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Psychology Chapter 10

Notes Chapter 10 Section 1:  They Study of Development

  • General
    • Developmental Psychology:  the branch of psychology that studies the physical, cognitive, and social changes that occur through the life cycle.
    • Developmental psychology studies how people grow and change throughout the life span from conception, through infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood until death.
    • Early childhood experiences affect people as adolescents and adults.
    • By studying early stages of development psychologists can learn about developmental problems, what causes them, and how to treat them.
    • Psychologists can also learn about what types of experiences in infancy and childhood foster healthy well-adjusted children and adults.
    • Developmental psychologists study not only people of different ages, but also different types of development like physical development, social development, and cognitive development.
    • Because developmental psychologists study people across the life span, they are interested in seeing how people change over time.
      • Developmental psychologists use two methods to study change over time:
        • Longitudinal method
          • Developmental researchers select a group of participants and observe that same group for a period of time, often years.
          • This can be time-consuming and expensive.
        • Cross-sectional method.
          • Researchers select a sample that includes people of different ages then compare the participants in the different age groups.
      • Developmental psychologists are concerned with two general issues:
        • Ways in which heredity and environmental influences contribute to human development.
        • Whether development occurs gradually or in stages.
  • The roles of Nature and Nurture
    • Psychologists have long debated the extent to which human behavior is determined by heredity (nature) or environment (nurture).
    • Some aspects of behavior originate in the genes people inherit from their parents.
      • In other words, certain kinds of behavior are biologically “programmed” to develop as long as children receive adequate nutrition and social experience.
        • Researchers use kinship studies, including studies of twins, to learn about the influence of heredity on human development.
    • Maturation:  developmental changes that occur as a result of automatic, genetically determined signals.
      • Because of maturation, infants generally sit up before they crawl, crawl before they stand, and stand before they walk.
        • This sequence happens automatically and on its own genetically determined timetable.
          • No matter how much one might try to teach these skills to infants, they will not do these things until they are “ready.”

 

  • Readiness
    • The concept of “readiness” relates to an important term in the study of development: critical period.
      • Critical Period:  a stage or point in development during which a person or animal is best suited to learn a particular skill or behavior.
        • For example: Language development
          • Much research suggests that there may be a critical period for language development in humans.
          • Young children seem to learn language more easily than older children and adults.
  • Psychologist Arnold Gesell (1880 – 1961) proposed that maturation played the most important role in development.
  • He focused on many areas of development including physical and social development.
  • John Watson, a behaviorist, took a different from Gesell.
    • Behaviorism originated in the 1600s with English philosopher John Locke who believed that the mind of the infant is like a tabula rasa, or blank slate.
      • He believed that when an infant was born, their mind is like a blank slate on which the infant’s experiences will be written, that nurture will have the greatest effect on the newborn’s development.
    • Examples of nurture include nutrition, family background, culture, and learning experiences in the home, community, and school.
  • Today nearly all psychologists would agree that both nature and nurture play key roles in children’s development
  • Stages Versus Continuity
    • Another topic of debate among psychologists is whether human development occurs primarily in stages or as a continuous process.
      • Stages – development is like climbing a set of stairs to reach the stop (each stair is a distinct level)
        • A stage is a period or a level in the developmental process that is distinct from other levels.
        • Certain aspects of physical development appear to take place in stages, and when people move from one stage to another their behavior can change dramatically.
          • Examples:
            • Sitting – crawling – standing – walking
        • Most maturation psychologists believe that most development occurs in stages.
        • One of the most famous stage theorist was Jean Piaget who studied cognitive development.
      • Continuous – development is like walking up an inline or hill (a gradual increase without distinct levels)
        • Other psychologists believe that development occurs as a gradual process.
        • Example:  Vocabulary development
        • Example:  A child’s steady growth in weight and height is an example of continuous development that happens so gradually that we are usually not aware of the changes as they are occurring.
    • It is not always clear whether development occurs in stages or is continuous, so psychologists continue to debate the issue.

