Ch. 3

Chapter 5:
Developmental Psychology
 Branch of psychology that specifically examines
the physiological, cognitive, social, and emotional
changes in an organism from conception to death.
 Developmental Psychologists utilize a number of
different methods of inquiry to gather this
Study people of different ages at the same point in time
 Inexpensive
 Can be completed quickly
 Low attrition
 Different age groups are not necessarily much alike
 Differences may be due to cohort differences rather than age
Study the same group of people over time
 Detailed information about subjects
 Developmental changes can be studied in detail
 Eliminates cohort differences
 Expensive and time consuming
 Potential for high attrition
 Differences over time may be due to assessment tools and not
Participant’s past is reconstructed through interviews
and other research about their life
 Great detail about life of individual
 In-depth study of one person
 Recall of individual may not be accurate
 Can be expensive and time consuming
Prenatal - period of time from conception to birth
Zygote – a fertilized egg with full set of genes
 Fewer than half survive first two weeks
 Divide into 100 cells by first week, then begin to differentiate
 From about two weeks after conception to three months after
conception (most of first trimester)
 Organs begin to form; heartbeat
Fetus (Latin: “offspring” or “young one”)
 Three months after conception to birth (second and third
 Organs continue to form (6 months- stomach gives preemie a
chance to survive); response to sounds
 Connects fetus to mother
 Brings oxygen and nutrients and takes away wastes
 Any agent that causes a structural
abnormality following fetal exposure
during pregnancy
 Cocaine, alcohol, tetracycline, x-rays,
lithium, diazepam (Valium), HIV
 Fetal alcohol syndrome (1 in 800)
▪ Occurs in children of women who
consume large amounts of alcohol
during pregnancy
▪ Symptoms include facial
deformities, heart defects, stunted
growth, and cognitive impairments
 Teens whose mothers drank are
at heavy risk for alcohol
Critical period
 Specific time during which an organism has to experience stimuli in order to
progress through developmental stages properly.
 If period passes without proper stimulation/development, development is
hindered permanently
 Baby turns its head toward
something that brushes its cheek
and gropes around with mouth
 Newborn’s tendency to suck on
objects placed in the mouth
and curl
 Close fist around anything
placed in their hand
 Drop baby unexpectedly (?!) or
make loud noise and it will throw
arms out, arch back and then
grasp for something
swallow liquids without choking
 Stroke bottom of foot – toes fan
 Enables newborn babies to
 Stepping motions made by an
infant when held upright
 Place neonate on stomach and
press down on soles of feet –
arms and legs move rhythmically
Temperament refers to characteristic patterns of emotional
reactions and emotional self-regulation
 Thomas and Chess identified three basic types of babies (1977) +
Kagan (1988) added a fourth
 Easy
▪ Good-natured, easy to care for, adaptable
 Difficult
▪ Moody and intense, react to new situations and people negatively and
 Slow-to-warm-up
▪ Inactive and slow to respond to new things, and when they do react, it
is mild
 Shy Child
▪ Timid and inhibited, fearful of anything new or strange
Temperament may predict later disposition
In addition to reflexes present at birth, neonates also
have the ability to learn
Habituation - basic type of learning involving decreased
response to a stimulus judged to be of no
Habituation Example
Visual learning – focus on FACES
Olfactory learning – fully functioning; smell of mother
Auditory learning – response to mothers voice
Taste – Fully functioning; preference for sweets!
Knowing that babies prefer faces, which image below would they prefer?
I’m not
that way!
Clear for 8-10 inches
Good vision by 6 months
Depth perception
 Visual cliff research
 Despite his mother’s beckoning, an
The Visual Cliff
infant hesitates to cross the “visual
cliff”—an apparently steep drop that is
actually covered by transparent glass.
 Most infants 6 to 14 months of age were
reluctant to crawl over the cliff,
suggesting they had the ability to
perceive depth.
 The ability to perceive depth is partly
innate and partly a product of early
visual experience.
Ooh. How did
you get your
hair so silky
Children grow about 10 inches and gain about 15
pounds in first year
 Growth occurs in spurts, as much as 1 inch
 Growth slows during second year
 Neural “pruning and paving”
Developmental norms
 Ages by which an average child achieves various developmental
 Occurs in a proximodistal and cephalocaudal manner
 “Back to Sleep” movement to reduce SIDS may delay crawling
 Maturation
 Automatic biological unfolding of development in an organism as a
function of passage of time
 Relatively uninfluenced by experience
 Memory not solidified until after 3rd birthday
 Known as “infantile amnesia”
 Development of hippocampus?
