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PENN STATE / Russian / RUS 229 / What is the key difference between nature and nurture?

What is the key difference between nature and nurture?

What is the key difference between nature and nurture?


School: Pennsylvania State University
Department: Russian
Course: Infant and Child Development
Professor: Molly countermine
Term: Spring 2017
Tags: child development, birth, motor, parental, maternal, and theories
Cost: 50
Name: HDFS 229 Exam 1/26 study guide
Description: These notes cover major lecture and textbook concepts for the exam 1/26/
Uploaded: 01/22/2017
9 Pages 91 Views 5 Unlocks

What is the main goal for this course?

What is the difference between nature and nurture?

The study of child development is tasked with uncovering the similarities and differences between children as they develop (look at averages and uncover similarities) We also look at the influence of CONTEXT...families, friends, schools, communities, culture (have to be mindful about how much context develops a child's’ behavior)

What is the difference between Nature and Nurture?

Nature: The inborn biological given-hereditary or genetic information given by parents at the moment of conception

Ex: reflexes, startle, need to sleep, etc.

Nurture: The complex forces of the physical and social world that influence children's’ biological makeup and psychological experiences before and after birth

Ex: parental development, socioeconomic status, culture, etc.

What do researchers do?

Stability vs. Change

Your relationships determine how you view the world

90% of people say they didn’t change

Stability vs. Continuity

stability - the consistency over time in a relative ranking of individuals in a group on some aspect of development

Continuity - consistency over time in average scores on some aspect of development

What do researchers do?

● Describe how children at different ages physically change, think, feel, and act ● Explain why children develop the way they do

● Predict later development

● Modify to enhance quality of life We also discuss several other topics like What is the need for affiliation?
Don't forget about the age old question of The scientific method must be what?

They do this by observation, surveys/interviews, standardized tests and psychological measures.

What are the three basic issues on which child development theories?

Identify three basic issues on which child development theories take a stand. 1. Is the course of development continuous or discontinuous?

2. Does one course of development characterize all children, or are there many possible courses?

3. What are the roles of genetic and environmental factors--nature and nurture--in development?

Is development continuous or discontinuous?

Some theorists believe that development is a smooth, continuous process. Children gradually add more of the same types of skills.

Other theorists think that development takes place in discontinuous stages. Children change rapidly as they step up to a new level of development and then change very little for a while. With each step, the child interprets and responds to the world in a qualitatively different way.


Openness to change in response to influential experiences. If you want to learn more check out What is nominal gdp?

What are some common research methods?

● Naturalistic observation:​ sit and watch people in a natural environment, have things you are looking for but don't tell what that is

● Structured observation:​ bringing them into a lab setting and you have specific tasks for them to do

● Clinical interview​ (open ended, not everyone is asked the same questions, but their is a theme)

● Structured interview​ (certain questions and everybody gets asked the same questions) ● Neurobiological methods:​ methods that measure the relationship between nervous system processes and behavior

● Clinical, or Case study, method:​ a full picture of one individual's psychological functioning, obtained by combining interviews, observations, test scores, and sometimes neurobiological assessments Don't forget about the age old question of When was the great mosque of damascus syria built?

● Ethnography: ​Participant observation of a culture or distinct social group. By making extensive field notes, the researcher tries to capture the culture’s unique values and social processes

Observer influence:​ the effects of the observer on the behavior studied

Reliability and Validity:

Reliability:​ refers to the consistency, or repeatability, of measures of behavior Validity:​ they must accurately measure characteristics that the researcher set out to measure

What is experimental design?

refers to how participants are allocated to the different conditions (or IV groups) in an experiment. 

Correlational design:​ The investigator obtains information on participants without altering their experiences

Laboratory experiment: ​Under controlled laboratory conditions, the investigator manipulates an independent variable and looks at its effect of a dependent variable; requires random assignment of participants to treatment conditions If you want to learn more check out What are the psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic techniques?

