individual’s receive from others (eg smiley baby
gets smiles back, reinforces sociability
 Active: Ways in which genes influence TYPES OF EXPERIENCES individual seeks (eg sociable child goes to lots of
parties, reinforces sociability)
EXPERIENCES THEY HAVE): The effects of people’s genes depend on the kind of e’ment they experience and the effects
of the e’ment depend on their genetic endowment (CASPI – DEPRESSION – Genes people have make a different only
when e’ment is stressful, and a stressful e’ment has an effect only on individuals with a genotype that predisposes
them to depression)
Twin and adoption studies
12. Describe the attachment styles uncovered by Ainsworth, Main and colleagues as a result of the Strange Situation.
Describe what effect these early attachment styles might have on functioning across romantic r’ships, career, and
physical and mental health.
1. Secure attachment: Infant welcomes close contact, uses attachment figure as a source of comfort, and dislikes but
can manage separation – about 60-65% of 1yo. Usually generated by sensitive, responsive parenting. Securely
attached infants are more popular, have fewer behavioural issues, and higher IQ and school performance. Thus,
secure attachment results in adults who feel good about themselves and others, and are not afraid of intimate
relationships or abandonment. Securely attached adults enjoy their work and are good at it. They have the
confidence to travel, and generally experience better physical and mental health than their less secure
2. Resistant (insecure-anxious) attachment: Strong separation anxiety and wariness of strangers, and tendency to
show ambivalent reactions to attachment figure, seeking and yet resisting contact – about 10% of 1yo. Generated
by inconsistent, unresponsive parenting (eg parent depressed). Infants with this style of attachment may develop a
preoccupied attachment in adulthood, craving closeness to others as a means of validating self-worth, tending to
become overly dependent on partners, and having a high fear of abandonment. In the workplace, preoccupied
adults want approval and feel that are not valued enough.
3. Avoidant (insecure-avoidant) attachment: Little separation anxiety and tendency to avoid or ignore attachment
figure upon return – around 15% of 1yo. Generated by inconsistent parenting with parents either showing
rejecting-unresponsive parenting or intrusive-overly stimulating parenting. As a result of this attachment, adults
may develop a dismissing attachment style in which they have a positive view of themselves, but don’t trust others
and dismiss the importance of intimate r’ships. At work, dismissing adults bury themselves in their work and fail to
socialise with their colleagues. Interestingly, older adults with a dismissing attachment style are happier than those
with either a fearful or preoccupied style, perhaps as they are happy to become quite self-reliant and independent
in their old age as a result of experiencing the previous losses of close companions in the past
4. Disorganised-disoriented attachment: Common among abused children, this style combines features of the
resistant and avoidant styles and is characterised by the infant’s dazed response to reunion and confusion about
whether to approach or avoid the caregiver – up to 15% of 1yo. These infants may become fearful adults; showing
both high anxiety and high avoidance, and have a negative view of both themselves and others
13. Sara likes dressing like her brother and plays more often with his toys instead of own “gender-specific” toys. Describe
how children develop gender roles and give two reasons why Sara may behave as she does.
Almost all children give verbal proof that they have acquired a basic sense of their gender identity by age 2.5-3, and as
they approach age 2, are already beginning to behave in ways considered by our society to be gender congruent.
Social learning perspectives: children learn gender roles through OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING processes and
DIFFERENTIAL REINFORCEMENT. Around 6-7yo, children begin to pay much closer attention to same-gender models,
however children who see their mothers perform more typical male tasks and their fathers perform more household
and childcare tasks tend to be less aware of gender stereotypes, and less gender-typed than children exposed to
more traditional gender role models at home (REASON ONE). Children also learn from the media, and children who
watch a large amount of tv are more likely to choose gender-congruent toys and hold stereotyped views of males and
females than those who watch little tv (REASON TWO). Children are also experiencing differential reinforcement –
rewarded for adopting gender-congruent behaviours and punished for engaging in behaviours considered more
appropriate for the other gender (fathers more likely than mothers to do this). Peers also play a role with boys facing
stronger pressures to adhere to gender role expectations (REASON THREE).
Cognitive perspectives:
Suggests children first understand that they are girls or boys, then actively seek same-gender models and a range
of information about how to act like a girl or boy.
 Gender role d’ment depends on stage-like changes in cog d’ment; children must acquire certain
understandings about gender before they will be influenced by their social experiences
 Children engage in self-socialisation; instead of being the passive targets of social influence, they actively
socialise themselves
Gender Schema Theory (Martin & Halverson)
Believe children are intrinsically motivated to acquire values, interests and behaviours consistent with their cognitive
judgements about the self, however, argues self-socialisation begins as soon as children acquire a basic gender identity
(around 2-3yo)
o FIRST: Children acquire a simple in-group – out-group schema allowing them to classify some
behaviours and roles as appropriate for males and some for females
o THEN: they seek more elaborate info about the role of their own gender, constructing an own-gender
o Once gender schemata are in place, children will even distort new info in memory so it is consistent
with their schemata (eg the child who believes women cannot be Dr’s may be introduced to a female
Dr, but may remember meeting a nurse instead, and continue to state that women cannot be Dr’s)
14. Discuss the identity d’ment of adolescents focusing on the work of Erikson and Marcia. What are the critical issues for
this age group as they struggle with identity formation?
