Psych 2061

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Developmental Issues and Methods – PSYC2061

Week One – Lecture One
-Aims
oTo introduce the major questions/themes that interest developmental psychologists oTo illustrate common research designs that are used to answer questions about development

oWhat is developmental psychology?
oDevelopmental psychologists seek to describe (what, when: rapid change in skills, how) and explain (why: that development and mechanism has occurred) the changes that occur across the life span. oApply our knowledge. Developmental psychologists try to use their knowledge to optimize developmental outcomes. •E.g. locomotor development:

Locomotor development can impact on things like babies who are crawling are much better at generalizing memory than those who don’t. More likely to remember an event in a different environment. E.g. that a dog can play in the lounge room and in the kitchen. oCentral questions

1.What are the sources of developmental change
Nature & nurture
Nature (genetic processes alone) nurture (development is influenced by social experiences) •E.g. Indian children tightly swaddled to a board for the first year, walks after 6 months. oThis suggests that maturations are occurring, although they are not disadvantaged. 2.Can the course of development change and to what extent?

Early experience vs later experience
Critical periods:
A period of time during development when certain experiences are crucial for a particular feature of development. If you don’t get that experience, the developmental milestone doesn’t happen, and there is no way to fix it. •E.g

Sensitive
A period of time during which experience is optimal for the development of a particular function, but it is not crucial •A similar function can develop after the sensitive period window has closed but usually under m re intense experience. E.g. learning a language. 3.Continuity vs discontinuity

Continuity
Change is gradual and uniform changes
Change is quantitative
E.g. Rovee-collier theory of infant memory development.
Discontinuity
Change is abruot, stage like – distinct changes
Change is qualitative
E.g. Piagets stage theory of cognitive development
Methods of studying developmental psych
1.Longitudinal studies
a.Time consuming
b.Each testing point, the same participants are tested as they grow c.Measure changes as same participants
d.Can identify normative developmental trends
2.Cross sectional studies
a.Majority of studies
b.Different age groups studied at different points in time
c.Measure age related differences
d.Cohort effects –
3.Sequential design
a.Less often
b.Cross sectional study and longitudinal design combined
c.Rules out cohort effects
4.Micro-genetic design
a.“Short-term longitudinal’ design
b.Test repeatedly over a period of rapid developmental change e.g. 8months – 10months c.Study the process of change rather than the product
d.In depth analysis of skill acquisition; useful in assessing the impact of intervention

Week Two – Lecture One

-Three Prenatal periods
oGerminal Period
From conception through to implantation of the zygote (single cell with 46 chromosomes) in the wall of the uterus by the end of the second week •14 days
Zygote begins to divide and forms blastocyst (a ball of cells consisting of two layers of cells resulting from rapid cell replication after fertilization) •Outer cell mass (trophoblast) – encloses a fluid-filled cavity oSupport, protect and nourish the developing embryo

Inner cell mass (embryonic disk)
oContains the cells that will become the embryo
16 – 64 cells
Implantation – when the blastocyst reaches the uterus, trophoblast cells put out tiny branches that burrow into the spongy wall of the uterus until they become in contact with the maternal blood vessels •When it enters the wall it symbolizes the end of the first stage •All this happens before the mother knows she’s pregnant...
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