UNIT IX: Developmental Psychology

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Unit IX: Developmental Psychology Notes: (p.411-441) & (450-453)
Developmental psychology examines how people are continually developing—physically, cognitively, and socially—from infancy through old age.
  • Much of its research revolves around:
    • o Nature and nurture: How do genetic inheritance (our nature) and experience (the nurture we receive) influence our development?
    • o Continuity and stages: Is development a gradual, continuous process like riding an escalator, or does it proceed through a sequence of separate stages, like climbing rungs on a ladder?
    • o Stability and change: Do our early personality traits persist through life, or do we become different persons as we age?
Prenatal Development and the Newborn--
  • A woman is born with all the immature eggs she will ever have—only 1 in 5000 of those eggs will ever mature and be released.
  • A man begins producing sperm cells at puberty, beginning with 1000 sperm and slows with age.
    • o Over 200 million or more deposited sperm race to reach the unfertilized egg. The few that reach the egg release digestive enzymes that eat at the protective coating of the egg.
      • § As soon as the sperm begins to penetrate and is welcomed, the egg blocks out others.
      • § Before halt a day, the egg and the nucleus fuse and become one.
Prenatal Development:
  • Fewer than half of all fertilized eggs, called zygotes, survive beyond the first 2 weeks.
    • o One cell became 2, then 4—each just like the first—until this cell division produced a zygote of some 100 cells within the first week.
    • o Then the cells began to differentiate—to specialize in structure and function.
    • o About 10 days after conception, the zygote attaches to the mother’s uterine wall, beginning approximately 37 weeks of the closest human relationship.
      • § The zygote’s inner cells become the embryo.
        • Over the next 6 weeks, organs begin to form and function. The heart begins to beat.
  • o By 9 weeks after conception, the embryo looks unmistakably human. It is now a fetus.
  • o During the sixth month, organs such as the stomach have developed enough to allow a prematurely born fetus a chance of survival.
    • § At this point, the fetus is also responsive to sound.
  • o At each prenatal stage, genetic and environmental factors affect our development.
    • § The placenta, which formed as the zygote’s outer cells attached to the uterine wall, transfers nutrients and oxygen from mother to fetus.
      • The placenta also screens out many potentially harmful substances. But some substances slip by, including teratogens, which are harmful agents such as viruses and drugs.
  • o There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol enters the woman’s bloodstream, and her fetus’—and depresses activity in both their central nervous systems.
    • § A pregnant mother’s alcohol use may prime her offspring to like alcohol.
      • For 1 in about 800 infants, the effects are visible as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), marked by a small, misproportioned head and lifelong brain abnormalities.
The Competent Newborn:
  • Having survived prenatal hazards, we as newborns came equipped with automatic responses ideally suited for our survival.
    • o We withdrew our limbs to escape pain. If a cloth over our face interfered with our breathing, we turned our head from side to side and swiped at it.
    • o When something touches their cheek, babies turn toward that touch, open their mouth, and vigorously root for a nipple. Finding one, they automatically close on it and begin sucking, which itself requires a coordinated sequence of reflexive tonguing, swallowing, and breathing.
    • o Habituation: decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation. As infants gain familiarity with repeated exposure to a visual stimulus, their interest wanes and they look away sooner.
      • § Janine Spencer, Paul Quinn, and their colleagues (1997; Quinn,2002) used a novelty-preference procedure to ask 4-month-olds how they recognize cats and dogs.
        • Suggests that infants focus on the face first, not the body.
  • o Within days after birth, our brain’s neural networks were stamped with the smell of our mother’s body.
    • § At 3 weeks, if given a pacifier that sometimes turns on recordings of its mother’s voice and sometimes that of a female stranger’s, an infant will suck more vigorously when it hears its now-familiar mother’s voice.
Infancy and Childhood:
  • During infancy, a baby grows from newborn to toddler, and during childhood from toddler to teenager. From infancy on, brain and mind, neural hardware and cognitive software, develop together.
Physical Development:
  • In your mother’s womb, your developing brain formed nerve cells at the explosive rate of nearly one-quarter million per minute.
    • o The developing brain cortex actually overproduces neurons, with the number peaking at 28 weeks and then subsiding to a stable 23 billion or so at birth.
    • o On the day you were born, you had most of the brain cells you would ever have.
      • § However, your nervous system was immature: After birth,the branching neural networks that eventually enabled you to walk, talk, and remember had a wild growth spurt.
  • o From ages 3 to 6, the most rapid growth was in your frontal lobes, which enable rational planning.
    • § This helps explain why preschoolers display a rapidly developing ability to control their attention and behavior
  • o The association areas; those linked with thinking, memory, and language, are the last cortical areas to develop.
    • § Fiber pathways supporting language and agility proliferate into puberty, after which a pruning processs huts down excess connections and strengthens others.
  • o We go through a biological growth process called maturation.
    • § Maturation: biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience.
    • § Maturation decrees many of our commonalities, from standing before walking, to using nouns before adjectives.
Motor Development:
  • The developing brain enables physical coordination.
    • o As an infant’s muscles and nervous system mature, more complicated skills emerge.
    • o With occasional exceptions, the motor development sequence is universal.
      • § Babies rollover before they sit unsupported; they crawl on all fours before they begin to walk à reflect maturing of nervous system.
  • o There is a difference in timing:
    • § In the United States, for example, 25 percent of all babies walk by age 11 months, 50 percent within a week after their first birthday, and 90 percent by age 15 month.
  • o Genes play a major role in motor development.
    • § Identical twins typically begin sitting up and walking on nearly the same day
    • § Maturation, including the rapid development of the cerebellum at the back of the brain, creates our readiness to learn walking at about age 1. Experience before that time has a limited effect.
Maturation and Infant Memory:
  • Our memories rarely predate our third birthday.
    • o This is explained by infantile amnesia
    • o By 4-5 years, childhood amnesia is giving way to remembered experiences.
      • § Even into adolescence, the brain areas underlying memory, such as the hippocampus and frontal lobes, continue to mature.
  • o Although we consciously recall little from before age 4, our memory was processing information during those early years.
    • § Rovee-Collier, 1989,1999, observed infant memory, discovering that babies are capable of learning through kicking a mobile.
      • Their actions indicated that they remembered the original mobile and recognized the difference. Moreover, when tethered to a familiar mobile a month later, they remembered the association and again began kicking.
Cognitive Development:
  • Cognition refers to all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating.
    • o Somewhere on your precarious journey “from egghood to personhood” (Broks, 2007), you became conscious.
    • o Piaget (1920) administered children’s intelligence tests, and while administering the tests, he became intrigued by children’s wrong answers, which, he noted, were often strikingly similar among children of a given age.
      • § Where others saw childish mistakes, Piaget saw intelligence at work.
      • § His studies led him to believe that a child’s mind develops through a series of stages, in an upward march from the newborn’s simple reflexes to the adult’s abstract reasoning power.
  • o Piaget’s core idea is that the driving force behind our intellectual progression is an unceasing struggle to make sense of our experiences.
    • § To this end, the maturing brain builds schemas, concepts or mental molds into which we pour our experiences.
      • By adulthood, we would’ve built countless schemas.
  • o To explain how we use and adjust our schemas, Piaget proposed two more concepts:
    • § First, we assimilate new experiences; we interpret them in terms of our current understandings (schemas).
    • § But as we interact with the world, we also adjust, or accommodate, our schemas to incorporate information provided by new experiences.
      • Piaget believed that as children construct their understandings while interacting with the world, they experience spurts of change, followed by greater stability as they move from one cognitive plateau to the next.
        • o Viewed these plateaus as forming stages.
Piaget’s Theory and Current Thinking:
  • Piaget proposed that children progress through four stages of cognitive development, each with distinctive characteristics that permit specific kinds of thinking.
    • o 1. Sensorimotor stage: In the sensorimotor stage, from birth to nearly age 2, babies take in the world through their senses and actions, through looking, hearing, touching, mouthing, and grasping.
      • § Very young babies seem to live in the present—Piaget presented a child a toy, and then concealed it. The child acted as if it ceased to exist.
        • Young infants lack object performance: the awareness that objects continue to exist when not perceived.
      • § By 8 months, infants begin exhibiting memory for things no longer seen.
      • § Within another month or two, the infant will look for it even after being restrained for several seconds.
  • o 2. Preoperational Stage: Piaget believed that until about age 6 or 7, children are in a preoperational stage—too young to perform mental operations.
    • § For a 5-year-old, the milk that seems “too much” in a tall, narrow glass may become an acceptable amount if poured into a short, wide glass.
      • Focusing only on the height dimension, this child cannot perform the operation of mentally pouring the milk back, because she lacks the concept of conservation—the principle that quantity remains the same despite changes in shape
  • o Egocentrism: Piaget contended that preschool children are egocentric: They have difficulty perceiving things from another’s point of view.
  • o Theory of Mind: people’s ideas about their own and others’ mental states—about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behaviors these might predict.
    • § As children’s ability to take another’s perspective develops, they seek to understand what made a playmate angry, when a sibling will share, and what might make a parent buy a toy. And they begin to tease, empathize, and persuade.
    • § Our abilities to perform mental operations; to think symbolically, and to take another’s perspective are not absent in the preoperational stage and then reappear, but rather, they show up early and continue to develop.
    • § By age 7, children become increasingly capable of thinking in words and of using words to work out solutions to problems.
  • o 3. Concrete Operational Stage: By about 6 or 7 years of age, said Piaget, children enter the concrete operational stage.
