St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College- Division of Teacher Education Course: Psychology
Course Code: JBTE/ PSY 100
Course work: Assignment 1: Discussion on Development
Name: Patrius Kerr
Lecturer: Ms. Cindy Edwards
Date: 10th October, 2014.
Psychology involves studying the mental functioning and general behavior of both humans and animals. Social behavior and mental functioning of an individual are explained by exploring the neurological and physiological processes. Don Paul Eggan & Kauchak (1997) states “… the concept of development, the orderly, durable changes in a learner the resulting from combination of learning, experience and maturation”. Development is referred to as patterns of change over time which begins at conception and continues throughout the life span. It occurs in different domains such as biological, emotional, social and cognitive. Three processes that play a central role in development are growth, maturation, and learning. Growth refers to physical changes that are quantitative, such as increases in height or weight. Maturation involves anatomical, neuro-physiological, and chemical transformations that change the way a person functions such as a woman's passage into or out of childbearing age and these two terms go hand in hand where without growth, maturation does not take place and with those physical changes, the neurological aspects develop along with it. In short, maturation is the product of growth. Learning involves relatively long-term changes in behavior or performance acquired through observation, experience, or training. The quote states that development is orderly and changes are results of the combination of experience and maturation, some theories go in depth as to explain the views of development and how it affects individuals, such theories are the Nature-Nurture Controversy and Continuous and Discontinuous theories. The first principle is that growth and development occur in an orderly, sequential way which is the same for all human beings. Researchers are always baffled as to how to characterize the nature of development. The two contrasting theories are continuous and discontinuous. Continuous is development conceived of as a process of the gradual accumulation of behavior, skill, or knowledge. This theory suggests that development proceeds in a smooth and orderly fashion, with each change building on previous abilities. In contrast to the other theory where development is best characterized as discontinuous in nature. This suggests that behaviors or skills change qualitatively across time and that new organizations of behaviors, skills or knowledge emerge in a rather abrupt or discrete fashion. The notion of Stage of development is central to discontinuous theory of development. A stage of development can be thought of as a particular organization of the knowledge and behavior of an individual that characterized their development at a particular point in time. The movement to a new stage of development means that qualitative reorganization of previous knowledge or behavior has taken place. For example , Piaget(1952) believed that between 7and 11 years of age , children’s thinking could be described as concrete, in that it is closely tied to the nature of the objects with which they interact, while during adolescence, thinking becomes more abstract; it is less bound to a particular object and takes into account the possible or hypothetical. Piaget based development on the cognitive domain of development and created four stages of which development happens throughout the life span of a human being. These stages are Sensorimotor (birth to age 2), Preoperational (2 to 6 years), Concrete Operational (7 to 11 years) and the final stage Formal Operational (12 to adulthood). Being yourself, being who you are, is a phrase that makes you thinking that both are the same but they are not. We as humans were born with no ideas or preference, as British philosopher, John Locke states “concept of the new born human being as a blank slate or tabula rasa to be formed by experience” (Locke, J. (1959). An essay concerning human understanding), but as we grow we develop a personal identity, but did it really develop or was it in us to begin with. These questions lead to the Nature- Nurture controversy, where nature is the genetic aspect of development while Nurture is the influences that affect an individual from childhood throughout the lifespan. Nature is the belief that heredity traits found in our genes makes us who we are. As soon as we come into this world, our learning process begins and as humans we learn new things every day. As new born babies, we slowly learn and adapt in order to survive in a new environment, which is unlike that of the previous environment, that of our mother’s womb. Some people have family genetics that gives them a great advantage in developing their musical intelligence or mathematical intelligence or verbal intelligence. You may have a complex mix of all sorts of genetic potentials for excellence in various aspects of human life. That does not mean that you will automatically develop those potentials: It merely shows that you have a genetic possibility for outstanding development. However, you may not develop your musical potential if you are raised in a home with no musical instruments or encouragement to pursue music. Brains may vary as much as human faces and hands do. We can all recognize that newborn babies have different facial structures and finger sizes. But our faces and hands change over the years, as we grow, get injuries, sunburns and exercise different muscles (by smiling or frowning lots). It is very likely that we are all born with slightly different brains; but we "exercise" different parts and the architecture or structure of the different parts change, based on our own developmental pattern. Hence, there is no single human potential. We all have unique potentials. And we all have different socializations that allow us to develop different parts of our own unique potentials. We cannot change our genetic inheritance; but we can affect the way that our genetic potential is developed through the nurturing processes. The nurture side, on the other hand, emphasizes how much of an organism reflects environmental factors. is instrumental in"controlling" biological expression. Rather than attributing biological fate to gene control,nurturists contend that environmental experiences provide an essential role in shaping thecharacter of an individual's life. American psychologist John Watson, best known for his controversial little Albert experiments with a young orphan named Albert, demonstrated that the acquisition of a phobia could be explained by classical conditioning. A strong proponent of environmental learning, he said: “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select...regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors”. Maturation is the process of development in which an individual matures or reaches full functionality and it includes cognitive development as a result of biological maturation and environmental experiences. Experiences and influences are what make us who we are. Theorist may have a point about genetics and physical aspect comes from those genes, but personality is shaped by how a person has been nurtured through their lives. The nurture theory holds that genetic influence over abstract traits may exist; however, the environmental factors are the real origins of our behavior. This includes the use of conditioning in order to induce a new behavior to a child, or alter an unlikely behavior being shown by the child. Each person comes from different backgrounds, religions, and environments, which are all external factors that play a large role in the development of an individual. Diet, stress, prenatal nutrition, peer pressure, and television are just some of the more specific environmental factors that can affect a person. Clearly, there are many more aspects of the nurture debate that contribute to the argument that a person’s upbringing is what will influence their development. People are also highly influenced by their peers, and in the case of preschoolers who typically dislike a certain food will eat that particular food if children around them are eating it, showing that because it is the way of the human to want to fit and be liked, nurture has the greater impact and influence over a person. Furthermore, nurture is more important in shaping a human being because there are multiple factors that can influence a person differently, even if they have the same genetic background. Erik Erikson, a psychology theorist who based his work on the psychosocial development. Erikson, like so many theorist focused on the debate of Nature versus Nurture and he focused on the nurture theory of this debate. He developed 8 stages and these stages develop over the course of the human life span. For example at crisis stage one (Trust v Mistrust) might be described as experiencing and growing through the crisis 'Trust' (of people, life and one's future development) and also experiencing and growing a suitable capacity for 'Mistrust' where appropriate, so as not to be hopelessly unrealistic or gullible, nor to be mistrustful of everything. Or experiencing and growing through stage two (Autonomy v Shame & Doubt) to be essentially 'Autonomous' (to be one's own person and not a mindless or quivering follower) but to have sufficient capacity for 'Shame and Doubt', so as to be free-thinking and independent, while also being ethical and considerate and responsible. Nature and nurture both have influences on