Developmental Psychology Developmental psychologists are concerned with human development and the factors that shape behavior and personality from birth to old age. They are concerned with many aspects of development as well as many different stages. Two basic questions are related to (I) the role of biological factors (interaction between nature and environment in determining the course of development) & (2) the continuity of development: is it continuous process of change or a series of qualitatively distinct stages. Another important question is whether there is a critical period during which experience must occur for psychological development to proceed. Genetic determinants express themselves through the process of maturation: innately determined sequence of growth or bodily changes that are relatively independent of the environment. For example, motor development goes through the same sequence, e.g.. creeping, crawling, and walking. But even these can be modified by inadequate environment. WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT? 1) Many aspects of human development share certain characteristics, whether they

involve Physical Development; the maturation of various bodily structures, Motor Development; the progressive attainment of various motor skills; Cognitive Development; the growth of intellectual functions: or Social Development, Changes in the ways the child deals with others. 2) Many theorists agree that the changes that constitute development are produced by the interaction of genetic endowment and environmental factors. 3) An important concept on which many psychologists agree is the concept of Critical or Sensitive Period. By this, it is meant that what is important at one stage in life may not be so at some later point. That is, sensitive period means that there are certain periods in development during which certain important events will have an impact that they would not have with the same strength at earlier or later times. Some aspects of the orderly progression of development are determined by maturation,


which genetically programmed and is independent of specific environmental conditions. An example is walking. This and other early sensory and motor achievements seem to be relatively unaffected by specific practice. On the other hand, more general kinds of experience, such as sensory deprivation and sensory enrichment, seem to exert important effects. (A) COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: The study of cognitive development is concerned with how the quality of thought process improves with experience and maturity. The central theorist on this is Jean Piaget. In his theory, cognition develops as the child applies assimilation and accommodation to existing schemes, and the do so by passing through the same sequence of developmental stages. 1)


SENSORY-MOTOR THINKING: The first stage in this theory is the Sensory Motor Stage, which lasts from birth until about two years of age. Infants are subjective and unaware of any existence other than their own. The infant fails to distinguish between the self and no self, (out of sight out of mind). The infant can’t conceive of an object’s existence once it is no longer immediately perceptible. Towards the end of this stage the infant develops Objects Permanence, Sensory-Motor Schemas and acquires Mental Representations. This is achieved through the acquisition of new mental imagery that allows them to imagine the existence of objects not directly perceptible. The selves are distinguished from reality, which becomes separate from their own action. PRE-OPERA TIONAL THINKING: a)The second stage is the pre-operational stage, which lasts till about six or seven. Children are capable of representational thoughts but lack mental operation that order and organize these thoughts. They cannot, for example distinguish or recognize that another person might view reality differently if situated at a different point. (left & Right) b)Characteristic deficits at this stage includes inability to conserve number and quantity, (Lack of Conservation Ability), and Egocentrism, an inability to take another person’s perspective. Until the age of six the child also fails the task of Class Inclusion because of deficient logic at this stage. CONCRETE OPERATIONAL THINKING: a)At approximately seven years of age, the child enters the Concrete operational stage, marked by the onset of logical thinking. This enables the child to solve correctly all the




cognitive tasks that he or she fails at earlier stage. They are no longer egocentric. They are able to recognize that their view of reality is one of many other views. However, the child can now solve problems similar to that of class inclusion and conservation, but they cannot think abstractly. 4) FORMAL OPERATIONAL THINKING: a) At approximately eleven or twelve, the Formal operational stage starts, where abstract thinking is possible. Children can now consider hypothetical possibilities and became capable of scientific thinking. However, cognitive development affects the child’s understanding of the physical environment and social world as well. One aspect of the social world is moral reasoning and judgement. Piaget has also proposed a theory on moral development, but this has been further elaborated and expanded by L. Kohlberg.

