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Processes in Human Development


Biological, Cognitive, and Socioemotional Processes

Biological processes
- produce changes in an individuals body
genes inherited from parents
development of the brain
height and weight gains
hormonal changes of puberty

Cognitive processes
- refer to changes in an individuals thought, intelligence, and language

Socioemotional processes
- involve changes in an individuals relationships with other people, changes in
emotions, and changes in personality

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Periods in Human Development


Periods of Development

Prenatal period
- time from conception to birth

Infancy
- developmental period from birth to about 18 to 24 months
- time of extreme dependence on adults
- many psychological activities are just beginning:

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speaking
coordinating sensations and physical actions
thinking with symbols
imitating and learning from others
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Periods in Human Development

Early Childhood
- extends from the end of infancy to about 5 to 6 years of age
- sometimes called the preschool years

Middle and late childhood


- extends from about 6 to 11 years of age
- sometimes called the elementary school years

Adolescence
- transition from childhood to early adulthood
- entered at approximately 10 to 12 years of age and ending at 18 to 22
years of age
- begins with rapid physical changes

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Periods in Human Development

Adolescence (continued)
- dramatic gains in height & weight
- changes in body contour
- development of sexual characteristics
- development of pubic and facial hair

- deepening of the voice


- pursuit of independence and identity
- more and more time spent outside of the family
- thought becomes more abstract, idealistic, and logical

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Interaction of the Periods and Processes in


Understanding Child Development

Periods of development are


produced by the interplay of
biological, cognitive, and
socioemotional processes.
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Issues in Development

Many questions about childrens development remain unanswered.


Debate continues about the relative importance of factors that influence
the developmental processes and about how the periods of
development are related.
The most important issues in the study of childrens development
include:
- nature and nurture
- continuity and discontinuity
- early and later experiences

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Issues in Development

Nature and Nurture Issue

- involves the debate about whether development is primarily


influenced by nature or nurture (Rutter, 2009)
Nature
proponents claim
biological
Nature refers to
inheritance is most
an organisms
important influence
biological
on development;
inheritance;
nurture
nurture refers to
proponents claim
environmental
environmental
experiences.
experiences are
most important.
- Almost no one today argues that development can be explained by
nature alone or by nurture alone.
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Issues in Development

Continuity and Discontinuity Issue


- focuses on extent to which development involves gradual, cumulative
change (continuity), or distinct stages (discontinuity)

developmentalists who emphasize


nurture describe development as
gradual, continuous process
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developmentalists who emphasize


nature describe development
as series of distinct stages

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Issues in Development

Early-Later Experience Issue


- issue of the degree to which early experiences (especially
infancy) or later experiences are key determinants of
childs development
- has long history and
continues to be debated
among developmentalists
(Egelund, 2009;
Laible & Thompson, 2009)

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Issues in Development

Evaluating the Developmental Issues


- It is unwise to take an extreme position on the issues of
nature and nurture, continuity and discontinuity, and early
and later experiences.

- Development is not all nature or all nurture, not all


continuity or all discontinuity, and not all early or later
experiences (Gottlieb, 2009).
- Nature and nurture, continuity and discontinuity, and early
and later experiences all play a part in development
through the human life span.
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The Science of Human Development


The Importance of Research
Scientific research is objective, systematic, and testable.
based on the scientific method
- approach that can be used to discover accurate information

- includes the following steps:

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conceptualize the problem


collect data
draw conclusions
revise research conclusions and theory.

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


The Importance of Research (continued)

Theory
- interrelated, coherent set of ideas that helps explain and to
make predictions

Hypotheses
- specific, testable assumptions or predictions
- often written as if-then statements

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Research Methods for Collecting Data

Observation
- Trained observers systematically gather, record, and communicate
observations.

