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Developmental And Child Psychology Notes

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Lectures 3 and 4 - Introduction to Developmental and Child Psychology (various chapters) NORMAL CHILD DEVELOPMENT Sensory, motor, cognitive and emotional development Attachment and parent-child relations

Nature vs. nurture: nature is expressed through the process of maturation - an innately determined sequence of growth and change which is relatively resistant to external events. Most psychologists see that maturation combined with conditioning and learning is responsible for normal development e.g. children will progress through the same stages of maturation but at different rates depending on their environment.
 Critical/sensitive periods: e.g. imprinting in young birds as an example. Critical periods: crucial time periods at which specific events are to occur if development is to proceed normally e.g. 6-7 weeks is the critical period for sex organ development in the foetus. Sensitive periods: periods that are optimal for a particular type of development therefore if a behaviour is not well established in its sensitive period, it may not ever develop to its full potential.
 Classical psychological vs. neuroscientific approaches to development: Piaget as an example of the classical psychological approach where it is believed that a set of interacting processes determine the basis of changing behaviour. The neuroscientific approaches the biological mechanisms underlying changes in behaviour i.e. structure-function relationships through the use of imaging such as MRI. Cognitive development
 Piaget's stage theory and 'object permanence': not all psychologists agree that development can be assigned to discrete stages and instead see that it is a more fluent, gradual process. Piaget saw children as inquiring scientists who perform activities to see what happens and as a result construct theories of how the world operates ('schemas') e.g. 'what will happen if I push this plate off the table?' 1. Sensorimotor (0-2years): child sees self as separate from objects and begins to act intentionally and discover relationships. Object permanence also appears between the age of 8 and 10 months - however it is only at about 1 year that a child will look consistently for an object where it last disappeared (as opposed to forgetting about it/looking in alternative places). 2. Preoperational stage (2-7 years): learns to use language and represent objects by images and words. Is 'egocentric' i.e. finds it hard to take the viewpoint of others and classifies objects by one feature e.g. puts all red objects in a group despite varying shapes and sizes. 3. Concrete operational stage (7-11 years): can think logically about events and shows conservation of number, mass and weight (e.g. can appreciate that there is still the same amount of clay despite it being in a different shape). Can classify objects according to multiple features. Formal operational (11+): can test hypotheses systematically and think about things logically. Can consider the hypothetical, future and ideological. Motor and sensory/perceptual development
 Motor: Newborn, reflexes ('lower' motor movement), grasp, sucking and walking neonatal reflexes (when feet touch ground). These reflexes disappear and give way to adaptive responses in later life. 3 months, attempts at reaching/grasping with batting arm movements. 4-6 months, onset of reaching and grasping and rolling over. 6-8 months, sitting unaided, trunk rotation, competent reaching a grasping, beginning of hand-shaping and crawling. 1015 months, competent actions as above with walking, pincer grasp, climbing and throwing.

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