• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

AS and A Level: Developmental Psychology

Browse by

Currently browsing by:

4 star+ (12)
3 star+ (30)
Submitted within:
last month (3)
last 3 months (5)
last 6 months (7)
last 12 months (10)

Meet our team of inspirational teachers

find out about the team

Get help from 80+ teachers and hundreds of thousands of student written documents

Five key cognitive development theorists

  1. 1 Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who developed a maturational four stage theory of cognitive development: he said that all children go through the same sequence of sensori-motor, pre-operational, concrete operational and formal operational thought. Learning occurs through assimilation of ideas and accommodation of schemas. His ideas have been hugely influential in education, particularly mathematics.
  2. 2 Lev Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist. He proposed the influential zone of proximal development (ZPD) concept in learning and stressed the importance of cultural mediation – the internalisation of knowledge through the social interaction between adult and child. Unlike Piaget, he argued that language was crucial for cognitive development.
  3. 3 Jerome Bruner is an American psychologist proposed three ‘modes’ of learning as opposed to a strict sequence of stages: enactive, iconic and symbolic. He proposed the ‘spiral curriculum’ and coined the term ‘scaffolding’ -two very influential ideas in education.
  4. 4 Robbie Case is one of a group of neo-Piagetian theorists who have developed Piaget's theory by incorporating ideas and methods from Vygotsky's social-constructivist theory, information-processing, linguistics and developmental neuroscience.
  5. 5 Simon Baron Cohen is a prominent autism researcher. He has contributed much to our understanding of the development of Theory of Mind. This concept is crucial to the development of social cognition and empathy through the ability to take another person’s perspective.

Key attachment theorists

  1. 1 Melanie Klein’s Id-based object relations theory was a key influence on John Bowlby. Psychoanalytic ideas by Klein, Donald Winnicott and other British psychoanalysts were significant in the later development of attachment theory.
  2. 2 John Bowlby was an important attachment theorist. He was director of the psychoanalytic Tavistock Institute in London, where he ran a child guidance clinic. His Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis, proposing the link between attachment and mental health was published in an influential report for the World Health Organisation in 1951. He developed his attachment theory over decades, publishing a three volume series ‘Attachment and Loss’ between 1969 and 1980. His ideas stimulated a significant body of research into attachment and his work paved the way for a revolution in childcare in the 20th century.
  3. 3 James and Joyce Robertson worked with Bowlby and were also very influential. James Robertson developed the Protest- Despair–Detachment model of bond disruption (1953a). The Robertsons also concluded that consistent substitute ‘mothering’ was vital for the maintenance of attachment bonds and the emotional wellbeing of the child.
  4. 4 Mary Ainsworth – was a Canadian researcher who worked with John Bowlby at the Tavistock in the 1950s, and later carried out important research in Africa and the US. She is best known for identifying attachment types and her Caregiver Sensitivity Hypothesis, which has been disputed by Jerome Kagan – who proposed the temperament hypothesis in direct contradiction.
  5. 5 Michael Rutter is Bowlby’s main critic. His book ‘Maternal Deprivation Reassessed’ (1972) was an influential critique of Bowlby’s research. Rutter made the distinction between deprivation and privation and argued that privation, poor parenting and family conflict were more significant in attachment disorders than deprivation.

Five classic studies of attachment

  1. 1 Bowlby’s ‘44 Juvenile Thieves’ (1944) were the inspiration for his Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis. They were children who he saw in his child guidance clinic and examined for signs of ‘affectionless psychopathy’ – a condition that he argued would result from separation during the critical period for attachment.
  2. 2 Harlow’s monkeys (1959): Harlow’s experiments on rhesus monkeys provided an unintentional insight into the importance of responsive care in infancy for good emotional development and subsequent parenting skills in adulthood.. His work had a huge influence on John Bowlby.
  3. 3 Ainsworth’s ‘Strange Situation’ (1970): Ainsworth found ways to test Bowlby’s ideas in controlled procedures. She designed the 'strange situation', a tool which has been used across the world to study the attachment types that underlie parent and child interactions.
  4. 4 Robertson & Robertson’s ‘Young Children in Early Separations’ (1971): A series of highly influential films following on from Robertson and Bowlby’s seminal ‘A Two Year Old Goes to Hospital’; these case studies revolutionised the care of children in hospital and fostering.
  5. 5 Hodges & Tizard’s 'Social and family relationships of ex-institutional adolescents' (1989): An influential longitudinal study of children who had experienced early privation resulting from institutional care. The study showed that children could form good bonds with adoptive or biological parents beyond the so called ‘critical period’. They were likely to have difficult or disinhibited peer relationships, but not the affectionless psychopathy predicted by Bowlby.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 61
  • Peer Reviewed essays 18
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 21
  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline findings and conclusions of research into cross-cultural variations in attachment. (6 marks)

