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Developmental Psychology
Social Development
There was this girl that I met at one of my fraternity parties my
junior year of college. She was beautiful and made Jessica Alba look
like Squidward. I remember walking up to her and offering her a beer
(root beer). Her name was Dawn (from Long Island- in fact every girl
from Long Island seems to be named either Jen or Dawn)) and we
talked for awhile.
Then I invited her up to my room to look at my fish tank (that is not a
euphemism, I actually had a fish tank).

We went up the stairs and studied together for awhile (studying is a

After we finished studying (she really knew her material), I told her
that I would call her to study again. I forgot to call her, but she
started calling me everyday. I guess she REALLY wanted to be study
partners because she started showing up at the fraternity

house almost every day. When she found out that I had many study
partners (there is a lot of material to cover in college), she started to
write bad letters about my study habits and posted them up around
campus. It was at this point that I realized that although Dawn
developed very well physically, it meant nothing because her social
development was severely lacking. Social development is a really funny
thing- who you are now socially really began all the way back when you
were an infant.
Social development begins the minute you enter the world.
Psychologists have identified periods of our lives that development
MUST be healthy or they will not develop correctly- these times are
called Critical Periods. The first few months of life are a critical
period for social development. The focal issue for the infant is to
develop is attachment- a reciprocal relationship between child and
caregiver (usually a parent).

Some animals develop attachment through the process

of imprinting. Scientist Konrad Lorenz showed us baby ducklings
would develop an immediate strong attachment with the first object it
sees moving. This object is hopefully the duckling's mother, but
Lorenz imprinted ducklings to humans, dogs and even balls.

Now do humans imprint? Of course not- otherwise we would all have a

thing for doctors and nurses (the first people we see).
Harry Harlow proved to us that touch is critical for higher level
mammals (like most of you) to develop attachment.

Harlow was really into baby monkeys.

He separated them from their mothers and used a wire mothercovered in soft cloth- with a nipple with milk- as a mother substitute
for the baby.

One day a baby monkey took a poop on the fake mother and Harlow had
to wash the cloth. The baby monkey freaked out with the wire monkey
without the soft cloth. So Harlow wanted to see if the cloth was really
that important. He put baby monkeys into cages with two mothersone with a soft cloth and no food, one a hard wire mesh with a nipple
that provided food. To everyone's astonishment, the baby stayed with

the cloth mother all day and ignored the one with food. Even when
hungry the baby would quickly reach across, take some food, but run
back to the soft mother.

Thus, it was discovered that soft touch is critical for monkeys to

develop attachment. Further studies have been done with humans in
orphanages. Some orphans were touched daily (good touch not bad
touch), with some stroking on the head, while other orphans were fed
but never touched. The ones that were never touched became socially
isolated and when tested 12 years later, had lower IQs than the ones
that were touched. Yes, this was a cruel experiment.
Years later, psychologist Mary Ainsworth, labeled the various types of
attachments humans can have with their parents. She set up an
experiment called Ainsworth's Stranger Paradigm (I still have no clue
what a paradigm really is). She placed young children into rooms that
they had never been in before and then asked their parents to quietly
go out the door.

After observing how the child reacts with the parent away, she asked
the parents to come back in the room and observed how the child
reacted to their mom or dad's return. She discovered three main
types of attachment.
1. Secure Attachments (66% of infants): confidently explored the
room with parent there, became distressed when the parent left,
and came back to them for a hug when the parent returned.
2. Avoidant Attachments (21% of infants): explore the environment
even when parents leave the room- do not go to parents for
3. Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment (12% of infants): show stress
when parents leave, but do not want comfort when parents
* On a little side note about attachment, at around a year old most
children develop what most psychologists call stranger anxiety, which
is distress young children feel when they are around people they are
unfamiliar with. Stranger anxiety makes alot of sense from an
evolutionary perspective. What happens when kids turn one? They
begin to walk- they become mobile. Way back in the cave man days,
those kids that did not develop stranger anxiety by the time they
walked, might have just wandered off with some Cro-Magnon pedophile
and died. Those that had the anxiety lived long enough to procreate
(have kids) and that trait was eventually passed on to you.

Parenting Styles

Do you think your parents have in any way affected your social
development? Think about the following 3 types of parenting styles
and see if you can identify traits of your parents within them:
Authoritarian Parents: these are the "WHY, BECAUSE I SAID
SO PARENTS!!!!". They set strict standards for the child's
behavior and apply punishments for breaking the rules. They
favor obedience over rationale.

Permissive Parents: do not set clear guidelines for their

children. The rules are constantly being changed, and it creates
a feeling that you can get away with anything. Your parents are
unpredictable- you come home two hours late and one day they
will not care, but the next they may ground you for a week.

Authoritative Parents: have consistent standards for the child's

behavior, but the rules are reasonable and explained. Encourage
the child's independence, but not to the point where the rules
are broken. They praise as often as they punish, and often let
the children help make the rules.

