Handouts for Chapter 2

devt’l psych handouts ch 2 theories of dev’t
Theories of Development
 nature vs. nurture
 nature: Wiggam, 1923; Darwin
 nurture: Watson
Modern view: our genetic inheritance provides the boundaries of our potential and
environment determines the extent to which these potentials are reached.
 activity vs. passivity
 should we view children as actively engaging the world or as at the mercy of the
society they are born into?
 continuity vs. discontinuity
 does development take place smoothly or does it happen in abrupt bursts?
 Are the changes qualitative or quantitative?
 those who say it is quantitative also say it is continuous; those who say it is
qualitative say we develop in discrete stages.
 universality vs. particularity
 some say the most important aspects of development are the ones that everyone
goes through; to others the most important is that which is particular to the individual.
 stage theorists say universal is most important
 others say that this ignores many interesting factors in development that differ
from person to person.
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
 we are born with powerful biological urges that seek satisfaction
 these urges are at odds with cultural and family demands
 maturation: finding ways to deal with these urges so as to get along in society
 the psyche: Id, Ego, Superego
 libido: mental energy
 birth: we are Id-driven.
- Id seeks immediate satisfaction for illicit aggressive and sexual urges
- operates according to the Pleasure Principle
 as we develop the Ego emerges – the rational aspect.
- Ego has to placate the Id and steer clear of trouble with society
- operates according to the Reality Principle
 Superego emerges at 3-6 years old.
- we internalize the moral standards of our parents
- we learn to punish ourselves for transgressions
devt’l psych handouts ch 2 theories of dev’t
 the Ego has to be strong enough to keep the Id and Superego in line.
 Ideally, libidinal energy gets evenly distributed amongst Id, Ego, Superego.
Imbalances lead to problems
- if Id has more than its share, we get psychopathy, violence, aggression
- if Superego has more, we get shame, anxiety, self-doubt, (neurosis)
Freud’s 5 stages of psychosexual development
oral stage (birth to 1 year):
pleasure through oral stimulation, the mouth
breast feeding is key (mother can be too strict or too lax)
anal stage (1 to 3 yrs):
pleasure shifts to anus as child learns to control anal excretions.
toilet training is key (can be too strict or too lax)
phallic stage (3 to 6 years):
genitals become the focus of auto-erotic sexual pleasure
strong desire for opposite-sex parent
boys have an Oedipus complex: desire the mother but fear the father as a bigger
stronger rival. Fear manifests as castration anxiety. Boys then identify with the
father to alleviate this anxiety.
- Girls have an Electra complex: desire fathers as a result of wanting a penis of
their own (penis envy). Desires a male baby by her father. Not easily resolved;
therefore females are inherently inferior.
latency (6 to 12 or puberty): other skills are developed, sex drive is dormant
genital (puberty onwards): psychosexual and physical maturity. Sexual gratification
is sought with an appropriate partner. If we have enough libido by now, we are able
to find a love partner and meaningful work.
Freud’s contributions:
 unconscious motivation
 early years are important to later personality
 children are sexual
-- Trust vs Mistrust (birth to 1 yr)
-- Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt (1 –3 yrs)
-- Initiative vs Guilt (3 – 6 yrs)
-- Industry vs Inferiority (6-12 yrs)
-- Identity vs Role Confusion (12 –20)
-- Intimacy vs Isolation (20-40)
-- Generativity vs Stagnation (40-65)
-- Ego Integrity vs Despair (> 65)
Erikson’s contributions: makes room for other things besides sex as a motivator; allows
for development to continue past puberty
devt’l psych handouts ch 2 theories of dev’t
Learning Perspective:
 Watson was the father of behaviourism
 B.F. Skinner discovered the basic laws of learning
- an organism will repeat a behaviour that leads to favourable consequences and
will be less likely to repeat a behaviour that leads to negative consequences.
- Operant Learning
 Bandura:
- worked with people, not animals
- stressed importance of cognition in human beings
- observational learning
- reciprocal determinism: development is a function of the person, their behaviour,
and the environment.
Cognitive-Developmental Perspective
Piaget (1896-1980):
 paid attention to the errors children make at various ages
 kids at specific ages make the same cognitive errors
 maybe cognitions change qualitatively as children develop
Piagetian terms:
 Intelligence: a basic life process that helps an organism to adapt to its environment.
 “cognitive structure” or “scheme”: an organized pattern of thought or action used to
cope with or explain some aspect of experience.
 assimilation: the process by which children interpret new experiences by
incorporating them into their existing schemes
 accommodation: the process by which children modify their existing schemes to
incorporate or adapt to new experiences.
Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development
Sensorimotor (birth to 2 yrs):
- use sensory and motor abilities to explore the environment
- primitive sense of “self” vs. “other”
- object permanence
- begin producing internal schemes
Preoperational (2 – 7 yrs):
- use of symbols to represent aspects of the world (e.g. language, images)
- egocentric thought
devt’l psych handouts ch 2 theories of dev’t
Concrete Operations (7-11 yrs):
acquire and use concrete operations
no longer accept face value
understand basic properties and relations of objects and events
able to infer other people’s motives
Formal Operations (11 yrs and up):
abstract thought (can think about thinking)
logical thought not limited to the concrete
reasoning is systematic
can consider multiple possible solutions to a problem
Evolutionary Perspective:
 ethology – study of the evolutionary bases of behaviour and development
 sociobiology: study of evolutionary basis for human social behaviours
 human beings are born with biologically preprogrammed behaviours due to evolution
that help us survive
 e.g. babies cry and parents respond to them
 critical periods for developing various skills
 adaptive behaviours are those that contribute to the survival of our genes (survival of
the family, the race, the species)