Notes Chapter 10 Section 2:  Physical development

  • Introduction
    • A newborn enters the world possessing certain physical characteristics and equipped with certain abilities.
      • Example:  an infant is born measuring a certain length and weighing a certain amount.
        •  Both height and weight will increase with time and nourishment.
    • Infants are also born with certain reflexes.
      • Reflex:  an automatic unlearned response to a sensory stimulus.
        • Reflexes are inborn, not learned, and they occur automatically, without thinking.
        • Example:  swallowing.
        • Some reflexes an infant keeps; others such as sucking disappear when they are no longer needed.
    • Changes in reflexes and gains in height and weight are examples of physical development.
      • We will also look at motor and perceptual development.
  • Height and Weight
    • Babies grow and an amazing rate, but most dramatic gains in height and weight occur even before an infant’s birth.
      • During the first eight weeks of the mother’s pregnancy, the tiny embryo in the mother’s uterus develops fingers, toes, eyes, ears, a nose, a mouth, a heart, and a circulatory system.
      • At eight weeks the 1 ½ inch embryo becomes a fetus.
    • During the fetus stage (which lasts until birth) the organs of various body systems develop to the point at which they can sustain the life of the baby after he or she is born.
    • During the 9 months of pregnancy, the embryo develops from a nearly microscopic cell to a baby about 20 inches in length.
      • A newborn weighs a billion or more times what it weighed at conception.
    • During infancy dramatic gains continue in height and weight.
      • Infancy:  the stage from birth to age two.
      • Infants usually double their birth weight in about five months and triple it by one year.
      • They grow about 10 inches in height in the first year.
      • During the second year infants gain another 4 to 6 inches in height and another 7lbs in weight.
    • After infancy comes childhood.
      • Childhood:  the stage of life that follows infancy and spans from the period of the second birthday to adolescence.
      • Children gain on average two to three inches and four to six pounds each year until they reach the start of adolescence.
  • Motor Development
    • At first it seems babies are just bundles of reflexes and random movements, but soon their muscles and nervous systems mature and random movements are replaced by purposeful motor activity.
      • The development of purposeful movement is called motor development.
    • Motor development usually occurs in stages.
      • Example:  Babies roll over before they sit up, crawl before they stand, stand before they walk.
        • Fun fact:  The point at which these various behaviors occur is different from culture to culture.
          • In Uganda infants usually walk before they are 10 months old.
          • In the U.S. babies don’t usually start walking until they are about 12 months old.
          • Why?
            • American babies spend much of their time lying in cribs.
            • Ugandan babies spend much of their time being carried on their parents’ backs.
              • This contact with parents the sense of movement, and the upright position may help them learn to walk earlier.
  • Reflexes
    • Soon after a baby is born, the doctor or nurse places a finger against the palm of a baby’s hand.  Babies are not told how to respond to and do not “know” what to do, yet they grasp the finger firmly.
      • Why?
        • Grasping is a reflex.
    • Some reflexes are essential to our survival.
      • Breathing is an example of a reflex
        • Even though we can breathe consciously if we wish it is still considered a reflex because we do not have to think about it.
        • The breathing reflex works for a lifetime.
    • Other examples of reflexes we have for a lifetime:


 

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Yawning
  • Blinking


 

