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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
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  1. Free essay


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    From this point of view Scraton (1997) argues that within the prevailing standards of each age there have been cruel and loving parents and those children who had cruel parents were likely to be abused, but society did not necessarily condone or accept such abuse. VARIOUS VIEWS ON CHILDHOOD The three main theories on the history of childhood have been recapitulated by Orme (2001) as: (a) Aries, Hoyles, Hunt, Shorter, Stone, Tucker, hold the opinion that before the 17th century there was no concept of childhood and children were regarded as being at the very bottom of the social scale and therefore unworthy of consideration.

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  2. Marked by a teacher

    Welcome to our private day nursery. The information in this booklet refers to the children within our setting who are 2-3years old, however some of the information may be common throughout the nursery

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    Our toys and activities are rotated regulary and offered in a variety of ways to offer 'new activities' which encourage experimentation and problem solving. All activities are designed to allow children to succeed at their own level. Activities include sand/water play, painting, drawing, dough, bikes and other outdoor equipment, story, music and singing sessions, imaginative and role play, baking, collage and junk modelling. HYGIENIC AND HEALTHY To keep our environment hygienic we follow strict cleaning and hygiene routines. We maintain a good standard of personal hygiene and provide positive role models for the children to follow.

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  3. How does watching television influence the behaviours and cognitions of young children?

    This shows how important technology, and indeed having the latest technology, was back then, which is something that arguably hasn't changed in today's society, in developed countries. In 1992 it was recorded that there were averagely 900 million television sets in use around the world, it was estimated that 201 million of these were in the United States alone.[4] How has the introduction of television therefore altered behaviours or cognitions of people since its invention in 1926? This is a key question which I shall later study in order to help me answer the question ''to what extent does television influence behaviour in young children?''

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  4. Psychology - The Self Concept

    Self-esteem is also partly determined by how much the self-image differs from the ideal self." (Gross 2005). Lastly, there is the ideal self, which is how we would like to be. There are many factors which influence the self-concept, but relationships between people are seen as extremely important. Every situation that an individual is exposed to throughout life helps mould our "self." As humans we have the ability to see ourselves from the outside, and all through life we try to see what others see and our "self" revolves around the generalized other. We observe how others perceive us and we make conclusions depending on our observations.

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  5. The Role of Early Relationships

    The first theory of child rearing was developed by Truby King he suggested babies should be toilet trained as young as possible, have a feeding routine and spend lots of time outdoors in order to reduce the chances of infant mortality and disease therefore cutting down the adult to child contact. We now realise that this would affect the child's opportunities to bond, develop relationships and attachment with its carers. During the 1950's and 1960's Benjamin Spock, who's theory is more child-lead than the previous, emphasised the importance of building a strong relationship between the child and its carers by

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  6. Psychology Cae Studies

    Thumbs down - what constituted healthy? How did they come to this judgement? Normal! What is normal? 4) The experiment was conducted at the prestigious Stanford University. The Prestige of the University will have impacted upon the subjects. Oh my god we are here at Stanford. If Stanford is doing this then it must be good and worthwhile. They wouldn't have me doing something that's not good for me. No matter what I feel I must behave as a dutiful subject. It's not hard to imagine the subjects thinking in this manner.

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  7. Free essay

    Unmasking Anxiety with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    Xanax is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines which HealthCentral presents as producing, a calming effect by "enhancing the effects" of an unlisted body produced chemical (HealthCentral). Benzodiazepines, while taken by dose can, "...cause a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis" (PDR 2794). These long term side effects can affect the individual negatively. According to the Johns Hopkins Center website, Benzodiazepines are an effective treatment to ease anxiety. However, more than one third of individuals who take benzodiazepines for anxiety for more than one month become dependant on them.

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  8. chid psychology

    'All work and no play make jack a dull boy' is an idiomatic expression statement that shows what happens if the holistic development of a child contains work. Play is very important to the child's social development. It creates fun and the opportunity of social integration and communication. It is best explained by Bruce(1991) that : 'Play is like a reservoir full of water. The deeper the reservoir, the more water can be stored in it and used in time of drought'. In contrast, the more, the children play, the more their social skills will be developing internally and externally.

