- Define development, focusing on three elements of its scientific study.
Development is the scientific study of people’s lifespan changes, that is, from conception (womb) to death (tomb). It focuses on the systematic changes that occur over time among all individuals, and which explain continuities and discontinuities in life.
- List and describe the basic steps of the scientific method.
- Posing of the problem is done based on prior research, theory or observation.
- Formulating of a hypothesis refers to an educated prediction, which can be verified or tested.
- Testing of the hypothesis requires a research design and data/evidence gathering.
- Making a conclusion is the use of evidence to defend or refute the hypothesis.
- Reporting of the research findings means the sharing of the conclusion as an alternative explanation to a given phenomenon.
- Identify five characteristics of development.
- Explain what it means to say development is multidirectional, and describe how continuity and discontinuity explain the variability of development.
Development is multidirectional, in the sense that, people grow in stages (such as the views held by Piaget, Erikson, Freud) or change in every direction over time. Continuity explains development variability due to the fact that individuals grow gradually each day (e.g., weight gain) whereas discontinuity explains development variability in that people change rapidly within a specified timeframe (e.g., growth spurt).
- Discuss the multicultural nature of human development.
Multicultural nature of human development refers to the behavioral patterns that are passed from one generation to the next (such as during the interaction of culture, education, and other factors.
- Define and differentiate culture, ethnicity, and race.
Culture is inclusive of the behavioral patterns that are passed from one generation to the next. Ethnicity refers to group of people with certain, shared attributes (e.g., ancestral heritage, language, culture). Race is defined as human classification on the basis of structural and physical characteristics. The differences among culture, ethnicity, and race are as follows: Culture means patterned behaviors (e.g., eastern culture) that exist among members of a group. Ethnicity refers to individuals as a group with shared attributes (e.g., cultural background). Race is a simply a biological categorization (e.g., skin color).
- Discuss how the multidisciplinary approach to the study of development makes clear that each person develops simultaneously in the three domains.
The multidisciplinary approach to human development makes clear that each individual will develop simultaneously in the three domains (e.g., bio-socially, cognitively and psycho-socially) because human traits and behavior can be explained by genetics, neuroscience and other disciplines.
- (A View from Science) Discuss the implications of mirror-neuron research.
The implications of mirror neurons research consist in the enabling power for individuals to understand other peoples’ behavior of other individuals because they have sense of interconnectedness and shared meanings despite their various socio-cultural backgrounds.
- Explain the importance of plasticity in human development.
The importance of plasticity in human development is the subtlety yet orchestrated performance that occur between the human brain and the environment. Because of a person’s brain ability to mold and remold its experiences, it facilitates the embrace of other experiences that result to an endless possibility for neural changes to take place time and again.
- Discuss the major focus of psychoanalytic theories, and describe the conflicts that occur during Freud’s psychosexual stages.
The major focus of psychoanalytic theories is about development of people’s unconscious, irrational motives and drives that had originated during childhood until such time that they mature. The conflicts that occurred during Freud’s psychosexual stages is in the oral and anal stages. According to Freud, if a mother hinders her child’s urge to suck, the infant may later turn into a “fixated” adult who is a drunkard, smoker, etc. In the same manner, a child who has been stuck in the anal stage may develop a personality where the infant has an excessive, compulsive desire for cleanliness.
- Describe the crises of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, and contrast them with Freud’s stages.
The crises of Erikson’s psychosocial development theory are the following: trust contra distrust, autonomy contra shame, initiative contra guilt, industry contra inferiority, identity contra role, intimacy contra isolation, generativity contra stagnation, and integrity contra despair. In other words, Erikson described the societal influence across a person’s whole lifespan whereas Freud’s stages point out to either the successful completion of each of the psychosexual stages for an individual to have a healthy personality; otherwise, “fixation” in a particular stage until such time that the conflict has been resolved.
- Discuss the major focus of behaviorism, and explain the basic principles of classical and operant conditioning.
The basic focus of behaviorism (or learning theory) is on observable behavior because it explains the processes and laws by which learning takes place. The basic principles of classical, respondent or Pavlovian conditioning are that human learns through the association of a neutral stimulus with a meaningful response. Operant, instrumental or Skinnerian conditioning, on the other hand, refers to the process of learning wherein an action is done or performed repeatedly because it is something desired or positively reinforced, respectively. The same holds true when an action is undesirable that is why it is likely to be repeated.
- Discuss social learning theory as an extension of behaviorism.
Bandura’s Social Learning Theory is an extension of behaviorism considering that it highlights the impact that individuals have over other people’s behavior. It makes use of modeling where individuals learn by copying or observing others (such as those being punished or rewarded). Self-efficacy, likewise, refers to how other human action can alter people’s view of effectiveness about themselves based on the social environment.
- Identify the primary focus of cognitive theory, and briefly describe Piaget’s stages of cognitive development.