    4 star(s)

    However, an infant?s basic needs are universal and so there should also be some similarities. The ways in which Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg tried to overcome problems by previous studies of cross-cultural patterns were firstly by using large sample sizes that can therefore be better generalised to whole populations and provide more reliable results. They also tried to examine whether or not the differences between cultures were any greater than the existing inter-cultural differences. Finally they used the use of the American ?standard? distribution of attachment types (20% type A, 70% type B, 10% type C)

    • Word count: 626
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate different types of attachment

    4 star(s)

    Stranger anxiety would be seen, they would be wary and treat the stranger differently. There is a high level of separation protest, distress and crying was shown when the mother left, but they would easily be soothed when the mother was welcomed back on her return. On the other hand, a child with an insecure-avoidant attachment would be happy to explore, and there would be low stranger anxiety, the child would treat the stranger indifferently to the mother. Some separation protest can be shown, and the child may become distressed. However, when the mother returns they will carry on doing what they were before her return as they do not use the caregiver to provide comfort.

    • Word count: 821
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate the evolutionary theory of attachment.

    4 star(s)

    Furthermore, Bowlby proposed that infants develop an Internal Working Model which acts as a template for future relationships. This is based on the relationships between the infant and the primary caregiver. Finally, Bowlby also suggested that there is a critical period of 21/2 years where an attachment has to be formed. If not, the infant will experience social and emotional problems in late life. This theory can be both criticised and supported through studies carried out by several researchers. For instance; Konrad Lorenz (1952) was an ethologist who found that a group of goslings became attached to the first living thing they encountered.

    • Word count: 703
  4. Marked by a teacher


    4 star(s)

    but no one actually knows what either persons looks like as you cannot compare them just like the mind no one knows what exactly is in them. The most famous experiment looking into behaviourism is by the Russian scientist I.P Pavlov (1849-1946) in which he found that by ringing a bell every time he fed the dogs in his lab, he realised that the dogs learned to associate the bell with food so therefore salivated, eventually the dogs would salivate without the need for food as the simple ringing of the bell was enough for them to assume that the bell meant food therefore salivation would occur.

    • Word count: 928
  5. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate research into the effects of day-care on childrens social development

    3 star(s)

    The results also show a cut in aggression and a rise in rough and tumble play. The rise in social behaviour seemed more clearly in the infant that attended the nursery 5-days-a-week rather than those who attended 2-days-a-week. The researchers concluded that day care increases the chance of infants to develop into becoming more sociable and less aggressive. In general the study was a naturalistic observation which means that there was no controlled variable therefore the study has high ecological validity due to none of the behaviours being manipulated. Due to the independent variables not being controlled this makes the observation an advantage because in other situations it would be unethical to manipulate the variables and in this study it always the researches the examine what would be unethical for them to control e.g.

    • Word count: 575
  6. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and Evaluate Bowlbys Evolutionary Theory of Attachment. (12mark)

    3 star(s)

    He suggests that infants were born with social releasers (for example: crying/smiling) which encourage caregiving. Bowlby also suggests that there is a best time to form an attachment, this is called the sensitive period where infants are most sensitive to development of attachments and Bowlby would suggest that this is when the child is 3-6 months old. However, attachment can still take place at other times but it becomes increasingly difficult. Attachment acts as a secure base for exploration, which influences independence rather than dependence.

