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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.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 61
  • Peer Reviewed essays 18
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Bowlby's Attachment Theory

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    A full evaluation will be made of his deprivation hypothesis, including detailed criticisms of his theory. Finally, conclusions will be drawn to show if Bowlby's deprivation hypothesis can still retain any credibility. The first task is to define the terms attachment and deprivation. In 1973 the leading attachment psychologist, Mary Ainsworth, pointed out that "Attachment is an affectional tie that one person forms to another person, binding them together in space, and enduring over time". Deprivation can occur when there is insufficient opportunity for interaction with a mother figure (privation), when there is insufficient interaction with mother (masked deprivation), or when there are repeated breaches of ties with mother figures.

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    What have been the major challenges to Piaget's theory of cognitive development? What aspects of the theory still have value?

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    Piaget alleged children's thinking goes through changes at each of four stages (sensori motor, concrete operations and formal operations) of development until they can think and reason as an adult. The stages represent qualitatively different ways of thinking, are universal, and children go through each stage in the same order. According to Piaget each stage must be completed before they can move into the next one and involving increasing levels of organisation and increasingly logical underlying structures. Piaget stated that the 'lower stages never disappear; they become integrated into the new stage (hierarchic integration) (Inhelder and Piaget, 1958). Children themselves, through their actions on the environment, interacting with there biologically - determined level of maturation, bring about the cognitive changes, which result in adult thinking.

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  3. Marked by a teacher

    Contrast Principles of Classical and Operant Conditioning

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    Because of what Pavlov found he then chose to study learning, which he hoped might enable him to better understand what was happening. Pavlov and his assistants began work by pairing various neutral stimuli such as sound when food was present in the dog's mouth to see if the dog would eventually learn to salivate to the just the sound on it's own. To get rid of extraneous stimuli, they kept the dog in isolation, secured it into a harness and measured its saliva with a special device.

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  4. Marked by a teacher

    An investigation of self-descriptions based on data collected from two participants of differing age, and how this age gap influences the focus of their self-descriptions based on the findings of Morris Rosenberg (1979)

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    who originally study the work of Bannister and Agnew (1977). Rosenberg suggests that young children describe themselves in terms of physicality, activities and behaviour, while older children/adults use character and relationships, a more psychological perspective. Rosenberg's study involved interviewing a group 8-18 year olds selected from 25 schools in a random procedure. He then classified the answers to the question he asked these students "Who am I" into four groups, these were: Physical - descriptions of features and activities, Character - descriptions of personal characteristics, personality, Relationships - descriptions of interpersonal traits and relationships with others, Inner - descriptions of inner thoughts, feelings, desires, knowledge of oneself.

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  5. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast two of the main approaches to personality psychology

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    The id (biological part of personality) is present at birth and consists of inherited instincts and all psychological energies. The id operates according to the pleasure principle, seeking to reduce tension, avoid pain and obtain pleasure. The ego (executive part of personality) is conscious part of the mind, the "real" us. The function of the ego is to express and satisfy the desires of the id in accordance with reality and the demands of the superego. The ego operates in accordance with reality principle. The third structure is superego (moral/judicial part of personality), it's subdivided into conscience and the ego-ideal.

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    Outline the major theoretical perspectives in psychology and evaluate two of these paridigms.

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    The sight/smell of food leading to salivation is an unconditioned S-R. He introduced a neutral stimulus when food was presented so the dogs associated the two. After this conditioning was complete the dog salivated when presented with the neutral stimulus alone (see fig. 1). Another area of behaviourism involves Skinner (1904-1990) and his theory of Operant Conditioning. He used rats put into a small maze to investigate his ideas. Rewards were placed at certain points around the maze to reinforce the rat's behaviour towards that particular route. After this conditioning process the rat's behaviour was reinforced to the extent that it was able to complete the maze on upon entering (see fig.2).

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    The five major perspectives in Psychology and their main strengths and weaknesses.

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    The EGO is the rational part of the personality, that does the planning and decision making. It makes us see the difference between wanting/ wishing and the actual reality of things. The SUPEREGO is the guilty conscience it determines what is right or wrong and what is acceptable and unacceptable and looks at the moral and judicial part of our personality. The SUPEREGO is there to assist the EGO and to keep the ID under control. Freud's theory of Development comes in four different stages. The first of these is the oral stage, which comes at birth, whereby Babies will explore by using their mouths, finding pleasure from this and finding out things by doing it.

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    Discuss how childcare workers can combat the effects of oppression, r****m and discrimination, making reference to the relationship between personal and professional values.