Now most of our parents do not fall exactly in one single category.
They may be permissive about watching TV, but authoritarian about
dating. In general, children of Authoritative parents have been shown
to have more success in school. But is that because authoritative
parenting helps with academic success or the child is doing well in
school, so the parent acts authoritative?

Stage theorists and Social Development

We already learned that the nature v nurture argument is a big one in
psychology. Another big controversy is an argument called continuity v
Do we develop continually, at a steady rate throughout our lives, or is
development discontinuous, marked by periods of rapid development
along with periods of stagnation. If you think about it, some
development is continuous, like my ability to play Madden football on my
PS3- I always get a little better at it as I practice. But other
development is discontinuous, like riding a bike. You tend to fall off
again and again until one day, you just get it. The psychologists we are
going to talk about believe in discontinuous growth, so we develop
socially kinda like riding a bike, we struggle, until one day we just

Several famous psychologists who believe is discontinuity profess that

we develop in stages- thus they are called stage theorists. Two very
famous stage theorists who are big in developmental psychology
are Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson.
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Sigmund Freud

Erik Erikson

Both Freud and Erik belong to what we called in the introductory

chapter as the psychoanalytic school of psychology. But they also
studied in great detail social development. They essentially believed
that we develop socially in stages (thus you and your parents may be in
different stages of social development- so that is why you guys fight
so much). Now these two theories do not really contradict each other,
but rather take a different view of social growth.

Sigmund Freud
Freud (his friends called him Siggy) is probably the most recognizable
psychologist of all time. He is the father of the psychoanalytic school
of psychology and we WILL discuss him in MUCH more detail when we
discuss the psychoanalytic school. But Freud did talk about social
development and stated that all of us go through what he called five
psychosexual stages.
Now when you think about sex, you think about using your genitals for
stimulation, rated R, late night Cinamax sex. However to Freud, sex
was a concept that explained how we get our pleasure from the world.
For most of you, although your parents would hate to think about it,

your sexual pleasure comes from your genitals. But to younger children
they do not. Freud believed that we all have a
sexual energy.

libido, or instinctual

Go Ahead- work that libido!!!!

Your libido changes throughout your lifetime,

focusing on different parts of your body. Essentially,

your libido has 4 stages of metamorphosis. If some outside force

deters our social development in one of the following stages, Freud
said we could become fixated in that stage, meaning that we would
become preoccupied with that earlier stage later on in our lives. Lets
explain the stages and see if we can get this to make some sense.
1.Oral Stage: About 0-2 years old, an infants libido is focused around
their mouth. You will notice that babies see the world through their
mouths. If I give my 8 month old son some dog vomit, the first thing
he will do is taste it. Freud believe that if you become fixated in the
oral stage than you may overeat, smoke, or just have a childhood
dependence on things.

2. Anal Stage: About 2-4 years old, the child becomes focused on
controlling bowel movements (crapping). The libido is focused on
holding in and releasing defecation (poo poo). This usually occurs
during toilet training. The child meets the conflict between the
parent's demands and the child's desires and physical capabilities in
one of two ways: Either he puts up a fight or he simply refuses to go.
The child who wants to fight takes pleasure in excreting maliciously,
perhaps just before or just after being placed on the toilet. If the
parents are too lenient and the child manages to derive pleasure and
success from this expulsion, it will result in the formation of an anal
expulsive character. This character is generally messy, disorganized,
reckless, careless, and defiant. Conversely, a child may opt to retain
feces, thereby spiting his parents while enjoying the pleasurable
pressure of the built-up feces on his intestine. If this tactic succeeds
and the child is overindulged, he will develop into an anal retentive
character. This character is neat, precise, orderly, careful, stingy,
withholding, obstinate, meticulous, and passive-aggressive. The
resolution of the anal stage, proper toilet training, permanently affects
the individual propensities to possession and attitudes towards
3. Phallic Stage: About 4-6 years old, the child first realizes his or
her gender. In other words, the boy says "look I have an extra finger,
Sally where is yours, you freak!!!". The libido is focused on exploring
the penis and vagina (playing doctor- I have fond but disturbing
memories of a plastic fisher price med kit) but not in the way you now
think about playing with your genitals (you pervert).

During this stage Freud believed that boys can develop an Oedipus
Complex, where he begins to have sexual feelings towards his mother
(not the "Mom, I want to see you in a pink thong" feeling, but more like
I want to be with you on my phallic stage level).

The girl can develop and Electra Complex, where they want to be with
the father. In particular, they develop what Freud called penis envy,
or the idea that every woman wants to have a male penis (why did I say
male, is there a female penis?).
During these complexes the children often have hateful feelings
toward the same sex parent and the stage ends with a "if I can't beat
them, I'll join them attitude toward that same sex parent. Now I
believe that penis envy has merit, not because I love my penis and think
that of course every person would want to have it, but rather, the
penis may represent what men have in society and women do not; power.
4. Latency Stage: About 7-11 year olds develop the need to just hang
around peers of their own gender. You might as well call this the
"cootie stage". Circle circle dot dot now I have my cootie shot. This is
the stage when the libido is hidden in the unconscious (this will be a big

topic later) and sexuality is repressed (hidden). But the libido makes a
grand entrance in the next stage.