  • Rooting is another reflex babies are born with.
    • Because of the rooting reflex, babies turn toward stimuli that touch their cheeks or the corners of their mouths.
    • Once infants locate the source of the stimulus they automatically begin sucking and swallowing.
  • The sucking and swallowing reflexes are essential to an infant’s survival because they allow the infant to eat.
  • Babies also reflexively withdraw from painful stimuli.
    • Moro (startle) reflex:  Babies pull up their legs and arch their backs in response to sudden sounds or bumps.
  • Babinski reflex:  babies raise their big toes when the soles of their feet are touched.
  • Babies also eliminate wastes by reflex.
  • As children develop many of their reflexes (like rooting and sucking) disappear, some remain (like swallowing), and some become voluntary (like eliminating wastes).
    • These changes are all part of the maturation process.
  • Perceptual Development
    • Imagine what the world must be like for a newborn.
      • Prior to birth the baby has spent several months in a warm, wet, dark place.
      • Now suddenly it finds itself in a bright, noisy world full of sensory stimuli.
    • Perceptual development is the process by which infants learn to make sense of sights, sounds, tats, and other sensations to which they are exposed.
    • Infants prefer new and interesting stimuli.
      • They are preprogrammed to survey their environment and to learn about it.
      • Example Face study
        • Robert Fantz found that two-month old infants preferred pictures of the human face to any other pictures.
    • Infants perceptual preferences are influenced by their age.
      • 5 – 10 week old babies look longest at patterns that are fairly complex.
        • It does not matter what the pattern looks like, what matters is the complexity of the pattern.
        • At this age eyesight is not fully developed, so infants prefer to look at the most complex thing they are capable of seeing.
      • By 15 – 20 weeks, patterns begin to matter.
        • Babies then begin to stare longer at face-like patterns.
    • Other studies have focused on depth perception.
      • Example: the visual cliff
        • The visual cliff is a special structure with a portion that has a surface that looks like a checkerboard and another portion with a piece of glass over a checkerboard pattern that is several feet below.
          • This creates the illusion of a drop-off or cliff.
        • A classic study with the visual cliff found that young infants seem unafraid (as indicated by heart rate) when placed face down on the edge of the apparent drop off.
          • By 9 months infants respond with fear to the drop-off.
          • By the time infants learn to crawl, most of them will refuse to move onto the glass portion even when their mother’s call them from the other side.
            • Perhaps crawling and exploring the world have taught older infants that drop-offs are dangerous.
              • Experience may have contributed to their ability to perceive depth.
    • Infants’ hearing is much better developed at birth then is their eyesight.
      • When it comes to hearing, most newborns stop whatever they are doing and turn toward unusual sounds.
      • They respond more to high-pitch sounds then to low-pitch tones, although they seem to be soothed by someone singing softly or speaking in a low-pitch tone.
    • Newborns immediately distinguish strong odors.
      • They spit, stick out their tongues, and wrinkle their noses and something stinky.
      • They smile and show licking motions when something smells good.
    • Babies prefer sweet-tasting liquids.
      • They like sweet things but dislike bitter or salty liquids.
      • A “sweet tooth” may be human nature.

 