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    Discriminatory attitudes in behaviour, language and actions must not be shown so that children can grow up determining a positive self-attitude. Infants are adept at interpreting signals. They learn through watching and imitating. Workers are powerful impressionists. It only takes one sneer, one 'paki' comment, for words to empower. As we see parents' attitudes being passed down, the same happens with workers. It is vitally important that workers realise how influential they are in a child's life as it is not until we develop ourselves as young adults that we start to question and judge our beliefs.

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    Behaviourist Perspective

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    This learning process can be speeded by rewarding it earlier, for example, when the rat goes near to the lever, the food is delivered, until the rat has learned to press the lever. Animals tend to repeat actions, if they are previously rewarded. Animal's behaviour is reinforced. This term is called positive reinforcement. Skinner's theory relies on law of reinforcement, which states 'actions' which are immediately followed of the rewards, which are repeated and learned where as actions or behaviour which are not followed by reinforcement and are dropped.

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    Define Psychology using four perspectives; Psychoanalytical, Behaviourist, Humanistic and Cognitive

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    The technique of psychoanalysis and much of the psychoanalytic theory were developed by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). His work concerning the structure and the functioning of the human mind had far-reaching significance, both practically and scientifically. Contemporaries of Freud, such as Carl Jung and Alfred Adler, despite being inspired by Freudian theory, emphasized different issues in human development and experience. This wider theoretical framework is known as the psychodynamic approach. The first of Freud's innovations was his acknowledgment of unconscious psychiatric processes that follow laws different from those that preside over conscious experience. The laws of logic, indispensable for conscious thinking, do not apply to the unconscious mental productions.

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  11. Free essay

    "Fear is a contributing factor in power relations between adults and children". Critically discuss this statement in relation to at least two of the research papers you have studied so far.

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    Power means different thing to different people, however, it is generally thought of as the ability of individuals or groups to influence others and put forward their point of view despite the resistance or objections of others. Sometimes the direct use of force is used to exercise power, however idealogies are usually used to justify the application of this force (Giddens 1995) cited in Doing Research with Children and Young People Edited by Fraser et al pg81. Thus the old adage that knowledge is power can be said to be true.

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  12. Psychology - Stress

    Selye argued that when an organism is faced with a stressor, the body reacts and gets ready to defend itself. If the stressor is then adequately dealt with, the body will then return back to its normal state, but if the stressor persists and the body is continually exposed to the stressor and is unable to manage it, the organism could be damaged as a result by tissue damage, increased susceptibility to illness, and even possibly death. Selye called this non-specific response that was the result of a stressor the General Adaption Syndrome (GAS), also known as the pituitary-adrenal stress syndrome.

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  13. Human Growth and Development

    Stern believed for the infant to develop representations of him/herself, its mother or other primary carer, and the nature of their interactions, it is obviously necessary that infants are capable of constructing and retaining these representations in some form of nonverbal or preverbal memory. It was once believed that only toward the latter part of the first year of life, and that for the first couple of months after birth the infant is generally unresponsive and unaware of the physical and social environment, but rather lives in a sort of autistic fantasy.

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  14. Developmental Psychology

    The key achievement of this stage is the concept of object permanence which allows the child to be aware of the existence of objects when they are not in view, in the early part of the sensorimotor stage a child is not aware that objects still exist when they can not see them: it is a case of out of sight out of mind. This concept of object permanence develops as the child moves around their environment. Piaget investigated his children's lack of permanence by hiding objects and found that at 0-5 months the child was not able to look for the object once it was hidden.

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  15. report into 3 classified psychological disorders of your choice. Discuss symptoms, causes and explanations of the using research

    Currently there are 3 stages of development: Early symptoms * Impediment with language * Encounter expressive memory loss, mainly relating the primacy effect of the memory * Disorientation * Lost in familiar surroundings * Indecisive * Initiative and motivation, lack of * Depression and aggressiveness * Loss of interest Middle symptoms During this stage, symptoms become more obvious and limited and perplexed with day to day living. * Forgetful , unable to remember names or events * Unable to live independently with concern and difficulties * Unable to do basic things; shopping, cooking and cleaning * Become very difficult *

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  16. It Has Been Suggested that one of the Main Assumptions of the Maternal Deprivation are Long Lasting and Possibly Irreversible

    Bowlby (1944) aimed to test the Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis in his study; to find out whether frequent early separations of infant and mother were linked with later behavioural problems. In this study he used 88 children aged from 5 years to 16 years old as his participants. The children were separated into two groups (each of 44 people) - half were the set of children who had been involved in theft, and the other half had just been referred to the child guidance clinic.