Cognition – all mental activities associated with
thinking, knowing, remembering and
Jean Piaget
 Cognitive developmental psychologist who studied
intellectual development in children
 Stage-based theory of cognitive development
 Intellectual growth as a process of adaptation
(adjustment) to the world. This happens through
▪ Formation of schemas – mental frameworks
▪ Assimilation – using an existing schema to understand a
new situation
▪ Accommodation – modifying schemas to incorporate
new information
▪ Adjusting schemas (equilibration) when new information
doesn’t fit existing ones (disequilibrium)
Sensorimotor Stage (birth to 2 years)
 Take in world through senses
 Object permanence and the A not B error
Preoperational Stage (2-7 years)
 Egocentrism; intuitive over logical reasoning
 Development of a theory of mind, ideas about their own and
others’ cognitions and their resulting behaviors
 The Mountain problem, Mountain Problem Video
Concrete Operations (7-11 years)
 Logical reasoning about concrete events
 Principles of conservation ; Conservation Video
Formal Operations (12 through adulthood)
 Hypothetical problems solving
 Understand abstract ideas
Lev Vygotsky believed
development was a function
of social interaction
Many developmental theorists
such as Vygotsky questioned
the assumption that there are
distinct stages in cognitive
Criticism of notion that infants
do not understand world
Piaget may have
underestimated influence of
social interaction in cognitive
Stranger Anxiety
 Appears around 8 months – coincides with
 Protective mechanism
Attachment through Contact
 Humans form a bond with those who care for
them in infancy
 Based upon interaction with caregiver
 Harry Harlow’s work: role of physical contact in
Attachment through Familiarity
 Imprinting (Lorenz): 1:07. tendency to follow the
first moving thing seen as the basis of attachment
 Occurs in many species of animals in a critical
Top: Harlow’s experiment;
Bottom: Lorenz and
Attachment Differences
 Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation
▪ Secure attachment: Explores freely while the mother is present, will engage
with strangers, will be visibly upset when the mother departs, and happy to see the
mother return.
▪ Anxious-ambivalent insecure attachment: Anxious of exploration and of
strangers, even when mother is present. When mother departs, the child is
extremely distressed. The child will be ambivalent when she returns, seeking to
remain close to the mother but resentful, and also resistant when the mother
initiates attention.
▪ Anxious-avoidant insecure attachment: Avoids or ignores mother - showing
little emotion when the mother departs or returns. Will not explore much
regardless of who is there. Strangers not treated much differently from mother.
Not much emotional range displayed.
 Erikson’s “Basic Trust”
Deprivation of Attachment
 Impact of denying infant monkeys physical comfort from their mother
 Cases of “Genie” and “Victor”
 Daycare?
Self Concept: understanding of who we are
 If infants can achieve attachment, children must achieve a
positive self concept
 Develops gradually in first year “Mirror Test”
 By 18 months, children know THEY are the image in the
mirror, and that it is not another person
 Children with a positive self concept are more confident,
assertive, optimistic, and sociable, but how is this
 Diana Baumrind’s 4 Parenting Styles may help explain…
 Authoritarian – demanding not responsive
 Permissive – not demanding but responsive
 Neglectful – not demanding, not responsive
 Authoritative – demanding and responsive
 Impact of parenting styles on children?
 Authoritative appears to be best, but…
 Correlational NOT causational research!
Mirror Test
Solitary play
 Children first play by themselves
Parallel play
 As they get older, children play side-by-side
with other children, but not interacting
Cooperative play
 By about 3 or 3½, children begin playing with
Peer group
 A network of same-aged friends and
acquaintances who give one another
emotional and social support
 When children start school, peers begin to
have greater influence
Parallel Play vs.
Cooperative Play
Gender identity
 Knowledge of being a boy or girl
 Occurs by age 3
Gender constancy
 Child realizes that gender cannot change
 Occurs by age 4 or 5
Gender-role awareness
 Knowing appropriate behavior for each
Gender stereotypes
 Beliefs about presumed characteristics of
each gender
Sex-typed behavior
 Socially defined ways to behave different
for boys and girls
 May be at least partly biological in origin
A “Carefree Time” vs. G. Stanley Hall’s “Storm
and Stress”
The American experience?
Trends today?
Cultural differences?
Growth spurt
 Begins about age 10½ in girls and
about 12½ in boys
 Sexual development
 Primary (reproductive) vs.
