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Shaffer chapter 1: Introduction to Development Psychology and Its ...

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Shaffer chapter 1: Introduction to Development Psychology and Its ...

  1. 1. Chapter 1: Introduction to Development Psychology and Its Research Strategies Dr. Pelaez What is development? -Continuities and changes in the individual that happen between conception and death •Developmentalists- any professional who seeks to understand the process of development
  2. 2. What influences our development? • Nature (maturation) – Aging Process – Our genetic make-up • Nurture (learning) – Observation and interactions with our parents and teachers and others in our environment – Our experiences • Many developmental changes are due to the interaction between both nature and nurture.
  3. 3. Overview of Periods of the Life Span Period of life Approximate age range Prenatal Period Conception to birth Infancy & toddler hood First 2 years of life Preschool period 2-6 years of life Middle childhood ~6-12 or onset of puberty Adolescence ~12-20 or reach independence Young adulthood 20-40 years of age Middle age 40-65 years of age Old age 65+ years
  4. 4. Developmentalists pursue 3 goals. 1. Description- to delineate how human beings change over time both normatively and ideographically – Normative Development: common developmental patterns – Ideographic Development: individual variations
  5. 5. Developmentalists goals continued 2. Explain-what they observe to determine why: • Individuals develop as they typically do • Why there are individual differences in development 3. Optimize development- by applying what they have observed in order to help individuals develop in a positive direction
  6. 6. Characteristics of development • A continual & Cumulative Process – The one constant is change – The changes that transpire at each major phase of life may affect future development • Holistic Process – Changes in one aspect of development- whether it is physical, mental, social, and emotional-are interrelated and effect each other
  7. 7. Characteristics of development Cont’d • Plasticity – The ability to change as a result of positive and negative life experiences • Historical & Cultural – Development is influenced by both societal changes and cultural characteristics
  8. 8. Historical Perspectives in Development • Childhood in premodern times – Children had few rights – Children's lives were not always valued • Toward modern-day views of childhood – Parents were discouraged from abusing their children – Parents were encouraged to treat their children with warmth and affection
  9. 9. Early childhood philosophies • Original Sin-children are inherently selfish egoists who must be restrained by society (Thomas Hobbes). – Children are seen as passive to societal influences • Innate Purity-children are born with a sense of right and wrong that is often corrupted by society (Jean Jacques Rousseau) – Children are seen as active
  10. 10. Early childhood philosophies cont’d • Tabula rasa (blank slate)- children are: – Neither inherently good or bad – Their development is solely due to worldly experiences (John Locke) – seen as passive to societal influences
  11. 11. Children as subjects: • Baby biographies- – Investigators from the late 19th century observed their own children and published the data obtained – The data obtained was used to answer questions regarding development – Different baby biographies focused on different and incomparable components of development
  12. 12. Origins of a Science of development • G. Stanley Hall- founder of developmental psychology and first to conceptualize the phase of adolescence • Hall was the first to use questionnaires to explore how children think and to formulate his theory – Theory: a set of concepts/propositions that allow the theorist to explain a phenomenon – Hypothesis: an educated guess about future events based on theories, which is then tested via additional data collection
  13. 13. Research Methods: Developmental Psychology The Scientific Method- • Value about the pursuit of knowledge which emphasizes the importance of investigator objectivity in deciding the merits of their theorizing • Protects against flawed reasoning
  14. 14. Gathering data: • Measures need to be: – Reliable: yields consistent results, both over time and across observers – Valid: measures what it is supposed to measure
  15. 15. Self –Report Methods • Interviews & Questionnaires: – Structured interview/questionnaire- • Treats each participant equally for comparison purposes – Cons » Can’t be used with very young children » Participants my lie – Pros » Generates large amount of data in short time frame
  16. 16. • The clinical method: – An interview where a participant’s response to each successive question determines what the examiner will ask next • Cons – Makes it difficult to compare participants to each other – allows for examiner subjectivity • Pros – Yields large amounts of information in a short period of time – Yields rich and more specific information
  17. 17. Observational methods: • Naturalistic observation: – Observing people in their every-day surroundings • Pros – Could be easily used with infants and toddlers – Yields information on how people actually behave in their common surroundings • Cons – Some behaviors occur so infrequently or are so inappropriate that they will less likely be witnessed by an observer – Too many events might be occurring at the same time – Observer influence » Participants react to an observer’s presence by behaving in unusual ways
  18. 18. Observational methods cont’d: • Time sampling – Procedure where the investigators records the frequency with which individuals display particular behaviors during the brief time interval that each participant is observed • Structured observation: – The behavior of interest is cued and observed in the laboratory • Pros – Good for observing behaviors that occur infrequently or are inappropriate – Standardization • Cons – Participants may not act similarly in a lab when compared to their every-day setting
  19. 19. Case Studies: • The investigator gathers extensive information on one participant and tests developmental hypotheses by analyzing the events of the person’s life history. – Exp. Baby biographies • Cons – Difficult to compare cases because data is not structured – Lack of external validity
  20. 20. Ethnography: • The investigator tries to understand the values, traditions, and social process of a culture or subculture by living with its members. – Pros • Yields rich information on a specific culture • Gives information on the developmental challenges of different minority groups – Cons • Very subjective • Lacks generalizability
  21. 21. Psychophysiological Methods: • Method that explores the relationship between physiological processes and aspects of children’s physical, cognitive, social, or emotional responses and development. – Examples of psychophysilogical processes: • Heart rate • Brain wave activity – Pros • Useful for assessing biological underpinnings of development • Useful for communicating the emotions of infants – Cons • Cannot communicate with assurance what participants feel • The effects on physiological responses could be due to other variables
  22. 22. Detecting Relationships • Correlational Design-Yields information about the relationship between two or more variables of interest without research intervention – Pros • Estimates the strength and direction of relationships among variables in the natural environment via a correlation coefficient – Cons • Does not determine cause-and-effect relationships
  23. 23. Experimental Design: • Permit a precise assessment of the cause-and-effect relationship that may exist between two variables – This design in employs: • Manipulation of the independent variable • Experimental control • Random assignment – Pros » Determines causation – Cons » May lack generalizability
  24. 24. Quasi Experiment: • Gathers information on individuals who experience a natural manipulation of their environment – Pros • Permits the study of the impact of natural events or other difficult experiences • Provides strong cause-and-effects clues – Cons • Lacks experimental control due to ethical reasons
  25. 25. Designs for Studying Development • Cross-Sectional Design- subjects from different cohorts are studied at the same point in time – strengths • demonstrates age differences • taps a bit into developmental trends • practical in regards to cost and time – limitations • cohort effects • Does not provide information development
  26. 26. •Longitudinal Design – Observes people of one cohort repeatedly over a period of a couple of months to a lifetime • Strengths – provides information on development – can reveal links between early experiences and latter outcomes – shows similarities and differences in individual development • limitations – practice effects – may be time consuming and expensive, – selective attrition – cross-generalization – nonrepresentative sample
  27. 27. • Sequential Design – Combines both the cross-sectional and longitudinal designs by observing different cohorts repeatedly over time • Strengths – detects true developmental changes – Allows us to compare the developmental of different cohorts – less costly and time consuming than the longitudinal design • Limitations • More costly and time consuming than the cross- sectional design • Limited external validity
  28. 28. Cross-Cultural Comparisons • Study that compares the behavior and/or development of people from different cultural or subcultural backgrounds – Guards against the overgeneralization of research findings – Detects whether there are true universal developmental changes – Seek differences in development
  29. 29. Ethical Considerations in Developmental Research • Informed consent • Benefits-to-risk ratio • Confidentiality • Protection from harm

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