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Invitation to the Life Span

by Kathleen Stassen Berger

Chapter 1 The Science of Development

PowerPoint Slides developed by Martin Wolfger and Michael James Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington

Defining Development
The science of human development

seeks to understand how and why peopleall kinds of people, everywhere, of every agechange over time.

Understanding How and Why


Five basic steps of the scientific method:
On the basis of theory, prior research, or a personal observation, pose a question. Develop a hypothesis, a specific prediction, that can be tested. Test the hypothesis. Design and conduct research to gather empirical evidence (data). Draw conclusions. Use the evidence to support or refute the hypothesis. Report the results. Share the data and conclusions, as well as alternative explanation.

The Nature-Nurture Debate


Nature refers to the influence of genes which we inherit. Nurture refers to environmental influences, such as:
health and diet of the embryos mother family school community society

Critical and Sensitive Periods


A critical period is a time when certain things must occur for normal development.

A sensitive period is when a particular development occurs most easily.

The Life-Span Perspective


Development is multidirectional
Over time, human characteristics change in every direction. Several major theorists describe stages of development: Freud, Erickson, Piaget.

Others view development as a continuous process.

The Life-Span Perspective


Development Is Multicontextual
HISTORICAL CONTEXT- All persons born within a few years of one another are said to be a cohort, a group defined by the shared age of its members.

The Life-Span Perspective


Socioeconomic Context
socioeconomic status (SES)
A persons position in society as determined by income, wealth, occupation, education, and place of residence.

The Life-Span Perspective


Development Is Multicultural
Culture - patterns of behavior that are passed from one generation to the next. Vygotsky described the interaction between culture and education. Ethnic group - People whose ancestors were born in the same region and who often share a language, culture, and religion

The Life-Span Perspective


Development Is Multidisciplinary
Genetics and neuroscience are two of the newer disciplines in lifespan research. Every traitpsychological as well as physicalis influenced by genes.

The Life-Span Perspective


Development Is Plastic
Human traits can be molded (as plastic can be), yet people maintain a certain durability of identity (as plastic does). Mirror neurons- Cells in an observers brain that respond to an action performed by someone else in the same way they would if the observer had actually performed that action.

Theories of Human Development


A developmental theory is a systematic statement of principles and generalizations that provides a framework for understanding how and why people change as they grow older.

Theories of Human Development


Psychoanalytic Theory
A theory of human development that holds that irrational, unconscious drives and motives, often originating in childhood, underlie human behavior. Psychoanalytic theory originated with Sigmund Freud (1856 1939)

Theories of Human Development


Ericksons Stages
Erik Erikson (19021994) Described eight developmental stages, each characterized by a challenging developmental crisis. His first five stages build on Freuds theory; but, he also described three adult stages.

Theories of Human Development

Theories of Human Development


Behaviorism
A theory of human development that studies observable behavior. Behaviorism is also called learning theory, because it describes the laws and processes by which behavior is learned. Conditioning- According to behaviorism, the processes by which responses become linked to particular stimuli and learning takes place.

Theories of Human Development


Classical conditioning - Ivan Pavlov
(1849-1936)

(also called respondent conditioning), a process in which a person or animal learns to associate a neutral stimulus with a meaningful stimulus, gradually reacting to the neutral stimulus with the same response as to the meaningful one.

Theories of Human Development


Operant conditioning - B.F. Skinner
(19041990)

(also called instrumental conditioning) a learning process in which a particular action is followed either by something desired (which makes the person or animal more likely to repeat the action) or by something unwanted (which makes the action less likely to be repeated).

Theories of Human Development

Theories of Human Development


Social Learning Theory - Albert Bandura (b.
1925)

An extension of behaviorism that emphasizes the influence that other people have over a persons behavior. Modeling- people learn by observing other people and then copying them. Self-efficacy- (how effective people think they are when it comes to changing themselves or altering their social context.

Theories of Human Development


Cognitive Theory
Thoughts and expectations profoundly affect action. Focuses on changes in how people think over time. Jean Piaget (18961980)

Theories of Human Development

Theories of Human Development


Assimilation, in which new experiences are interpreted to fit into, or assimilate with, old ideas Accommodation, in which old ideas are restructured to include, or accommodate, new experiences

Theories of Human Development


Systems Theory
Change in one part of a person, family, or society affects every aspect of development Ecological systems approach- Urie Bronfenbrenner (19172005) The person should be considered in all the contexts and interactions that constitute a life.

Theories of Human Development


Five Components of Bronfenbrenners System
microsystems (elements of the persons immediate surroundings, such as family and peer group) exosystems (local institutions such as school and church) macrosystems (the larger social setting, including cultural values, economic policies, and political processes)

Theories of Human Development


chronosystem (literally, time system), which affects the other three systems mesosystem, consisting of the connections among the other systems

Using the Scientific Method


Scientific Observation
requires the researcher to record behavior systematically and objectively. May be done in a naturalistic setting such as a home, school, or other public place. May be done in a laboratory.

Using the Scientific Method


The Experiment establishes causal relationships among variables.
independent variable- the variable that is introduced to see what effect it has on the dependent variable. dependent variable- the variable that may change as a result of whatever new condition or situation the experimenter adds.

Using the Scientific Method


experimental group- gets a particular treatment (the independent variable). comparison group (also called a control group), which does not get the treatment.

Using the Scientific Method

Using the Scientific Method


The Survey
Information is collected from a large number of people by interview, questionnaire, or some other means. Acquiring valid survey data is not easy. Some people lie, some change their minds. Survey answers are influenced by the wording and the sequence of the questions.

Studying Development over the Life Span


Cross-sectional Research
Groups of people of one age are compared with people of another age.

Longitudinal Research
Collecting data repeatedly on the same individuals as they age.

Cross-sequential Research
Study several groups of people of different ages (a cross-sectional approach) and follow them over the years (a longitudinal approach).

Cautions from Science


Correlation and Causation
A correlation exists between two variables if one variable is more (or less) likely to occur when the other does. A correlation is positive if both variables tend to increase together or decrease together. A correlation is negative if one variable tends to increase while the other decreases. A correlation is zero if no connection is evident. Correlation is not causation

Ethics
Each academic discipline and professional society involved in the study of human development has a code of ethics.
Researchers must ensure that participation is voluntary, confidential, and harmless. Subjects (participants in research) must give informed consent- they must understand the research procedures and any risks involved.