Summary Class notes - Developmental Psychology

- Developmental Psychology
- Dr. Marko Nardini
- 2015 - 2016
- DU
- Psychology
356 Flashcards & Notes
1 Students
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Summary - Class notes - Developmental Psychology

  • 1421017200 Introduction

  • What are 5 issues examined by developmental psychology?
    1. Nature vs. nurture 
    2. Sensitive periods in development 
    3. The passive and active child i.e. are children passive participants in development or do they have an active role to play?
    4. How to study development 
    5. Individual differences 
  • What are the key arguments regarding nature vs. nurture? What is a important study regarding this?
    - Nativist position (Descartes, Chomsky, Spelke) - emphasis on innate i.e. nature
    - Empiricist position (Locke, Bandura, Gopnick) - emphasis on environmental influence i.e. nurture 

    - modern position (Plomin) - both nature and nurture are important i.e. skills develop in certain ways, some depend on experience whereas some do not

    Experiment: The Twins Early Development Study (Plomin) - assessed twins over yearly intervals. 
    They assessed identical twins (share 100% genes), non-identical twins (share 50% genes) and adopted siblings (share 0% genes) 
    They found that cognitive and language difficulties were genetic 
  • What experiment shows that there are sensitive periods in development?
    Konrad Lorenz, 1930s-40s

    He found that the behaviour of young ducklings were experience-dependant as he managed to get them to imprint on him i.e. follow him around like he was their mother

    He found that the critical period for experience to influence behaviour was 13-16 hours after hatching
  • What experiment is important to show that active experience is important in visual development?
    Hein & Hein, 1963

    Kittens had the same visual experience but one was active and the other was passive. Tests on the kittens included visually guided paw placement and whether they blink to an approaching object.

    They found that the kitten with passive experience failed the tests whereas the kitten with active experience passed

    = the active nature of experience is crucial for developing skills 
  • What are 3 ways to study development?
    - observation of behaviour
    - looking time measures
    - neural measures
  • What is the 'looking time measures' method?
    Two patterns are presented on either side of a screen.

    If a child looks longer at one side of the screen than the other, then
    - they can tell the difference between the pattern on one side and the pattern on the other AND
    - they prefer one pattern over another 
  • What are two examples of neural measures? What problems can arise form this?
    EEG and NIRS

    With EEG, it is vital that the child sits still = problematic with infants (aged 6 is really the youngest you should go for this reason), therefore fMRI is becoming increasingly used 
  • Why are a lot of studies criticised? 
    They do not take individual differences into account, they just report the group mean data
  • What were the conclusions from this lecture?
    - modern positions places emphasis on relative contributions of nature and nurture
    - experience is inbuilt, assumed part of development - but it must be active and come at the right time 
    - acknowledging individual differences is extremely important 
  • 1421622000 Perceptual, physical and motor development

  • What are the 3 aspects of perceptual development? 
    - orientation 
    - motion 
    - depth 
  • When do cortical mechanisms for orientation perception develop? What experiment is this based on?
    3 weeks - Braddick, Wattam-Bell & Atkinson, 1986
  • When is a baby first able to respond to movement? What experiment is this based on?
    Around 10 weeks for low speeds and 13 weeks for high speeds - motion perception happens later than orientation 

    Wattam-Bell (1991) - they compared same direction movement against direction change to detect when babies are able to respond to movement
  • When are babies able to see in depth? What experiment is this based on?
    Around 15 weeks - infants get better at perceiving fine changes in depth as they get older

    Braddick & Atkinson, 1983
  • Basic visual functions have different onset times: orientation (3 weeks), then motion (10 weeks), then depth (15 weeks)
  • How important is the role of experience in visual development?
    Very important - Cynader, Berman & Hein, 1973 found that kittens deprived of continuous motion had no directional cells in their visual cortex (also supported in Pasternak et al, 1981) 
  • Visual and the motor system are linked - important in perceiving layouts of scenes and feeding it to the motor system 
  • What is the traditional view of the development of motor control?
    Motor development is seen as progression through a series of milestones/phases/stages.
    Development was though to occur in a rigid manner, with the stages occurring in a strict order and at similar times for all infants (i.e. infants couldn't progress to stage 4 if they had not completed stage 3)

    Shirley 1933 thought this idea
  • What did Shirley's, 1933 experiment on the Traditional motor development show? Why is this?
    It showed that back in the 1930s, children learnt to walk at a later age than they do now (1933:15 months) - people had more children back then so they couldn't spend as much time with each individual child = this shows that experience is important, which refutes the Traditional idea
  • What experiment agrees with Shirley, 1933?
    Gesell & Ames, 1940 - they proposed that there were 23 stages of locomotor development 
  • What are the modern views of motor control?
    - motor abilities are present earlier than previously thought
    - however, the expression of motor abilities is limited by other factors: physical development, experience with motor programs and the visuomotor environment = The Dynamic Systems view (Thelen, 1984; Adolph, 2000)
  • What did Adolph & Berger, 2006 find in their experiment?
    Non-stage like development = flexible timing in motor development - experience driven view of motor development 