Laboratory

(see drawbacks)

- controlled setting with many of the complex factors of the real world
removed

Naturalistic observation
- observing behavior in real-world settings

Survey and interview


- often the best and quickest way to get information about people

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Research Methods for Collecting Data (continued)

Laboratory research drawbacks:


1. Its almost impossible to conduct research without the participants
knowing they are being studied.
2. Laboratory setting is unnatural and can cause the participants to behave
unnaturally.
3. People who are willing to come to a university laboratory may not fairly
represent groups from diverse cultural backgrounds.
4. People who are unfamiliar with university settings and with the idea of
helping science may be intimidated by the laboratory setting.
5. Some aspects of life-span development are difficult, if not impossible, to
examine in the laboratory.
6. Laboratory studies of certain types of stress may even be unethical.

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Research Methods for Collecting Data (continued)

Standardized tests
uniform procedures for administration and scoring

- many allow a persons performance to be compared with the


performance of other individuals

Psychophysiological measures (e.g., MRI, EEG)


assess the functioning of the central nervous system, autonomic
nervous system, and endocrine system

Case study
in-depth look at a single individual

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Research Designs
- Descriptive research
aims at observing and recording behavior and can reveal
important information, but cannot show cause-and-effect

- Correlational research
describes strength of the relationship between two or more events
or characteristics

- Correlation coefficient
number based on statistical analysis used to describe the degree
of association between two variables
ranges from +1.00 to -1.00
the higher the correlation coefficient (+ or -), the stronger the
association between the two variables
Correlation does not equal causation.
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Experimental Research
- Experiment
carefully regulated procedure in which one or more of
the factors believed to influence the behavior being
studied are manipulated while all other factors are held
constant
Independent variable (IV)
a manipulated, influential, experimental factor
potential cause
can be manipulated independently of other factors to
determine its effects
Dependent variable (DV)
a factor that can change in an experiment in response to
changes in the IV
Researchers measure the DV for any resulting effect.
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Experimental Research

(continued)

- Experiment (continued)
Experimental group
a group whose experience is manipulated
Experiments can involve one or more experimental groups.

Control group
a comparison group
Experiments can involve one or more control groups.
serves as a baseline against which the effects of the
manipulated condition can be compared

Random assignment
The researchers assign participants to experimental and
control groups by chance.
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


The Nature of Experimental Research

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Experimental Research

(continued)

- Time Span of Research


Cross-Sectional Approach
- A research strategy in which individuals of different
ages are compared at one time.

Longitudinal Approach
- A research strategy in which the same individuals
are studied over a period of time, usually several
years or more.

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Research in Child Development


- Research Journals
publish scholarly and academic information
core information in virtually every academic discipline
leading journals in child development:

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Developmental Psychology
Child Development
Developmental Psychopathology
Pediatrics
Pediatric Nursing
Infant Behavior and Development
Journal of Research on Adolescence
Human Development
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Research in Child Development


- Research Journals (continued)
Journals that include articles on various aspects of human
development:

Journal of Educational Psychology


Sex Roles
Journal of Cross-Cultural Research
Journal of Marriage and the Family
Exceptional Children
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

usually written for other professionals


contain technical language
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Research in Child Development

(continued)

- Research Journals (continued)


use terms specific to the discipline that are difficult for the
nonprofessional to understand
organized in specific way:

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Abstract
Introduction
Method
Results
Discussion
References
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Research in Child Development

(continued)

- Research Journals (continued)


Abstract
brief summary
appears at the beginning of the article

Introduction

introduces problem that is being studied


includes concise review of research relevant to the topic
includes theoretical ties
includes one or more hypotheses to be tested

Method
description of subjects evaluated in the study
includes the measures used
includes the procedures that were followed
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Research in Child Development


- Research Journals (continued)
Results
reports the analysis of the data collected

Discussion
describes the authors conclusions, inferences, and interpretation of
what was found
includes statements about whether the hypotheses were supported
includes limitations of the study
includes suggestions for future research

References
bibliographic information for each source cited in the article

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)

Challenges in Child Development Research


- Conducting Ethical Research
APA Ethical Guidelines address four important issues:

Informed Consent
Confidentiality
Debriefing
Deception

- Minimizing Bias
Gender Bias
Cultural and Ethnic Bias
Ethnic gloss
using an ethnic label such as African American or Latino in a
superficial way that portrays an ethnic group as being more
homogenous than it really is
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Theories of Child Development
- A wide range of theories makes understanding childrens
development a challenging undertaking (Newman & Newman,
2009).

