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CHAPTER 2

THEORIES OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT


Learning Objectives

• What are the five basic


issues in human
development?
• Where does each major
theorist – Freud,
Erikson, Skinner,
Bandura, Piaget, and
Gottlieb – stand on
each of these issues?
Theories of Human Development
• Theory: Ideas proposed to
describe/explain certain
phenomena
– Organizes
facts/observations
– Guides collection of new
data
• Should be internally
consistent
• Falsifiable: Hypothesis can
be tested
• Supported by data
Other Assumptions About Human Nature
• Nature/Nurture: Heredity or
environment most
influential?
• Goodness/Badness:
Underlying good or evil
• Active/Passive
Development: Self
determination or by others
• Continuity/Discontinuity:
Stages or gradual change
• Quantitative/Qualitative
Changes: Degree or
transformation
• Universal or Context Specific
Development
Learning Objectives

• What are the distinct


features of Freud’s
psychoanalytic theory?
• What are the strengths
and weaknesses of the
theory?
Freud: Psychoanalytic Theory
• Instincts and unconscious
motivation
• Id, Ego, and Superego
formed from psychic energy
(Libido)
– Id: Instinctual nature of
humans
– Ego: Rational and
objective
– Superego: Internalized
moral standards
• Dynamic system: Regular
conflicts within
Freud’s Psychosexual Development
• Child moves through
five stages
• Stages result from
conflict between Id &
Superego
• Conflict creates anxiety
• Ego defends against
anxiety with defense
mechanisms
• Early experiences have
long-term effects on
personality
Strengths and Weaknesses of Freud’s
Theory
• Strengths
– Awareness of
unconscious motivation
– Emphasized important
early experience
• Weaknesses
– Ambiguous, inconsistent,
not testable
– Not supported by
research
Learning Objectives

• How does Erikson’s


psychoanalytic theory
compare to Freud’s
theory?
• What crisis
characterizes each of
Erikson’s psychosocial
stages?
Erik Erikson

• Most influential neo-Freudian


• Some differences with Freud
– Less emphasis on sexual
urges
– More emphasis on rational
ego
– More positive, adaptive view
of human nature
– Development continues
through adulthood
Erikson’s Stages: Approximate Ages

• Trust vs. Mistrust: Importance of responsive caregiver


• Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt: Preschool
• Initiative vs. Guilt: Preschool
• Industry vs. Inferiority: School-age children
• Identity vs. Role Confusion: Adolescence
• Intimacy vs. Isolation: Young adult
• Generativity vs. Stagnation: Middle age
• Integrity vs. Despair: Old Age
Strengths and Weaknesses of Erikson
• Strengths
– Focus on identity crisis of
adolescence still most
relevant
– Emphasis on rational and
adaptive nature
– Interaction of biological &
social influences
• Weaknesses
– Sometimes vague and
difficult to test
– Does not explain how
development comes
about
Learning Objectives
• What are the distinct
features of the learning
theories covered in this
chapter: Watson’s
classical conditioning,
Skinner’s operant
conditioning, and
Bandura’s social-
cognitive theory?
• What are the strengths
and weaknesses of the
learning theories?
Learning Theories: Classical Conditioning
• Behaviorism: Conclusions
should be based on observable
behavior only
• Tabula Rasa - Environmental
view
• Association Learning
– UCS: Built-in, unlearned
stimulus
– UCR: Automatic, unlearned
response
– CS: Stimulus causes
learned response
– CR: Learned response
• The three phases of
classical conditioning
Learning Theories: Operant Conditioning
• Probability of behavior based
on environmental
consequences
– Reinforcement
• Pleasant consequence
• Increases probability
– Punishment
• Decreases probability
• Unpleasant, aversive
• Possible consequences of whining behavior.
• Moosie comes into the TV room and sees his father talking and joking with his sister. Lulu,
as the two watch a football game. Soon Moosie begins to whine, louder and louder, that he
wants them to turn off the television so he can play Nintendo games. If you were Moosie’s
father, how would you react? Here are four possible consequences of Moosie’s behavior.
Consider both the type of consequences – whether it is a pleasant or aversive stimulus –
and whether it is administered (“added to”) or withdrawn. Notice that reinforcers strengthen
whining behavior, or make it more likely in the future, whereas punishers weaken it.
Bandura: Social Cognitive Theory
• Formerly called social
learning theory
– Humans think, anticipate,
believe, etc.
• Cognitive Emphasis:
Observational learning
– BoBo doll studies
– Model praised or punished
– Child learned to imitate
rewarded model
– Vicarious reinforcement
Learning Theory: Strengths & Weaknesses
• Strengths
– Precise and testable theory
– Carefully controlled
experiments
– Practical applications across
lifespan
• Weaknesses
– Inadequate account of
lifespan changes
– Ignored genetic and
maturational processes
Learning Objectives
• What is Piaget’s
perspective on cognitive
development?
• What are the strengths
and weaknesses of
Piaget’s theory?
Piaget: Cognitive Developmental Theory
• Intelligence: Ability to adapt
to environment
• Constructivism:
Understanding based on
experience
• Interactionist
– Both biological
maturation and
experience required for
developmental progress
• At each new stage, children
think in a qualitatively
different way
Cognitive Developmental Theory
• Strengths
– Well-accepted by
developmentalists
– Well-researched, mostly
supported
– Influenced education and
parenting
• Weaknesses
– Ignores motivation and
emotion
– Stages not universal
especially the last one
Learning Objective

