Lifespan Development Thesis


Chapter 9: Lifespan Development



DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY ● Study of the patterns of growth and change that occur

throughout the lifespan ○ Physical, Cognitive, and Psychosocial Changes

● The Nature vs. Nurture debate ○ Psychologists typically take an interactionist

perspective ■ Both nature and nurture interact



PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT ● “Before birth” Development

● Environmental influences ○ Mother’s nutrition ○ Mother’s illness ○ Mother’s emotional state ○ Mother’s drug use




● Reflexes ○ Unlearned (i.e., innate) automatic responses to stimuli

■ Rooting ■ Sucking ■ Gagging ■ Grasping

○ Most disappear within 4 to 5 months



ATTACHMENT ● The positive emotional bond that develops between a

child and a particular individual ● Feelings of comfort and security are the critical

components in building a positive attachment ○ See Harlow’s monkey studies




BAUMRIND’S PARENTING PRACTICES ● Authoritative is the ideal style in many cultures

○ High responsiveness: There is love, care, and affection ○ High control: There are rules, limits, and structure

● Other styles lack either control, responsiveness, or both ○ Lack of control (e.g., permissive parenting) can lead to

risky adolescent behavior ○ Lack of responsiveness (e.g., authoritarian parenting)

can produce anxious and unhappy children




ERIKSON’S PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ● Humans enter a “crisis” at each developmental period

○ Resolution of the crisis is mostly dependent on environmental factors (e.g., interactions with parents, teachers, peers)

● Resolution of a crisis does NOT predict the resolution of following crises ○ One exception!

■ A resolution of the identity crisis in adolescence predicts the resolution of the intimacy crisis



ADOLESCENCE ● The socially constructed stage between childhood and

adulthood ● Not as “bad” as once thought

○ Research does not support the idea of a typical “adolescent rebellion”

● Frontal lobes of brain have not finished developing ○ Responsible for judgement, impulse control, planning

● Peer groups tend to become more important than family




Sensorimotor Stage (0 to 2 years) ● “Thinking” is sensory experience (e.g., seeing, hearing, touching, tasting) ● These infants lack object permanence

Preoperational Stage (2 to 6 years) ● One-way thinking through words and symbols; no logical reasoning ● These children are egocentric and lack conservation

Concrete Operational Stage (7 to 11 years) ● Logical thinking with tangible events and analogies ● These children aren’t able to think abstractly

Formal Operational Stage (12+ years) ● Thinking abstractly ● These people can engage in hypothetical reasoning












PIAGET’S COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT ● There are some major criticisms of Piaget’s theory

○ Many think development is continuous and therefore this discontinuous stage-like model isn’t accurate

○ Many have observed children reaching cognitive milestones long before Piaget would have argued

○ Argument for a fifth stage beyond Formal Operations ■ Postformal thought

● Emotions become more integrated with logic over time




● Argues that cognitive development is continuous, not stage-like

● If we receive scaffolding (i.e., support) from more capable individuals within our zone of proximal development, we’re able to cognitively progress at astonishing rates



KOHLBERG’S MORAL DEVELOPMENT ● People go through three broad levels of moral reasoning