    They found that children can be in two stages at once; regress stages, skip stages.
    There were lots of variations in their results = lots of variation to when children develop 
    - this study questions the Traditional view of motor development 
  • What did Thelen, Fisher & Ridley-Johnson, 1984 find in their experiment?
    Stepping is limited by muscle strength i.e. Physical development is a huge factor in walking development - disagrees with the traditional view

    They had two experiments - one discouraging stepping (with/without weights) and one encouraging stepping (land/water) 
    They found that chubbier babies usually walk less because they don't have the muscle development yet 
  • Experience is important for motor skills - not necessarily to do with age
  • For humans, experience is necessary for learning visual cues to depth and feeding them into motor plans - e.g. Gibson & Walk, 1960 - 'The visual cliff' - the child will crawl to their mum if she is own the shallow side of the board. If the mum is on the deep end, the child will refuse to crawl to their mum because a visual cue indicated depth drop. 
  • What are the conclusions from this lecture?
    There are strong links between:
    - perceptual & motor abilities
    - physical & motor abilities 

    All 3 systems (Physical, perceptual, motor) effectively train each other to mature levels

    Nature vs nurture debate - experience is key
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What are 6 examples of developmental disorders that have a known genetic disorder?
1. Down syndrome3 (not 2) copies of chromosome 21

2. Turner syndromeFemales missing all or part of one of the normal 2 copies of the X chromosome

3. Williams syndromeDeletion of genetic material from a region of chromosome 7

4. Fragile XPiece of genetic code repeated multiple times on one copy of the X chromosome

5. Phenylketonuria (PKU)Mutation of a single gene on chromosome 12
varies by population

6. FOXP2Mutation of the FOXP2 gene on chromosome 7
one known family
What are 2 methods for measuring the implicit understanding of false belief at 9 months to 3 years?
1. Looking time methods
2. Alternative looking-based measure: anticipation 

(Note, it's difficult to measure this understanding at such a young age)
What experiment demonstrates the exact large-number numerosity?
Siegler & Robinson, 1982

A number of skills needed, including knowing:
1. the relative values of the number words, e.g. that 5 > 2
2. that the last counting word also represents the total number
3. that objects can be counted in any order

= at 3 years, can often count to 10, but without understanding most of the above
= At 4 years, can correctly answer “which is bigger” (e.g. 5 or 2) 

Note: An important foundation for exact numerosity is learning to count
What experiments assesses small number tracking in infants?
Wynn, 1992: “Addition and subtraction by human infants”

Task: look at slide 36 
Results: 5-month olds look longer at the impossible event = shows they keep track of how many there are, and understand the effect of adding or subtracting 1

Exact number representations are limited to about 3-4
What experiment demonstrates the geometry ability of adults, children and Mundurucu (amazon culture without instruction)?
Dehaene et al (2006)
Izard & Spelke (2009)(Review: Izard et al (2011) In Brannon & Dehaene (Eds.), Attention and Performance Vol. 24)

Test: participants had to say which shape was the odd one out out of a series of shapes?

Results: Mundurucu and US children find similar items easy vs difficult. Also, correlations between Mundurucu and US adults, and US children and US adults.

Interpretation: although education increases % correct, perception of similar geometric features is independent of education
According to Spelke & Newcombe, what develops in terms of spatial representatives?
Spelke: nativist approach. “core knowledge” of basic spatial concepts supplemented by education and language (e.g. Spelke & Kinzler, 2007)

Newcombe: empiricist or “neoconstructivist” approach. Increasingly sophisticated spatial coding schemes are constructed from experience (e.g. Newcombe, 2011)
What are examples of simple and formal systems of space, number and maths?
Space - location coding 
           - navigation

Number and maths - small number tracking
                                  -  larger number discriminations

Space - map reading 
           - geometry 

Formal - exact numerosity 
             - arithmetic
What is an explanation of infantile amnesia?
Changes in the way we encode information and form mental representations between 2-4 years of age

There are crucial differences between the way infants and older children encode information:
1. Young infants have a very limited vocabulary

---> changes in encoding the world could mean that it is difficult for older children/adults to access memories which were formed before these changes in encoding.   - p. 310 developmental textbook
What experiment shows the musical discrimination ability of 7 month old infants?
Saffran et al
- 7 month olds listened to two Mozart sonata movements at home once a day, for 14 days

Can they discriminate passages taken from these familiar pieces of music from unfamiliar pieces?

12 trials, 4 pieces of music (2 familiar + 2 unfamiliar) 
On each trial -
  • blinking light to one side = attracts infant attention
  • once head is turned, speaker on the same side plays 20sec passage
  • coder records how long until the infant looks away
Hypothesis - infants will attend longer to the familiar passage 

Infants look longer at novel passages (contradicts hypothesis, but still shows an ability to tell them apart) 
Control group (did not have home listening) - all the passages are equally engaging
What is the summary of this lecture?
- Pretence and cognition: developing abilities for symbolic representation
- Play and social development: social play is learnt with others, and can help develop ToM skills

- Development from scribbles to representation
- Early representational drawings symbolic rather than realistic – parallels with symbolic play and ToM