Erikson believed many young people experience a full-blown painful “identity crisis” but that our society supports
youths by allowing them a moratorium period: when young adults are relatively free of responsibilities and can
experiment with different roles to find their identities.
Marcia expanded on Erikson’s theory by developing a procedure to assess where an individual is in the process of
identity formation. Adolescents are classified into one of four identity statuses based on their progress toward an
identity in each of several domains (eg vocational, religious, political).
The key questions, according to Marcia, are whether an individual has experienced a crisis and whether they have
achieved a commitment (resolved the issues raised). On the basis of crisis and commitment, the individual is classified
into one of the four identity statuses:
Achievement: Resolved crisis, made commitment to
particular goals, beliefs, values
Foreclosure: Crisis absent, commitment present
Latched onto identity prematurely w little thought “My
parents are Baptist, so I’m a Baptist”
Moratorium: Crisis present, commitment absent
Experiencing identity crisis, actively raising questions and
seeking answers
Diffusion: Crisis absent, commitment absent
Individual has not yet thought about or resolved identity
Progress toward identity becomes more evident starting at age 18 and more individuals begin to fall into the
moratorium status.
One reliable sex difference has been observed: although women are just as concerned about establishing a career
identity as men, they attach greater importance to and think more about the aspects of identity that centre on
sexuality, interpersonal relations and balancing career and family goals
Achieving identity in various domains is a product of at least five factors:
1. Cognitive d’ment: achieving solid mastery of formal-operational thought
2. Personality: Low in neuroticism and high in openness to experience and conscientiousness
3. Quality of r’ship with parents: Diffusion = more likely to be rejected or neglected by parents, Foreclosure =
extremely close to loving but overly protective/controlling parents, Moratorium and achievement = warm,
democratic parents who foster high self-esteem
4. Opportunities for exploration: Uni provides the moratorium period Erikson deem essential to identity formation
5. Cultural context: while Western society adheres to the notion that adolescents must forge an identity after
carefully exploring many options, other societies may expect them to just adopt, without much soul searching or
15. Identify the differences between the terms self-concept and self-esteem. Give three examples to illustrate how
caregivers can facilitate children’s d’ment of each of these areas. Include in your answer the concept of the ideal self
vs the real self.
16. Using at least four of Kohlberg’s stages of moral d’ment, provide the moral reasoning behind why an individual
might decide to cheat on an exam.
Stage one (PUNISHMENT AND OBEDIENCE): People base their moral decisions on the fear of punishment, and thus act
to avoid punishment – “I’ll cheat because it’s unlikely I’ll get caught”
Stage two (INDIVIDUAL SELF-INTEREST): Right and wrong is determined by what is rewarded – “I will cheat because I
will get a better score on the exam”
Stage three (SEEKING APPROVAL/AVOIDING DISAPPROVAL): Right and wrong is determined by seeking approval or
avoiding disapproval of people who are close to you – “I will cheat because a good mark will make my parents proud of
Stage four (LAW AND ORDER): Right and wrong is determined by society’s rules, and laws, which should be obeyed
rigidly to maintain law and order through formal or informal codes of conduct –
Stage five (INTERPRETATION OF THE LAW): Right and wrong is determined by society’s rules which are viewed as fallible
- “I will cheat on this test because I need a good grade to get a job…and I need a job to feed my starving family”
17. Describe adult moral reasoning in early adulthood and explain the factors that shape its d’ment.
Most adults still function at the conventional level of Kohlberg’s moral stages, although many have shifted from Stage 3
to Stage 4.
Greene’s dual-process model of morality states both deliberate thought and emotion/intuition play distinct roles
18. Using Piaget’s theory of cog d’ment, and focusing on stage of preoperational thought, describe the major d’ments in
cognition during early childhood. What are the main limitations of this stage?
PREOPERATIONAL STAGE: Children think at a symbolic level but have not yet mastered logical operations – focus on perceptual
salience (most obvious features of an object/situation) means they can be fooled by appearance
 SYMBOLIC THINKING: Child can use words to refer to thinks, people and events that are not physically present
 Can refer to past and future
 Pretend/fantasy play flourishes (imaginary companions) – associated w creativity, advanced cog & social d’ment
 Understand object permanence
LACK OF CONSERVATION: Don’t recognise something stays the same even if appearance alters
o Unable to focus on two or more dimensions of a problem at once (decentration)
o Lack reversibility, process of mentally undoing or reversing an action
o Limitations in transformational thought, ability to conceptualise processes of change, focus on end
EGOCENTRISM: Confusing one’s own perspective w that of another’s
o Three mountain task: Unable to describe mountains from doll’s point of view (criticised as it showed
lack of spatial awareness, not just egocentrism – children did better on simpler tasks)
CLASSIFICATION: Trouble thinking about relations btw classes/subclasses or wholes/parts. Lack class inclusion,
logical understanding that parts are included within the whole. However, preschool children seem to have a
greater understanding of classification systems than Piaget believed
19. Describe the main processes of language acquisition in early childhood, including theories of language d’ment.
20. List each of Baumrind’s parenting styles. Describe each of these parenting styles and the child-development
outcomes to which each has been linked, and explain how each style provides a different outcome.
21. Compare Kübler-Ross’s stages of dying with Parkes/Bowlby’s attachment model of bereavement. List the stages of
both models.