Cognition & Development: Social Development


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Week 6 Lecture in the module Cognition & Development. 'Social Development'.

Learning Outcomes: Understand what is meant by social development. Outline at least two theories of social development. Evaluate the merits of at least one theory of social development.

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  • Bobo DollBobo doll-enA Bobo doll is an inflatable toy that is about 5 feet tall and is usually made of a soft durable vinyl or plastic. The bobo doll was most often painted to look like a clown. The doll was designed to be bottom weighted so that if it were hit, it would fall over then immediately lift back up to a standing position. It first came on the market in the 1960s.Experiment in 1961MethodThe subjects for this experiment[1] were 36 boys and 36 girls from the Stanford University nursery school. All children were between the ages of 37 months- 69 months. The children were organized into 8 groups and a control group. 24 children were exposed to an aggressive model and 24 children were exposed to a non-aggressive model. The two groups were then divided into males and females which ensured that half of the children were exposed to models of their own sex and the other half were exposed to models of the opposite sex. The remaining 24 children were part of a control group.For the experiment, each child was exposed to the scenario individually, so as not to be influenced or distracted by classmates. The first part of the experiment involved bringing a child and the adult model into a playroom. In the playroom, the child was seated in one corner filled with highly appealing activities such as stickers and stamps.The adult model was seated in another corner containing a toy set, a mallet, and an inflatable Bobo doll. Before leaving the room, the experimenter explained to the child that the toys in the adult corner were only for the adult to play with.During the aggressive model scenario, the adult would begin by playing with the toys for approximately one minute. After this time the adult would start to show aggression towards the Bobo doll. Examples of this included hitting/punching the Bobo doll and using the toy mallet to hit the Bobo doll in the face. The aggressive model would also verbal aggress the Bobo doll yelling "Sock him," "Hit him down," "Kick him," "Throw him in the air," or "Pow". After a period of about 10 minutes, the experimenter came back into the room, dismissed the adult model, and took the child into another playroom. The non-aggressive adult model simply played with the other toys for the entire 10 minute-period. In this situation, the Bobo doll was completely ignored by the model, then the child was taken out of the room.The next stage of the experiment, took place with the child and experimenter in another room filled with interesting toy such as trucks, dolls, and a spinning top. The child was invited to play with them. After about 2 minutes the experimenter decides that the child is no longer allowed to play with the toys, explaining that she is reserving that toy for the other children. This was done to build up frustration in the child. The experimenter said that the child could instead play with the toys in the experimental room (this included both aggressive and non-aggressive toys). In the experimental room the child was allowed to play for the duration of 20 minutes while the experimenter evaluated the child's play.The first measure recorded was based on physical aggression such as punching, kicking, sitting on the Bobo doll, hitting it with a mallet, and tossing it around the room. Verbal aggression was the second measure recorded. The judges counted each time the children imitated the aggressive adult model and recorded their results. The third measure was the amount of times the mallet was used to display other forms of aggression than hitting the doll. The final measure included modes of aggression shown by the child that were not direct imitation of the role-model's behavior.ResultsBandura found that the children exposed to the aggressive model were more likely to act in physically aggressive ways than those who were not exposed to the aggressive model. For those children exposed to the aggressive model, the number of imitative physical aggressions exhibited by the boys was 38.2 and 12.7 for the girls (Hock 2009). The results concerning gender differences strongly supported Bandura's prediction that children are more influenced by same-sex models. Results also showed that boys exhibited more aggression when exposed to aggressive male models than boys exposed to aggressive female models. When exposed to aggressive male models, the number of aggressive instances exhibited by boys averaged 104 compared to 48.4 aggressive instances exhibited by boys who were exposed to aggressive female models.While the results for the girls show similar findings, the results were less drastic. When exposed to aggressive female models, the number of aggressive instances exhibited by girls averaged 57.7 compared to 36.3 aggressive instances exhibited by girls who were exposed to aggressive male models.Bandura also found that the children exposed to the aggressive model were more likely to act in verbally aggressive ways than those who were not exposed to the aggressive model. The number of imitative verbal aggressions exhibited by the boys was 17 times and 15.7 