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AS and A Level: Developmental Psychology

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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.

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  1. The Legalization of Marijuana

    At the moment the popularity of marijuana is rising among youth and teens. This would most likely increase if marijuana was legalized, because it would be more accessible. The use of marijuana can seriously affect children, by causing lack of motivation, causing learning difficulties, laziness, carelessness and other negative physical effects. Marijuana can also be a 'gateway drug' and lead to other more serious and harmful drugs. Marijuana could seriously change a child's or teenager's life by putting them, their bodies and their futures in danger.

    • Word count: 508
  2. In Yosser's story from Boys from the Black Stuff

    He is desperately shouting at them asking to help but they just carry on rowing past. This dream shows us that Yosser has a great fear of loosing his children and he knows that no one can help him if he does. Scene eight is where Yosser and his three children are sitting in a park watching what looks like a very happy family playing together in a playground. Yosser finds this very frustrating as he would love to have a happy family and just have a happy lifestyle. Also in this scene the mum and dad from the happy family are showing affection to each other, Yosser would find this annoying as he has lost his partner, Maureen.

    • Word count: 956
  3. According to behaviourists, the principles of conditioning can be applied to many aspects of human behaviour.

    If a young child behaves in an undesirable way, then they may be punished (e.g. a toy being taken away from them) therefore this behaviour is negatively reinforced and is less likely to reoccur. A dentist tried to soothe the fears of his young patients by showing them cartoons whilst drilling their teeth. Many years later a former patient said, "After all these years I still cannot bear to watch cartoons". Outline what is meant by classical conditioning, and show how it could be used to explain why this person cannot bear to watch cartoons.

    • Word count: 750
  4. There are 3 main perspectives on learning; Behaviourism, cognitive and humanist.

    An example of behaviour modification is an experiment done my Skinner. He invented a box with a lever in it. He then placed a rat in the box. The first thing he did to the rat was positive reinforcement. When the rat pulled the lever food was given, so the rat would pull the lever again. This can be applied to learning by giving students good grades for good work encouraging them to keep it up. Secondly, Skinner taught the rat Punishment. When the rat pulled the lever, an electric current would run through the floor.

    • Word count: 547
  5. How are children and childhood presented in Enduring Love?

    From the beginning of the novel we are presented with childhood, as the death of Harry in the ballooning incident, this presentation makes it more poignant, as the child is presented as weak and incapable and worthy of being saved. At certain points within the novel adults behaviour is described as being child-like. "Sometimes your like a child", this is suggested by Clarissa who is commenting on Joes behaviour.

    • Word count: 604
  6. A Comparison between 'The Godmother' and 'Blue Remembered Hills'

    The theme of this reflects the time period, including feminism and the teamwork of the showgirls. The main theme for 'Blue Remembered Hills' differs from this, more focusing on the loss of innocence rather than anything else. Similarly with 'The Godmother', 'Blue Remembered Hills' was written after the time of setting, and introduces seven children, on a summer afternoon in the West Country, 1943. It seems the perfect childhood, yet this certain play gives us the idea of the "loss of Eden".

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  7. Drama Part 1 - Assessment Writing

    My contribution to the performance was as a performer. I had to play the role of one of Rachael's friends who took part in the spell with the other friends. I also contributed by writing some of the play with the other people in my group. We practiced in lessons and during our lunchtimes so that the play would be ready for its performance date. To help me in my work I looked for information on the internet about health spells as we wanted to use one in our performance.

    • Word count: 656
  8. Every child is unique: a developmental perspective

    Flexible children are subtle in their demand for attention. Rather than yelling and demanding it, they will slowly and politely let their caregiver know about their need. If they do not get the attention right away, they rarely make a fuss. These children are also easygoing, so routines like feeding and napping are regular. The next temperament is the fearful type. These are the more quiet and shy children. They adapt slowly to new environments and take longer than flexible children when adapting to new situations. When presented with a change in environment, fearful children often cling to something or someone familiar.

