Child Development Notes

Topics: Developmental psychology, Scientific method, Child development Pages: 7 (1532 words) Published: September 15, 2013
Chapter 1- Child Development: Themes, Theories and Methods
– Describe important terms such as conceptions of age, periods of development, domains of development, etc.
Development is a lifelong, multidimensional, plastic, multidisciplinary, and contextual process. Developmental psychologists typically divide development into 3 broad domains:
1. Biological (changes in body size, muscle tone, sexual maturity…)
2. Cognitive (changes in thinking, language…)
3. Socioemotional (changes in emotions, social relationships, personality, family roles…) Think about how these 3 major domains of development connect to one another. Developmental psychologists organize the process of development into periods of development:

1. Prenatal (conception – birth)
2. Infancy (first 2 years)
3. Early/Middle/Late Childhood (6-11 years)
4. Adolescence (12-21 years)
5. Adulthood: Early (20-30s), Middle (35-60), Late (60+)
Central issues of discussion in developmental psychology:
– Origins of Behavior: Nature and Nurture
The discussion over the extent to which behavior is the result of heredity, biological factors (nature), and environmental influences (nurture). Recent research supports the view that a dynamic interaction between nature and nurture plays a crucial role in development. Consider twin studies (nature) and inherited genes for a particular mental condition (such as schizophrenia). – Patterns of developmental change: Continuity and Discontinuity The discussion over the extent to which developmental change occur gradually (continuity) or in major qualitative jumps (discontinuity). Researchers focus on gradual, quantitative changes when studying continuity, and on qualitative or stage-like changes when studying discontinuity. – Factors that Influence Developmental Changes: Individual Characteristics and Contextual Influences

What makes children different or similar to one another? To what extent are developmental changes common to everyone (universal) or do children differ from one another depending on the context of their development? Most child psychologists embrace an interactional viewpoint (focuses on the interaction between universal characteristics found in children as well as contextual influences that will amplify or de-amplify these characteristics. - Quantitative changes: definition and examples

Changes in type of kind. Think of it as emergence of new skills (from babbling to talking). - Qualitative changes: definition and examples
Changes in amount. Think of it as improvements in an already acquired skills (such as vocabulary growth). - Theories of Development:
1. Theory: definition and its purposes
Theory is an explanation of how facts fit together – “an interrelated coherent set of ideas that helps to explain data and to make predictions. It may suggest hypotheses, which are specific assertions and predictions that can be tested.” The purpose of a theory is to:

- To summarize most recently gathered information
- To allow us to make predictions
- To have a wide range of applicability
- To enable us to influence events
- To stimulate new research and discoveries
- To help organize new ideas and observations
2. Formal versus Informal theories: definition and examples
Informal Theories:
- Include a person’s unverified set of assumptions
- Primarily rooted in personal experience
- Generally not applicable to a wide range of situations or individuals Formal Theories:
- Include a formalized set of assumptions
- Primarily rooted in scientific data
- Generally applicable to a wide range of situations or individuals 3. Be able to identify the basic tenets of the key theories (e.g., Psychoanalytic, Cognitive, etc.)
Psychodynamic theories emphasize the study of personality development and how conscious/unconscious portions of the self influence behavior.
- Freud’s Theory
- Erikson’s Theory
Cognitive and Contextual Perspective focus on conscious thoughts (such as how...
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