(B) THE DEVELOPMENT OF MORAL REASONING: Based on the stage theory of cognitive development, Lawrence Kohlberg has developed a stage theory of moral development and moral reasoning. This theory describes three progressive levels of moral development, each level includes two stages: (1) PRE-CONVENTIONAL MORALITY: Stage (I): Moral reasoning is governed by punishment orientation-obey rule to avoid punishment. Stage (11): Reward orientation- conforms to obtain rewards. (2) CONVENTIONAL LEVEL: Stage (III): Good boy/good girl orientation- conforms to avoid disapproval. Stage(IV): Authority orientation: rigid codes, rules, and duties define this stage. (3) POST-CONVENTIONAL LEVEL: Stage (V): This stage is defined by social contract. Generally, actions are guided by principles commonly agreed on as important to the public good and welfare. Respect of the self comes from respects of others. Stage (VI): This stage is oriented to ethical principles and is based on abstract thinking. Actions guided by self-chosen ethical principles, which usually stress justice, dignity, and


equality. (C) PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Theories of psychosocial development are represented by the work of Bowlby, (1973) in his theory of attachment, and the work of Erikson, (1976) in his theory of psychosocial development. ATTACHMENT: Attachment is generally defined as the emotional bond that develops between the infant and the caregiver, providing infants with emotional security. Many theories have been developed to explain how attachment develops. The Behaviorist emphasizes the DriveReduction and Operant conditioning hypotheses. However, the hypothesis is weakened by evidence indicating that infants may form relationships not only with mothers who feeds them, but also with many things that provide feelings of warmth and security. However, an alternative theory by J. Bowlby proposed continuity and expansion of attachment development. This development is presented in four stages or phases. Stage (I)- Birth to 6 Weeks: This is called the indiscriminate social responsiveness phase. The baby seems to respond to anyone (human). Action represented in afterbirth reflexes. Stage (11)- (6 weeks to 7 months): This is called the discriminate social responsiveness phase. Babies start to smile and to respond to their parents, but they will not protest if they were left alone. Stare (III)- (7 months to about 2 years): This is called the specific attachment phase. Children start to recognize their mothers. They are able to create a mental representation of the mother (object permanence). Children of this age may show separation anxiety. Stage (VI)- (From about 2 years old): This the phase of forming reciprocal relationship. Now children begin to use language to express their needs, to understand the feelings of others (not egocentric after the preoperational stage), and able to form mutual relationships. However, the development of attachment, and its disturbance or losses plays a significant role in the formation of psychological well-beings and maladjustment. Secured attachment is associated with adaptive behavior, social competence independence, and persistence in


problem solving. Insecure attachment may lead to mistrust, avoidance behavior, craving for attention, seeking constant approval, and other emotional disturbances. Many of these issues are covered and clarified in Eriksson’s theory of psychosocial development that is summarized below.

Erikson Theory of Psychosocial Development: In this theory, each stage of development is dominated by a particular developmental task reflecting a conflict between a person’s needs and societies need. That conflict must be resolved before the person can proceed to the next stage. Stage (1): TRUST versus Mistrust: This conflict dominates during the first year of life. Here the concept of TRUST resembles secured attachment. Constant and reliable care that makes the infant feel secured, and feels that parents could be trusted. MISTRUST or insecure attachment may lead to suspiciousness, frustration, and difficulties in forming relationships. Stage (2): AUTONOMY versus DOUBTS: During the second year of life. Autonomy refers to the feeling of Self-Control and self-determination. It is encouraged when the child starts to exercise some control over their action. If parents did not grant them autonomy, children will feel incompetent, become doubt, and will describe themselves (self-concept) negatively. Stage (3): INITIATIVE versus GUILT: This occurs at the play stage (preschool). To initiate constructive activities simply for the sake of being active. Again, parental attitudes, encouraging. or discouraging, can make children feel inadequate or guilt if the child initiates activity that the adult consider as shameful. This is the stage when also children start to develop Gender Identity (The inner experience of being a male or female), and


Gender Role (a socially prescribed patterns of behavior and attitudes for male and females. Stage (4): INDUSTRY versus INFERIORITY: This occurs at school age. Children want to learn the skill valued by adults and the society in order to gain recognition. These include various skills of adults. Successful will lead to the feelings of competence and production, while receiving negative response and critics will lead to inferiority. Stage (5): IDENTITY versus CONFUSION: This conflict occurs during adolescence. Constructing personal identity is the major task of adolescence. Children start to develop a sense of their own individuality. Inability to resolve these questions may lead to identity crisis and role confusion. Stage (6): INTIMACY versus ISOLATION: This is the conflict of EARLY ADULTHOOD. The major task facing young adults is the development of intimacy. It is the ability to commit oneself to a close relationship that demand sacrifices. The negative impact of this conflict is isolation.