times by the girls (Hock 2009). In addition, the results indicated that the boys and girls who observed the non-aggressive model exhibited far less non-imitative mallet aggression than in the control group, which had no model.The experimenters came to the conclusion that children observing adult behavior are influenced to think that this type of behavior is acceptable thus weakening the child's aggressive inhibitions. The result of reduced aggressive inhibitions in children means that they are more likely to respond to future situations in a more aggressive manner.Lastly, the evidence strongly supports that males have a tendency to be more aggressive than females. When all instances of aggression are tallied, males exhibited 270 aggressive instances compared to 128 aggressive instances exhibited by females (Hock 2009).CriticismScholars such as Ferguson (2010)[2] suggest the Bobo Doll studies are not studies of aggression at all, but rather that the children were motivated to imitate the adult in the belief the videos were instructions. In other words children were motivated by the desire to please adults rather than genuine aggression. Furthermore Ferguson has criticized the external validity of the study noting that bo-bo dolls are designed to be hit.The experiment was also biased in several areas which weakened the internal validity:[3]Selection bias Bandura's subjects were all from the nursery of Stanford University. During the 1960s, the opportunity of studying in a university, especially one as prestigious as Stanford, was a privilege that only the upper-middle class whites had. Besides, the racial bias and economic status of the whites and blacks were still very vast at that time. Generally only the upper-middle class and rich whites were able to afford putting their children in a nursery. Thus, the subjects would turn out to be mostly white and of similar backgrounds. Unclear history of subjects The ethnicities of the subjects were never documented but Bandura and his colleagues made sweeping statements on their findings when explaining the aggression and violence trait among subgroups and lower socioeconomic communities. Ambiguous temporal sequence As the data of the "real life aggression and control group conditions came from their 1961 study",[3] parallel ongoing events including the mental maturation of the subjects could have been confused with the observations and results of the 1963 study. Broughton, Buttross, Corrigan, et al. (2001) explained that the underdeveloped frontal lobe of children below the age of 8 causes them to be unable to separate reality from fantasy. As an example, children up to the age of 12 believe that there are monsters in their closet or under the bed. They are also sometimes unable to distinguish dreams from reality.[4]Furthermore, biological theorists argue that the social learning theory completely ignores individual's biological state by ignoring the uniqueness of an individual's DNA, brain development, and learning differences.[5]According to Worthman and Loftus (1992), Bandura's study was unethical and morally wrong as the subjects were manipulated to respond in an aggressive manner. They also find it to be no surprise that long-term implications are apparent due to the methods imposed in this experiment as the subjects were taunted and were not allowed to play with the toys and thus incited agitation and dissatisfaction. Hence, they were trained to be aggressive.[6]Experiments in 1963Differences between learning and performingAlbert Bandura conducted a second Bobo doll experiment in 1963. The experiment tested differences in children's learning/behavior or actual performance after seeing a model being rewarded, punished or experiencing no consequences for aggressive behavior towards a Bobo doll.The procedure of the experiment was very similar to the one conducted in 1961. Children between the ages of 2.5 to 6 years watched a film of a mediated model punching and screaming aggressively at a Bobo doll. Depending on the experimental group, the film ended with a scene in which the model was rewarded with candies or punished with the warning, "Don´t do it again". In the neutral condition the film ended right after the aggression scene toward the Bobo doll. Regardless of the experimental group the child was in, after watching the film the child stayed in a room with many toys and a Bobo doll. The experimenter found that the children often showed less similar behavior toward the model when they were shown the clip that ended with the punching scene as compared to the other conditions. Also, boys showed more imitative aggression than girls toward the Bobo doll. That is the measure of the performance and it supports the results of the experiments in 1961.Next, the experimenter asked the children to demonstrate what they had seen in the film. The experimenter did not find differences in the children´s demonstrated behavior based on which of the three films the child watched. The results of the experiment shows that rewards or punishment don´t influence learning or remembering information, they just influence if the behavior is performed or not. The differences between girls and boys imitating behavior got smaller.