    • § Given concrete materials, they begin to grasp conservation. Understanding that change in form does not mean change in quantity, they can mentally pour milk back and forth between glasses of different shapes.
    • § Piaget believed that during the concrete operational stage, children fully gain the mental ability to comprehend mathematical transformations and conservation.
  • o 4. Formal Operational Stage: By age 12, our reasoning expands from the purely concrete (involving actual experience) to encompass abstract thinking (involving imagined realities and symbols).
    • § By age 12, our reasoning expands from the purely concrete (involving actual experience) to encompass abstract thinking (involving imagined realities and symbols).
    • § As children approach adolescence, said Piaget, many become capable of solving hypothetical propositions and deducing consequences.
      • Formal operational thinking: in Piaget’s theory, the stage of cognitive development (normally beginning about age 12) during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts.
Reflecting on Piaget’s Theory:
  • Piaget’s emphasis was less on the ages at which children typically reach specific milestones than on their sequence.
  • Studies around the globe, from aboriginal Australia to Algeria to North America, have confirmed that human cognition unfolds basically in the sequence Piaget described.
  • Today’s researchers, however, see development as more continuous than did Piaget. By detecting the beginnings of each type of thinking at earlier ages, they have revealed conceptual abilities Piaget missed.
    • o Piaget’s emphasis on how the child’s mind grows through interaction with the physical environment is complemented by Vygotsky’s emphasis on how the child’s mind grows through interaction with the social environment.
      • § If Piaget’s child was a young scientist, Vygotsky’s was a young apprentice. By mentoring children and giving them new words, parents and others provide a temporary scaffold from which children can step to higher levels of thinking.
      • § Language, an important ingredient of social mentoring, provides the building blocks for thinking, noted Vygotsky.
        • For Vygotsky, a child’s zone of proximal development was the zone between what they could learn with and without help.
Implications for Parents and Teachers:
  • From birth, babies develop an intense bond with their caregivers, coming to prefer familiar faces and voices.
    • o At about 8 months, they develop stranger anxiety. They may greet strangers by crying and reaching for familiar caregivers.
      • § At about this age, children have schemas for familiar faces; when they cannot assimilate the new face into these remembered schemas, they become distressed.
Origins of Attachment:
  • By 12 months, infants typically cling tightly to a parent when they are frightened or expect separation.
    • o This attachment bond is a powerful survival impulse that keeps infants close to their caregivers.
      • § Attachment:an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation.
  • o Infants become attached to those—typically their parents—who are comfortable and familiar.
  • Body contact:
    • o During the 1950s, University of Wisconsin psychologists Harry Harlow and Margaret Harlow bred monkeys for their learning studies. They separated them from their mothers and raised them in individual cages with a cheesecloth baby blanket.
      • § When the blanket was taken away, the monkeys became distressed.
      • § The Harlows recognized that this intense attachment to the blanket contradicted the idea that attachment derives from an association with nourishment.
  • o Human infants become attached to parents who are soft and warm and who rock, feed, and pat.
  • o Much parent-infant emotional communication occurs via touch (Hertenstein, 2006), which can be either soothing (snuggles) or arousing (tickles).
    • § Human attachment also consists of one person providing another with a safe haven when distressed and a secure base from which to explore.
    • Familiarity:
      • o In many animals, attachments based on familiarity likewise form during a critical period, an optimal period when certain events must take place to facilitate proper development.
        • § Konrad Lorenz (1937) explored this rigid attachment process, called imprinting.
          • Children prefer to eat familiar foods, live in the same familiar neighborhood, attend school with the same old friends. Familiarity is a safety signal. Familiarity breeds content.
Attachment Differences: Temperament and Parenting:
  • Temperament: a person’s characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity.
    • o One quickly apparent aspect of personality is an infant’s temperament—whether reactive, intense, and fidgety, or easygoing, quiet, and placid.
      • § From the first weeks of life, difficult babies are more irritable, intense, and unpredictable.
      • § Easy babies are cheerful, relaxed,and predictable in feeding and sleeping.
      • § Slow-to-warm-up infants tend to resist or withdraw from new people and situations
  • o Temperament tends to persist:
    • § Ex. The most emotionally reactive newborns tend also to be the most reactive 9-month-olds.
  • o Heredity predisposes temperament differences.
    • § identical twins have more similar personalities, including temperament, than do fraternal twins.
  • o Van den Boom randomly assigned one hundred 6-to 9-month-old temperamentally difficult infants to either an experimental condition, in which mothers received personal training in sensitive responding, or to a control condition in which they did not.
    • § At 12 months of age, 68 percent of the experimental-condition infants were rated securely attached, as were only 28 percent of the control-condition infants.
  • o Developmental theorist Erik Erikson (1902–1994), working in collaboration with his wife, Joan Erikson, said that securely attached children approach life with a sense of basic trust: a sense that the world is predictable and reliable.
    • § He attributed basic trust not to environment or inborn temperament, but to early parenting.
      • He theorized that infants blessed with sensitive, loving caregivers form a lifelong attitude of trust rather than fear.
Deprivation of Attachment:
  • Babies reared in institutions without the stimulation and attention of a regular caregiver, or locked away at home under conditions of abuse or extreme neglect, are often withdrawn, frightened, even speechless.
    • o In humans, the unloved sometimes become the unloving.
      • § Most abusive parents, and many condemned murderers, report having been neglected or battered as children.
  • o Though most abusers were indeed abused, most abused children do not later become violent criminals or abusive parents.
    • § Most children growing up under adversity (as did the surviving children of the Holocaust) are resilient; they become normal adults.
    • Extreme early trauma seems to leave footprints on the brain.
      • o They have changes in the brain chemical serotonin, which calms aggressive impulses.
      • Disruption of Attachment:
        • o Separated from their families, infants, both monkeys and humans, become upset and, before long, withdrawn and even despairing.
        • o If placed in a more positive and stable environment, most infants recover from the separation distress.
          • § In studies of adopted children, Leon Yarrow and his co-workers (1973) found that when children between 6 and 16 months of age were removed from their foster mothers, they initially had difficulties eating, sleeping, and relating to their new mothers.
  • o Adults also suffer when attachment bonds are severed.
    • § Agitated preoccupation with the lost partner is followed by deep sadness and, eventually, the beginnings of emotional detachment and a return to normal living.
    • Does Day Care Affect Attachment? :
      • o No. In Mother Care/Other Care, developmental psychologist Sandra Scarr (1986) explained that children are “biologically sturdy individuals…who can thrive in a wide variety of life situations.”
      • o Around the world, “high-quality child care consists of warm, supportive interactions with adults in a safe, healthy, and stimulating environment.…Poor care is boring and unresponsive to children’s needs.”
      • o Newer research not only confirms that day-care quality matters, but also finds that family poverty often consigns children to lower-quality day care, as well as more family instability and turmoil, more authoritarian parenting (imposing strict rules and demanding obedience), more time in front of the television, and less access to books.
  • Childhood’s major social achievement is a positive sense of self.
    • o By the end of childhood, at about age 12, most children have developed a self-concept: an understanding and assessment of who they are. (Their self-esteem is how they feel about who they are.)
    • At about 15 to 18 months, children will begin to touch their own noses when they see the red spot in the mirror.
    • Apparently, 18-month-olds have a schema of how their face should look, and they wonder, “What is that spot doing on my face?”
    • Beginning with this simple self-recognition, the child’s self-concept gradually strengthens.
      • o By school age, children start to describe themselves in terms of their gender, group memberships, and psychological traits, and they compare themselves with other children.
      • Children’s views of themselves affect their actions.
        • o Children who form a positive self-concept are more confident, independent, optimistic, assertive, and sociable.
Parenting Styles:
  • The most heavily researched aspect of parenting has been how, and to what extent, parents seek to control their children.
    • o Authoritarian parents impose rules and expect obedience: “Don’t interrupt.” “Keep your room clean.” “Don’t stay out late or you’ll be grounded.” “Why? Because I said so.”
    • o Permissive parents submit to their children’s desires. They make few demands and use little punishment.
    • o Authoritative parents are both demanding and responsive. They exert control by setting rules and enforcing them, but they also explain the reasons for rules. And, especially with older children, they encourage open discussion when making the rules and allow exceptions.
    • Studies by Stanley Coopersmith (1967), Diana Baumrind (1996), and John Buri and others (1988) reveal that children with the highest self-esteem, self-reliance, and social competence usually have warm, concerned, authoritative parents.
    • The association between certain parenting styles (being firm but open) and certain childhood outcomes(social competence) is correlational.
      • o Children’s traits may influence parenting more than vice versa. Parental warmth and control vary somewhat from child to child, even in the same family.
Culture and Child-Rearing:
  • Child-rearing practices reflect cultural values that vary across time and place.
    • o Many Asians and Africans live in cultures that value emotional closeness.
      • § These cultures encourage a strong sense of family self—a feeling that what shames the child shames the family, and what brings honor to the family brings honor to the self.
Gender Development:
  • Our biological sex in turn helps define our gender, the biological and social characteristics by which people define male or female. Under the influence of our culture, our gender influences our social development.
Gender Similarities and Differences:
  • Compared with the average man, the average woman enters puberty two years sooner, lives five years longer, carries 70 percent more fat, has 40 percent less muscle, and is 5 inches shorter.
  • Women smell fainter odors, express emotions more freely, and are offered help more often.