Stage (7): GENERATIVITY versus SELF-ABSORPTION: This occurs at middle adulthood. Generativity refers to the concerns over future generations, which may results in feelings of satisfaction. Self-absorption or stagnation is the lack of concerns over future generation, which may’ results in self-dissatisfaction and emptiness. Stage (8): EGO-INTEGRITY versus DESPAIR: This is the conflict of late adulthood Ego integrity refers to the sense of wholeness and meaningfulness of one’s life. Those who resolve this conflict will accept themselves as they are and believe in their dignity. Those who don’t resolve this conflict will fall into despair fear of death and wish to live their life again. Parenting Styles Baumrind has described three basic parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative and permissive.


Other psychologists have differentiated

between two permissive styles (indulgent

and ignoring). These four diverge along two dimensions:
– –

Control of their children’s behavior Responsiveness to their children’s feelings and needs

Authoritarian parents set strict rules that are to be obeyed without question. The child is not consulted or considered in setting or implementing the rules

• Children raised with this style are likely to be fearful, irritable, moody, unhappy, unspontaneous and socially withdrawn.

Permissive-Indulgent parents do not set or enforce clear and consistent rules.

• Children are more cheerful but also aggressive, immature, and impulsive • It is interesting that both INDULGENCE AND AUTHORITARIAN PARENTS have children who tend to display little self-reliance and may have problems with aggression.

Authoritative parents set and enforce clear and consistent rules, but do so in consideration of the child's needs. The rules are based on reasons that are discussed with the child. Exceptions might be made, again with good reason. They are also warm and supportive.

• Children are cheerful, energetic, friendly, and socially competent. They also get the best grades of any of the three groups.

FINALLY, Permissive-Neglecting parents: are more concerned with their own activities and are uninvolved in their children. Their children tend to be: Impulsive; uninterested in school, and lack long-terms goals. Extremely Neglecting parents have children who show clear disturbances in their a attachment relationships and psychological functioning.


Erickson Theory of Psychosocial Development
Stage 1 2 Central Conflict Positive Resolution Consistent warmth fosters trust Encouragement fosters independence, selfsufficiency and self-esteem 3 Early Childhood (3-6 yrs) 4 Middle/Late Industry vs Childhood (6-12 years 5 Adolescence Identity vs Identity Diffusion 6 Young Adulthood 7 Middle Adulthood Intimacy vs Isolation Inferiority Initiative vs Guilt Child initiates activities and Over-control stunts child's spontaneity and developments a sense of responsibility Success with peers and parents leads to pride and social competence Adolescent tries on different Adolescent does not experiment (through roles and develops a stable self-definition and commitment to adult goals Lasting and meaningful relationships promote connectedness and intimacy Generativity vs Unselfish concern for the Stagnation next generation is manifested in work, community activities and child-rearing 8 Late Adulthood Ego Integrity vs Older adult looks back on a Older adult looks back with disappointment, Despair meaningful and satisfying life Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Reasoning dissatisfaction and regret Self-indulgence and self-absorption promote boredom, stagnation and failure Fear of rejection or narcissism inhibits intimate relationships leading to isolation apathy or demands from others) becomes confused about self and future roles Failure with peers and parents leads to inferiority and inadequacy sociability; promotes guilt and fear Restrictions promote self-doubt and low selfesteem. Negative Resolution Neglect leads to fear & mistrust Infancy (0-18 Trust vs mos) Mistrust Toddlerhood Autonomy vs (18-36 mos) Doubt


Level One: Pre-conventional Morality

Stage 1: Punishment-Obedience Orientation Stage 2: Instrumental Relativist Orientation Stage 3: Good Boy-Nice Girl Orientation Stage 4: Law and Order Orientation Stage 5: Social Contract Orientation Stage 6: Universal Ethical Principle Orientation

Level Two: Conventional Morality

Level Three: Post-Conventional Morality


Prepared by Dr. Mohamed Salah Khalil Assistant professor of Clinical Psychology


Permissive-indifferent Authoritarian (Neglecting) Authoritative