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Psych 379

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by: Ally Marcello
Ally Marcello
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These notes are from our day 2 lecture. They cover theories of development, research design, nature vs. nurture, and importance of context.
Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan
Dr. Jill Dombrowski
Class Notes
theories, Heredity, behaviorism




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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ally Marcello on Thursday January 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 254A at Catholic University of America taught by Dr. Jill Dombrowski in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 56 views. For similar materials see Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan in Nursing and Health Sciences at Catholic University of America.


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Date Created: 01/28/16
Life Span Development Lecture 1­ What is a Theory? A theory should: ● Describe what it is trying to talk about ● Explain or predict something – like a hypothesis (asks why or how something  works) ● Provide rules/tenets/guidelines for understanding How they work ● They must be scientifically testable/have predictions ● you can derive hypotheses from theory if it is good enough and you should be  able to test that theory/hypothesis ● Generate new ideas based off of the theory ● Shouldn’t be the same as a different theory, should be a new idea Differences between theories and hypotheses ● Theories have overarching ideas of the way something works, or why something  works. ○ NOT a statement of fact→ it is an idea, so it doesn’t mean the theory is actually true ○ NOT a summary of research findings. ■ you create a theory (idea), then you generate a  hypothesis from this theory, then you perform the study and gather  research findings ● if your hypothesis is incorrect, then  you go back and change your theory. ● Hypotheses are developed from theories, it is what is actually testable Here are examples: 1. Blog entry on parenting states that children need to be given a glass of milk  before bedtime (no research study is cited) ↳This is a theory because as far as we know, the author just has this idea, they  didn’t provide proof       2. describes how children of affluent parents were found more likely to be  exposed to multicultural perspectives in a recent study by researchers at X University ↳This is a research finding, therefore not a theory       3. Grandmother Hennessey always says that children will get sick if they don’t wear a coat  in winter ↳Theory because she just has an idea        4. A prominent think tank posts on their website that children are becoming more and more  egocentric in their thinking. ↳Theory­ there is no citation or research stated. It is possible that this is true, but more research is needed Psychological development theory ● Social and emotional stages (Erikson) ○ Psychosocial development theory­ a set of social and emotional  stages that Erikson believed children and adults went through ● Continues over the lifespan  ○ certain “crisis” happens and if they responded positively, they  move on to the next stage because it showed that they learned enough and were ready for the next level of development. ○ If they respond negatively, they either redo the step, or carry their  baggage with them to the next step. ● Transitions from interaction with society ○ This is about their role in society and how they feel they fit into  society. How they were treated by others and how they related, influences how  they adapt to society and development ● Development depends on cultural norms ○ sometimes the culture doesn’t speak to one of those stages ○ one of his stages is about finding a “mate”, but some cultures want you to work instead Learning Theory (Bandura) ● There are external influences on children and development in terms of the  environment ○ Bandura believes that it is mostly environment influences  development and that one’s behavior is the result of these experiences ○ He did an experiment in which he had kids watch a video of adults beating up a clown doll, then when the kids were introduced to the doll, the kids  beat up the doll too ■ monkey see monkey do ● Behavior as a result of experiences  ● Imitation and observing models  Behaviorism ● Behaviorism believes that a child is like a blank slate where their behavior is  driven by their experience ● Pavlov and Watson believed that environment could shape people’s behaviors,  not just through observation. ● Classical conditioning­ where rewards or punishments are associated with the  action happening to promote or stop the action being done.  ○ more the association of something happening alongside what was happening ■ Pavlov’s dogs where he rang a bell every time the  dogs ate, so when they heard the bell they would start to salivate and  think it was time to eat ● Operant conditioning­ rewards and punishments for actions ● Behavioral therapy­ used with children with autism to teach them to make eye  contact Cognitive­ Developmental Theory  ● The belief that the way people think changes across time as they interact with the world around them (Piaget)­ how they interact with the world around them  ○ about what I do as an active participant in the world  ● Assimilation­ when you already have an idea of what something is, but when you  find out it is a little different, you add to your existing knowledge of that thing ○ for example: you have an idea of what a classroom looks like, but  when you walk into one it is a little different. Now you add this new image into  your existing idea of what a classroom is to know that classrooms can vary in  looks ● Accommodation­ you have to change your belief or understanding of something. ○ For example: you have never seen a certain animal before, so you imagine what it looks like. When you go to the zoo, you see that it is completely  different than your imagination, so you have to change your imagination to fit  reality. ● Child is an active participant, therefore the amount the child is engaged in the  world drives ow they develop Contemporary Theories ● Ecological perspective­ immediate environments affect development  (households, neighborhood) ● Sociocultural perspective­ all environments, and how everything affects each  other, affects development ● Behavioral genetics­ experience/genetics ratio­ the weight environment and  genetics has on development (is it mostly genetics or environment that influences  development) ○ interested in “____% of aggression in children is determined by  genes” ● Evolutionary perspective – how our adaptation over history influences our  behavior  ○ we all exist in a historical context­ ● Dynamic systems perspective – A single, coherent, and ever­changing