    • o They are more vulnerable to depression and anxiety, and their risk of developing eating disorders is 10 times greater. But then men are some 4 times more likely to commit suicide or suffer alcohol dependence.
    • o They are far more often diagnosed with autism, color-blindness, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (as children), and antisocial personality disorder (as adults).
Gender and Aggression:
  • In surveys, men admit to more aggression than do women, and experiments confirm that men tend to behave more aggressively, such as by administering what they believe are more painful electric shocks.
    • o The aggression gender gap pertains to physical aggression (such as hitting) rather than verbal, relational aggression (such as excluding someone).
    • o The gender gap in physical aggression appears in everyday life at various ages and in various cultures, especially those with gender inequality.
      • § In dating relationships, violent acts (such as slaps and thrown objects) are often mutual.
  • o Violent crime rates more strikingly illustrate the gender difference.
  • Gender and Social Power:
    • o Around the world, from Nigeria to New Zealand, people have perceived men as more dominant, forceful, and independent, women as more deferential, nurturant, and affiliative.
    • o In most societies men are socially dominant.
    • o As leaders, men tend to be more directive, even autocratic; women tend to be more democratic, more welcoming of subordinates’ participation in decision making.
      • § When people interact, men are more likely to utter opinions, women to express support.
  • o Such behaviors help sustain social power inequities.
    • § When political leaders are elected, they usually are men, who held 82 percent of the seats in the world’s governing parliaments in 2008.
    • § When salaries are paid, those in traditionally male occupations receive more.
Gender and Social Connectedness:
  • To Carol Gilligan and her colleagues (1982, 1990), the “normal” struggle to create a separate identity describes Western individualist males more than relationship-oriented females.
    • o Gilligan believes females tend to differ from males both in being less concerned with viewing themselves as separate individuals and in being more concerned with “making connections.”
    • Gender differences in connectedness surface early in children’s play, and they continue with age.
      • o Boys typically play in large groups with an activity focus and little intimate discussion.
      • o Girls usually play in smaller groups, often with one friend.
        • § Their play is less competitive than boys’ and more imitative of social relationships.
        • Females are more interdependent than males.
          • o As teens, girls spend more time with friends and less time alone.
          • o As late adolescents, they spend more time on social-networking Internet sites.
          • o As adults, women take more pleasure in talking face-to-face,and they tend to use conversation more to explore relationships.
            • § Men enjoy doing activities side-by-side, and they tend to use conversation to communicate solutions.
            • These gender differences are sometimes reflected in patterns of phone communication.
            • Women worldwide orient their interests and vocation more to people and less to things.
            • Bonds and feelings of support are even stronger among women than among men.
            • As empowered people generally do, men value freedom and self-reliance, which helps explain why men of all ages, worldwide, are less religious.
              • o Men also dominate the ranks of professional skeptics.
The Nature of Gender:
  • A biopsychosocial view suggests both biology destiny and cultures explain gender diversity. Thanks to the interplay among our biological dispositions, our developmental experiences, and our current situations.
    • o In domains where men and women have faced similar challenges—regulating heat with sweat, developing tastes that nourish, growing calluses where the skin meets friction—the sexes are similar.
    • o In domains pertinent to mating, evolutionary psychologists contend, guys act like guys whether they are elephants or elephant seals, rural peasants or corporate presidents.
    • Males and females are variations on a single form.
      • o From your mother, you received an X chromosome. From your father , you received the one chromosome out of 46 that is not unisex—either another X chromosome, making you a girl, or a Y chromosome, making you a boy.
        • § The Y chromosome includes a single gene that throws a master switch triggering the testes to develop and produce the principal male hormone, testosterone.
        • Another key period for sexual differentiation falls during the fourth and fifth prenatal months, when sex hormones bathe the fetal brain and influence its wiring.
          • o Different patterns for males and females develop under the influence of the male’s greater testosterone and the female’s ovarian hormones.
          • Given sex hormones’ influence on development, what do you suppose happens when glandular malfunction or hormone injections expose a female embryo to excess testosterone?
            • o These genetically female infants are born with masculine-appearing genitals, which can either be accepted or altered surgically.
            • o Until puberty, such females tend to act in more aggressive “tomboyish” ways than do most girls, and they dress and play in ways more typical of boys than of girls.
The Nurture of Gender:
  • Although biologically influenced, gender is also socially constructed. What biology initiates, culture accentuates.
Gender Roles:
  • Culture is everything shared by a group and transmitted across generations. We can see culture’s shaping power in the social expectations that guide men’s and women’s behavior.
    • o In psychology, a role refers to a cluster of prescribed actions, the behaviors we expect of those who occupy a particular social position.
    • o One set of norms defines our culture’s gender roles, our expectations about the way men and women should behave.
    • Gender roles exist outside the home, too.
      • o Compared with employed women, employed men in the United States spend about an hour and a half more on the job each day and about one hour less on household activities and caregiving.
      • Gender roles can smooth social relations.
      • Attitudes about gender roles also vary over time.
        • o At the opening of the twentieth century, only one country—New Zealand—granted women the right to vote.
          • § By late 1960s and 1970s, women’s roles outside the home increased.
          • Gender ideas vary not only across cultures and over time, but also across generations.
            • o When families emigrate from Asia to Canada and the United States, their children tend to grow up with peers from a new culture.
Gender and Child-rearing:
  • As society assigns each of us to a gender, the social category of male or female, the inevitable result is our strong gender identity, our sense of being male or female.
  • To varying extents, we also become gender typed.
    • o Gender typed: the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role.
    • Social learning theory assumes that children learn gender-linked behaviors by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished.
    • Cognition also matters.
      • o In your own childhood, as you struggled to comprehend the world, you—like other children, formed schemas that helped you make sense of your world, one of which, was your gender.
        • § Social learning shapes gender schemas.
          • Before age 1,children begin to discriminate male and female voices and faces (Martin et al., 2002). After age 2, language forces children to begin organizing their worlds on the basis of gender.
(p. 450-453) Social Development:
  • Theorist Erik Erikson (1963) contended that each stage of life has its own psychosocial task, a crisis that needs resolution.
    • o Young children wrestle with issues of trust, then autonomy (independence), then initiative
    • o School-age children strive for competence, feeling able and productive.
      • § But for people your age, the task, said Erikson, is to synthesize past, present,and future possibilities into a clearer sense of self.
        • Adolescents wonder, “Who am I as an individual? What do I want to do with my life? What values should I live by? What do I believe in?” Erikson called this quest the adolescent’s search for identity.
Forming an Identity:
  • To refine their sense of identity, adolescents in individualistic cultures usually try out different “selves” in different situations.
    • o Identity: our sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent’s task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles.
    • For both adolescents and adults, group identities often form around how we differ from those around us.
      • o For international students, for those of a minority ethnic group, for people with a disability, for those on a team, a social identity often forms around their distinctiveness.
        • § Social Identity: the “we” aspect of our self-concept; the part of our answer to “Who am I?” that comes from our group memberships.
        • Erikson noticed that some adolescents forge their identity early, simply by adopting their parents’ values and expectations.
        • The late teen years, when many people like you in industrialized countries begin attending college or working full time, provide new opportunities for trying out possible roles.
        • Identity also becomes more personalized.
        • Erikson contended that the adolescent identity stage is followed in young adulthood by a developing capacity for intimacy.
          • o With a clear and comfortable sense of who you are, said Erikson, you are ready to form emotionally close relationships. Such relationships are, for most of us, a source of great pleasure.
Parent and Peer Relationships:
  • As adolescents in Western cultures seek to form their own identities, they begin to pull away from their parents.
    • o The transition occurs gradually. By adolescence, arguments occur more often, usually over mundane things; household chores, bedtime, homework.
    • o Parent-child conflict during the transition to adolescence tends to be greater with first-born than with second-born children.
    • For a minority of parents and their adolescents, differences lead to real splits and great stress.
      • o But most disagreements are at the level of harmless bickering.
      • Positive parent-teen relations and positive peer relations often go hand-in-hand.
        • o High school girls who have the most affectionate relationships with their mothers tend also to enjoy the most intimate friendships with girlfriends.
        • Adolescence is typically a time of diminishing parental influence and growing peer influence.
        • Heredity does much of the heavy lifting in forming individual differences in temperament and personality, and parent and peer influences do much of the rest.
          • o Most teens are herd animals. They talk, dress, and act more like their peers than their parents.
          • o What their friends are, they often become, and what “everybody’s doing,” they often do.
          • “The social atmosphere in most high schools is poisonously clique-driven and exclusionary,” observed social psychologist Elliot Aronson (2001).
            • o Most excluded “students suffer in silence.…A small number act out in violent ways against their classmates.” Those who withdraw are vulnerable to loneliness, low self-esteem, and depression (Steinberg & Morris, 2001).
              • § Peer approval matters.
              • Teens see their parents as having more influence in other areas, i.e.
                • o Religious faith, college, and career choices