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  17. Cognitive Development

    Throughout this stage the infant learns about themselves and their environment through motor and reflex actions. Their thoughts derive from sensations and movements and they begin to understand that they are separate from their environment. The Preoperational stage occurs between the ages of two and four years. The infant begins to utilize symbols to classify objects. Objects are also personified by the infant and they are able to think about events that are not directly present. The infant is not yet able to conceptualize time. At this stage the infant will take information and adjust it to fit his ideas.

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  18. Free essay

    Stress of the Sexes: A Look into the Psychological and Physiological Response

    As found by Weekes, MacLean, and Berger (2005) your reactions to stress mentally and physically will manifest different dependent on your s*x. As described later in this review, it will show that their study covers the correlation between s*x and it physical affects based on the person's perception of the event. Also covered is a lack of correlation between perceived stressful events between males and females. How We React to Stress There have been many studies on stress and its negative health affects to the immune system.

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  19. Attachment and Bonding

    He then compared his findings with 44 adolescents who already had emotional problems but where not 'thieves'. He noted that 14 showed affectionless psychopathy, they where also recorded as having no feelings of affection, warmth or concern for anyone. Bowlby firmly believed that these adolescent problems where a result from the experience of early separation. ( www.psychology.about.com accessed 20/1/07)

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  20. How Children Learn

    A cornerstone of good early years practice is that children learn a great deal through play. This principle applies just as much to babies and very young children as it does to slightly older ones. It is an essential part of growing as it boosts the mind, body and spirit. Children often learn skills more quickly through play than they do in school or any other organised learning situations because they're more motivated and more relaxed, and it's a more natural way to learn.

    • Word count: 2474
  21. Free essay

    Compare and contrast two psychological perspectives

    This led to him formulating the 'Law of Effect' (1898). (www.muskingum.edu) Following Thorndike was Ivan Pavlov, a Russian who trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. He showed that through experience, an animal could learn to respond to a stimulus that had never caused this response before - known as classical conditioning. (Carlson 1990) Behaviourism remained the dominant force in psychology - particularly in America, for the first half of the 20th century. John B. Watson, a behaviourist, believed psychology was a natural science, restricted to observable behaviour and regarded humans as complex animals with no inner processes or unconscious - only responses to stimulus.

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  22. 'I blame it on their parents'

    For the purposes of this essay however, disturbing behaviour is that which has been identified as causing problems for the child, their parents/care givers and/or their teachers. The child's behaviour is not 'normative' and may be hindering their development. Parents are often seen as the omniscient and omnipotent presence in their child's life. They have a great deal of control over their (young) child's life and are the overriding contributor in their development. They shape and guide how their children live and think, they teach them values and morals according to their own ethical code and impose their own life view.

    • Word count: 2198
  23. Free essay

    The Efective Primary School Teacher

    By making links with current knowledge, skills and understanding, the teacher can plan more effectively. Graham J and Kelly A (2000) state that; If a teacher understands, monitors and records each child's knowledge, strategies, strengths, difficulties, confidence, and skill, he/she will be able to ensure, through planning appropriate teaching, that progress is maintained. (p.113) 601027 During my recent extended school experience, my year one class were working extensively on the science topic of 'Sound'. The children were introduced to the range of sounds around them through games, stories and poems and had a visit from a tribe of African drummers.

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  24. Sequence of three drama lessons based on the Titanic

    Likewise children who are bored or uninspired by a topic could become distracted and lose interest. Class 5 is made up of 24 children, 14 girls and 10 boys. Prior to the lesson all tables and chairs have been moved to the side of the room so that the class can work in a safe environment. The lessons will take 45 minutes and will run in the first morning session of Monday, Wednesday and Friday in a single week. It is felt 45 minutes 0601027 is sufficient time for the children to enjoy the drama session without losing interest and enthusiasm.

    • Word count: 2884
  25. Do these sources, and the site at Quarry Bank Mill, fully explain what working conditions were like for children in textile mills, such as the one at Quarry Bank Mill, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries? Explain your answer with referen

    Firstly, the punishments of pauper apprentices were favourable at Quarry Bank to others such as Litton Mill in Derbyshire. Robert Blincoe describes his time at Litton in an account given to commissioners in 1833: He describes the horrors of some mills, "Mr. Needham (Master) stands accused of having been in the habit of knocking down apprentices with his clenched fists - kicking them about when down, beating them to excess with sticks, or flogging them with horse whips; or seizing them by the ears, lifting them from the ground and forcibly dashing them down on the floor, pinching them 'til his nails met".

    • Word count: 2165

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."

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