Life Span Development
Chapter 10
Methods in Developmental Psychology
Cross-Sectional Study
Study people of different ages at the same
point in time
 Advantages
 Can be completed quickly
 Low attrition
Different age groups are not necessarily much
 Differences may be due to cohort differences
rather than age
Longitudinal Study
Study the same group of people over time
 Advantages
Detailed information about subjects
 Developmental changes can be studied in detail
 Eliminates cohort differences
Expensive and time consuming
 Potential for high attrition
 Differences over time may be due to assessment
tools and not age
Biographical or Retrospective Study
Participant’s past is reconstructed through
interviews and other research about their
Great detail about life of individual
 In-depth study of one person
Recall of individual may not be accurate
 Can be expensive and time consuming
Prenatal Development
Period of time from conception to birth
 Embryo
From about two weeks after conception to
three months after conception
Three months after conception to birth
Connects fetus to mother
 Brings oxygen and nutrients
 Takes away wastes
Prenatal Development
Critical Period
Time when influences have major effect
Substances that can damage an embryo or
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Occurs in children of women who consume
large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy
 Symptoms include facial deformities, heart
defects, stunted growth, and cognitive
The Newborn Baby
Enables newborn babies to swallow liquids without
Newborn’s tendency to suck on objects placed in the
Baby turns its head toward something that brushes its
cheek and gropes around with mouth
Close fist around anything placed in their hand
Stepping motions made by an infant when held upright
Temperament refers to characteristic patterns of
emotional reactions and emotional self-regulation
 Thomas and Chess identified three basic types
of babies
 Easy
 Good-natured,
 Difficult
easy to care for, adaptable
 Moody
and intense, react to new situations
and people negatively and strongly
 Slow-to-warm-up
 Inactive
and slow to respond to new things,
and when they do react, it is mild
 Kagan has added a fourth type
 Shy
 Timid
and inhibited, fearful of anything new
or strange
Temperament may predict later disposition
Perceptual Abilities
 Vision
 Clear
for 8-10 inches
 Good vision by 6 months
 Depth
 Visual
 Other
 Ears
cliff research
are functional prior to birth
 Infants particularly tune in to human voices
 Taste and smell are fully functional
Infancy and Childhood
Physical Development
 Children
grow about 10 inches and
gain about 15 pounds in first year
 Growth occurs in spurts, as much as 1
inch overnight
 Growth slows during second year
Motor Development
 Developmental
 Ages
by which an average child achieves
various developmental milestones
 Maturation
 Automatic
biological unfolding of
development in an organism as a
function of passage of time
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
 Sensory-Motor
 Object
(birth to 2 years)
 Preoperational
(2-7 years)
 Egocentric
 Concrete
 Principles
 Formal
(7-11 years)
of conservation
 Understand
(11-15 years)
abstract ideas
Criticisms of Piaget's Theory
Many question assumption that there are
distinct stages in cognitive development
 Criticism of notion that infants do not
understand world
 Piaget may have underestimated influence
of social interaction in cognitive
Stages of Moral Development
 Preconventional
“Good” behavior is mostly to avoid punishment
or seek reward
 Conventional
Behavior is about pleasing others and, in later
adolescence, becoming a good citizen
 Postconventional
Emphasis is on abstract principles such as justice,
equality, and liberty
Criticisms of Kohlberg’s Theory
Research shows that many people never
progress past the conventional level
 Theory does not take cultural differences
into account
 Theory is considered by some to be sexist
in that girls often scored lower on tests of
Language Development
 Babbling
 Make
the sounds of all languages
 Holophrases
 One
word is used to mean a whole
Theories of Language Development
Skinner theorized that language develops as
parents reward children for language usage
 Chomsky proposed the language acquisition
A neural mechanism for acquiring language
presumed to be “wired into” all humans
Bilingualism and the development of a
second language
Social Development
Parent-Child Relationships in Infancy
Development of Attachment
 Imprinting
 Tendency to follow the first moving thing seen
 Occurs in many species of animals
 Attachment
 Humans form a bond with those who care for
them in infancy
 Based upon interaction with caregiver
