Psychology: Theories of psychological development 1. By Janice Fung.

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Psychology: Theories of psychological development 1. By Janice Fung.

  1. 1. Theories of Psychological Development Chapter 5 (page 177)
  2. 2. What is a theory? • A psychological theory explains how and why certain things occur, usually on the basis of scientific evidence.
  3. 3. Psychological theories • There is no single theory of development that is so comprehensive or broad that it can explain all areas of development across the entire lifespan. • Most theories of psychological development focus on one specific aspect or area of development.
  4. 4. Gibson’s theory of Perceptual Development Affordances and Differentiation
  5. 5. Gibson’s theory of perceptual development • Infant’s role = Active explorer in their world. ▫ Monitors what is happening in its environment and actively searches for and obtains information. The infant then uses this information to guide its actions. These abilities gradually develop and are refined through experience over time with incoming sensory information. = Perceptual development.
  6. 6. Gibson’s theory of perceptual development • An important feature of perceptual development: exploration and search for affordances of the environment: ▫ The affordance (perceived qualities) of objects or events that are experienced. ▫ Differentiation is the ability to selectively perceive differences between things the environment.
  7. 7. Gibson’s theory of perceptual development Small Furry Four legs It’s a rabbit! Another rabbit! Long ears Small ears It’s a cat. AFFORDANCESDIFFERENTIATIO N
  8. 8. Gibson’s theory of perceptual development Video: Pots and pans. • We become more efficient at differentiation through active exploration. ▫ Experience and ongoing interaction with things in the environment. • The older we get, the more experienced and familiar we are with the environment. Therefore, become better at differentiation. • i.e. our perceptual development and our ability to differentiate is age-related.
  9. 9. Gibson’s theory of perceptual development • Question: Why is differentiation an important skill that children must have before they can learn to read? Video: Sesame Street.
  10. 10. Emotional Development Attachment theory
  11. 11. Emotional Development • Mid 20th century, some psychologists observed that children who had spent their early years in orphanages (where they received minimal care, attention, and physical contact) experienced emotional difficulties in their later years and into adulthood. ▫ Hypothesis: Psychological bond, or attachment, between infants and their caregivers is important in emotional development
  12. 12. Attachment theory • From the moment of birth, infants depend on the people around them for their survival. • Their caregiver responds whenever the infant indicates (often by crying) that they are hungry, cold, tired, uncomfortable, or has other needs. • Over time, the infant develops an emotional connection with the people who respond to its needs. • This process is called attachment.
  13. 13. Attachment theory • Attachment: The tendency of infants to form an emotional bond to another person, usually with those who are most closely involved with them. ▫ Psychologists believe that the attachment(s) formed during infancy has a considerable influence on a person’s emotional development throughout the lifespan.
  14. 14. 4 key characteristics of strong attachment (Bowlby) Show video of the strange situation What are some indicators of attachment? (Ainsworth)
  15. 15. Types of Attachment • Infants can form different types of attachment with their caregivers. • The strength of each of these attachments depends on how sensitive and responsive the caregiver(s) is to the infant’s needs. • Two main categories: Secure and insecure.
  16. 16. Secure Attachment • Balance between dependence and exploration. • Infant uses caregiver as a ‘home’ (or safe base) where they can explore unfamiliar environment. • Show distress and decreases exploration when caregiver is not there. When caregiver returns, infant is enthusiastic and seeks physical contact with them. • Feel safe and able to depend on their caregiver. • About 65% 1-year-olds in this category.
  17. 17. Insecure Attachment: Resistant • Infant appears anxious even when their caregiver is near. • Become very upset when separated from caregiver. When the caregiver returns, the infant approaches them, cries to be picked up, then squirms or fights to get free (unsure what it really wants). • Result from caregivers who are not very responsive to their infant’s needs. • About 12% of 1-year-olds in this category.
  18. 18. Insecure Attachment: Avoidant • Infant does not seek closeness or contact with caregiver, treats them much like a stranger. • Infant rarely cries when caregiver leaves the room and ignores the caregiver upon their return. • May be the result of neglectful or abusive caregivers. • 20% 1-year-olds in this category.
  19. 19. Strange situation test • Stranger anxiety: infant’s wariness or cautiousness when a stranger (unfamiliar adult) is present. • Separation anxiety: Indicated by an infant’s distress when they are separated from their main caregiver. How do you think early attachment experiences would influence an individual’s later emotional wellbeing (adulthood)?
  20. 20. How human attachments form • Humans have a biological/inherited need to form attachments. ▫ Infants give attachment signals: Crying, smiling, gazing, vocalising, clinging (inherited abilities to get attention) ▫ Caregivers respond with nurturing behaviours. • Attachment is a two-way relationship. • Sensitive (or critical) period = First year of life.
  21. 21. Factors influencing attachment The sensitive responsiveness of the caregiver. • Mothers with securely attached infants: ▫ Quick to respond to infant’s crying (attachment signal), and more able to accurately identify the cause of crying, and the remedy required. • Mothers with insecurely attached infants: ▫ Lack awareness of what their infants were feeling or needing. Less physical contact with infants. Caregiving activities revolve more around mother’s interest/mood. Less interested in mothering.
  22. 22. Factors influencing attachment The sensitive responsiveness of the caregiver. General attitude towards parenting, influenced by: • Relationship between the parents • Involvement of others in the parenting • The number of other children • Being in paid employment • Adequacy of the family income and housing
  23. 23. Factors influencing attachment Characteristics of the infant: • Infant’s personal characteristics can influence a caregiver’s responsiveness and appropriateness of the response made. • How do you think the caregiver would emotionally and physically respond to each baby? ▫ Baby 1: Cheerful, relaxed, adaptable, has regular pattern of eating, eliminating, and sleeping. ▫ Baby 2: Moody, tense, fussy, irregular habits.
  24. 24. Group activities 1. Play School! Using Gibson’s theory of perceptual development, and your understanding of affordances and differentiation, create a mini playschool scene to assist children in their perceptual development. 2. Indicators of attachment (page. 188) 3. Secure attachment 4. Insecure attachment: Avoidant 5. Insecure attachment: Resistant

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