[7]Are children influenced by film-mediated aggressive models?For many years media violence has been a hot topic concerning the influence over children and their aggressive behavior. In one study,[8] in 1963, Albert Bandura, using children between the ages 3 and 6, tested the extent to which film-mediated aggressive models influenced imitative behavior.48 girls and 48 boys were divided into 3 experimental groups and 1 control group. Group 1, watched a live model become aggressive towards the Bobo doll. Group 2, watched a film version of the human model become aggressive to the Bobo doll and group 3 watched a cartoon version of a cat become aggressive towards the Bobo doll. Each child watched the aggressive acts individually. Following the exposure to the models all fours groups of children were then individually placed in a room with an experimenter where they were exposed to a mildly frustrating situation to elicit aggression. Next the children were allowed to play freely in an adjoining room, which was full of toys, including the Bobo doll and the "weapons" that were used by the models. The researchers observed the children and noted any interaction with the Bobo doll.Results showed that the children who had been exposed to the aggressive behavior, whether real-life, on film or cartoon, exhibited nearly twice as much aggressive behavior than the control group. It was also found that boys exhibited more overall aggression than girls. The results of this experiment shed light on how influential media can be on children and their behavior.Variations of the 'Bobo doll' experimentDue to numerous criticisms, Bandura replaced the 'Bobo doll' with a live clown. The young woman beat up a live clown in the video shown to preschool children and in turn when the children were led into another room where they found a live clown, they imitated the action in the video they had just watched.[9]Variation 1:In Friedrich and Stein (1972)'s 'The Mister Rogers' study: Procedures: A group of preschoolers watched Mister Rogers every weekday for four consecutive weeks. Result: Children from lower socioeconomic communities were easier to handle and more open about their feelings.[10] Variation 2:Loye, Gorney & Steele (1977) conducted variation of the 'Bobo Doll' Experiment using 183 married males aged between 20 to 70 years old. Procedure: The participants were to watch one of five TV programs for 20 hours over a period of one week while their wives secretly observed and recorded their behavior Result: Participants of violent programs showed significant increase in aggressive moods and "hurtful behavior" while participants who viewed pro-social programs were more passive and demonstrated a significant increase of "emotional arousal". Variation 3:Black and Bevan's research (1992) had movie-goers fill out an aggression questionnaire before and after watching a movie. Procedure: Subjects were randomly selected as they went to view either a violent or a romantic film. They were asked to fill out pretest and posttest questionnaires on their emotional state. Result: Those who watched violent films were already aggressive before viewing the film but it was aggravated after the viewing while there was no change in those who viewed romantic films. Variation 4:Anderson & Dill (2000) randomly assigned college students to play two games; Wolfenstein (a science fiction first-person shooter game) and Tetris. This study has sometimes been criticized for using poorly validated aggression measures, and exaggerating the consistency of its findings (Ferguson, 2009). Variation 5:Bartholow and Anderson (2009)[11] examined how playing violent video games affect levels of aggression in a laboratory. Procedure: A total of 22 men and 21 women were randomly assigned to play either a violent or non-violent video game for ten minutes. Then competed in a reaction time task . Punishment level set by opponents measured aggression. Results: The results supported the researchers hypothesis that playing the violent video game would result in more aggression than the non-violent game. In addition, results also pointed to a potential difference in aggressive style between men and women.
  • In the bobo doll study a number of preschool children (equal numbers of boys and girls) individually watched a video of and adult being aggressive to a plastic bobo doll. During the video the adult punched the doll, hit it with a mallet while shouting ‘sockeroo’, threw balls at it while shouting ‘bang bang’ etc. Children were then shown one of three possible endings. One third of the children saw the adult being rewarded with sweets and lemonade for their ‘championship performance’. One third of the children saw the adult punished for their aggressive behaviour. One third of the children saw that there were no consequences (good or bad) for the adult. After watching the video children were taken to a room with a bobo doll and a number of toys. The children were observed to see how many times they imitated what they had seen the adult do. Later children were offered prizes to show the experimenters all the actions they could remember the adult performing on the doll. Children who saw the adult punished for their behaviour towards the doll imitated what they had seen less than the children in the other two groups. Further examination of the results showed that boys showed more aggression than girls in each of the conditions and that all the children were able to copy the adults behaviour after the study for a reward. This indicates that all children learned the behaviour and that factors such as gender and what is expected of boys and girls effected the extent to which the children displayed the behaviour.