the fertilized egg; it enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo.
After conception to 2 weeks, a human is a zygote


the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the second month.
A human embryo begins to develop distinct features at around 9 weeks


the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth.
The human fetus has distinct features that separates it from other animals, such as a defined spinal development, etc.


agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm
HIV virus, a mother’s heroin addiction

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman’s heavy drinking. In severe cases, symptoms include noticeable facial misproportions.
Can result from light drinking or persistent heavy drinking


decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation. As infants gain familiarity with repeated exposure to a visual stimulus, their interest wanes and they look away sooner.
A baby’s sucking of his thumb


biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience.
A baby growing


all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating.
thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating


a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information.
The concept of love


interpreting our new experience in terms of our existing schemas.
Interpreting something in our own terms


adapting our current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information.
Adjusting our schemas to incorporate information provided by new experiences

Sensorimotor Stage

in Piaget’s theory, the stage (from birth to about 2 years of age) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities.
A baby’s stage from birth – 2 years old

Object Permanence

the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived.
By 8 months, infants begin exhibiting memory for things no longer seen, such as hiding a toy.

Preoperational Stage

in Piaget’s theory, the stage (from 2 to about 6 or 7 years of age) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic.
A baby’s stage from 2 – 6 or 7 years old


the principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects.
A child being able to pour the same amount of liquid in two different sized containers


in Piaget’s theory, the preoperational child’s difficulty taking another’s point of view.
TV-watching preschoolers who block your view of the TV assume you see what they see

Theory of Mind

people’s ideas about their own and others’ mental states—about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behaviors these might predict.
Chimpanzees’ seeming ability to read intentions
Concrete Operational Stage

in Piaget’s theory, the stage of cognitive development (from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age) during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events.
A child can mentally pour milk back and forth between glasses of different shapes

Formal Operational Stage

in Piaget’s theory, the stage of cognitive development (normally beginning about age 12) during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts.
A child is able to solve hypothetical propositions and deducing consequences


a disorder that appears in childhood and is marked by deficient communication, social interaction, and understanding of others’ states of mind.
Autism is marked by communication deficiencies and repetitive behaviors

Stranger Anxiety

the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age
A baby crying as a stranger approaches him


an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation.
A baby cries after being separated from his mother

Critical Period

an optimal period shortly after birth when an organism’s exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development.
For goslings, ducklings, or chicks, that period falls in the hours shortly after hatching, when the first moving object they see is normally their mother.


the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life.
Ducks following their mother around


a person’s characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity.
Sensitive mothers and fathers tend to have securely attached infants

Basic Trust

According to Erik Erikson, a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy; said to be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers.
Infants who have sensitive, loving caregivers form a lifelong attitude of trust rather than fear

all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves, in answer to the question, “Who am I?”
Around age 12, most children develop an understanding of who they are

physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt someone.
Aggressive parents can breed aggressive childrenà children can learn aggression from their parents/ environment

X Chromosome

the sex chromosome found in both men and women. Females have two X chromosomes; males have one. An X chromosome from each parent produces a female child.
Two X chromosomes account for a female

Y Chromosome

the sex chromosome found only in males. When paired with an X chromosome from the mother, it produces a male child.
One X chromosome and one Y chromosome result in a male


the most important of the male sex hormones. Both males and females have it, but the additional testosterone in males stimulates the growth of the male sex organs in the fetus and the development of the male sex characteristics during puberty.
The external male sex organs develop as a result of a high amount of testosterone.

Gender Role

a set of expected behaviors for males or for females
A gender role could be women doing the dishes, while men mow the lawn.

Gender Identity

our sense of being male or female.
Society’s regulations can have an impact on gender identity, in that males are supposed to act a certain way, whereas women act another way.