Field experiment:​ The investigator randomly assigns participants to treatment conditions in natural settings

Natural or quasi, experiment:​ The investigator compares already existing treatments in the real world, carefully selecting groups of participants to ensure that their characteristics are as much alike as possible.

Ethics, Children’s research rights

● Protection from harm

● Informed consent

● Privacy

● Knowledge of results

● Beneficial treatments

Describe major historical influences on theories of child development. Medieval painters often depicted children wearing loose, comfortable gowns, playing games, and looking up to adults. In writing children under 7 or 8 from other people and that recognized even young teenagers as not fully mature.

By the 14th century manuals offering advice on many aspects child care, including health, feeding, clothing and games was common.

In the 16th century, the Puritan belief in original sin gave rise to the view that children were born evil and stubborn and had to be civilized. We also discuss several other topics like What is the land bridge theory?

By the 17th century the Enlightenment brought new philosophies such as: John Locke: behaviorism; he viewed the child a tabula rasa.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: 18th century he claimed children are not blank slates to be filled with adult instruction.

Darwin: Theory of evolution

The Normative approach:​ measures of behavior are taken on large numbers of individuals and age-related averages are computed to represent typical development.

Psychoanalytic perspective:​ children move through a series of stages in which they confront conflicts between biological drives and social expectations.

Psychosocial Theory: ​Erikson emphasized that in addition to mediating between id impulses and superego demands, the go makes a positive contribution to development Social Learning theory: emphasized modeling, otherwise known as imitation or observational learning as a powerful source of development.

Behavior modification:​ consists of procedures that combine conditioning and modeling to eliminate undesirable behaviors and increase desirable responses.

Cognitive-developmental theory:​ children actively construct knowledge as they manipulate and explore their world.

Information processing:​ is an approach to the goal of understanding human thinking in relation to how they process the same kind of information as computers (Shannon & Weaver, 1963) Ethology:​ concerned with the adaptive, or survival, value of behavior and its evolutionary history

Evolutionary developmental psychology:​ a research paradigm that applies the basic principles of Darwinian evolution, particularly natural selection, to understand the development of human behavior and cognition. 

Ecological systems theory:​ was developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner. He divided the environment into five different levels. The microsystem is the most influential, has the closest relationship to the person, and is the one where direct contact occurs. The mesosystem consists of interactions between a person's microsystems.

● microsystem. The microsystem is the system closest to the person and the one in which they have direct contact.

● mesosystem. The mesosystem consists of the interactions between the different parts of a person's microsystem.

● Exosystem. The exosystem refers to a setting that does not involve the person as an active participant, but still affects them.

● Macrosystem: Describes the culture in which individuals live. Cultural contexts include developing and industrialized countries, socioeconomic status, poverty, and ethnicity

● Chronosystem: The patterning of environmental events and transitions over the life course, as well as sociohistorical circumstances.

What is the importance of social policies for safe​guarding children’s well-being?

Social policy:​ is any planned set of actions by a group, institution or governing body directed at attaining a social goal.

Safeguarding​ means:

● protecting children from abuse and maltreatment

● preventing harm to children’s health or development

● ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care ● taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.

Prenatal Development

40 weeks from beginning of last menstrual period

● Zygote - first 2 weeks; rapid cell division (your body knows you're pregnant, but you would not know); this is where most miscarriages happen, but mom doesn’t even know she was pregnant

● Embryo - 2-8 weeks until birth, growth, foundations for all body structure ● Fetus - 8 weeks until birth, growth and finishing; from 1 ounce to 7 pounds

Sources of Nutrition and Protection

● Amniotic Sac​: Thin membrane; Cushions developing fetus; Provides support for weak muscles and soft bones

● Placenta: ​Made from tissues from mother and embryo; “Filtration and transfer”; Receives nutrients, oxygen, antibodies, and hormones from mother’s blood, and pass out waste; It forms a barrier (called the “placental barrier”) which filters out some substances that could harm the fetus

● Umbilical Cord: ​Tube that connects fetus to placenta; Provides fetus with nutrients, oxygen, and expels waste

● Vernix Caseosa: ​Waxy or cheesy white substance that covers the skin; Helps protect skin while in amniotic fluid; Helps maintain body temperature


Environmental agents or conditions that can cause deviations in normal prenatal development

The genetic code​ is the set of rules by which information encoded within genetic material (DNA or mRNA sequences) is translated into proteins by living cells. 