- No single theory has been able to account for all aspects


of child development.
- Each theory contributes an important piece to the child
development puzzle.

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Theories of Human Development (continued)

Psychoanalytic Theories
- describe development as primarily unconscious
- are heavily colored by emotion

- emphasize that behavior is merely a surface characteristic, and the


workings of the mind have to be analyzed to understand behavior
- Early experiences with parents extensively shape development.

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Theories of Human Development (continued)

Freuds Psychosexual Theory


- Personality has three structures:
Id
consists of instincts, which are the reservoir of psychic energy
is totally unconscious

Ego
deals with the demands of reality
is called the executive branch of personality
uses reasoning to make decisions

Superego
the moral branch of personality
considers whether something is right or wrong
referred to as our conscience
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The Science of Child Development (cont.)


Theories of Human Development (continued)

Freuds Psychosexual Theory (continued)


- Freud became convinced that patients problems were the result of
early experiences in life.
-- He believed that adult personality is determined by the way we
resolve conflicts between sources of pleasure at each stage & the
demands of reality.

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Sigmund Freuds
PSYCHOSEXUAL STAGES
Freud's Psychosexual Stages of Development
Stages
Age
Characteristic
Oral

Birth to 1 1/2 years

Infant's pleasure centers on the mouth.

Anal

1 1/2 years to 3 years

Child's pleasure focuses on the anus.

Phallic

3 to 6 years

Child's pleasure focuses on the genitals.

Latency

6 years to puberty

Child represses sexual interest and


develops social and intellectual skills.

Puberty onward

A time of sexual reawakening; source of


sexual pleasure becomre someone outside
the family.

Genital

Santrock, J.W. (2011). Child development (13th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Theories of Human Development (continued)

Freuds Psychosexual Theory (continued)


- been significantly revised
- Many contemporary psychoanalytic theorists believe that Freud
overemphasized sexual instincts.

- today- more emphasis placed on cultural experiences as determinants


of an individuals development
- conscious thought believed to play greater role than Freud envisioned

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Erik Eriksons Psychosocial Theory


- Erikson recognized Freuds contributions but believed that Freud
misjudged some important dimensions of human development:
- we develop in psychosocial rather than psychosexual stages

- primary motivation for human behavior is social and reflects a desire to


affiliate with other people

- Erikson emphasized change through the life span with eight stages of
human development, each posing a unique developmental crisis to
be resolved.

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Erik Eriksons
PSYCHOSOCIAL STAGES of DEVELOPMENT
The Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development in Erikson's Theory
Psychosocial Stage
Age
Challenge
Basic trust vs. mistrust

Birth to 1 year

To develop a sense that the world is a safe, a "good place"

Initiative vs. guilt

3 to 6 years

To realize that one is an independent person who can make


decisions
To develop the ability to try new things and to handle failure

Industry vs. inferiority

6 years to adolescence

To learn basic skills and to work with others

Identity vs. identity confusion

Adolescence

To develop a lasting, integrated sense of self

Intimacy vs. isolation

Young adulthood

To commit to another in a loving relationship

Generativity vs. stagnation

Middle Adulthood

Integrity vs. despair

Late life

Autonomy vs. shame and doubt 1 to 3 years

To contribute to younger people, through child rearing, child


care, or other productive work
To view one's life as satisfactory and worth living

Source: Kail, R.V., & Cavanaugh, J.C. (2007). Human development: A life-span view (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Theories of Human Development (continued)

Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Theories


- Contributions of psychoanalytic theories:
1. early experiences play important part in development
2. family relationships are central aspect of development
3. personality can be better understood if examined
developmentally
4. mind is not all conscious; unconscious aspects of the mind need
to be considered
5. In Erikson's theory, changes take place in adulthood as well as in
childhood.