Gender Typing

the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role.
Some boys, more than others exhibit traditionally masculine traits and interests and some girls more than others become distinctly feminine

On pages 424-425, read the green inset section on Autism and “Mind-Blindness”. Write a summary of that reading here, then do some additional online research about Autism and add to those notes.

Autism, a disorder marked by communication deficiencies and repetitive behaviors, have been increasing. It was believed that the disorder affected 1 in 2500 children, but now, autism, or a related disorder will strike 1 in 150 American children, and 1 in 86 London children. Initially, some parents believed and filed against the U.S. government for mercury-related causes towards the prevalence of autism, but since 2001, the mercury has been removed, and the numbers still have not declined, but rather increased. We have some inclination that the source of autism’s symptoms seems to be poor communication among brain regions that normally allow people to take another’s perspective. People with autism are said to have an impaired theory of mind, having trouble inferring others’ thoughts and feelings. Biology also plays a role in autism of twins, in that, if one twin is diagnosed with autism, chances are 70% that the identical twin will have it as well. Biology also holds that if a non-autistic person sees another yawn, they too will yawn. This is not the case for autistic people—their mirror neurons are less active and as a result, they are less imitative.

Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development Unit 9, pp. 417-426

Sensorimotor Stage
0-2 years
During this first stage, children learn entirely through the movements they make and the sensations that result. They learn:
  • that they exist separately from the objects and people around them
  • that they can cause things to happen
  • that things continue to exist even when they can't see them
CCQs and Examples:

Preoperational Stage
2-7 years
Once children acquire language, they are able to use symbols (such as words or pictures) to represent objects. Their thinking is still very egocentric though -- they assume that everyone else sees things from the same viewpoint as they do.
They are able to understand concepts like counting, classifying according to similarity, and past-present-future but generally they are still focused primarily on the present and on the concrete, rather than the abstract.

Concrete Operational Stage
7-11 years
At this stage, children are able to see things from different points of view and to imagine events that occur outside their own lives. Some organized, logical thought processes are now evident and they are able to:
  • Order objects by size, color gradient, etc.
  • understand that if 3 + 4 = 7 then 7 - 4 = 3
  • understand that a red square can belong to both the 'red' category and the 'square' category
  • understand that a short wide cup can hold the same amount of liquid as a tall thin cup
However, thinking still tends to be tied to concrete reality.

Formal Operational Stage
11+ years
Around the onset of puberty, children are able to reason in much more abstract ways and to test hypotheses using systematic logic. There is a much greater focus on possibilities and on ideological issues.

Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages Unit 9, pages 450-453
Principal Challenge/
Adequate Resolution
Inadequate Resolution

0 to 1 ½ years
Trust vs. Mistrust
Basic sense of safety, security; ability to rely on forces outside of oneself
Insecurity, anxiety
I didn’t know they could differentiate this at such a young age, or even remember it.

1 ½ to 3 years
Autonomy vs. shame and doubt
Toddlers learn to exercise their will and do things for themselves, or they doubt their abilities
Lack of independence, parents doing everything for the child

3 to 6 years
Initiative vs. guilt
Preschoolers learn to initiate tasks and carry out plans, or they feel guilty about their efforts to be independent.
Stifling of creativity

6 years to puberty
Industry vs. inferiority
Children learn the pleasure of applying themselves to tasks, or they feel inferior
Lack of independence, restrictive parents

Identity vs. role confusion
Teenagers work at refining a sense of self by testing roles and then integrating them to form a single identity, or they become confused about who they are.
Not testing our different roles; inability to find “self”
What happens if an adolescent is unable to find a role, and unable to develop a single identity? Would the person then have split personalities?

Early Adulthood
Intimacy vs. isolation
Young adults struggle to form close relationships and to gain the capacity for intimate love, or they feel socially isolated.
Loneliness, isolation, ostracism

Middle Adulthood
Generativity vs. stagnation
In middle age, people discover a sense of contributing to the world, usually through family and work, or they may feel a lack of purpose.
Unemployment, loneliness, lack of family
What happens if a person is unable to find that sense of “contributing to the world”? Would they fall into a mid-life depression stage?

Late Adulthood

Integrity vs. despair
Reflecting on his or her life, an older adult may feel a sense of satisfaction or failure
Lack of accomplishmentà inability to accomplish much at work, or start family
Would lack of fulfillment in this stage result in elderly depression?

Notes: (p. 454-461):
Emerging Adulthood:
  • In young adulthood,emotional ties with parents loosen further.
    • o During the early twenties, there is still heavy dependence on parents, but in the late twenties, people feel more independent and more apt to to viewing parents as fellow adults.
    • o In Western world, adolescence corresponds to the teen years.
      • § Shortly after sexual maturity, such societies bestowed adult responsibilities and status on the young person, often marking the event with an elaborate initiation, a public rite of passage, enabling the new adult to work, marry, and have children.
  • o Today’s earlier sexual maturity is related both to increased body fat(which can support pregnancy and nursing) and to weakened parent-child bonds, including absent fathers.
    • § Delayed independence and earlier sexual maturity have widened the once-brief interlude between biological maturity and social independence.
  • o The time from 18 – mid 20’s = increasingly not-yet-settled phase of life, referred by some as emerging adulthood.
    • § Emerging adulthood: for some people in modern cultures, a period from the late teens to mid-twenties, bridging the gap between adolescent dependence and full independence and responsible adulthood.
  • It is more difficult to generalize about adulthood stages than about life’s early years.
    • o We can occupy similar positions in life, despite the different ages in adulthood, yet physically, cognitively, and socially, we are different at age 50 than age 25.
Physical Development:
  • By the mid-twenties, our physical abilities; muscular strength, reaction time, sensory keenness, and cardiac output all crest.
    • o Usually begins with athletes, as well as women.
      • § Women mature earlier than men.
Physical Changes in Middle Adulthood:
  • Middle aged (post 40) athletes know of the physical deadline that gradually approaches.
    • o But diminished vigor is sufficient for normal activities
    • Aging brings a gradual decline in fertility.
      • o For a 35-to 39-year-old woman, the chances of getting pregnant after a single act of intercourse are only half those of a woman 19 to 26.
      • o A woman’s foremost biological sign of aging, the onset of menopause, ends her menstrual cycles, usually within a few years of age 50.
        • § Her expectations and attitudes will influence the emotional impact of this event.
  • o Men experience no equivalent to menopause; no cessation of fertility,no sharp drop in sex hormones.
    • § They do experience a gradual decline in sperm count, testosterone level, and speed of erection and ejaculation.
    • § Some may also experience distress related to their perception of declining virility and physical capacities.
Physical Changes in Later Life:
  • Life Expectancy:
    • o Worldwide,life expectancy at birth increased from 49 years in 1950 to 67 in 2004—and to 80 and beyond in some developed countries.
      • § This increasing life expectancy combines with decreasing birth rates to make older adults a bigger part of population segment, providing an increasing demand for things such as cruise ships.
  • o By 2050,about 35 percent of Europe’s population likely will be over age 60.
    • § Countries that have depended on children to care for the aged are destined for a “demographic tsunami”.
  • o Life expectancy differs for males and females;males are more prone to dying.
    • § Although 126 male embryos begin life for every 100 females who do so, the sex ratio is down to 105 males for every 100 females at birth.
    • § During the first year, male infants’ death rates exceed females’ by one-fourth. Women outlive men by 4 years worldwide and by 5 to 6 years in Canada, the United States, and Australia.
  • o As the body ages, cells stop reproducing, the body becomes frail, vulnerable to tiny insults, such as hot weather, a fall, mild infection, etc.
  • o With age(especially when accentuated by smoking, obesity, or stress), people’s chromosome tips, called telomeres, wear down.
    • § As these protective tips shorten, aging cells may die without being replaced with perfect genetic replicas.
  • o Once we’ve fulfilled our gene-reproducing and nurturing task, there are no natural selection pressures against genes that cause degeneration in later life.
  • o Human spirit also affects life expectancy
    • § Chronic anger and depression increase our risk of ill health and premature death.
    • § Researchers have even observed an intriguing death-deferral phenomenon.
      • Mitsuru Shimizu and Brett Pelham (2008) report that, in one recent 15-year-period, 2000 to 3000 more Americans died on the two days after Christmas than on Christmas and the two days before.
    • § Death rate increases when people reach their birthdays, as it did for those who survived to the milestone first day of the new millennium.
    • Sensory Abilities:
      • o Visual sharpness diminishes, and distance perception and adaptation to changes in light level are less acute.
      • o Muscle strength, reaction time, and stamina also diminish noticeably, as do vision, the sense of smell, and hearing.
      • o In later life, the stairs get steeper, the print gets smaller, and other people seem to mumble more.
      • o With age, the eye’s pupil shrinks and its lens becomes less transparent, reducing the amount of light reaching the retina. In fact, a 65-year-old retina receives only about one-third as much light as its 20-year-old count.
      • Health:
        • o For those growing older, the body’s disease-fighting immune system weakens,making older people more susceptible to life-threatening ailments such as cancer and pneumonia.
          • § Good news: Thanks partly to a lifetime’s accumulation of antibodies; those over 65 suffer fewer short-term ailments, such as common flu and cold viruses.
  • o Aging levies a tax on the brain by slowing our neural processing.
    • § Up to the teen years, we process information with greater and greater speed, but compared to you, older people take a bit more time to react, to solve perceptual puzzles, even to remember names.
  • o Brain regions important to memory begin to atrophy during aging
    • § In young adulthood, a small, gradual net loss of brain cells begins, contributing by age 80 to a brain-weight reduction of 5 percent or so.
  • o Physical exercise stimulates brain cell development and neural connections, thanks perhaps to increased oxygen and nutrient flow.
    • § That may explain why active older adults tend to be mentally quick older adults, and why, across 20 studies, sedentary older adults randomly assigned to aerobic exercise programs have exhibited enhanced memory and sharpened judgment.
    • Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease:
      • o Some adults suffer a substantial loss of brain cells.
        • § Up to age 95, the incidence of mental disintegration doubles roughly every 5 years.
        • § A series of small strokes, a brain tumor, or alcohol dependence can progressively damage the brain; causing that mental erosion we call dementia.
        • § Alzheimer’s disease, which strikes 3% of the world’s population by age 75, is another brain ailment.
          • First memory deteriorates, then reasoning.
          • Underlying the symptoms of Alzheimer’s is a loss of brain cells and deterioration of neurons that produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
            • o Deprived of this vital chemical messenger, memory and thinking suffer.
            • An autopsy revealed: abnormalities in these acetylcholine-producing neurons: shriveled protein filaments in the cell body, and plaques (globs of degenerating tissue) at the tips of neuron branches.
            • Researchers are gaining insights into the chemical, neural, and genetic roots of Alzheimer’s.
            • Physically active,non-obese people are less at risk for Alzheimer’s
              • o Those with an active, challenged mind, often the mind of an educated, active reader, are less susceptible to Alzheimer’s.