system  with multiple layers and contexts­ they all influence each other at the same time­  changes in one layer affect changes in the other even if they don’t seem related Review of how these theories differ Studying change over time ● Cross sectional designs ○ when people are studied at the same point in time ○ it can indicate possible age differences or age changes, however  age­related differences may become confused with cohort or generational  effects. ■ cohort: age­related differences due to grouping by  age ■ researchers comparing ability to recognize various  kinds of facial expression across young adults, middle­aged, and older  adult groups. In this study, researchers saw that young individuals  recognize facial expressions better than the other groups ○ Cross­sectional research can be very useful because it is  relatively quick to do. ● Longitudinal Designs ○ when the same individuals are studied over a period of time. This  is beneficial because individual or group differences can be assessed over time. ○ There are some limitations though: ■ practice or testing effects: the same questions  could be used in a test, so the subjects could get really good at the test ■ Study attrition­ hard to get people to agree to  continue for so long ■ cost can be expensive and time needed to keep in  touch to make accurate measurements  ● some can go on for decades ● Sequential designs ○ Sequential designs allow for comparison of cohorts over time, while incorporating some degree of individual differences. ○ Age-group comparisons provide the same kind of information as a cross-sectional study would. ■ start with a sectional, then you change age groups each year ○ Comparisons of the scores or behaviors of participants in each group to their own scores or behaviors at ○ an earlier testing point provide longitudinal evidence at the same time. ○ Sequential designs also allow for comparisons of cohorts. Nature vs Nurture ● The classic debate on whether our genetics, or our environment affects our  behavior more. (also referred to as heredity vs environment/ nativism vs empiricism) ● Nature ○ inborn propensities (genetic) ○ believes in biological influences and is individually based ● Nurture ○ learning from environmental experiences ○ internal models of experience ○ John Watson, early behaviorist, exemplifies this argument ■ “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well- formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief, and yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, abilities, vocations, and the race of his ancestors.” ● can be both­ sometimes your genetics affect how you learn from the environment and vice versa RESEARCH SUPPORTS THIS CLAIM Human genome  ● through our advances in mapping the human genome, we now know that no trait is linked to a single gene or set of genes- having a certain gene just increases your risks→ this shows that environment has an influencs ○ Eugenics ● Environment always has an influence ○ On the activation of genes themselves ○ On whether genes impact outcomes- whether they lead to cancer or not ○ Genetic research and neuroimaging Heritability Studies ● Calculating the degree to which traits are influenced by genetic factors ● Criticisms: ○ Genetics and environment really work together ○ Impact of Genetics depends on Environment ○ Traits change over time ● Plus-side: ○ Scientists AGREED that studying genetics is necessary to understanding child development- it is not the only thing, but it is a piece of the puzzle Epigenesis ● Derived from Darwin & G. Stanley Hall ● Gradual process of development increases in complexity ○ Influenced by Genetics and Environment ● Little is pre-determined- just because they show certain traits, doesn’t mean that they have a certain future. ● Stem Cells ○ Undifferentiated “pre-cells” ○ Can become any complex set of tissue ○ Many psychological traits at birth are like stem cells! Plasticity and Canalization ● ¨Plasticity: during certain stages of life, the brain is flexible or ‘alterability’ in developmental trajectories ○ a.k.a. in Puberty and infancy ● Canalization: Inflexibility or ‘entrenchment’ of developmental trajectories ○ What our brain is hardwired to do- Most infants will learn to walk and talk ● Examples: ○ Plasticity- Social Skills ○ Canalization- Bipedalism Human Diversity ● Genetic Code ○ Trillions of cells with 23 pairs of chromosomes each (diploid) ○ Genes are segments of DNA (~3,000 base pairs) ■ Involved in production of a protein ● DNA ○ Adenine – Thiamine ○ Guanine – Cytosine ■ Order of these base pairs determines genetic code ○ Replicates itself, creating diversity in genotype when chromosomes switch places ● Genotype Phenotype Actual set of chromosomes Physical appearance Unique to the individual (unless behavior identical twins) can look different at different age ● Mitosis Meiosis Replication of normal cell DNA Cell division in gametes (sex cells) only Cell divides into an exact copy of Chromosomes are shuffles and itself mmixed before dividing diploid (2n)= 46 sets of haploid (1n)= 23 sets of chromosomes chromosomes ● Regulator genes ○ Do not influence traits ○ Switch plate for other genes= environmental things can tell these regulator genes to turn on or off ● Environment ○ Active partner with the genes ○ Ex: Serotonin 5-HTT gene influences vulnerability to depression in the presence of STRESS ● Mutations ○ Copying errors- not copied exactly correctly, this can influence your phenotype Ecological Perspective (Bronfenbrenner) ● Development happens in “niches” ○ Microsystem (individual)<Mesosystem (school)<exosystem (what affects family- media, neighborhood)<Macrosystem (law, race, culture) ○ Microsystem: proximal environment to the individual ■ Bidirectional & multifaceted- influences the others, and is influenced by the other, influences individual and VV ○ Mesosystem: links between micro-level settings- ex: relationship between daycare worker and the parents ■ Support vs conflict between settings ○ Exo-system: distal to adolescent- more community/neighborhood are depending on how general you want to be ○ Macrosystem- culture and history Genes IMPACT context too ● Gene-Environment Correlations (not causation)- they work together ○ Passive: parental genes and environments ■ Both get passed onto the child- the child doesn’t do anything except inherit them ○ Evocative: Individuals elicit certain responses ■ If an infant is constantly crying that is an evocative effect because it elicits a certain response from the environment (as in mother feeds baby) ○ Active: Individuals select certain contexts ■ “niche-picking” ■ Child actually saying what they’re interested in ● Relevance of each changes across development ○ The baby who can’t really talk, so they can’t pick their own context and can’t have an active gene-environment interaction.


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