5. Genital Stage: From about 12 until death, this is the stage you are
probably all in now (if not, don't worry, your time will come). Here the
libido,sexual energy, is focused on your genitals and sex is as you think
about it now. Freud considers fixation in this stage normal- Congrats!!!!
Now we will be going over Freud a lot more later. Just remember that
his theories have some issues. First, he lived in Vienna, Austria (not
Australia dumb ass- it is a whole different continent!!!) and he studies
himself, his children and rich white woman in Europe. Are their
thoughts generalizable to the rest of the global population? Probably
not. Next, his theories cannot be tested, so it is hard to consider
them true science. But they make for cool conversation and many
great ideas came from his wacky drugged out mind (yes he did drugs).

Erik Erikson
First of all, what were his parents thinking, naming him Erik, they must
have been real deep people. Erikson came from a group of
psychologists that took Fred's ideas and built upon them, called neoFreudians (thus you can put Erikson in what school of psychology?Psychoanalytic). Erikson thought Freud was a perv and focused too
much on sex. So Erikson came up with his own stages of psychosocial
development. Erikson's stage theory has eight stages and within each
stage their is a social conflict or battle between two forces in our
1. Trust versus mistrust: This stage is all about fulfilling needs. The
baby needs to trust the world around them to take take of their
needs. If they are hungry, they need to develop trust that they will be

fed. If they are not fed, or their diaper is left dirty, they may
develop a mistrust in the outside world. This sense of trust of
mistrust can effect us throughout the rest of our lives.

2. Autonomy versus same and doubt: Autonomy means being your own
boss. Here a toddler tries to control their own bodies by toilet
training and their environment, by always saying "NO!!!!". Sometimes
they do poopy in their pants or get yelled at by their parents, causing
shame and doubt in their own abilities. If we learn how to control
ourselves in reasonable ways, we develop a healthy will. We are then
able to face the later challenges of life.

3. Initiative versus guilt: Here the key word in a child's life changes
from "No!" to why?". In this stage children want to understand the
world and they ask too many freakin questions!!!! If their initiative in
questioning the world is encouraged, then they will feel comfortable
with expressing their curiosity throughout the rest of their life. If we
smack them around and tell them to shut up, then they will feel guilty
about their questioning and avoid being inquisitive later.

4. Industry versus inferiority: This is where most children begin

formal education (what we call school). For the first time children are
being formally evaluated. If they raise their hand in class and answer a
question correctly. then they will feel industrious (competent). If he
tries to answer a question but stutters to get out the wrong answer
and Matt Dunn, Nick Adams and Josh Beiber all start making fun of his
speech impediment, then he will feel inferior (it still hurts even today).

5. Identity versus role confusion: In adolescence, Erikson believed

that a teenagers main social need is to discover his or her social
identity. While searching for your identity, you may try out different
roles, like trying to fit into various social groups, experimenting with
drugs or sex, or just changing your wardrobe. You should be trying to
find a stable sense of self now, or Erikson believed you may have an
identity crisis later.
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I dated this Goth girl freshman year of college for about a week. Three years
later her whole demeanor and style changed to sorority girl. We then dated
again, but that still only lasted about a week. But the point is- she was
searching for her identity- which is what most of you reading this are doing
right now.

6. Intimacy versus isolation: Young adults (early 20s into early 30s)
are trying to balance their career efforts (work, school or selfimprovement) with the need to be in an intimate relationship with
another person. How much time should I spend looking for a
relationship? What is I don't find anybody? What if I am all alone for
the rest of my life?

7. Generativity versus stagnation: Erikson believed that by the time

we reach our mid 30s to mid 50s we start to really examine our lives
and see if it is going the way you planned it or did it take a drastic
turn. For example, when I was your age, I thought by the time I was
33 (yes- I am 33) I would be traveling around South America with a
whip, discovering lost treasuring and meeting new exotic women from
village to village. Instead, I live in Rye and teach Social Studies in
Harrison, with 3 kids and a big mortgage (I don't even own a whip).
This is where some people take drastic steps and change their lives.
You will see alot of late divorces or extreme changes in clothes or
cars- we call this experience a mid life crisis.

Which above best depicts my life now? Not that I am bitter or anything like

8. Integrity versus despair: Towards the end of our lives we look back
and evaluate ourselves. Did we live a good life? Leave behind a legacy
of friends or family? Or did we waste our time playing Madden 2023
on Playstation 7? If we feel like there were many lost opportunities
along the way we may fall into despair. I like to use this stage to try to
shape my life now- you should too.

There you have it- social development in a nutshell and that is all the
reading for today- unless you are ready for cognitive development?

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