  • Cognition & Development: Social Development

    1. 1. Cognition and Development Social Development Dr Simon Bignell Simon Bignell, N208 1
    2. 2. Learning Outcomes Following this session and with independent study, you should: • Understand what is meant by social development. • Outline at least two theories of social development. • Evaluate the merits of at least one theory of social development.
    3. 3. What is social development?  An account of how children‟s development may be influenced by other people, the environment and institutions around them (Siegler, Deloache & Eisenberg, 2006, p.335).  Environment may be the immediate surroundings while institution may be cultural & societal/wider context of social development. 3
    4. 4. What is social development? Theories of Psycho-Social Development. Psychoanalytic Theories • Freud‟s Psychosexual Development • Erikson‟s Epigenetic Theory Learning Theories • Watson‟s Behaviourism • Skinner‟s Operant Conditioning • Bandura‟s Social Learning Ecological Theory • Bronfenbrenner‟s Bioecological model 4
    5. 5. Psychoanalytic Theories: Sigmund Freud Erik Erikson 5
    6. 6. Freud‟s theory of psychosexual development - Psychodynamic Theory Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939)  Reasoned that a child‟s early experiences had a profound influence in later life.  Further reasoned that children developed through universal developmental stages.  Developed the Psychosexual theory of human development. 6
    7. 7. Psychosexual Theory: Basic assumption The basic assumption is that human beings are motivated by powerful innate forces known as instincts or drives. Instincts or drives energise and direct all human psychic and physical activities. Libido is the collective term for the psychic energy that motivates behaviour (libido is NOT simply sex drive). 7
    8. 8. Libido & the Psychosexual Theory For Freud the Psychosexual Theory denotes that psychic energy (libido) is biological. Libido is fused throughout the body‟s erogenous zones (e.g. the mouth, the genitals and the anus). At different stages of the psychosexual development the psychic energy (libido) is infused into the respective erogenous zone as it becomes sensitive. Biological and psychological instincts and drives are present at birth in the form of hunger and discomfort, for example, and these drives are housed in the ID. 8
    9. 9. Freud’s Developmental Dynamics  Ego develops some 6-8 months after birth (Reality Principle).  Superego develops (between 3-5 years) and becomes the introjected moral principle.  ID operates on the „pleasure principle‟ (gain pleasure and avoid displeasure). Seeks instant gratification of its drives or needs.  ID, Ego and Superego constitute Freudian 9 personality structure with amazing dynamics.
    10. 10. 10
    11. 11. Erikson‟s theory of Psychosocial Development - Epigenetic Theory Erik Erikson (1902-1994)  Probably the father of psychosocial development debate.  Developed psychosocial development theory based on his own life + the Native American Oglala Lakota Tribe.  Established 8 psychosocial stages of development. 11
    12. 12. Erikson‟s Epigenetic Principle Erikson used epigenetic (upon emergence) principle to denote the emerging tasks of each of the 8 stages. Each stage is seen as a bipolar task (A vs B) where A has to be achieved to avoid B. Thus the individual must achieve/resolve stage tasks in order to move to the next stage. Inability to resolve a conflict at a particular stage may mean “struggle” in later stages. 12
    13. 13. 13
    14. 14. 14
    15. 15. An evaluation of Psychoanalytic theories • Psychoanalytic theories have been highly influential within psychology. • Freud and Erikson‟s work highlights the importance of attending to infant‟s early experiences and their relationships with key figures in their lives. • Freud‟s work in particular influenced Bowlby when he was creating his theory of attachment. • Erikson‟s theory provided the basis for a number of studies looking a adolescence. However psychoanalytic theories can be criticised for being vague and untestable. • The foundations of Freud‟s theory in particular have been brought into question. 15
    16. 16. Learning Theory: Watson‟s Behaviourism. Skinner‟s Operant Conditioning. Bandura‟s Social Learning Theory. John Locke (1632-1704) • John Locke reasoned that there are no ideas stamped upon our minds at birth: thus at birth the mind is a blank slate „Tabula Rasa‟. • All human knowledge has been shaped by experience. • Experience is a major factor in the psycho-social development of the person. 16
    17. 17. Watson‟s Behaviourism. • Development is entirely shaped the by child‟s environment. • Children learn through conditioning and as such psychologists should only study observerable behaviour and not the mind. John Watson (1878-1958) • Watson and Rayner (1920) demonstrated the principle of conditioning in their „Little Albert‟ experiment. • 9 month-old showed no fear of a rat. • Showed the rat to baby on a number of occasions with a loud crashing noise. • The pairing of the rat and the crashing noise conditioned Albert to become afraid of the rat. • Watson suggested that this was proof that things such as fears are not 17 instinctual – they are learned.