Chapter 10 Section 3:  Social Development

  • Social Development: involves the ways in which infants and children learn to relate to other people.
  • Attachment:  an active and intense emotional relationship between two people that endures over time.
    • Emotional ties that form between people and keep them together.
    • Because infants are basically helpless, and are totally dependent on other to fulfill their needs, feelings of attachment are essential to survival.
      • Infants and children try to stay in contact with people whom they are attached.
    • Development of Attachment
      • True or False?
        • Newborn babies would rather be held by their mother’s then other people?
          • False, it takes a number of months for infants to become attached to specific people.
      • Psychologist Mary Ainsworth studied attachment in infants.
        • She observed that at first infants prefer being held by someone – anyone – over being alone.
          • Birth – 4 months = no attachment, like to be held by anyone.
          • By 4 months of age infants develop specific attachments to their main caregivers, usually their mothers.
            • 4 months = attached to mothers
            • This attachment grows stronger by six to seven months, where they try to maintain contact with their mothers and cry or complain when they are separated.
      • By the age of 8 months, some infants develop fear of strangers. (8 months = stranger and separation anxiety)
        • Stranger Anxiety: distress that is sometimes experienced by infants when they are separated from their primary caregivers.
          • Infants who experience stranger anxiety cry and reach for their parents if they are near strangers.
          • Their anxiety is someone less if the person to whom they are attached is holding them.
          • They closer to the stranger the more distressed they become.
            • They are most distressed if the stranger touches them.
      • Separation Anxiety:  distress that is sometimes experienced by infants when they are separated from their primary caregivers.
    • Why do infants become attached to primary caregivers?
      • Contact comfort and imprinting.
    • Contact comfort:
      • For a long time, psychologists believed that  that infants become attached to those who fed them, but psychologist Harry Harlow observed that infant monkeys without mothers or companions became attached to pieces of cloth in their cage, which of course did not provided food.
        • The monkeys would hold onto the cloth and were upset if it was taken away.
      • Harlow conducted several experiments to find out why, and what time of objects the monkeys would become attached to.
      • Harlow’s study:  Wire mom with food vs. cloth mom with no food.
        • In one study Harlow placed infant monkey in cages, each of which had two “mother” objects.
          • One mother was made of wire and held a baby bottle.
          • The other was made of soft cloth and did not hold a baby bottle.
        • The monkeys spent most of their time clinging to the cloth “mother” even though it did not feed them.
          • Harlow concluded that the monkeys had a basic need for contact comfort.
      • Contact Comfort:  the satisfaction obtained from pleasant, soft stimulation.
        • It is an instinctual need to touch and be touched by something soft.
        • This need seems to be even stronger than the need for food.
      • Attachment grows more from bodily contact then from feeding.
      • Sense of security.
        • Harlow did a different study with the monkeys that looked at how infants explore the world.
          • Bonds of attachment between mothers and infants also appear to provide a secure base from which infants explore their world.
          • Harlow placed toys in the cages with the monkeys.
            • Monkeys with wire mothers cringed in fear for as long as the toys were in the cage.
            • Monkeys with cloth mothers cringed for awhile, but eventually began to explore the toys.