Notes: (p. 441-449)
Parents and Peers:
Parents and Early Experiences:
  • Nature and nurture takes form in development in the prenatal environment in the womb, and outside the womb. In the womb, embryos receive differing nutrition and varying levels of exposure to toxic agents. Outside the womb, experiences foster brain development.
Experience and Brain Development:
  • Our genes dictate our overall brain architecture,but experience fills in the details, developing neural connections and preparing our brain for thought and language and other later experiences.
    • o Mark Rosenzweig and David Krech raised some young rats in solitary confinement and others in a communal playground. They saw that the ones with the most toys had the most “marks” in the brain because they lived in an enriched environment, which simulated natural environment and helped develop a heavier and thicker brain cortex.
    • Stimulation by touch or massage also benefits rats and premature babies.
    • Both nature and nurture sculpt our synapses.
      • o After brain maturation provides us with an abundance of neural connections, our experiences trigger a pruning process.
      • o Sights and smells, touches and tugs activate connections and strengthen them. Unused neural pathways weaken and degenerate.
      • The pre-adolescent years are the peak years for mastering skills, such as grammar and accent of another language.
        • o Also, lacking visual experience during the early years,people whose vision is restored by cataract removal never achieve normal perceptions.
          • § These brain cells attributed to vision have already died.
          • The brain’s development does not end with childhood.
            • o Because of brain plasticity, our neural tissue is ever changing.
How Much Credit (or Blame) Do Parents Deserve?
  • Society reinforces such parent-blaming:Believing that parents shape their offspring as a potter molds clay, people readily praise parents for their children’s virtues and blame them for their children’s vices.
    • o Popular culture endlessly proclaims the psychological harm toxic parents inflict on their fragile children.
    • o Parents do matter.The power of parenting to shape our differences is clearest at the extremes;
      • § the abused who become abusive, the neglected who become neglectful, the loved but firmly handled children who become self-confident and socially competent.
  • o The power of the family environment also frequently shows up in children’s political attitudes,religious beliefs, and personal manners.
    • § Appears in academic and vocational successes of the refugee “boat people” fleeing Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • o “Two children in the same family [are on average] as different from one another as are pairs of children selected randomly from the population.
    • § To developmental psychologist Sandra Scarr (1993), this implies that “parents should be given less credit for kids who turn out great and blamed less for kids who don’t.”
Peer Influence:
  • As children mature, esp. during childhood and adolescence, they seek to fit in with groups and are subject to group influences.
    • o Power of peers is exhibited through:
      • § Preschoolers who disdain a certain food often will eat that food if put at a table with a group of children who like it.
      • § Children who hear English spoken with one accent at home and another in the neighborhood and at school will invariably adopt the accent of their peers, not their parents. Accents (and slang) reflect culture, “and children get their culture from their peers,” notes Harris (2007)
      • § Teens who start smoking typically have friends who model smoking,suggest its pleasures, and offer cigarettes
        • Part of this peer similarity may result from a selection effect, as kids seek out peers with similar attitudes and interests. Those who smoke (or don’t) may select as friends those who also smoke (or don’t).
  • o Howard Gardner (1998): Parents are more important when it comes to education, discipline, responsibility, orderliness, charitableness, and ways of interacting with authority figures.
    • § Peers are more important for learning cooperation, for finding the road to popularity, for inventing styles of interaction among people of the same age.
  • Adolescence, the years spent morphing from child to adult, starts with the physical beginnings of sexual maturity and ends with the social achievement of independent adult status.
    • o G.Stanley Hall(1904) described the tension between biological maturity and social dependence creates a period of “storm and stress”.
      • § After age 30, many who grow up in independence-fostering Western cultures look back on their teenage years as a time they would not want to relive, a time when their peers’ social approval was imperative, their sense of direction in life was in flux, and their feeling of alienation from their parents was deepest.
  • o For many, adolescence is a time of vitality without the cares of adulthood, a time of rewarding friendships, of heightened idealism and a growing sense of life’s exciting possibilities.
Physical Development:
  • Adolescence begins with puberty,the time when we mature sexually.
    • o Puberty follows a surge of hormones,which may intensify moods and which trigger a two-year period of rapid physical development, usually beginning at about age 11 in girls and at about age 13 in boys.
      • § About the time of puberty,boys’ growth propels them to greater height than their female counterparts.
        • During this growth spurt, the primary sex characteristics; the reproductive organs and external genitalia, develop dramatically.
        • Secondary sex characteristics, the non-reproductive traits such as breasts and hips in girls, facial hair and deepened voice in boys, pubic and underarm hair in both sexes also develop.
        • § In girls, puberty starts with breast development, which now often begins by age 10.
        • § But puberty’s landmarks are the first ejaculation in boys,usually by about age 14, and the first menstrual period in girls, usually within a year of age 12 and a half.
          • The first menstrual period, called menarche, is a memorable event. Adult women remember experiencing a mixture of feelings: pride, excitement, embarrassment, and apprehension.
  • o Adolescent brains are also works in progress.
    • § Until puberty, brain cells increase their connections, like trees growing more roots and branches.
    • § Then, during adolescence, comes a selective pruning of unused neurons and connections.
    • § As teens mature,their frontal lobes also continue to develop.
      • The growth of myelin, the fatty tissue that forms around axons and speeds neurotransmission, enables better communication with other brain regions.
      • Frontal lobe maturation lags the emotional limbic system.
        • o Puberty’s hormonal surge and limbic system development help explain teens’ occasional impulsiveness, risky behaviors, emotional storms.
        • Teens actually don’t underestimate the risks of smoking—or driving fast or unprotected sex—they just, when reasoning from their gut, weigh the benefits more heavily.

