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Purdue IIE 366 - Lecture notes

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Prof. Greg Francis 6/16/081Nature versus nurtureIIE 366: DevelopmentalPsychologyGreg FrancisLecture 06Family Policy and Nature-NurtureI. Child Development and Family PolicyA. BackgroundB. Ways to Influence Family PolicyC. Influences on ResearchII. Nature and NurtureA. Genetic Influence on IntelligenceB. Nonshared Environmental influenceI. Child Development and FamilyPolicyA. BackgroundB. Ways to Influence Family PolicyC. Influences on ResearchA. Background Family policy refers to laws and regulations that directlyor indirectly affect families with children. When research indicates ways to foster children’sdevelopment, obvious to use that knowledge. Also because of1. Changing family circumstances2. Declines in children’s social healthB. Ways to Influence SocialPolicy Build understanding of children andtheir development Serve as an advocate for childrenand children’s needs Evaluate policies and programs Develop a model programC. Influences on Research Broader, more comprehensivetheories Improved methods Note: ethics plays a central role ofdevelopmental psychologyProf. Greg Francis 6/16/082 A. Genetic Influence on IntelligenceB. Nonshared Environmental InfluenceII. Nature and Nurture 245 children who were relinquished bytheir mothers at birth, their biologicalmothers, and their adoptive mothers,and 245 control families that includedonly biological children children’s IQ measured every 1-3 years1. Evidence from the ColoradoAdoption StudyReliability and validityAre the results the same when we look at different aspects ofintelligence?Reliability and validityAre the results the same when we look at different aspects ofintelligence?Reliability and validityAre the results the same when we look at different aspects ofintelligence?Prof. Greg Francis 6/16/083Reliability and validityAgainst expectations You might think that the adoption studieswould have a serious problem Selective placement Adoptive parents attempt to select children withdesirable traits Or with traits similar to themselves This turns out not to be a problem for manytraits (since correlations are not found) Moreover, correlations between biologicalmothers and adoptive mothers were .00 forgeneral intelligence, .06 for verbal ability,and .05 for spatial abilityCriticisms One major problem with adoption studies isthat they are observational studies No control of environments Income Education levels Siblings Schools Usually it is unethical to do the experimentsyou would like to do!Intelligence 1930’s orphanage with no room Two “hopeless” baby girls 13 and 16 months Runny noses, ugly hair, undersized, poor muscle tone,unresponsive IQs between 35 and 46 (moderate to severe mentalretardation) Transferred to a ward of adult women in aninstitution for persons with mental retardation 6 months after the move, IQ increased to 77 and 87 A few months later, IQ increased to mid-90s (almostnormal)Skeels (1966) What caused the improvement in IQ? Children received a lot of attention in mentalretardation ward Toys, books Residents played and talked with children Observations suggest an experimentNurture effects The Skeels (1966) study of 25 preschool childrenplaced in an orphanage as infants. Comparison group: 12 children who remained inthe orphanage throughout the preschool years. Average IQ of 86 at start of study Experimental group: 13 children who weretransferred to a home for teenage girls with mentalretardation All classified as mentally retarded (average IQ 64) Unsuitable for adoption (state law) One-to-one care Half-morning kindergarten programProf. Greg Francis 6/16/084Results from SkeelsNurture Changes in environment lead to a 30point difference in IQ!It seems obvious that under present-day conditions there are stillcountless infants with sound biological constitutions and potentialitiesfor development well within the normal range who will becomeretarded and noncontributing members of society unless appropriateintervention occurs. It is suggested by the findings of this study andothers published in the past 20 years that sufficient knowledge isavailable to design programs of intervention to counteract thedevastating effects of poverty, sociocultural, and maternaldeprivation.... The unanswered questions of this study could form thebasis for many life-long research projects. If the tragic fate of thetwelve contrast group children provokes even a single crucial studythat will help prevent such a fate for others, their lives will not havebeen in vain. (p. 109) (Skeels, 1966)B. Nonshared EnvironmentalInfluences 1. A paradox in the study ofenvironmental influence 2. Sources of nonsharedenvironmental influence 3. A specific example: Familysize and birth orderA paradox in the study ofenvironmental influence Adoption studies make it clear that genesaren’t everything. Environment matters. Yet the correlation between siblings is only .35. Sibs differ by an average of 12-13 IQ pointscompared to 15-17 for unrelated pairs. Experience matters but it usually makeschildren within a family different.Sources of NonsharedExperience Accidental factors, such as illness Family structure, including birth order,birth spacing, absence of parents Different parental treatment andexpectations Extrafamily factors including teachers andnonshared peersProf. Greg Francis 6/16/085An example: Impact of family sizeand birth orderNext time Prenatal development

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