              • The cloth moms gave the monkeys comfort to enable them to explore their world.
    • Imprinting
      • True or False?
        • Baby geese become attached to the first moving object they see – even if that object is a human being.
          • True – this is called imprinting.
      • For many animals attachment is an instinct.
        • Instinctive behavior develops during a critical period shortly after birth.
          • Ducks, geese, and other animals become attached to the first moving object they see
            • The moving object is said to become imprinted on the infant animal.
      • Imprinting:  the process by which animals form strong attachments during a  critical period very early in life.
      • Research has shown that animals can become imprinted on some rather unusual objects.
    • Secure Vs. Insecure Attachment
      • When mothers or other primary caregivers are affectionate and reliable, infants become securely attached.
        • Secure attachment creates a bond between child and caregiver.
        • When the caregiver leaves the child may cry or protest, and when they return they are happy again.
        • Secure infants mature into secure children who are happier, friendlier, and more cooperative then insecure children.
          • They also get along better with other children.
      • When caregivers are unresponsive or unreliable, infants become insecurely attached.
        • They do not mind when caregivers leave.
        • Some even cry when the caregiver picks them up, due to anger.
  • Styles of Parenting
    • Warm or Cold?
      • Warm-affectionate
        • Warm parents show a great deal of affection to their children.
          • Ex. Hugs, kisses, smiles.
        • Warm parents show their children they are happy to have them and enjoy their company.
      • Cold-unaffectionate
        • Cold parents are not as affectionate toward their children.
        • They don’t appear to enjoy the company of their children as much.
      • Which is better cold or warm parenting?
        • Research suggests that children do better when parents are considered to be warm.
        • Children of warm parents are well adjusted and are more likely to develop a sense of responsibility. When they do wrong.
        • Children of cold parents are usually more interested in escaping punishment then in doing the right thing.
    • Strict or Permissive?
      • Strict:
        • Impose many rules and supervise children closely.
        • Often concerned with neatness and cleanliness.
        • Fear children will run wild and get into trouble if they are not taught self-discipline.
        • Strictness can be good and bad:
          • Good:
            • Consistent firm enforcement of rules can foster achievement and self-control, especially when combined with warmth and support.
          • Bad:
            • Physical punishment or constant interference may lead to disobedience and poor grades in school
      • Permissive:
        • Impose fewer rules and watch children less closely.
        • Not concerned with neatness and cleanliness.
        • Believe children need freedom to express themselves or become independent.
        • May have less time to monitor their children’s activities and without guidelines children may become confused about what behaviors are acceptable and which ones aren’t.
      • Authoritative:  a parenting style based on recognized authority or knowledge and characterized by mutual respect.
        • Combination of warmth with positive kinds of strictness.
        • Children tend to be more independent and achievement orientated.
          • They also feel better about themselves.
      • Authoritarian:  parenting stresses unquestioning obedience.
        • Strict guidelines that parents expect children to follow without question.
        • Often rejecting and cold.
        • Children are often resistant to other people or dependent on them.
          • They often do poorly in school and tend to be less friendly.