Cognitive Development:
  • As young teenagers become capable of thinking about their thinking,and of thinking about other people’s thinking, they begin imagining what other people are thinking about them.
    • o As their cognitive abilities mature, many begin to think about what is ideally possible and compare that with the imperfect reality of their society, their parents, and even themselves.
Developing Reasoning Power:
  • During the early teen years,reasoning is often self-focused.
    • o Adolescents may think their private experiences are unique, something parents just could not understand, like love.
    • o Gradually, though, most achieve the intellectual summit Piaget called formal operations, and they become more capable of abstract reasoning.
      • § Adolescents ponder and debate human nature, good and evil, truth and justice.
      • § The ability to reason hypothetically and deduce consequences also enables them to detect inconsistencies in others’ reasoning and to spot hypocrisy.
        • This can lead to heated debates with parents and silent vows never to lose sight of their own ideals.
Developing Morality:
  • Two crucial tasks of childhood and adolescence are differentiating right from wrong and developing character; the psychological muscles for controlling impulses.
    • o Much of our morality is rooted in gut-level reactions, for which the mind seeks rationalization.
    • o Often, reason justifies passions such as disgust or liking.
    • o Piaget(1932) believed that children’s moral judgments build on their cognitive development.
      • § Agreeing with Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg (1981,1984) sought to describe the development of moral reasoning, the thinking that occurs as we consider right and wrong.
        • Found that as we develop intellectually,we pass through three basic levels of moral thinking:
          • o Preconventional morality Before age 9, most children’s morality focuses on self-interest: They obey rules either to avoid punishment or to gain concrete rewards.

Moral Feeling:
  • The mind makes moral judgments as it makes aesthetic judgments, quickly and automatically.
    • o We feel disgust when seeing people engaged in degrading or subhuman acts, and we feel elevation—a tingly, warm, glowing feeling in the chest—when seeing people display exceptional generosity, compassion, or courage.
    • o The gut feelings that drive our moral judgments turn out to be widely shared.
      • § To neuroscientist Marc Hauser(2006) this suggests that humans are hard-wired for moral feelings.
        • Faced with moral choices, people across the world, with similar evolved brains, display similar moral intuitions.
Moral Action:
  • Morality involves doing the right thing,and what we do also depends on social influences.
    • o As our thinking matures, our behavior also becomes less selfish and more caring.
    • o Education programs therefore tend to focus both on moral issues and on doing the right thing.
      • § They teach children empathy for others’ feelings, and also the self-discipline needed to restrain one’s own impulses—to delay small gratifications now to enable bigger rewards later.

Notes: (p. 461- 467):
Cognitive Development:
  • One of the most interesting developmental psychology questions is whether adult cognitive abilities deteriorate with age, as physical abilities do.
Aging and Memory:
  • As we age,we remember some things well.
    • o Looking back in later life,people asked to recall the one or two most important events over the last half-century tend to name events from their teens or twenties.
      • § Teens and twenties are a time of many memorable events; first kisses, first job, etc.
      • Early adulthood is indeed a peak time for some types of learning and remembering.
        • o Thomas Crook and Robin West(1990) invited 1205 people to learn some names.
          • § Fourteen videotaped people said their names,using a common format: “Hi, I’m Larry.” Then the same individuals reappeared and said, for example, “I’m from Philadelphia”, thus providing visual and voice cues for remembering their name.
            • Everyone remembered more names after a second and third replay of the introductions, but younger adults consistently surpassed older adults.
            • Prospective memory (“Remember to . . .”) remains strong when events help trigger memories, as when walking by a convenience store triggers a “Pick up milk!” memory.
            • Time-based tasks (“Remember the 3:00 P.M. meeting”) prove somewhat more challenging for older people.
              • o Habitual tasks, such as remembering to take medications three times daily, can be especially challenging
              • o To minimize problems associated with declining prospective memory, older adults rely more on time management and on using reminder cues, such as notes to themselves.
              • Younger adults differ in their abilities to learn and remember, but 70-year-olds differ much more.
              • No matter how quick or slow we are,remembering seems also to depend on the type of information we are trying to retrieve.
                • o If the information is meaningless—nonsense syllables or unimportant events, then the older we are, the more errors we are likely to make.
                • o If the information is meaningful, older people’s rich web of existing knowledge will help them to catch it, though they may take longer than younger adults to produce the words and things they know.
                • o Older people’s capacity to learn and remember skills also declines less than their verbal recall.

Aging and Intelligence:
  • Phase I: Cross-Sectional Evidence for Intellectual DeclineIn cross-sectional studies,researchers at one point in time test and compare people of various ages.
    • o When giving intelligence tests to representative samples of people, researchers consistently find that older adults give fewer correct answers than do younger adults.
    • o D avid Wechsler (1972), creator of the most widely used adult intelligence test, therefore concluded that “the decline of mental ability with age is part of the general [aging] process of the organism as a whole.”
    • Phase II: Longitudinal Evidence for Intellectual Stability: After colleges began giving intelligence tests to entering students about 1920, several psychologists saw their chance to study intelligence longitudinally: retesting the same people over a period of years.
      • o Until late in life, intelligence remained stable. On some tests, it even increased.
      • Phase III: It All Depends: Those who survive to the end of longitudinal studies may be bright,healthy people whose intelligence is least likely to decline. (Perhaps people who died younger and were removed from the study had declining intelligence.)
        • o Research is further complicated by the finding that intelligence is not a single trait, but rather several distinct abilities.
        • o Intelligence tests that assess speed of thinking may place older adults at a disadvantage because of their slower neural mechanisms for processing information.
          • § Slower processing is not less intelligent; when given tests that assess general vocabulary, knowledge, and ability to integrate information, older adults generally fare well.
          • German researcher Paul Baltes and his colleagues(1993, 1994, 1999) developed “wisdom” tests that assess “expert knowledge about life in general and good judgment and advice about how to conduct oneself in the face of complex, uncertain circumstances.”
            • o suggest that older adults more than hold their own on these tests
            • Crystallized intelligence:our accumulated knowledge and verbal skills; tends to increase with age.
            • Fluid intelligence: our ability to reason speedily and abstractly; tends to decrease during late adulthood.
            • Despite age-related cognitive changes,studies in several countries indicate that age is only a modest predictor of abilities such as memory and intelligence.
              • o Mental ability more strongly correlates with proximity to death.
                • § In the last three or four years of life, cognitive decline typically accelerates, a near-death crop that researchers refer to as terminal decline.
Social Development:
  • Many differences between younger and older adults are created by significant life events.
Adulthood’s Ages and Stages:
  • As people enter their forties,they undergo a transition to middle adulthood,a time when they realize that life will soon be mostly behind instead of ahead of them.
    • o Midlife transition is a crisis, a time of great struggle, regret, or even feeling struck down by life.
    • o Large samples of people report that unhappiness, job dissatisfaction, marital dissatisfaction, divorce, anxiety, and suicide do not surge during the early forties
      • § Divorce surfaces around twenties, and suicide, seventies and eighties.
      • Life events trigger transitions to new life stages at varying ages.
        • o Social clock: the culturally preferred timing of social events such as marriage, parenthood, and retirement. – varies from culture to culture and era to era
        • Even chance events can have lasting significance because they often deflect us down one road rather than another.
          • o Romantic attraction, for example, is often influenced by chance encounters.