    • Word count: 786
  7. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the affect of early attachment on adult relationships.

    3 star(s)

    They found similarities between childhood and adult relationship experience, with those who are securely attached as a child lasting twice as long there adult relationships. Secure adults reportedly were trusting and had greatest intimacy with their partners; however insecure adults lacked trust and were fearful of intimacy, even doubting the existence of love. However there are many weaknesses of self report research, with demand characteristics, memory issues, cultural bias and how generalisable the results are.

    • Word count: 506
  8. Marked by a teacher

    Describe the Findings and Conclusions of Gibson and Walks Visual Cliff

    3 star(s)

    Gibson and Walk used 36 participants all between the ages of 6 and 14 months, all of whom were able to crawl. The infants were placed, one at a time, in the centre of the glass on a board. Their mothers stood at one side of the platform, and attempted to coax the child towards them. If the child moved off the centre of the platform onto the "deep" side, this would suggest that the infant had no depth perception and if they appeared to prefer the "shallow side", refusing to cross onto the "deep" side, this would suggest that the infant had developed depth perception.

    • Word count: 583
  9. Marked by a teacher

    Influence of childhood experiences on adult relationships

    3 star(s)

    This behaviour can spread to peer relations and even romantic relationships in adulthood. Children's friendships can act as training grounds for important adult relationships. Close friendships involve affection, a sense of alliance and intimacy, and having someone to confide in. Childhood friendships share important characteristics in later romantic relationships. A02 Despite the criticism there has been some good evidence for this theory. The relationship between early attachment style and later relationships was demonstrated by Fraley (1998). . He conducted a Meta analysis of studies and found correlations between 0.1 and 0.5 between early attachment types and later relationships. He suggested that low correlations are due to the unstable attachment type that is insecure-anxious.

    • Word count: 759
  10. Marked by a teacher

    Describe and evaluate two theories of attachment.

    3 star(s)

    In return, the mother has maternal instincts, which cause her to strive to care for and protect the baby. The concept of an internal working model is also an important one to the child's development and future as these initial attachments that the baby forms in the critical period form the basis for relationships when the child grows older. This is known as the continuity hypothesis. It will guide the individual's feelings, thoughts and expectations. Bowlby argues that without stable, secure attachments in infanthood, they will be unable to socially and emotionally develop normally. Bowlby focuses on the idea of attachment being based on nature, as opposed to nurture - an important argument in psychology.

    • Word count: 852
  11. Marked by a teacher

    Multi-store model and working memory model

    3 star(s)

    Short-term Memory is the type of memory where information is selected by attention from sensory memory, may pass into short term memory (STM). This allows us to retain information (acoustically) long enough to use it, e.g. looking up a telephone number and remembering it long enough to dial it. Peterson and Peterson (1959) have demonstrated that STM last approximately between 15 and 30 seconds, unless people rehearse the material, while Miller (1956) has found that STM has a limited capacity of around 7+/-2 'chunks' of information.

    • Word count: 590
  12. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and Evaluate research into the effects of day care on social development

    3 star(s)

    Another study which found positive effects on social development was by Moely and Frank (1998) found that children who spend more time in daycare played more pro-socially with others. Both these studies show how regular interaction between familiar people (peers and nursery workers) allow the child to gain social competence and increasing the child's confidence allowing for a more co-operative and happier child. However some research looks at the possible negative effects daycare can have on a child's social development. Belsky (2006) suggests that children who have experienced daycare tend to show higher levels of problem behaviours including aggression towards peers.

    • Word count: 930
  13. Marked by a teacher

    discuss into different types of attachment

    3 star(s)

    The result if a child is deprived of this type of relationship then the child may suffer long term emotional maladjustment. Bowlby says that an attachment gives us an internal working model, which is a prototype for future relationships, and when the attachment is broken then the child may not be able to form a proper relationship in the future. He also said that the attachment is needed for the promotion of survival; if the child is cared for by parents they can then carry the genes on to the next generation.