 

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Child Care

  • In the United States it is very common for both parents to live outside of the home.
    • This means many children go to day-care while their parents work.
      • Psychologists are concerned about the effects of day care on the development of children.
  • Quality of care
    • The effects of day-care depend in part on the quality of the day-care center.
    • One study found that children in day-care centers with many learning resources, many caregivers, and a good deal of individual attention did well on cognitive and language tests as children who remained home with their mother.
      • Children in day care are also more likely to share toys and be independent, self-confident, and outgoing.
    • Other studies have shown that children in day care are less cooperative and more aggressive than are other children.
      • Perhaps some in day care do not receive the individual attention or resources they need.
      • When they are placed in a competitive situation, they become more aggressive to try to meet their needs.
        • Some psychologists see this aggressiveness as a sign of independence rather than social maladjustment.
  • Does child care affect kids?
    • It appears that it does not affect kids very much.
    • The quality of care seems to be more important than who provides it.
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
    • Child abuse, both physical and psychological, is widespread.
    • The incidence of child abuse is seriously underreported because children themselves do not often got to the authorities and sometimes abusive parents try to protect one another.
    • It is estimated that nearly 3 million children in the U.S. are neglected or abused by their parents or other caregivers each year.
      • More than half a million suffer serious injuries and thousands die.
    • Physical child abuse – physical assault of a child.
    • Neglect – failure to give a child adequate food, shelter, clothing, emotional support, or schooling.
      • More health problems and deaths result from neglect then from abuse.
    • Why do some parents abuse or neglect their children?
      • Stress – especially unemployment and poverty
      • History of child abuse
      • Acceptance of violence as a way of coping with stress
      • Lack of attachment to the child
      • Substance abuse
      • Rigid attitudes about child rearing
    • What happens to abused children?
      • Children who are abused run a higher risk of developing psychological problems than children who did not grow up in an abusive environment.
      • They tend to be unsure of themselves and are less likely to be explore the world around them.
      • They often suffer from psychological problems like anxiety, depression and low-self-esteem.
      • They are less likely to be close to their peers.
      • They are more aggressive.
      • As adults they are more likely to act in violet ways towards their dates or spouses.
    • True or False?
      • Most abused children become child abusers themselves when they grow up.
        • False – although some children of abuse do become abusers, most do not.
    • Family trend?
      • Child abuse tends to run in families.
      • Children imitate their parent’s behavior.
        • If children see their parents coping with feeling of anger through violence, they are likely to do the same.
      • Children tend to adopt their parents’ strict ideas about discipline.
        • Abused children may see punishment as normal and when they have children of their own, they may continue the pattern of abuse and neglect
      • Not all people who are abused as children will become abusers themselves.
        • Most children who are victims of abuse do not later abuse their own children.
  • Self-Esteem:  the value or worth that people attach to themselves.
    • It helps protect people against the stresses and struggles of life.
    • True or False?
      • Children’s self-esteem tends to decrease as they go through elementary school.
    • Influences on Self-Esteem           
      • Secure attachment plays a role in self-esteem.
        • Young children who are securely attached to their parents are more likely to have high self-esteem
      • The ways in which parents react to their children can also make a difference.
        • Authoritative parenting contributes to higher self-esteem.
      • Children with high self-esteem tend to be close to their parents because their parents are loving and involved in their lives.
      • Parents also teach and expect appropriate behavior encouraging kids to be competent individuals
      • Carl Rodgers noted that there are two types of support parents can give their children, unconditional positive regard or conditional positive regard.
      • Unconditional Positive Regard:  a consistent expression of esteem for the basic value of a person.
        • Parents love and accept their children for who they are – no matter how they behave.
        • Children who received unconditional positive regard usually develop high self-esteem because they know that if they do something wrong they are still worthwhile as people.
      • Conditional Positive Regard:  an expression of esteem given only when an individual has exhibited suitable behavior.
        • Parents only show love when their children behave in certain acceptable ways.
        • Children who receive conditional positive regard may feel worthwhile only when they are doing what their parents want them to do.
        • Once these children grow up, they often continue to seek approval from other people leading to lower self-esteem.
      • A sense of competence increases self-esteem.
        • By the age of 4 children began to judge themselves according to their cognitive, physical, and social competence.
        • Children who know they are good at something usually have higher self-esteem then others.
    • Gender and Self-Esteem
      • By the ages of five to seven, children begin to value themselves on the basis of physical appearance and performance in school.
      • Girls tend to excel in reading and general academics.
      • Boys tend to excel in math and physical skills.
      • Does this means girls are genetically better in reading them boys and boys are better at math and sports?
        • No, It may be that the reason girls and boys show greater competence, and higher self-esteem, in these areas is that people around them have suggested that this is what boys and girls are supposed to be good at.
          • When people feel they will do well at a particular task, they often do.
    • Age and Self-Esteem
      • Children gain in competence as they grow older.
      • Through experience they learn more skills and become better at them.
      • Self-esteem reaches a low point at the age of 12 – 13 and then begins to increase during adolescence.
      • As children develop they begin to realize that some people may not see them as they see themselves.
        • They also compare themselves to their peers.
        • If they see themselves as less competent in some areas, their self-esteem may decrease.