Notes: (p. 467 - 477) :
Adulthood’s Commitments:
  • Two basic aspects of our lives dominate adulthood. Erik Erikson called them intimacy (forming close relationships) and generativity (being productive and supporting future generations).
  • Love: We typically flirt, fall in love, and commit, one person at a time.
  • Adult bonds of love are most satisfying and enduring when marked by a similarity of interests and values, a sharing of emotional and material support, and intimate self-disclosure.
    • o Couples who seal their love with commitment, i.e. marriages for heterosexual couples, more often endure.
    • o Compared with their counterparts of 40 years ago, people in Western countries are better educated and marrying later, but are nearly twice as likely to divorce.
    • Two factors help explain why American children born to cohabiting parents are about five times more likely to experience their parents’ separation than are children born to married parents:
      • o First, cohabiters tend to be initially less committed to the ideal of enduring marriage.
      • o Second, they become even less marriage-supporting while cohabiting.
      • The institution of marriage endures; 9 in 10 heterosexual adults marry according to worldwide reports from the United Nations.
      • Marriages that last are not always devoid of conflict.
        • o Some couples fight but also shower one another with affection.
        • o Other couples never raise their voices yet also seldom praise one another or nuzzle.
          • § Both styles can last.
  • o After observing the interactions of 2000 couples, John Gottman (1994) reported one indicator of marital success: at least a five-to-one ratio of positive to negative interactions.
    • § Stable marriages provide five times more instances of smiling, touching, complimenting, and laughing than of sarcasm, criticism, and insults.
    • Often, love bears children.
      • o When children begin to absorb time, money, and emotional energy, satisfaction with the marriage itself may decline.
        • § Happens more with employed women who carry the traditional burden of doing chores at home.
        • Although love bears children, children eventually leave home.
          • o This departure is a significant and sometimes difficult event.
          • o For many, this empty nest is a happy place.
            • § As Daniel Gilbert (2006) has said, “The only known symptom of ‘empty nest syndrome’ is increased smiling.”
            • Work: For women and men, choosing a career path is difficult, especially in today’s changing work environment.
              • o During the first two years of college or university, few students can predict their later careers; Most shift from their initially intended majors, many find their post-college employment in fields not directly related to their majors, and most will change careers
              • o In the end, happiness is about having work that fits your interests and provides you with a sense of competence and accomplishment. It is having a close, supportive companion who cheers your accomplishments.

Well-being and Life-Span:
  • To live is to grow older.
    • o This moment is the point where you are the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will henceforth be.
      • § we all can look back with satisfaction or regret, and forward with hope or dread.
  • o When asked what they would have done differently if they could relive their lives, people’s most common answer is “Taken my education more seriously and worked harder at it”
  • o From the teens to midlife, people typically experience a strengthening sense of identity, confidence, and self-esteem.
    • § In later life, challenges arise: Income shrinks, work is often taken away, the body deteriorates, recall fades, energy wanes, family members and friends die or move away, and the great enemy, death, looms ever closer.
  • o The over-65 years are not notably unhappy, as Ronald Inglehart (1990) discovered when he amassed interviews conducted during the 1980s with representative samples of nearly 170,000 people in 16 nations.
    • § Newer surveys of some 2 million people worldwide confirm that happiness is slightly higher among both young and older adults than among those middle-aged.
    • Positive feelings grow after midlife and negative feelings subside:
      • o Older adults increasingly use words that convey positive emotions.

      • At all ages, the bad feelings we associate with negative events fade faster than do the good feelings we associate with positive events.
      • Although life satisfaction does not decline with age, it often wanes in the terminal decline phase, as death approaches.
        • o As years go by, feelings mellow highs become less high, lows become less low.
          • § We are thus, less often depressed, and our average feeling level tends to remain the same.
  • o Psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Reed Larson (1984) mapped people’s emotional terrain by periodically signaling them with electronic beepers to report their current activities and feelings.
    • § Teenagers typically come down from elation or up from gloom in less than an hour.
    • § Adult moods are less extreme but more enduring.
      • For most people, old age offers less intense joy but greater contentment and increased spirituality, especially for those who remain socially engaged.
Death and Dying:
  • Most of us will suffer and cope with the deaths of relatives and friends.
    • o Usually, the most difficult separation is from a spouse, a loss suffered by five times more women than men.
      • § When, as usually happens, death comes at an expected late-life time, the grieving may be relatively short-lived.
  • o Grief is especially severe when the death of a loved one comes suddenly and before its expected time on the social clock.
    • § i.e. illness of a 45-year-old life partner or the accidental death of a child may trigger a year or more of memory-laden mourning that eventually subsides to a mild depression
  • o For some, however, the loss is unbearable.
    • § One study, following more than 1 million Danes over the last half of the twentieth century, found that more than 17,000 people had suffered the death of a child under 18.
      • In the five years following that death, 3 percent of them had a first psychiatric hospitalization.
      • The normal range of reactions to a loved one’s death is wider than most suppose.
        • o Some cultures encourage public weeping and wailing; others hide grief. Within any culture, individuals differ.
          • § terminally ill and bereaved people do not go through identical predictable stages, such as denial before anger. A Yale study following 233 bereaved individuals through time did, however, find that yearning for the loved one reached a high point four months after the loss, with anger peaking, on average, about a month later
          • § those who express the strongest grief immediately do not purge their grief more quickly
          • § bereavement therapy and self-help groups offer support, but there is similar healing power in the passing of time and the support of friends, and also in giving support and help to others
            • Grieving spouses who talk often with others or who receive grief counseling adjust about as well as those who grieve more privately
  • Erik Erikson called the feeling that one’s life has been meaningful and worthwhile, a sense of integrity.
Reflections on Three Major Developmental Issues:
  • Nature and Nurture: Studies of the inheritance of temperament, and of twins and adopted children, confirm that nature and nurture influence development.
    • o Gene and environment, biological and social factors direct our life courses, and their effects intertwine.
    • Continuity and Stages: Generally, researchers who emphasize experience and learning see development as a slow, continuous shaping process.
      • o Those who emphasize biological maturation tend to see development as a sequence of genetically predisposed stages or steps: Although progress through the various stages may be quick or slow, everyone passes through the stages in the same order.
        • § Young children have some abilities Piaget attributed to later stages.
        • § Kohlberg’s work reflected a worldview characteristic of educated people in individualistic cultures and emphasized thinking over acting.
        • § Adult life does not progress through the fixed, predictable series of steps Erikson envisioned.
  • o Although research casts doubt on the idea that life proceeds through neatly defined, age-linked stages, the stage concept remains useful.
    • § The human brain does experience growth spurts during childhood and puberty that correspond roughly to Piaget’s stages
      • Stage theories contribute a developmental perspective on the whole life span, by suggesting how people of one age think and act differently when they arrive at a later age.
      • Stability and Change: Researchers who have followed lives through time have found evidence for both stability and change.
        • o There is continuity to personality and yet, happily for troubled children and adolescents, life is a process of becoming: The struggles of the present may be laying a foundation for a happier tomorrow.
          • § The first two years of life provide a poor basis for predicting a person’s eventual traits. Older children and adolescents also change. Although delinquent children have elevated rates of later work problems, substance abuse, and crime, many confused and troubled children have blossomed into mature, successful adults.
          • § As people grow older, personality gradually stabilizes. Some characteristics, such as temperament, are more stable than others, such as social attitudes
          • § In some ways, we all change with age.
            • Most shy, fearful toddlers begin opening up by age 4, and most people become more self-disciplined, stable, agreeable, and self-confident in the years after adolescence.
            • Many irresponsible 18-year-olds have matured into 40-year-old business or cultural leaders.