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Introduction to Child Development Ch 1 01 28 2014 What is Child Development What is Development o Change in appearance and growth of children s biological structures psychological traits behavior cognitions and ways of adapting to the demands of life over time What is a Child adolescence o We will be studying prenatal development through Child Development a field of study that tries to understand the processes that govern the appearance and growth of children s biological structures psychological traits behavior cognitions and ways of adapting to the demands of life Why Study Child Development Main goals of psychology o Describe behavior o Predict behavior o Determine the Causes of Behavior o Explanation of Behavior Reason 1 Raising Children Assist parents and teachers in meeting the challenges of rearing and educating children o What are the best practices for caring for a newborn o Helping children manage anger and other negative emotions o How to treat and decrease childhood obesity o How to help children with dyslexia Reason 2 Choosing Social Policies Permits informed decisions about social policy questions that affect children o Help courts obtain more accurate testimonies from preschool children o How to decrease bullying in schools o What chemicals in a child s environment can negatively affects his her development o What qualities of child care affect child development Reason 3 Understanding Human Nature Provides important insights into some of the most intriguing questions regarding human nature o Are we born with innate knowledge o What role does timing of experience play in child development o How does early attachment affect us later in life o How influential are genetics on intelligence Methods for Studying Child Development The Scientific Method Contexts for Gathering Data about Children Designs for Examining Development Correlation and Causation Ethical Issues in Child Development Research Scientific Method A systematic method of answering research questions that involves o 1 Choosing a question o 2 Formulating a hypothesis o 3 Testing a hypothesis o 4 Gather empirical evidence o 5 Drawing a conclusion Any event situation behavior or individual characteristics that Variables are abstract concepts that need to be put in concrete Operational definition set of procedures used to measure a Variables varies terms variable Reliability Consistency or stability of a measure of a variable o Interrater reliability The amount of agreement in the observations of different raters who witness the same behavior o Test retest reliability Attained when measures of performance are similar on two or more occasions Validity The degree to which a test or experiment measures what it is intended to measure Researchers strive for three types of validity o Internal validity the degree to which effects observed within experiments can be attributed to the variables that the researcher intentionally manipulated o External validity the degree to which results can be generalized beyond the particulars of the research o Construct validity determines how closely our operational definitions fit our variables Contexts for Gathering Data Interviews Structured interview all participants are asked to answer the same questions Semi structured interview questions are adjusted in accord with the answers the interviewee provides Strengths o Often yield a great deal of data quite quickly and can provide in depth information about individual children Limitations o The answers to interview questions can be biased Contexts for Gathering Data Naturalistic Observation Used when the primary goal of research is to describe how children behave in their usual environments Strengths Limitations o Provides rich information about everyday interactions o It is often hard to know which dimensions influenced the o Many behaviors occur only occasionally in everyday behavior of interest environment Contexts for Gathering Data Structured Observation Involves presenting an identical situation to a number of children and recording each child s behavior Strengths o Enables direct comparisons of different children s behavior and generality of behavior across different tasks Limitations o Does not provide as much information about children s subjective experience as interviews do and does not provide as natural a situation as naturalistic observation does Correlational Designs another The primary goal is to determine how variables are related to one A correlation is the association between two variables o The direction and strength of a correlation is measured by a statistic called the correlation coefficient Correlation vs Causation Direction of causation problem o It is not possible to tell from a correlation which variable is the cause and which is the effect Third variable problem o A correlation between two variables may arise from both being influenced by some third variable o Example of confounding variable a variable not controlled in a research study Experimental Designs Allow inferences about cause and effect Rely on random assignment a procedure in which each child has an equal chance of being assigned to any group within an Experimental control the ability of the researcher to determine the specific experiences that children have during the course of an experiment experiment o Children in the experimental group receive an experience of interest the independent variable o Those in the control group do not receive this experience o All other variables are held constant o The dependent variable is a behavior that is hypothesized to be affected by the independent variable Cross sectional vs Longitudinal Cross sectional designs Children of different ages are compared on a given behavior or characteristic over a short period of time Longitudinal designs the same children are studied twice or more over a period of time Mircogenetic Designs Used to provide an in depth depiction of processes that produce change Children who are thought to be on the verge of an important developmental change are provided with heightened exposure to the type of experience that is believed to produce the change and are studied intensely while their behavior is in transition Ethical Issues in Research Researchers have a vital responsibility to anticipate potential risks that the children in their studies may encounter to minimize such risks and to make sure that the benefits of the research outweigh the potential harm Ethics are especially

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KU PSYC 333 - What is Child Development?

Course: Psyc 333-
Pages: 22
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