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  9. Psychology Long Questions

    In the non-aggressive condition, the model sat and played quietly, in the aggressive condition the model sat and played for about a minute, but then got up and started assaulting the Bobo doll in the corner of the room with a mallet. The child was then taken to another room full of toys and told that they couldn't play with them. This was a mild aggression arousal. The child was lead to anther room with a Bobo doll in it, where it was observed whether the child imitated the adult they had seen.

    • Word count: 601
  10. Psychology - cross cultural variations

    Description: Van Ijzendoorn & kroogenberg (1988) were 'armchair researchers' and carried out a meta-analysis of thirty-two studies in eight different countries and researched what percentage had a certain type of attachment from the strange situation. They wanted to find out if there were intracultural differences.

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  11. Critically consider the Strange Situation as a measure of attachment type.

    One interpretation of attachment type (based on the Strange Situation) is that it is a fixed characteristic and therefore cannot be changed, but if there is a change in family circumstances this is often not the case. Attachments to mothers and fathers have been proven to be independent - Main and Weston (1981) found that children reacted differently depending on which parent they were with. This shows that the attachment types shown by the Strange Situation are based on qualities of distinct relationships as opposed to a child's characteristics.

    • Word count: 549
  12. Original Writing Anonymous

    If anything they're safer there than they are at home, with him. I must show some restraint when conversing with her. After all, she is married. She has been for seven years now, to Steve. I hope he doesn't mind: I treat her better than he ever did. I hope that she can come to adapt to her new situation. That will make a first. The rest of them said they would rather die than accept this. Another thing I cant understand. Why would someone rather not exist at all, when they have everything they could possibly need to survive?

    • Word count: 815
  13. To what extent does research support the view that anorexia nervosa is caused by psychological factors?

    What makes it easier for them to do this is the support from the mother. She wants to take care of a child and to feel needed; thus by having a frail and sick child keeps the mother/daughter relationship going. Another reason came from Freud who stated that eating is a substitute for s****l expression; one who doesn't eat is avoiding their sexuality or repressing their s****l impulses. For example someone may not want to admit to their sexuality or is nervous about their first s****l experience that they avoid eating to get rid of the frustrations.

    • Word count: 535
  14. A Christmas Carol - How does dickens explore the theme of social responsibility in Victorian England?

    Dickens travelled the streets making observations of the city so that he was able to describe to the readers the sights, sounds and smells of it. He wanted the readers to experience everything how the children would. Victorian London was a place of extremes, in the 1800's the population was around 1 million and it was going through the industrial revolution. The city was both reaping the benefits and suffering the consequences. All of this and the building of the new railroad made the population of Britain grow and it would reach up to 4.5 million by 1889.

    • Word count: 730
  15. Discuss the view that childhood is socially constructed.

    There has been evidence to suggest that children as young as five were subject to s****l relations. This is no longer socially acceptable and would be seen as a form of abuse. Phillip Aries feels that industrialisation was the primary factor for the change in children's positions. During the industrial revolution education became readily available to the middle class. This extended the period of time before a child had to work which therefore pro-longed the length of time before a child became an adult.

    • Word count: 907
  16. The Key to Safer Buses is in One Simple"Click"

    Without seat belts, children can be tossed around in the bus and can sustain injuries. Compartmentalization, a safety feature for frontal and rear collisions, has constantly failed to provide protection in side impact and rollover crashes. With little or no support, children could be tossed about the vehicle and death has resulted. "Compartmentalized doesn't work...In studies equipped with cameras on buses, it showed when a bus rolled, the children ended up in a huge pile. I think taxpayers should be alarmed," stated Yeager. With the use of seat belts, children will be secured to the seat and reduce injury.

    • Word count: 614
  17. Describe and evaluate explanationsof maintenance in relationships.

    This theory shows that all types or relationships have a tendency to break down over time. But Levinger's theory suggests that there is a fixed order in which the five stages occur and focuses on the similarities in relationships. Brehm (1992) suggested that there are large differences among couples in the progress of their relationships. It is for this reason that Brehm suggested it is preferable to think in terms of flexible phases rather than fixed stages. The social penetration theory suggests that relationships develop as a result of mutual self-disclosure, this lessens in time. Sternberg (1986) found intimacy to be a key factor in both loving and liking.