    • Word count: 813
  14. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate one or more explanations of attachment

    3 star(s)

    Bowlby's Monotropic Theory of attachments is that the infant bonds with one special attachment figure who is usually the mother because she is special and unique in attachment. The bond with the mother is special because it is different from all other bonds the child makes. Bowlby believed that attachment behaviour was innate and had been passed down through evolution for the survival of the infant. They are born programmed to become attached and that adults are also programmed to attach to their infants.

    • Word count: 900
  15. Marked by a teacher

    compare and contrast two theories of language development

    3 star(s)

    He suggests this structure consists of speech-producing mechanisms, the ability to understand, and parts of the brain. Chomsky's theory is therefore a nature theory as he states the "ability to learn language is instinctive." (Tassoni, P. 2006. p.424). Skinner's theory is a nurture theory, as he believes that we learn language through encouragement and reinforcement. He suggests that "we learn language mainly because when babies try to communicate, their efforts are rewarded or reinforced in some way" (Tassoni, P. 2006. p.423) and so this is a nurture approach. Parents or carers reinforce or encourage the baby through smiles, eye contact and spoken encouragement.

    • Word count: 830
  16. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate one or more explanations of attachment

    3 star(s)

    Behaviourists came up with the theory that attachment is either learnt through classical conditioning or operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is learning through association; food is an unconditioned stimulus and provides pleasure, which is an unconditioned response. The individual who feeds the infant is a conditioned stimulus and this individual becomes associated with pleasure, which is a conditioned response. When this association is made an attachment bond is formed between infant and 'feeder'.

    • Word count: 427
  17. Marked by a teacher

    Consider what psychological research has shown us about cross-cultural variations in attachment

    3 star(s)

    The key question was whether the Strange Situation is a valid procedure for cultures other than the original carried out on American, middle-class, white, home-reared infants and their mothers. Takahashi, therefore observed a group of children in the strange situation, who matched the Americans on every variable except culture. His findings were revealing 68% of the infants were classified as securely attached; this is almost identical to the original American sample. No infants were classified as avoidant-insecure; however, 32% were classified as resistant-insecure.

    • Word count: 839
  18. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the extent of, and the reasons for, changes in the position of children since industrialisation.

    P Aries (1962) also supports the view that childhood is a recent invention. The industrialisation showed the beginning of attitudes towards children not differing much at the beginning for working classes, but that middle class attitudes started to change from an economic view to a more romantic loving view. This view is supported by P Aries. Child labour laws started to make life foe children a little bit easier, saying that children could not work under a certain age, which allowed children to become more involved in activities in their age group.

    • Word count: 857
  19. Marked by a teacher

    Should mothers stay at home to raise their children?

    If they would rather work than look after their children, then why shouldn't they be given the choice to do so? Shouldn't this be considered equally valid? In many cases, women who are forced to give up work that they enjoy, fall into deep depression and find it hard to recover. Subsequently, many childcare options are of very poor standard; in some cases with only one adult looking after many children at once. It can leave children bored, which in turn can slow their rate of development.

    • Word count: 973
  20. Marked by a teacher

    For this assignment I am going to describe my own personality and compare it to what my friend thinks of my personality. I am also going to describe the evolution of behaviour and why people behave in the way they do.

    What I think of my personality, ' I think I have different types of personalities. In college I am very outgoing and flirtatious, I speak my mind and let people know what I think of them. Out of college I am also outgoing and quite loud. I socialise a lot with my friends and like to have a good time. I do have a sensitive side when people talk about my business but I need to learn to ignore them and let it go over my head. I try not to judge people on first impressions and I like to get to know as many people as possible.'

    • Word count: 690
  21. Marked by a teacher

    Teenage Criminals.

    If there was a stricter law an alcohol consume, the amount of aggressive teens would go down. Alcohol is know as a people drug. On the other side a lot of teens commit crimes in order to finance their drug consumption. Young teens have the need to be in a group. Don't all teens want to feel important of popular? Teens in high school always want to be accepted and recognized.