Dominant vs Recessive Genes

Dominant:​ When an allele is dominant, the characteristic it is connected to will be expressed in sexually-reproduced offspring.

Recessive: ​When an allele is recessive, the characteristic it is connected to is less likely to be expressed. Recessive traits only manifest when both parents carry a recessive trait or have fully recessive traits to pass down.

Prenatal Diagnostic Methods

Medical Procedures that permit detection of developmental problems before birth ● Amniocentesis: he sampling of amniotic fluid using a hollow needle inserted into the uterus, to screen for developmental abnormalities in a fetus.

● Chorionic villus sampling: is a prenatal test in which a sample of chorionic villi is removed from the placenta for testing. The sample can be taken through the cervix (transcervical) or the abdominal wall (transabdominal).

● Fetoscopy: is an endoscopic procedure during pregnancy to allow access to the fetus, the amniotic cavity, the umbilical cord, and the fetal side of the placenta. A small (3–4 mm) incision is made in the abdomen, and an endoscope is inserted through the abdominal wall and uterus into the amniotic cavity.

● Ultrasound: an ultrasound scan, especially one of a pregnant woman to examine the fetus. ● Ultrafast MRI: Ultrafast MRI refers to efficient scan techniques that use a high percentage of the scan time for data acquisition.

● Maternal Blood analysis: screening tests are a way to check the risk of birth defects before a baby is born. The tests measure the levels of three or four substances in a sample of the mother's blood during pregnancy. Common names for these tests are serum screening tests, triple screen, and quad screen.

● Preimplantation genetic diagnosis: is a screening test used to determine if genetic or chromosomal disorders are present in embryos produced through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Exercise and Nutrition

Regular, moderate exercise seems to be fine; strenuous exercise associated with lower birth weight

Malnutrition can have serious impact of prenatal central nervous system

Maternal Stress

Moderate stress unlikely to have effect; High levels of stress may lead to increased aggression and lower cognitive abilities in children

Motor Development in Infancy

Gross and Fine-Motor development (first 2 years)

Gross: refers to control over actions that help infants get around in the environment, such as crawling, standing, and walking

Fine: has to do with smaller movements, such as reaching and grasping

The dynamic systems perspective explain motor development Mastery of motor skills involves acquiring increasingly complex systems of action. When motor skills work as a system, separate abilities blend together, each cooperating with others to produce more effective ways of exploring and controlling the environment. Each new skill is a joint product of the following factors:

1. Central nervous system development

2. The body’s movement capacities

3. The goals the child has in mind

4. Environmental supports for the skill

Perceptual Development

Eleanor and James Gibson and the differentiation theory

Infants actively search for invariant features (those that remain stable) of the environment in a constantly changing perceptual world.

How do we perceive the world?

● Touch: Well developed at birth

● Taste: Prefer sweet (breast milk is sweet); Can distinguish tastes

● Smell: Born with innate odor preferences; Can identify location of odor ● Vision: Least developed of newborn sense; most able to focus on objects 8-10 inches away from face

● Hearing: Prefer complex sounds; Acuity improves rapidly in first few days

Sensation vs. Perception

● Sensation: information interacting with sensory receptors

● Perception: the interpretation of what is sensed (we don’t all love the same tastes) Habituation and Dishabituation

● Habituation: A process that involves repeated presentation of the same stimulus that caused reduced attention to that stimulus

● Dishabituation: Is an infant's renewed interest in new stimulus

● Measured through sucking behavior, heart rate, respiratory rate, and looking Sucking, heart rate, and respiratory rate go up when stimulated and go back to normal when habituated

looking : when they look away that have become habituated

What is the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS)? Evaluates the baby’s reflexes, muscle tone, state changes, responsiveness to physical and social stimuli, and other reactions.

