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Week 1 Notes

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by: Esther So

Week 1 Notes PSY 245

Esther So

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The notes cover material from week 1 and exam 1.
Lifespan Psychology
Dr. McCain
Class Notes
Psychology, lifespan psychology
25 ?




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Esther So on Monday January 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSY 245 at Mercer University taught by Dr. McCain in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see Lifespan Psychology in Psychlogy at Mercer University.


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Date Created: 01/18/16
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts and Methods Human Development: the scientific study of age­related changes in behavior, thinking,  emotion, and personality Philosophical Roots ­ Original Sin o Saint Augustine taught that all humans are born with selfish nature o Developmental outcomes both good and bad result from each individual’s  struggle to overcome an inborn tendency to act immorally o Addresses moral dimensions of development  ­ The Blank Slate o John Locke emphasized empiricism which is the view that humans possess no  innate tendencies and that all differences among humans are attributable to  experience o Claimed that the mind of a child is a blank slate o Adults can mold children into whatever they want them to be  Differences among adults can be explained by differences in their  childhood environment ­ Innate Goodness o Jean­Jacques Rousseau claimed that all human beings are naturally good and  seek out experiences to help them grow o Believed that children need only nurturing and protection to reach their full  potential o Outcomes are poor when a child experiences frustration in her efforts to express  the innate goodness with which she was born Early Scientific Theories ­ Charles Darwin o Proposed that studying children’s development might help scientists better  understand the evolution of human species o Kept detailed records of own children’s early development (baby biographies) in  hopes to support his theory of evolution ­ G. Stanley Hall o Used questionnaires and interviews to study large numbers of children o Agreed with Darwin that the milestones of children were similar to those that had  taken place in the development of human species o Emphasized norms or average ages at which developmental milestones are  reached ­ Arnold Gesell o Suggested the existence of a genetically programmed sequential pattern of  changed o Used the term maturation to describe such a pattern of change o To study children and their developing norms he used movie cameras and one – way observation devices. o His findings became basis for many norm­referenced tests Chapter 1: Basic Concepts and Methods The Lifespan Perspective ­ The lifespan perspective is the idea that import changes occur during every period of  development and that these changes must be interpreted in terms of the culture and  context in which they occur o Plasticity: Individuals of all ages possess the capacity for positive change in  response to environmental demands o Interdisciplinary research allows us to fully understand lifespan development o Individual development occurs within several interrelated contexts ­ Adults experience major life changes such as parenthood and retirement ­ Paul Bates o A leader in the development of comprehensive theory of lifespan human  development o Developed strategies to maximize gains and compensate for losses  o Emphasized the positive aspects of advanced age The Domains and Periods of Development ­ Using domain classifications helps to organize discussions of human development o Physical domain: changes in size, shape, and characteristics of the body o Cognitive domain: changes in thinking, memory, problem solving, and other  intellectual skills o Social domain: changes in variables that are associated with the relationship of an individual to other ­ Developmental scientists use a system of age­related categories known as periods of  development o Prenatal  Infancy  Early childhood  Middle childhood  Adolescence  Early  adulthood  Middle adulthood  Late adulthood Key Issues in the Study of Human Development ­ Nature vs. Nurture o The debate on whether the relative contributions of biological processes and  experiential factors to development o Nature is inborn propensities and biological influences o Nurture is environmental experiences and internal models of experience  ­ Continuity vs. Discontinuity o The question whether age­related change is primarily a matter of amount (the  continuity side) or degree or of changes in type or kind (the discontinuity side) o Another way of approaching continuity­discontinuity question is to think of it in  terms of quantitative and qualitative change  Quantitative change – change in amount  Ex: Increase in height  Qualitative change – change in kind or type  Ex: Puberty Chapter 1: Basic Concepts and Methods Three Types of Change ­ Normative age­graded universal changes: changes that are common to every member  of species o Ex: baby’s first step o Social clock: set of age norms defining a sequence of life experiences that is  considered normal in a given culture an that all individuals in that culture are  expected to follow o Ageism: prejudicial attitudes about older adults that characterizes them in  negative ways ­ Normative history­graded changes: changes that occur in most members of a cohort as  result of factors at work during a specific, well­defined historical period ­ Nonnormative changes: changes that occur from unique, unshared events o Critical period: a specific period in development when an organism is especially  sensitive to the presence or absences of some particular kind of experience o Sensitive period: a span of months or years during which a child may be  particularly responsive to specific forms of experience or particularly influenced  by absence Contexts of Development ­ Vulnerability and Resilience o Children are born with certain vulnerabilities, such as the tendency toward  emotional irritability or alcoholism, a physical abnormality, an allergy o Each child is born with some protective factors, such as high intelligence, good  physically coordination, or easy temperament that tend to make her more resilient  in the face of stress. o Vulnerabilities and resilience interact with a child’s environment o Same environment can affect different children differently ­ Atypical development: development that deviates from the typical developmental  pathway in a direction that is harmful to the individual o Ex: mental illness, intellectual disability, and behavioral problems Descriptive Methods ­ Variables: characteristics that vary from person to person, such as physical size,  intelligence, and personality ­ Case study: an in­depth examination of an individual using observation, interviews, or  psychological testing. o Advantages: in depth information, important in the study of unusual events o Limitations: results may not generalize beyond the case that is studied, time­ consuming, subject to misinterpretation ­ Naturalistic Observation: observation of behavior in natural settings o Advantages: participants behave naturally o Limitations: researchers expectations can influence results, little control over  conditions ­ Survey: interviews, questionnaires used to gather information quickly Chapter 1: Basic Concepts and Methods o Advantages: accurate information about large groups, tracks changes o Limitations: validity limited by sample representativeness, responses influenced  by questions, social desirability ­ Correlational studies: determination of mathematical relationship between two variables o Advantages: assess strength and direction of relationships o Limitations: cannot demonstrate cause and effect o Correlation: a relationship between two variables that can be expressed as a  number ranging from ­1.00 to +1.00   Positive  high scores on one variable accompany high scores on the other  Ex: better educated people generally have higher incomes  Negative  scores on two variables move in opposite directions  Ex: better educated people are less likely to smoke cigarettes The Experimental Method ­ Experiment: a study that tests a casual hypothesis ­ Experimental group: the group is an experiment that receives the treatment the  experimenter thinks will produce a particular effect ­ Control group: the group in an experiment that receives either no special treatment of  neutral treatment ­ Independent variable: the presumed casual element in an experiment ­ Dependent variable: the characteristic or behavior that is expected to be affected by the  independent variable ­ Quasi experiments: participants are not randomly assigned o Ex: children in day care programs may be compared with children kept at home Designs for Studying Age­Related Changes ­ Cross­sectional design: a research design in which groups of people of different ages are compared o Advantages: quick access to date about age differences o Limitations: ignores individual differences, cohort effects ­ Longitudinal design: a research design in which people in a single group are studied at  different times in their lives o Advantages: tracks developmental changes in individuals and groups o Limitations: time­consuming, findings may apply only to the group that is studied ­ Sequential design: a research design that combines both cross­sectional and longitudinal  examinations of development o Advantages: cross­sectional and longitudinal data relevant to the same hypothesis o Limitations: time­consuming; different attrition rates across groups ­ Cohort effects: findings that result from historical factors to which one age group in a  cross­sectional study has been exposed   Research Ethics ­ Protection from harm Chapter 1: Basic Concepts and Methods ­ Informed Consent ­ Confidentiality ­ Knowledge of Result ­ Deception


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