CHAPTER TWO: THEORY AND RESEARCHTheory
- coherent set of related concepts that seeks to organize and explain data gathered through research.- theories are dynamic; they change to incorporate new findings;- they aren't universal; they can't explain all;- they may give more weight to one perspective over another (nature vs. nurture; stages vs. continuous)- they emphasize methodological approaches (quantitative or qualitative)- they serve as a continuing source of hypotheses to be tested by research
– possible explanations for phenomena, used to predict the outcome of research.
Which is more important: heredity or environment?
Mechanistic model - views humans as passive, merely reacting to the environmentOrganismic model - views humans as active, setting their own development in motion
Is development continuous or does it occur in stages?
Mechanistic theorists view development as continuous,
changeOrganismic theorists view development as
change in a series of distinct stages
Five Theoretical Perspectives:
Psychoanalytic; Learning; Cognitive; Evolutionary/Sociobiological; ContextualSee overview of comparisons: Table 2-1; pp. 30-31
1. Psychoanalytic Perspective
- concerned with unconscious forces that motivate human behavior
Seeks to describe qualitative change, through clinical observation
Originated with Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Viennese physician
Further developed by Erik Erikson (1902-1994), German-born, moved to U.S. in 1933
was interested in medical research, especially interested in studying somatic disorders.
He was able to relieve symptoms by asking questions designed to uncover long-buried memories.
He concluded that emotional disturbances are the result of traumatic experiences in early childhood and innatefactors.
He viewed humans as passive in their own development.
He believe that personality is formed in the first few years of life -- through a series of psychosexualdevelopmental stages.
- Freud focused on the sources of gratification at each stage of life.The first three stages are the most important. He suggested that if children received too little or too muchgratification in any stage, they are at risk of
(an arrest in development) and may need help to movebeyond that stage.
(birth to 12-18 months) Infants chief source of pleasure involves oral activities (sucking and eating).- If a child's needs are not met, s/he may grow up to become nail-biting or develop pica (eat/chew inediblesubstances)