    18. 18. Skinner‟s Operant Conditioning. Burrhus Skinner „B.F. Skinner‟ (1904-1990) • Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which an individual's behaviour is modified by its consequence. • He argued that children learn through operant conditioning where good behvaiours are rewarded and bad behaviours are punished. • Skinner‟s theory has been used to good effect to control children‟s bad behaviour. • For example children behave badly to get attention – therefore attention is a reinforcer – the more attention the child gets the more they will engage in the bad behaviour. To overcome this bad behaviour should be ignored and not reinforced with attention. • This technique has been adapted to create time out where the child spends time in isolation to calm down when they have been misbehaving. 18
    19. 19. Bandura‟s Social Learning Theory. • • Albert Bandura (1925-) He argued that children learn through observing others and that reinforcement can be used to increase the chances of a child imitating an observed behaviour. Bandura‟s (1963) „Bobo doll‟ experiment supported this argument. • Preschool children watched a video of an adult being violent and aggressive towards a plastic doll. • Children were then shown one of three possible endings and observed to see how many times they imitated what they had seen 19 the adult do.
    20. 20. Bandura‟s „Bobo Doll‟ Experiment DV: Number of Imitations 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 Boys Girls 1.5 1 0.5 0 Reward Punish None IV: 3 Video Endings (Conditions) 20
    21. 21. An evaluation of Learning theories • In contrast to psychoanalytic approaches Watson, Skinner and Bandura‟s theories are supported with and grounded in empirical research. • Watson and Skinner‟s research still has practical implications today as systematic desensitization and operant conditioning are used in clinical settings to help people overcome phobias or for behaviour modification. • Bandura‟s research also has practical implications and has contributed to our understanding of children‟s behaviour (e.g. how children learn from significant role models and the influence of media such as TV and video games). • However, Watson and Skinners approach has been critiqued for being too simplistic and the social learning approach as been criticised for not attending to the biological drives of the child and their cognitive processes. • Later in his career Bandura did attend to the role of cognition in learning suggesting that successful learning also depended on the child ability to attend to what they were observing and then encode, store and retrieve that information. Despite this addition to his theory Bandura still presented learning as a largely social process. 21
    22. 22. Ecological theory: Bronfenbrenner‟s Bioecological model Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) A number of different systems which act together to shape the child‟s development. 22
    23. 23. Ecological theory: Bronfenbrenner‟s Bioecological model He delineates four types of nested systems. He calls these: • Microsystem (such as the family or classroom); • Mesosystem (which is two microsystems in interaction); • Exosystem (external environments which indirectly influence development, e.g., parental workplace); • Macrosystem (the larger socio-cultural context). He later adds a fifth system, called the Chronosystem (the evolution of the four other systems over time). 23
    24. 24. An evaluation of Bronfenbrenner‟s Bioecological model. • Bronfenbrenner (1979) believed that children‟s development is shaped by interaction between a complex number of interconnected systems. Therefore this theory places development in a much broader context than the other theories we have considered. • Furthermore, this theory has provided valuable insights into important issues such as child neglect, the influence of the media on children and social economic status and development. • However, Bronfenbrenner has been criticised for not attending to specific biological factors which shape development. 24
    25. 25. Summary • This section has examined and briefly evaluated three approaches to social development • Psychoanalytic theory. • Learning theory. • Ecological theory. • Each of these theories examines how the child‟s experiences with their environment and social interaction shape their development. • However, each theory places a different emphasis on the role of the wider environment or the child‟s biological drives. 25
    26. 26. Recommended reading Bukatko, D. & Daehler, M (2001). Child Development: a thematic approach. Houghton Mifflin: Boston. Ewen, R. (1993). Introduction to theories of personality. 4th edition. Lawrence Erlbraum: London. Siegler, R., Deloache, J. & Eisenberg, N. (2006). How children develop 2nd edition. Worth Publishers: London. 26