 Autonomy
 Sense of independence
 Socialization
 Process by which children learn appropriate
attitudes and behaviors
Social Development
Parent-Child Relationships in Childhood
Baumrind’s Parenting Styles
 Authoritarian
Tightly control children’s behavior and insist
on obedience
 Can produce children who have poor
communication skills, who are moody,
withdrawn, and distrustful
 Permissive-indifferent
Parents have too little control and often are
indifferent and neglectful
 Children tend to become overly dependent
and lack social skills and self-control
Baumrind’s Parenting Styles
 Permissive-Indulgent
 Parents are very attentive and supportive, but
do not set limits on behavior
 Children tend to be immature, disrespectful,
impulsive, and out of control
 Authoritative
 Parents provide firm structure, but are not
overly controlling
 Parents listen to their children’s opinions and
explain their decisions, bur are still clearly in
 Children tend to become self-reliant and
socially responsible
Relationships With Other Children
Solitary play
Parallel play
Children first play by themselves
As they get older, children play side-by-side
with other children, but not interacting
Cooperative play
By about 3 or 3½, children begin playing with
Relationships With Other Children
Peer group
A network of same-aged friends and
acquaintances who give one another
emotional and social support
 When children start school, peers begin to
have greater influence
Nonshared environment
Unique aspects of the environment that are
experienced differently by siblings
Sex-Role Development
Gender identity
Knowledge of being a boy or girl
 Occurs by age 3
Gender constancy
Child realizes that gender cannot change
 Occurs by age 4 or 5
Sex-Role Development
Gender-role awareness
Gender stereotypes
Knowing appropriate behavior for each gender
Beliefs about presumed characteristics of each
Sex-typed behavior
Socially defined ways to behave different for boys
and girls
 May be at least partly biological in origin
Physical Changes
Growth spurt
Begins about age 10½ in girls and about 12½
in boys
Sexual development
 Onset
of sexual maturation
 First
menstrual period for girls
Physical Changes
Early and late developers
 Adolescent sexual activity
Approximately ¾ of males and ½ of females
between 15 and 19 have had intercourse
 Average age for first intercourse is 16 for boys
and 17 for girls
Teenage pregnancy
Rate of teen pregnancy has fallen in the last 50
 Highest in U.S. of all industrialized nations
Cognitive Changes
Imaginary audience
Personal fable
Adolescent delusion that everyone else is
always focused on them
Delusion that they are unique and very
Nothing can harm them
Personality and Social Development
Major occurrence in adolescence is identity
 Forming an identity
 Successfully
 Settle
for identity others wish for them
 Explore
find identity
various identities
 Unable
to “find themselves”
Personality and Social Development
Relationships with peers
Adolescents often form cliques, or groups with
similar interests and strong mutual attachment
Relationships with parents
Adolescents test and question every rule and
guideline from parents
Some Problems of Adolescence
 Declines
in self-esteem
 Related
to appearance
 Satisfaction in appearance is related to
higher self-esteem
 Depression
 Rate
and suicide
of suicide among adolescents has
increased 600% since 1950, but has
leveled off in ’90s
 Suicide often related to depression, drug
abuse, and disruptive behaviors
Love, Partnerships, and Parenting
Forming partnerships
First major event of adulthood is forming and
maintaining close relationships
Having children alters dynamics of
 Marital satisfaction often declines after birth of
Marital Satisfaction
Other Issues
The World of Work
Cognitive Changes
Balancing career and family obligations is a
Thinking is more flexible and practical
Personality Changes
Less self-centered, better coping skills
 Some men and women have a midlife crisis (or
midlife transition)
The "Change of Life"
Late Adulthood
Physical Changes
 In
late adulthood, physical deterioration
is inevitable
 A person’s response to these changes are
Social Development
 Independent
and satisfying lifestyles
 Retirement
 Most
people will stop working and face
challenges with that sudden change
 Sexual
 Research
shows that many older couples
continue to be sexually active
Cognitive Changes
 Research
has demonstrated that those
who continue to “exercise” their mental
abilities can delay mental decline
 Alzheimer’s
disease afflicts
approximately 10% of people over 65
and perhaps as many as 50% of those
over 85
Facing the End-of-Life
 Kubler-Ross’s
Stages of Dying

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