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  9. c hallenging a client to change

    It can be a painful learning process for the client, as well a risky business for the counsellor. It takes guts to challenge a client, and the counsellor may well be left wondering whether he has said the right thing. It can also be an exhausting experience for both. In counselling, the aim of a challenge is to help the client face reality, as it is seen through the eyes of the counsellor. The force of the challenge depends on the type of counselling.

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  10. "Psychologists are divided in the extent to which they see day care as beneficial to children's development." To what extent does day care have a beneficial effect on cognitive and social development?

    Stimulation is also essential for good cognitive development. Dennis (1973) conducted a study in which children in a Lebanese orphanage had very little social contact and less opportunity for play. After a year in the orphanage the children's performance on developmental tests reflected expected scores for children of half their age and it is certainly plausible to assume that children in daycare are recipients to less stimulation than those in home environments. There are a number of studies which have come to positive conclusions about the effects of daycare on children's cognitive development.

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  11. Levels Of Processing

    Introduction The experiment will be based on Levels of Processing. Levels of Processing suggests that stimuli can be encoded and processed at varying levels/depths from shallow to deep. It shows that the long term memory store is not just a simple storage unit but a complex processing system. Craik and Lockhart's theory is that there are three different levels of processing and that the level at which information is processed accounts for the likelihood of it being learned and remembered. Craik and Lockhart identified levels of processing from shallow to deep. These levels include visual processing. This is the shallowest level which looks at the physical appearance of a word.

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  12. Early Years Curriculum

    Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994) was the educational thinker who guided and inspired the 'Reggio Emilia' approach in the Reggio Romagna region of Northern Italy. The approach requires children to be seen as competent, resourceful, curious, imaginative, inventive, and possess a desire to interact and communicate with others. Dr Loris Malaguzzi helped us understand that children shouldn't be expected to all have the same ways of expressing themselves, so he put forth the idea that there are 100 languages or ways of learning (paint, clay, music, drama, cooking, etc)

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  13. PETER PAN As the wind whistles round the buildings that tower the small streets of London, Big Ben proudly chimes the eleventh hour

    Peter's fairy is called Tinkerball, he had been his best friend and companion since he first arrived in Neverland. More like a brother, always there, always around. He arrived at his destination and hovered outside the open window. He had been here many times before, but this time was different, this time he had a purpose for being there. His shadow was in there somewhere. The last time he had been there his shadow got caught on the inside when the maid shut the window.

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  14. A small scale investigation into children's understanding of scientific concepts.

    Vygotsky addressed the social nature of cognitive change through a concept he called "the zone of proximal development". This zone was "the difference between what a child can accomplish in solving a problem working independently and what can be accomplished by the same child with adult help" (Nunes and Bryant, 2006, p.294). David Wood (1988) developed the concept of scaffolding where by "adults and more able peers can provide structured support to a learner to help them operate their ZPD" (Oates and Grayson, 2006, P.19).

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  15. Foundations to Caring

    The activities available have to be varied to encourage the children to explore, learn and discover things for themselves also to enjoy and to have the opportunity to experience new concepts which will help develop their potential. Having a theme in the classroom help children become physically and socially active i.e. home corner children act as other people by wearing dressing up clothes, this could be a doctor, teacher, p a parent, etc in their imaginative play. Children become socially interactive by playing together and making friends.

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  16. The Inclusion of Children with ADHA in Early Years Settings

    In addition Archibald (2006) suggests, ADHD is considered as a mental health problem and are not indicative of disability. However, diagnosis of ADHD is more common in learning disabled children and children with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome. The forgoing indicates that ADHD is a complicated phenomenon, which will impact on the educational provision and successful inclusion of these children. Kewley (2001 p.23) would agree when suggesting, "Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an internationally recognised medical condition of brain dysfunction, in which individuals have problems inhibiting inappropriate behaviour and controlling impulses, so giving rise to educational, behavioural and other difficulties."

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  17. Free essay

    A qualitative study to explore the meaning of identity using interview data and relating it to theoretical understanding in this area

    and finally flexible working (late 1980's onwards). They also have children and are also able to reflect on their own children's lives and the differences in their children's characters and lives - partly due to their upbringing but also due to the era in which they were raised and how different that was to the era in which they themselves were raised in. Different identities are produced in different historical periods and different cultures. Different theories on the subject of identity fit into different parts of Tony and Jo's lives but no one theory is comprehensive in relation to their experiences and indeed no one theory offers the truth.

