Developmental psychology

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Lecture 1
Definitions, Paradigms, Research Methods
Lecture 2
Introduction, Conception, and Birth
  • Covers the foundations of development, heredity and environment.
Lecture 3
Infancy and Toddler
  • Covers motor development and perceptual changes that occur. Temperment and the goodness-of-fit model explained. Temperament stability, biological roots, and the child's interaction with child rearing practices explained. Ethological theory explained.
Lecture 4
Early Childhood
  • Emotional deprivation and malnutrition's interference with physical development explained. Childhood aggression, which will develop into serious antisocial activity, is promoted by hostile family atmospheres, poor parenting practices, and heavy television watching. Self concept begins taking place and children mimic what is seen. Pros and cons of television's influence in early childhood. Compare incidents of prosocial behavior with aggressive acts and discuss the socialization messages children might internalize.
Lecture 5
Middle Childhood
  • During middle childhood, although less dramatic, language development continues. Vocabulary increases rapidly, and pragmatic skills are refined. Erikson’s stage of industry versus inferiority captures the school-age child’s capacity to become productive and experience feelings of competence and mastery. During middle childhood, psychological traits and social comparisons appear in children’s self-concepts, and a hierarchically organized self-esteem emerges. Class size; teacher’s educational philosophy; interaction with pupils; and, grouping practices have an important impact on learning. Teaching children with learning disabilities or special intellectual strengths introduces unique challenges. The class will examine the impact of class size and educational philosophies on the child’s motivation and academic achievement.
Lecture 6
Adolescence
  • Egocentrism during adolescence can result in limitations erroneous beliefs and cognitive distortions. The personal fable, the invincibility fable, the imaginary audience and peer pressure can leave some adolescents vulnerable to negative influences and potentially dangerous behaviors. The class will examine current media information related to adolescents and discuss the implications of the concepts of imaginary audience, personal fable and peer pressure. Depression is the most common psychological problem of the adolescent. Drugs and alcohol use can adverse influence the adolescent. Suicide rates increase dramatically during adolescence. Many even become involved in some delinquent activity. The class will examine crisis situations that an adolescent might face. An evaluation of local services will be performed to determine if the adolescent has community support available to learn to effectively deal their problems.
Lecture 7
Early Adulthood
  • College experiences contribute to gains in knowledge and reasoning, revised attitudes and values, enhanced self-knowledge, and career preparation. In societies with many career possibilities, occupational choice is a gradual process. Vocational choices are influenced by personality, parents’ occupations, and teachers. Gender-stereotyped messages continue to prevent many women from reaching their career potential. Many young people would benefit from greater access to vocational information. The class will discuss the impact that their academic and non-academic activities have had on their cognitive development, their attitudes and their values. Young adults face the conflict of intimacy versus isolation. Successful resolution of this stage of Erikson’s psychological conflict requires a balance of independence and intimacy. Conformity to a culturally determined timetable for major life events gives young adults confidence, while departure from it can lead to distress. The class will discuss the related thoughts and feelings about leaving their parental home for the first time. The issues of autonomy vs. attachment and interdependence vs. independence will be addressed.
Lecture 8
Middle Adulthood
  • During middle adulthood, the gradual physical changes that began in young adulthood continue. The climacteric, or decline in reproductive capacity, occurs over a ten-year period for women. Many doctors recommend hormone replacement therapy to counteract the negative effects of menopause. Physical and psychological symptoms of menopause vary greatly between individuals and cultures. The class will evaluate current media advertisement to determine if there is a double standard in their approach to male and female aging issues. Concerns about making meaningful contributions to family and society increase greatly during middle adulthood. This is consistent with Erikson’s psychological conflict of generativity versus stagnation. Middle-aged adults seek to increase the personal meaning and self-direction of their work. Overall job satisfaction improves during midlife. Life transitions often motivate a return to college, especially for women. Vocational development is less available to older workers and many women and ethnic minorities leave the corporate world to escape the glass ceiling. Unemployment is especially difficult for middle-aged individuals, and retirement is an important change that is often stressful, making effective planning important for positive adjustment. The class will examine our cultural beliefs about midlife via a debate as to whether midlife is “prime of our lives” or strictly “over the hill.”
Lecture 9
Late Adulthood
  • Physical appearance begins to change during middle age, especially in men who have sedentary lifestyles. In Late Adulthood, skin becomes paler and splotchy; age spots become more prominent with age. Changes in vision occur with age, particularly presbyopia that requires reading glasses or bifocal lenses. The lens turns yellow with age and filters out light so that greater amounts of light become necessary in order to see well. Hearing losses begin to occur as early as age 20; men tend to lose the ability to hear higher speaking voices first (presbycusis) and then lower tones after about age 55. People compensate for hearing loss by using microprocessor-enhanced hearing aids. Taste and smell begin to decline in midlife; illness, aging, smoking, medications, or environmental pollution may contribute to losses. Aging decreases sensitivity to touch and pain, and reduces ability to regulate temperature. The class will research the resources available to an individual who is faced with age related changes to the five senses. Our understanding of death progresses gradually in childhood. While the death concept is grasped by adolescence, it is not yet fully applied to everyday reality. Both children and adolescents benefit from open, honest communication about death, and death anxiety declines with age. Kübler-Ross’s stage theory provided structure to our understanding of the psychological side of dying. However, many factors contribute to the experience of dying. Death education is helpful when it helps people confront their own mortality. Being in touch with death, although sometimes disturbing, can help us appreciate life and live more fully. The class will examine the stages that individuals must face as they approach their own mortality.


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