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Chapter 1: An Introduction to Child DevelopmentI. Why Study Child Development?A. Choosing Social Policies1) Courtroom testimoniesa) Biased questioning of a scenario leads to inaccurate testimoniesb) Children can be reliable witnesses when not probed by leading questions2) Health-education preventative programs3) Academic and social skills programsB. Understanding Human Nature1) Timinga) The timing of negative experiences influences the longevity and intensity of their effectsC. History of Childhood1) Classical Eraa) Military upbringingb) Abandoned if “defective”2) Medieval Timesa) Children tried as adults3) 17th, 18th Centuriesa) Initiated by philosophersII. Historical Foundations of the Study of Child DevelopmentA. Early Philosophers’ View of Children’s Development1) Platoa) The future of society rests on the proper rearing of childrenb) Emphasized self-control and discipline in educationc) Children are born with innate knowledge2) Aristotlea) The future of society rests on the proper rearing of childrenb) Advocated personalizing parenting styles to individual childc) Tabula rasa – blank slate; children only learn from experience3) John Lockea) Tabula rasab) Empiricism(i) Development directed by nurturec) Goal of parenting – character growth(i) Achieved through parents’ honesty, stability, and gentlenessd) Avid discipline and frugality in early yearse) Treat them as adults as soon as they are old enough4) Jean-Jacques Rousseaua) Nativism(i) Development directed by natureb) Maximum freedom until age 12c) No formal education until age 12 – the “age of reason”5) Hobbesa) Children are inherently selfish and evilb) Children require control and discipline6) John B. Watson, B.F. Skinnera) Stimulus/response learningb) Behaviorismc) Equipotentiality(i) Anyone can learn anythingd) Operant conditioning(i) Use of external stimuli to influence behavior7) Modern Theoriesa) Interactionism(i) Hybrid of empiricism and nativismb) Studying children in context of environmentB. Social Reform Movements1) Industrial Revolutiona) Child labor laws enacted in the 19th century forbid employment of children under age 10C. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution1) Charles Darwin was one of first child researchers on his own son, William2) Evolutionary theory applies to parental attachment, innate fears, sex differences, aggression and altruism, and learning mechanisms3) Similarities drawn between speciesD. The Emergence of Child Development as a Discipline1) Child development became known as its own field around the turn of the centuryIII. Enduring Themes In Child DevelopmentA. Nature and Nurture1) Naturea) Biological components, genetic make up(i) Chromosomal abnormalities(ii) Eye color(iii) Temperamentb) Maturational timetables(i) Growing teeth(ii) Learning to walk(iii) Timing of language developmentc) Hormonal changes(i) Menstruation(ii) Bird-song acquisitiond) Reflexes(i) Newborn humans(ii) Newborn non-humanse) Instincts(i) Spider’s web(ii) Cricket song(iii) Imprinting- Critical period (9-24 hours)2) Nurturea) Physical and social surroundings that influence developmentb) Environmental factors(i) Native language(ii) Effects of child abuse and neglect(iii) Nutrition(iv)Prenatal toxinsc) Learning(i) Conditioned responses(ii) Playing an instrument(iii) Recognizing voicesd) Effects of experience(i) Food preferences(ii) Development of prejudice3) Nature AND nurture, not nature versus nurturea) Interaction of genes and environment, not just one or the otherb) From which influence do behaviors originate?B. The Active Child1) Children begin to shape their development by focusing on interesting objects and people2) Toddlers practice talking even when by themselves3) Children’s play demonstrates an innate desire to learn about the world and their own development4) Pretend play offers children the chance to experience others’ emotions and reactions to various scenariosC. Continuity Versus Discontinuity1) Continuous developmenta) An ongoing, steady processb) i.e. Physical growth2) Discontinuous developmenta) Sudden stagesb) i.e. development of a caterpillar to a butterflyc) stage theories(i) development progresses through distinctive, sudden stages(ii) Piaget’s theory of cognitive development- Four-stage course of development from birth to adolescence3) Perspectivesa) Even the same facts viewed through different perspectives appear to support either theory of development(i) i.e. height by age versus height gain by age- continuous versus discontinuousD. Mechanisms of Developmental Change1) Effortful attentiona) Voluntary control of emotions and thoughtsb) Inhibiting impulsesc) Regulating emotionsd) Focusing attention2) Anterior cingulatea) Involved in setting and achieving goals3) Neurotransmittersa) Communicative brain chemicalsE. The Sociocultural Context1) Defined as the physical, social, cultural, economic, and historical circumstances of a child’s life2) Most important factors of context are:a) Those with whom the child interactsb) Physical environment surrounding the childc) Surrounding institutions (schools, extracurricular activities, religion, etc.)3) Influential characteristics of societya) Wealthb) Technological advancementc) Attitudes and ethicsd) Beliefs and traditionse) Legal system and laws4) Socioeconomic status (SES)a) Measure of social class based on income and education receivedb) Strong correlation between SES and developmental problems (physically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally)5) Resilient childrena) Children more resistant to negative circumstances are more likely to have these attributes:(i) Positive personal qualities- High intelligence, adaptability(ii) Close relationship with at least one parent(iii) Close relationship with at least one adult outside of their immediate familyF. Individual Differences1) Four Factors Causing Differences Among Siblingsa) Genetic variancesb) Differences in treatment by other people, particularly parents(i) Treatment differences stem from presumption of child’s characteristics and behaviorsc) Differences in reactions to similar experiencesd) Different choices of environments(i) Role of active child(ii) Desire to fill labeled roles of behavior2) Competence vs. Performancea) Understanding vs. doingb) i.e. understanding language vs. implementing grammar in own speechG. Research and Children’s Welfare1) Preferential lookinga) Process involved in evaluating the severity of an infant’s cataracts2) Improvement in Educational

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UW-Madison PSYCH 560 - Chapter 1

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