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  18. Influence Of Parent-Infant Attachment On Optimal Development

    This attachment bond fosters security and self actualisation throughout childhood, adolescence and adult life. Owusu-Bempah and Howitt (1997) suggests a strong parent-infant attachment is the basis of a childs belief system about the world and that securely attachment people have realistic views about their world and modify their internal functioning appropriately based upon their experiences. Berk (1997) explores these stages and the process of successful attachment and discusses the stages as pre-attachment, attachment-in-the-making, clear cut attachment and formation of reciprocal attachment.

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  19. young peoples' rights - sociology

    The problem I may have is people not taking the questionnaire seriously but I have solved this by me being present so the person will fill it in properly and ask me for any help in their understanding of the questionnaire. I will also be in a certain distance from them so my presence does not intimidate them. My questionnaire will be ethical, as I am not asking any self-incrimination questions such as 'do you steal' and completing my questionnaire is completely voluntary.

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  20. write a holistic and analytical account concerning one aspect of care in a chosen individual who has complex needs, down's syndrome and diabetes

    Without it, it is virtually impossible to form a relationship with another person and gain the information required (Turnbull, 2004). Therefore, the initial interviews and one-to-one sessions for assessment purposes were carried out a few weeks after meeting Henry in order to develop a therapeutic relationship, such as the one that had developed with his Community Nurse. In order to identify his needs permission was sought from Henry. Henry said he understood what we would be doing and said he had no problem with us talking to him and others involved in his care.

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  21. case study, an individual's situation in need of improvement - autism

    vaccine is not an environmental risk factor for autism (Nursing Times, 2003). The most common explanation is that several genes appear to be involved, and the extent to which someone is affected depends on their combined effect. Ives et al, (2002) found that three to six per cent of siblings of individuals with autism also have autism or a related developmental disorder. It was also found that upto a further twenty per cent of siblings have milder problems such as language delay or social difficulties. Recent studies suggest that parents with one child with autism are a hundred times more likely to have another child with the condition compared with other families (BBC News, 2004).

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  22. The purpose of this essay is to describe the arguments relating to nature nurture, providing evidence for both sides of the debate.

    Human traits are difficult to categorise as either due entirely to nature or entirely to nurture, and as such this has created crossover theorists such as Jean Piaget in the 1950's to extend credence to both nature and nurture contributing to the human persona. Piaget suggested that individuals develop in pre-determined stages, however this requires interaction with the environment. (Gross, 2005, page 582) Traditionally, the nature nurture debate did attempt to categorise these human traits and as such, this separated psychologists into two distinct groups - empiricists and nativists.

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  23. It has been established that human social development depends in a fundamental way on the early formation of lasting bonds with other people. The processes involved in the formation of bonds are known as attachment. The word 'attachment' has been applied

    After analysing the theory links will be made to attachment theory in relation to adoption and fostering practice. Gross (1996) propose there to be studies highlighting the existence of primary and secondary attachment formations. Primary attachment studies pertaining to relationships with immediate/close family and carers and secondary attachments relating to other attachment formations such as with a favourite pet or toy. Whilst both primary and secondary attachment are considered important and significant to our self-concept, it is acknowledged that loss of our main attachments may result in a redefining of oneself that could lead to emotional difficulties, whilst loss of secondary attachments are usually less significant to a persons well being.

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  24. Reactive Attachment Disorder

    It will conclude with a discussion of the current evaluation and treatment implements. Theories of Attachment John Bowlby developed the theory of attachment that underscored the significance of the relationship between a mother and her infant. His theory has since been confirmed and it is now realized that this bond influences a child's ability to develop quality relationships throughout life (Maroney, 2001). Bowlby's theory of attachment was established upon evolutionary thinking. Infants are vulnerable and incapable of fending for themselves.

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  25. report that shows your reflection on and evaluation of your personal style and the methods available of enhancing learning.

    At first, he rang a bell (a conditioned stimulus), and then gave the dogs food. Then after a time, he rang the bell but didn't give the food (the unconditioned stimulus). The dogs started salivating because they knew that the ringing of the bell was followed by the supply of food. This response to conditioned stimuli is called classical conditioning. Operant conditioning however is when a reaction to a stimulus in strengthened. This is when a reward is given if the response to the stimulus. This makes response to the stimulus more likely to happen in the future.

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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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