Classical Conditioning:​ a form of learning that involves associating a neutral stimulus with a stimulus that leads to a reflexive response. Before the learning can take place an unconditioned stimulus must consistently produce a reflexive, or unconditioned response. To produce learning a neutral stimulus that does not lead to the reflex is presented just before, or about the same time

as unconditioned stimulus. If learning has occurred, the neutral stimulus alone produces a response similar to that of reflexive response.

Operant Conditioning:​ is a type of learning where behavior is controlled by consequences. Key concepts in operant conditioning are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. 

To consider from the text:

What is the field of child development, and what factors stimulated its expansion? Child development is an area of study devoted to understanding constancy and change from conception through adolescence. It is part of a larger, interdisciplinary field developmental science, which includes changes throughout the lifespan. Research on child development has been stimulated both by scientific curiosity and social pressures to better children’s lives.

Identify three basic issues on which child development theories take a stand. Each theory of child development takes a stand of 3 fundamental issues: (1)Is the development a continuous process, or is it discontinuous, following a series of distinct stages? (2) Does one general course of development characterize all children, or are there many possible courses, influenced by the contexts in which children grow up? (3) Are genetic or environmental factors more important in influencing development (the nature-nurture controversy), and are individual differences stable or characterized by substantial plasticity? Recent theories take a balanced stand on these issues. And contemporary researchers realize that answers may vary across domains of development and even, as research on resilience illustrates, across individuals.

Describe the role of theories, hypotheses and research questions in the research process. Research usually begins with a hypothesis, a prediction about behavior drawn from a theory, or--when little or no theory exists on a topic of interest--with a research question. On the basis of the hypothesis or question, the investigator selects research methods and a research design.

Describe designs for studying development noting strengths and limitations of each. In the longitudinal design​, participants are studied repeatedly at different ages to identify common patterns as well as individual differences in development, and the relationship between early and later events and behavior. Problems include biased sampling​, selective attrition​, practice effect​s, and long term changes in accepted theories and methods. Cohort effects threaten the validity of longitudinal findings because of difficulty generalizing to children growing up during other time periods.

The cross-sectional design​, in which groups of children differing in age are studied at the same point in time, offers an efficient approach to investigating development. However, it is limited to comparisons of age group averages and vulnerable to cohort effects.

By comparing participants of the same age who were born in different years, investigators use sequential designs​ to test for cohort effects, make longitudinal and cross-sectional comparisons, and gather information about development efficiently. In the microgenetic desig​n, researchers track change as it occur to gain insights into processes of development. However, the time required for children to change is hard to anticipate, and practice effects can bias findings.

Describe the three stages of childbirth, the baby’s adaption to labor and delivery, and the newborn baby’s appearance.

In the first stage of childbirth, contractions widen and thin the cervix. In the second stage, the mother feels an urge to push the baby through the birth canal. In the final stage, the placenta is delivered. During labor, infants produce high levels of stress hormones, which help them withstand oxygen deprivation, clear the for breathing, and arouse them into alertness at birth. Newborn babies have large heads and small bodies. The Apgar scale​ is used to assess their physical condition at birth.

How does the differentiation theory explain perceptual development? According to differentiation theory, perceptual development is a matter of detecting increasingly fine-grained invariant features in constantly changing perceptual world. Perceptual differentiation is guided by discovery of affordances-the action possibilities that a situation offers the individual.

How does research on early deprivation and enrichment shed light on the question of whether infancy is a sensitive period of development?

Evidence that infancy is a sensitive period comes from natural experiments, such as babies placed in orphanages who were later adopted into families. Prolonged early deprivation can disrupt brain growth and result in persistent intellectual impairments and mental health problems. To maximally effective, intensive intervention aimed at breaking the pattern of disadvantaged conditions must begin early. Environments that overwhelm infants with stimulation beyond their current capacities also undermine development.

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