The primary focus of Piaget’s Cognitive Theory is that expectations and thoughts hugely influence individual action; thus, how individual thought is altered over time. Piaget’s stages of cognitive development can be described concisely, as follows: Stage 1 – birth to 6 months include an infant’s reflexes (e.g., listening, grasping, sucking); Stage 2 – 1 to 4 months is the initial acquired adaptations (e.g., reflexive coordination); Stage 3 – 4 to 8 months is doing interesting sights (e.g., response to people); Stage 4 – 8 to 12 months consist of anticipation and new adaptation; Stage 5 – 12 to 18 months requires active experimentation; and Stage 6 – 18 to 24 months is meaning making stage.
- Discuss the process that, according to Piaget, guides cognitive development.
The process that guides cognitive development is human intelligence. Forpiaget, children do not simply learn, but also think differently in order to adapt to their environment. People who mature adapt better even under scenarios that are more complex because they were able to have a much organized thoughts and behavior.
- Describe the ecological-systems approach to the study of human development, and explain how this approach leads to an understanding of the overlapping contexts in which people develop.
Bronfenbrenner’s ecological-systems approach describes overlapping contexts in which people develop. According to this approach, individuals should be taken into consideration using all life’s necessary scenarios and interactions. Because people live as members of society, any changes in it will impact on their development.
- Explain how the dynamic-systems approach highlights the interactive nature of development.
The dynamic- systems approach emphasizes the ever-changing interplay and influence of each and every parts of the system. For instance, The interactive nature of human development emerges from diverse familial, cultural, social and other systems to produce a particular event in a person’s life.
- Describe scientific observation as a research strategy, noting at least one advantage (or strength) and one disadvantage (or weakness).
Scientific observation as a research strategy is an approach of testing hypotheses through an unobtrusive watching and/or recording of a participants' action in an objective and systematic way. One of the advantages of scientific observation is in its directedness in recording human behavior. Its disadvantage is that it is demanding and time-consuming giving the fact that the researcher has to directly be involved in the research process.
- Describe the components of an experiment, and discuss the main advantage of this research method.
The components of an experiment are: dependent variable, independent variable, control (comparison) group, and experimental group. The dependent variable, which is dependent on the independent variable, may change as a result of a new situation in an experiment. The independent / experimental variable refers to what experimental effects it has on the dependent variable. A control or comparison group is being compared to the experimental or treatment group and is separated from the rest of the experiment so that it will not influence the research results. On the other hand, the experimental group is the one used in the performance of an experimental procedure.
- Describe surveys, noting at least one advantage (or strength) and one disadvantage (or weakness).
Surveys are research techniques used to collect information from a large number of individuals by means of questionnaire, interview, and related ones. One of the strengths of surveys is in the gathering of large quantity of data whereas its weakness is that it is not easy to obtain valid data.
- Describe three basic research designs used by developmental psychologists.
The three basic research designs used by developmental psychologists are cross-sequential, cross sectional, and longitudinal. Cross sequential research designs allow the study of and longitudinal follow up study of the same several groups of various ages. Cross-sectional designs study groups who differ in age and yet share similar characteristics (e.g., ethnicity, education). Longitudinal designs study people over an extended period.
- Describe two common mistakes made in the interpretation of research.
The two common mistakes made in research interpretation are misinterpreting correlations. Similarly, depending on too much numbers, a variable is not always the cause another variable.
- Briefly summarize some of the ethical issues involved in conducting research with humans.
Some of the ethical issues in doing research with humans are, as follows: participation should not cause harm to the subjects. Likewise, participation should be made confidential and voluntary. Research participants should know beforehand the research procedure and the potential risks involved.
Encyclopædia Britannica. (2013). Psychosexual Stage. Retrieved from http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/481819/psychosexual-stage
Andover, P. (n.d.). The difference between classical and operant conditioning. Retrieved from TED Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-difference-between-classical-and-operant-conditioning-peggy-andover
Berger, K. S. (2010). Invitation to the Lifespan. London: Macmillan Higher Education.
Cherry, K. (2013). Erikson's Psychosocial Stages Summary Chart. Retrieved from About.com: Psychology: http://psychology.about.com/library/bl_psychosocial_summary.htm
Davis, D., & Clifton, A. (n.d.). Psychosocial Theory: Erikson. Retrieved from http://www.haverford.edu/psych/ddavis/p109g/erikson.stages.html
Goodwin, C. (2009). Research In Psychology: Methods and Design. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Harris, M., & Butterworth, G. (2012). Developmental Psychology: A Student's Handbook. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
Hoiland, E. (n.d.). Brain Plasticity: What Is It? (E. Chudler, Editor) Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/plast.html
Iacoboni, M., & Mazziotta, J. (2007). Mirror Neuron System: Basic Findings and Clinical Applications. Annals of Neurology, 213–218.
Leong, F., & Austin, J. (2006). The Psychology Research Handbook: A Guide for Graduate Students and Research Assistants. New York: SAGE Publications.
McLeod, S. (2012). Jean Piaget. Retrieved from Simply Psychology: http://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html