• How do systems
theories, in general,
conceptualize
development?
Contextual/Systems Theories
• Lev Vygotsky: Sociocultural
perspective
– Cognitive development is a
social process
– Problem solving aided by
dialogues
• Gottlieb: Evolutionary/Epigenetic
Systems
– Genes, neural activity,
behavior, and environment
mutually influential
– Normal genes and normal early
experiences most helpful
Learning Objectives
• What are the essential elements of Gottlieb’s
epigenetic psychobiological systems perspective of
development?
• What are the strengths and weaknesses of the
systems approaches to development?
Gottlieb – Developmental Psychobiology
• Interaction: Biological &
environmental influences
• Individual programmed
through evolution
• Current behavior results from
past adaptation
• Ethology: Behavior adaptive
to specific environments
– E.g., food scarcity creates Nomadic people in tents in Turkey
nomadic behaviors
– Species-specific behavior
of animals & humans
Gottlieb: Epigenesis
• Instinctual behavior may or may not occur
• Depends on early physical and social
environments
• Genes alone don’t influence behavior
• A system of interactions
• People develop in changing contexts
– Historical
– Cultural
Strengths and Weaknesses
• Strengths
– Stresses the interaction of
nature and nurture
• Weaknesses
– Only partially formulated
– and tested
– No coherent developmental
theory
Learning Objective
• How can we characterize the theories in general?
Participation Question 1 (from Box 2.1)
• Directions: Choose one option for each statement
and write down the corresponding letter.
Biological influences and learning experiences are
thought to contribute to development. Overall:
a. Biological factors contribute far more
b. Biological factors contribute somewhat more
c. Both biological and environmental factors
contribute equally
d. Environmental factors contribute somewhat more
e.Environmental factors contribute far more
Student Participation Question 2
Children are innately:
a. Mostly bad; they are born with basically
negative, selfish impulses
b. Neither good nor bad; they are tabula
rasae (blank slates)
c. Both good and bad; they are born with
predispositions that are both negative and
positive
d. Mostly good; they are born with many
positive tendencies
Student Participation Question 3
People are basically:
a. Active beings who are the prime determiners
of their own abilities and traits
b. Passive beings whose characteristics are
molded either by social influences (parents,
other significant people, and outside events)
or by biological changes beyond their control.
Student Participation Question 4
Development proceeds:
a. through stages so that the individual changes
rather abruptly into a different kind of person
than s/he was in an earlier stage
b. In a variety of ways – some stage-like, and
some gradual or continuous
c. Continuously – in small increments without
abrupt changes or distinct stages
Student Participation Question 5
When you compare the development of
different individuals, you see:
a. Many similarities: Children and adults
develop along universal paths and
experience similar changes at similar ages
b. Many differences: Different people often
undergo different sequences of change and
have widely different timetables of
development