Secondary (non-reproductive)
sexual characteristics
 Puberty
▪ Onset of sexual maturation
 Menarche
▪ First menstrual period for girls
Neurological changes – frontal lobe
Early and late developers:
Adolescent sexual activity
 Approximately ¾ of males and
½ of females between 15 and 19
have had intercourse
 Average age for first intercourse
is 16 for boys and 17 for girls
Teenage pregnancy
 Rate of teen pregnancy has
fallen in the last 50 years
 Highest in U.S. of all
industrialized nations
Frontal Lobe (cont.)
 Hypocrisy
 Idea of self vs. society
 Hyperaware of others’
perceptions (self
concept shifts to
includes others’
David Elkind’s Theories
 Imaginary audience:
delusion that everyone
else is always focused on
 Personal fable: delusion
that they are unique and
very important
 Nothing can harm them
 Reckless behavior
Preconventional (preadolescence)
 “Good” behavior is mostly to avoid
punishment or seek reward
Conventional (adolescence)
 Behavior is about pleasing others
and, in later adolescence, becoming
a good citizen
 Emphasis is on abstract principles
such as justice, equality, and liberty
The “Heinz Dilemma”
 A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one
drug that the doctors thought might save her. The drug was expensive to
make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to
produce. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to
borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is
half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked
him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I
discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got
desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.
 Should Heinz have broken into the store to steal the drug for his wife? Why
or why not?
The response is not as important as the
reasoning WHY in determining which stage of
moral reasoning a person is in
Research shows that many people never
progress past the conventional level
Theory maintains that our rationale remains
consistent – does it?
Theory does not take cultural differences into
Theory is considered by some to be sexist in
that girls often scored lower on tests of
Major task in adolescence is identity formation (progresses through
Forming an identity (James Marcia, 1980)
 Achievement
▪ Successfully find identity
 Foreclosure
▪ Settle for identity others wish for them (images in society/parents plant)
 Moratorium
▪ Explore various identities, but unable to commit
 Diffusion
▪ Unable to “find themselves” – refusal to deal with the task; escapist
Different “selves” conflicting (i.e. having friends over) causes stressunification occurs when you’ve become comfortable with one that fits all
(or most)
Erikson’s 8 Psychosocial Stages
 Identity vs. Role Confusion (teens to early 20s)
 Intimacy vs. Isolation (early 20s to early 40s)
Relationships with peers
 Adolescents often form cliques,
or groups with similar interests
and strong mutual attachment
Relationships with parents
 Adolescents test and question
every rule and guideline from
parents (can sniff out hypocrisy)
 Can be a difficult time for
parents AND children
Relative influence?
Declines in self-esteem
 Related to appearance
 Satisfaction in appearance is related to higher self-esteem
Depression and suicide
 Rate of suicide among adolescents has increased 600% since
1950, but has leveled off since ’90s
 Suicide often related to depression, drug abuse, disruptive
behaviors, or child abuse
Youth Violence- tried as adults? (remember the frontal
Emerging Adulthood – trends in lengthening this period
Forming partnerships
 First major event of
adulthood is forming and
maintaining close
 Erikson’s Intimacy vs.
 Having children alters
dynamics of relationships
 Marital satisfaction often
declines after birth of child
The World of Work
 Balancing career and family obligations is
a challenge
 Many adults define who they are by what
they do
Cognitive Changes
 Fluid intelligence declines with old age
 Crystallized intelligence does NOT
decline, and even can increase as learning
continues throughout life
Many parents report feeling a
sense of relief when their
children move out!
Personality Changes
 Less self-centered, better coping skills
 Some men and women have a midlife
crisis (or midlife transition)
 Empty Nest Myth
In late adulthood, physical deterioration is inevitable
As early as the twenties, strength, reaction times, sensory
abilities and cardiac capacity decline, though in late
adulthood we may finally notice
Menopause and the end of fertility
I can’t wait
to swill my
from this
I’m too
cool for
Independent and satisfying
lifestyles – Erikson’s Generativity
vs. Stagnation
 Most people will stop working and
face challenges with that sudden
 Redefining of self
 Marital satisfaction
Sexual behavior
 Research shows that many older
couples continue to be sexually
 It is not until age 75 that half of men
and most women report a complete
loss of interest in sex
Research has demonstrated that
those who continue to
“exercise” their mental abilities
can delay mental decline
Even PHYSICAL exercise seems
to have a positive impact on
cognitive maintenance
However, Alzheimer’s disease
afflicts approximately 10% of
people over 65 and perhaps as
many as 50% of those over 90
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s
stages of grief/death
Giraffe: Stages of Dying
Erikson’s Integrity vs.