    • Word count: 529
  18. Tales to Chill the Heart - Halloween: Trick or Treat!

    Earlier that afternoon Mr.Dean had made a potion. A poisonous potion. The tiniest drop could kill a grown man. At his feet stood a basket filled with fresh, red apples. Slowly, he dipped each apple into the poisonous potion so that it became an even brighter, bloodier red. He then coated each apple in a thick, creamy layer of melted chocolate. As he watched the chocolate ooze off the sides of the apple and drip onto the floor, he chuckled to himself.

    • Word count: 805
  19. Discuss the view that childhood is socially constructed

    They needed love and attention children have their own culture that is impenetrable to adults. Childhood is now idealised, as a magical time of innocence and fun. From 1950 up until the present day there is a growing awareness of children's rights and empowerment. Children are seen as active members of the family and even contribute to the domestic chores. Children are consumers. Philip Aries feels that modern childhood is socially constructed not biological. He argues that industrialisation changed the position of children. For centuries children were seen as entering the workforce around the age of seven.

    • Word count: 968
  20. Skinners Operant Conditioning Theory

    A reinforcer is anything that strengthens a desired response, such as verbal praise, or a good grade. Skinner's theory also covers negative reinforcers, and punishment that lead to the reduction of undesired responses. Further, attention is given to schedules of reinforcement used to establish and maintain behaviour. This topic will explore the application of Operant Conditioning where learning is controlled through reinforcement of certain stimulus and response patterns. Learning through Operant Conditioning To understand Operant Conditioning we must look at the laws that control the relationship between two variables: independent variables and dependent variables. When an experiment is conducted, the independent variable(s)

    • Word count: 703
  21. Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from the major British cities at the start of World War Two?

    They therefore decided it was necessary to evacuate children from all the cities, which were most likely to be bombed. By evacuating children, it proved to people how serious the war was and how much everybody's help and co-operation was needed. This made people respect other decisions of the government and start helping more towards a greater Britain. Also by sending children to go live in the countryside, it freed up the mothers and other guardians, allowing them to input to the vital war effort.

    • Word count: 659
  22. "Weavers and their families were better off before factories started." Discuss

    Another advantage is been able to decide when you start and finish work, so if you couldn't be bothered to get out of bed you would be able to have an extra 1/2 hour. And if you couldn't be bothered to work anymore you were too tired you could finish work for the day. In addition to this you could have breaks when you wanted, as well as choosing how long or short your break was going to be. You also wouldn't have to get up as early as you wouldn't be wasting time traveling to and from work.

    • Word count: 619
  23. 'Afternoons' - Philip Larkin

    The first stanza the poet is explaining how the parent's youth is fading by the opening line. The lives of the young mothers are a very safe. This is because they are situated in a very safe area, with other mothers. They live in a safe community because it says in the last two lines of the first stanza "At swing and sandpit Setting free their children" This is saying that they could let their children play without being hurt and that the mother's would have a friend to talk to and have some company if their own age rather than a two year old.

    • Word count: 531
  24. Difficulties in defining the family

    This would imply that homosexuality is becoming acceptable not only by the general public - the majority of which no longer view homosexuality as unusual - but also by the church. It is also legal in certain parts of the world for gay couples to adopt children, which is an important commitment and requires trust on the part of the adoption agency. Therefore it would be safe to say that a family does not have to be limited to two adults of opposite sexes.

    • Word count: 845
  25. The usefulness of functionalism for an understanding of the family

    These functions help the individuals within the family; Murdock believed the functions are s****l, educational, economic and reproductive. However, Murdock did not consider that the family may have a detrimental affect on members of the family as he seemed to assume that all families are harmonious and do not have any arguments or problems. He also overlooked alternatives to the family and how they might be better at some of the functions than the family itself and therefore minimise the importance of the family. The Functionalist theory does not consider that the modern situation and success of institutions other than the family has decreased the importance of the family and the functions it performs.

    • Word count: 662

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