 

 

Chapter 10 Section 4:  Cognitive Development

  • Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
    • General
      • When Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was in his early 20s he worked for a company in Paris that made intelligence tests for children.
      • Before long Piaget realized that children gave certain types of wrong answers and that these wrong answers formed a pattern.
      • Piaget was so interested in these patterns it became his life’s work.
    • Assimilation and Accommodation
      • Piaget believed that human beings organize information in two ways assimilation and accommodation.
      • Assimilation:  the process by which new information is placed into categories that already exist.
        • Example:  Doggie
          • A child may know the word doggie because their family has a pet collie.
          • If the child sees a Great Dane on the street and calls it a “doggie” he or she has assimilated the new information about a Great Dane into the category “dog” even though the Great Dane is different than the collie.
      • Accommodation:  the process of adjusting existing ways of thinking to encompass new information, ideas, or objects.
        • A change brought about by new information.
        • Example:  Kitty
          • If the same child sees a cat and calls it “doggie”  someone will probably correct the child.
          • Through these corrections, the child learns that “dog or doggie” does not apply to cats and that a new category is needed.
    • Piaget theorized that children’s thinking and develops in a sequence of stages:
      • Sensorimotor
      • Preoperational
      • Concrete operational
      • Formal-operational
    • Sensorimotor Stage:  the stage during which infants know the world mostly in terms of sensory impressions and motor activities.
      • It is characterized mainly by learning to coordinated sensation and perception with motor activity.
      • It lasts from birth to about age 2.
      • Infants begin to understand there is a relationship between their physical movements and the results they sense and perceive.
      • Newborns are usually reflexive.
        • They are capable of responding to their environment can cannot initiate behavior.
          • In other words, instead of acting, newborns react.
      • By 1 month of age, infants begin to act with purpose.
        • For example they can coordinated vision with touch and will look at objects they are holding.
      • Out of sight out of mind
        • Before infants are six months old, objects out of their sight are truly out of their minds.
          • The infants do not realize that objects out of sight still exist.
            • If they are playing with a toy and you hide it under a blanket they will not search for it.
        • By eight months to a year infants understand that objects that have been taken away still exist. This is called object permanence
          • Object permanence:  the awareness that people and objects continue to exist even though they can’t be seen.
            • Piaget believed this exists because infants are able to hold an idea in their mind.
            • Object permanence must therefore be mastered before speech and language can occur.
    • Preoperational stage: in Piaget’s theory, the stage during which a child learns to use language, but does not yet think logically.
      • This type of thinking is one-dimensional
      • It lasts from the ages of 2 - 7
        • children in this stage can only see one aspect of a situation at a time.
      • Conservation: the principle that properties of substances (weight, volume, and number) remain the same even If their shape or arrangement has changed.
        • Children in the preoperational stage cannot comprehend all the aspects at once they focus on the most obvious one – the way it looks.
        • Demonstration - Water experiment
          • When preoperational children are shown two identical tall, thin glasses of water, each filled to the same level, they know that both glasses hold the same amount of water.
          • However, if water from on of the tall glasses is poured into a short, squat, glass, the children say the other tall gals contains more liquid then the short one.
          • They will say this even if they WATCHED the water being poured.
          • Because they can focus only what they are seeing at a given moment-and one dimension at a time-they incorrectly thing the tall glass now contains more water than the short glass.
          • Children in the preoperational stage do not realize an increase in one dimension (width) can make up for a decrease in another (height)
        • Example:  Penny experiment
          • If you show a preoperational child two rows of pennies with 5 pennies in each row, but in the first row the pennies are ½ an inch apart and the second row they are 2 inches apart, the preoperational child will say the 2nd row has more.
            • Even if they count the pennies in each row and get 5 – they will still say the one that looks longer has more.
        • Demo – play dough experiment
          • Making play dough snakes
      • Egocentrism: the inability of a preoperational child to understand another’s point of view.
        • Preoperational children assume other people see the world just as they do.
        • They cannot imagine that things might happen to others that do no happen to them.
        • They think the world exists to meet their needs.
        • Egocentrism is considered a consequence of a preoperational child’s one-dimensional thinking.
        • Example: TV
          • When a preschooler sits down in front of the TV blocking everyone’s view, he or she is not being rude.
            • They child simply thinks that you can see exactly what they can see.
      • Artificialism:  natural events are made by people.
        • Ex. Rain and thunder.
      • Animism: thinking inanimate objects are alive and conscious.
        • Ex. The sun and the moon.

 

 

 

 

Examples of Preoperational Thought

Kind of Thinking

Sample Question

Typical Answers

Egocentric:  thing the world exists to meet one’s own needs.

Why does it get dark out?

So I can go to sleep.

Why does the sun shine?

To keep me warm.

Why is there snow?

For me to play in.

Why is the grass green?

Because that is my favorite color.

What are TV sets for.

To watch cartoons.

Animistic:thinking inanimate objects are alive and conscious.

Why do trees have leaves?

To keep them warm

Why do stars twinkle?

Because they are happy.

Why does the sun move in the sky?

To follow children.

Where do boats go at night?

They sleep like we do.

Artificialistic: thinking that natural things and events are made by people.

Why is the sky blue?

Somebody painted it.

What is the wind?

A man blowing

What makes it rain?

Somebody emptying a watering can.

Concrete-Operational Stage:  the stage of cognitive development during which children acquire the ability to think logically based on concrete experiences.     