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Theories (continued)

- Criticisms of psychoanalytic theories:


1. The main concepts of psychoanalytic theories have
been difficult to test scientifically.
2. Much of the data used to support psychoanalytic
theories come from individuals reconstruction of the
past, often the distant past, and are of unknown
accuracy.
3. The sexual underpinnings of development are given
too much importance (especially in Freuds theory).
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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Theories


(continued)

- Criticisms (continued):
4. The unconscious mind is given too much credit for influencing
development.
5. Psychoanalytic theories present an image of humans that is too
negative (especially in Freuds theory).
6. Psychoanalytic theories are culture- and gender-biased, treating
Western culture and males as the measure for evaluating
everyone (especially in Freuds theory).

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Cognitive Theories
- important cognitive theories:
Piagets cognitive developmental theory
Vygotskys sociocultural cognitive theory

information-processing theory

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Piagets Cognitive Developmental Theory


- Children actively construct their understanding of the world.
- We go through four stages of cognitive development.
- Organization and adaptation- underlie the four stages of development
in Piagets theory
- We separate important ideas from less important ideas.
- We connect one idea to another.
- We adapt, adjusting to new environmental demands.

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The Science of Human Development

Jean Piagets COGNITIVE STAGES OF


DEVELOPMENT
Piaget's Four Stages of Cognitive Development
Stage
Approximate age

Characteristics

Sensorimotor

Birth to 2 years

Infant's knowledge of the world us based on senses and


motor skills. By the end of the period, uses mental
representation.

Preoperational thought

2 to 6 years

Child learns how to use symbols such as words and


numbers to represent aspects of the world but relates to
the world only through his or her perspective.

7 years to early adolescence

Child understands and applies logical operations to


experiences provided they are focused on the here and
now.

Adolescence and beyond

Adolescent or adult thinks abstractly, deals with


hypothetical situations, and speculates about what may
be possible.

Concrete operational thought

Formal operational thought

Source: Kail, R.V., & Cavanaugh, J.C. (2007). Human development: A life-span view (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Piagets Cognitive Developmental Theory (continued)


- Each stage:
- is age-related
- consists of a distinct way of thinking
- consists of a different way of understanding the world

- The childs cognition is qualitatively different in one stage


compared with another.

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Vygotskys Sociocultural Cognitive Theory


- Children actively construct their knowledge.
- gave social interaction and culture far more important roles in cognitive
development than Piaget did
- emphasized how culture and social interaction guide cognitive
development
- portrayed childs development as inseparable from social and cultural
activities (Bedrova and Leong, 2009)

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Vygotskys Sociocultural Cognitive Theory


(continued)

- Development of memory, attention, and reasoning involves learning to


use the inventions of society, such as language, mathematical
systems, and memory strategies.

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Vygotskys Sociocultural Cognitive Theory

(continued)

- Knowledge:
- is situated and collaborative (Bodrova and Leong, 2009)

- is not generated from within the individual


- is constructed through interaction with other people and
objects in the culture, such as books
- can best be advanced through interaction with others
in cooperative activities
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Theories of Human Development (continued)

The Information- Processing Theory


- emphasizes that individuals manipulate, monitor, and strategize
information
- development is not stage-like
- Individuals develop a gradually increasing capacity for processing
information, which allows them to acquire increasingly complex
knowledge and skills (Munakata, 2006; Reed, 2009).

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Evaluating the Cognitive Theories


1. They present a positive view of development, emphasizing thinking.
2. They (especially Piagets and Vygotskys) emphasize the individuals
active construction of understanding.
3. Piagets and Vygotskys theories underscore the importance of
examining developmental changes in childrens thinking.
4. The information-processing theory offers detailed descriptions of
cognitive processes.