    • Word count: 563
  22. Peer reviewed

    OCR G544 - Using examples of research that you have studied, discuss the strengths and limitations of using the nurture debate to explain human behaviour (12 marks)

    5 star(s)

    Negative school experiences, weak family bonds and growing up in an impoverished area where life prosperity is low were all contributing risk factors, but even so, this study does not attribute any behaviour to the nature side of the debate and therefore ignores important genetic factors that may also predetermine behaviour from birth (such as explored in a study by Raine where he observed brain dysfunction as a reason the crimes committed by serial murderers). Another weakness of the nurture debate is shown in Meichenbaum?s study, whereby a comparison group of students suffering exam anxiety enrolled on a course of

    • Word count: 575
  23. Peer reviewed

    OCR G543 - Evaluate the use of a longitudinal research design when considering upbringing as an explanation for criminal behaviour.

    5 star(s)

    study conducted at just one point in time – and consists of a singular analysis of the school reports of 2,000 14/15 year olds and one interview, thus making the practicality of psychological research far easier than the 40 year-long longitudinal study Farrington conducted. On top of this, the most commonly used approach to collecting data from longitudinal research is self report; both Farrington and Wikstrom & Täfel used them. Self report techniques are a good indicator of partiality to criminal behaviour because you can ask personal questions and learn about smaller crimes that unreliable criminal records (used by Farrington in a bid for concurrent validity)

    • Word count: 622
  24. Peer reviewed

    Freuds Psychosexual Stages of Development

    5 star(s)

    The stage finishes at the weaning stage. The stage lasts approximately one and one-half years. The Anal Stage At one and one-half years, the child enters the anal stage. With the advent of toilet training comes the child's obsession with the erogenous zone of the anus and with the retention or expulsion of the faeces. This represents a classic conflict between the id, which derives pleasure from expulsion of bodily wastes, and the ego and superego, which represent the practical and societal pressures to control the bodily functions. Two types of anal characters: the anal expulsive character (The child wants to fight, takes pleasure in excreting maliciously, perhaps just before or just after being placed on the toilet)

    • Word count: 719
  25. Peer reviewed

    Outline and evaluate one Social Learning Theory explanation of personality development

    5 star(s)

    However, although unnecessary, reinforcement will affect the performance of the behaviour; this is known as vicarious reinforcement. Bandura's theory incorporates cognitive factors into its explanation, and for a model's behaviour to be imitated, there must be some internal mental representation of the model. There are five steps to the modelling process. The first step is availability: for the observation to occur, the learner must be able to see the model exhibiting the behaviour. Then, the learner must, voluntarily or involuntarily, pay attention to the model's behaviour. Third, the child must be able to store mental images of the model's behaviour.

    • Word count: 978

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Outline and evaluate the behaviourist/learning theory for attachment.

    "Validity is also questionable of the learning theory. Studies are largely based with animals and therefore there is not sufficient data to draw conclusions from their studies to directly apply to humans. Human behaviour is more influenced by emotions and the thinking process, which does not support the learning theory as it is oversimplified version of human behaviour. Overall the evidence for the learning theory is very weak. Although principles of the theory have been proved (Pavlov's dogs and the Skinner box) the main idea that food is the primary incentive for attachment is opposed by many studies. This suggests that the theory is too simple; it does not take in other 'rewarding' factors and is too oversimplified to be applied in human behaviour."

  • Outline and evaluate Bowlbys explanation for attachment

    "In conclusion I believe that bowlbys explanation for attachment is a strong theory as there is plenty of evidence and supporting points. Every theory will have one or two criticisms, however one of bowlbys was simply an alternative explanation that in itself has much less support than bowlbys theory. Bowlbys attachment theory has had a big influence on many aspects of everyday life and everyone's understanding of emotional development."

  • Evaluate the evolutionary explanation of attachments.

    "In conclusion this is just a basic theory and many arguments can be made for and against Bowlby's evolutionary theory of attachment. However even though various pieces of research have shown elements of his theory to be incorrect or not thoroughly supported enough the research still suggests that the theory provides a good understanding of attachment. Also Bowlby's work has been very influential to others therefore it can be considered fundamental to our understanding."

Marked by a teacher

This document has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the document.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the document page.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student document reviewing squad. Read the full review under the document preview on this page.