  • Thinking is two-dimensional.
  • Age 7 - puberty
  • Children can now think logically, but only when they think about specific objects, not about abstract ideas.
  • Their thinking is grounded in concrete experiences or hands-on learning.
  • Concrete-operational children are less egocentric and can see the world from another’s point of view.
    • They understand that people may see things differently because they have different experiences or are in different situations.
  • Formal-Operational Stage:  the stage of cognitive development during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts.
    • Usually starts in puberty and lasts through adulthood.
    • People in this stage can compare and classify mentally and understand what is mean by the “x” in algebra.
    • They can work on school work without concerning themselves with how the problems relate to the real world.
    • They can deduce rules of behavior from moral principles.
    • They can focus on several aspects of a situation at the same time.
    • They can also deal with hypothetical situations.
  • Criticism of Piaget’s Theories
    • Some believe Piaget underestimates the abilities of children, but his theories are very well respected.
  • Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development
    • A moral dilemma:
      • A woman was near death from cancer.  There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her.  It was a form of radium that a pharmacist in the same town had recently discovered.  The drug was expensive to make, but the pharmacist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make.  He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug.  The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow money, but he could raise only around $1,000, half the amount he needed.  He told the pharmacist that his wife was dying and ask him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later.  But the pharmacist rejected the man’s plea saying that he discovered the drug and intended to make money from it.  Heinz became desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug from his wife.
      • What do you think?
        • Should Heinz have stolen the drug?
        • Was he right or wrong?
      • Kohlberg believed there was no simple answer.
        • He thought Heinz was in a moral dilemma.
          • Laws against stealing contradicted Heinz’s strong human desire to save his wife.
        • Kohlberg was not interested if the children thought Heinz was right or wrong to steal.
          • He really wanted to know the reasons why children thought Heinz should or should not steal the drug.
            • People arrive at answers for different reasons which Kohlberg classified according to levels of moral development.
        • Kohlberg theorized that there are three levels of moral development and two stages within each level.
    • The Preconventional Level
      • Preconventional Moral Reasoning: a level of moral development in which moral judgements are based on fear of punishment or desires for pleasure.
        • Ages birth – 9.
        • Stage 1 Avoiding Punishment:  what is “good” is what helps one avoid punishment.
          • They would say Heinz was wrong for stealing because he would be caught and sent to jail.
        • Stage 2 Satisfying Needs:  “good” is what satisfies a person’s needs.
          • They would say Heinz was righto steal the drug because his wife needed it.
    • The Conventional level
      • Conventional Moral Reasoning:  the level of moral development at a which a person makes judgments based on conventional standards of right and wrong.
        • Ages 9 - 16
        • Stage 3 Winning Approval: “good” is what meets one’s needs and the expectations of other people.
          • Common in 13 year olds.
          • Two conclusions can be drawn here:
            • Heinz should steal the drug because a good and loving husband would do whatever he could to save his wife.
            • Heinz should not steal the drug because good people do not steal.
        • Stage 4 Law and Order:  Moral judgments based on maintaining social order and high regard for authority.
          • Common in 16 year olds
          • Breaking the law for any reason sets a bad example and undermines social order.
    • The Postconventional Level
      • Postconventional Moral Reasoning:  a level of moral development during which moral judgments are derived from a person’s own’ moral standards.
        • Usually only seen in adults.
        • Stage 5 Social Order:  Obedience to accepted laws and judgments based on personal values.
          • It is right for Heinz to steal the drug, even though it is against the law,  because the needs of his wife have created an exceptional situation.
        • Stage 6 Universal Ethics:  Relying on one’s own conscious.
          • The pharmacist was acting out of greed and that survival is more important than profit, so Heinz has a moral right to steal the drug to save his wife.
  • Bias in Kohlberg’s Theory
    • Some studies have shown that Kohlberg’s theory was biased in favor of males.
    • This may be because we are taught how boys and girls should act.
    • Shortly before his death, Kohlberg had begun to correct the gender bias in his theory.
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