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Criticisms of the Cognitive Theories:


1. Piagets stages are not as uniform as he theorized.
2. Piaget underestimated the cognitive skills of infants.
3. Piaget overestimated the cognitive skills of adolescents.
4. The cognitive theories do not give adequate attention to individual
variations in cognitive development.
5. Information-processing theory does not provide an adequate
description of developmental changes in cognition.
6. Psychoanalytic theorists argue that the cognitive theories do not give
enough credit to unconscious thought.

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories


- Pavlovs Classical Conditioning: learn through association

- Skinners Operant Conditioning: learn through consequences of


behavior
- Social Cognitive Theory:

behavior, environment, and cognition are key factors in


development
Albert Bandura:
leading architect of Social Cognitive theory
emphasizes that cognitive processes have important links with
environment and behavior
early research focused on observational learning (also called
imitation or modeling)
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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Social Cognitive Theory (continued)

- Bandura proposes that people cognitively represent the


behavior of others and then sometimes adopt this
behavior themselves.
- Banduras (2009a, b) most recent model of learning and
development includes three elements:
behavior
the person/cognition
the environment

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Behavior, Person/Cognitive, and Environmental Factors Operate Interactively

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Evaluating the Behavioral and Social Cognitive


Theories
- Contributions:
1. emphasis on importance of scientific research
2. focus on environmental determinants of behavior
3. emphasis on identification and explanation of
observational learning (by Bandura)
4. inclusion of person/cognitive factors (in social cognitive
theory)

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Evaluating the Behavioral and Social Cognitive Theories


(continued)

- Criticisms:
1. too little emphasis on cognition (in Pavlovs and
Skinners theories)
2. too much emphasis on environmental determinants

3. inadequate attention to developmental changes


4. inadequate consideration of human spontaneity and
creativity
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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Ethological Theory
- holds that behavior:
- is strongly influenced by biology
- is tied to evolution
- is characterized by critical or sensitive periods

The European zoologists Konrad Lorenz helped bring


ethology to prominence.
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Theories of Human Development
(continued)

Ethological Theory (continued)


- Lorenz identified imprinting the rapid,
innate learning within a limited critical
period of time that involves attachment to
the first moving object seen

- John Bowlbys work in attachment


theory applies ethological theory to
human development.
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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Ethological Theory (continued)


- Contributions:
1. increased focus on the biological and evolutionary
basis of development
2. use of careful observations in naturalistic settings
3. emphasis on sensitive periods of development

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Theories of Human Development (continued)

Ethological Theory (continued)


- Criticisms:
1.
2.
3.
4.

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concepts of critical and sensitive periods too rigid


too strong an emphasis on biological foundations
inadequate attention to cognition
better at generating research with animals than with
humans

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

Ecological Theory
- emphasizes environmental factors
- created by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917 2005)
- reflects the influence of several environmental systems:

microsystem
mesosystem
exosystem
macrosystem
chronosystem

Bronfenbrenners environmental system theory (now called


bioecological theory due to his recent addition of biological
influences) focuses on five environmental systems.
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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


The Five Environmental Systems of Ecological Theory

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Theories of Child Development (continued)

Ecological Theory (continued)


- Contributions:
1. systematic examination of macro and micro
dimensions of environmental systems
2. attention to connections between environmental
settings (mesosystem)
3. consideration of sociohistorical influences on
development (chronosystem)

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


Theories of Child Development (continued)

Ecological Theory (continued)


- Criticisms:
1. too little attention to biological foundations of
development, even with added discussion of
biological influences
2. inadequate attention to cognitive processes

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Theories of Human Development (continued)

An Eclectic Theoretical Orientation


- orientation that does not follow any one
theoretical approach, but rather selects and uses
what is considered best in each theory

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The Science of Human Development (cont.)


A Comparison of the Main Theoretical Perspectives

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