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Developmental Psychology Outline

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Developmental Psychology

Key words


GF 1 - To what extent do biological, cognitive and sociocultural factors influence human development?
GF 2 - Evaluate psychological research psychology. CD 1 - Evaluate theories of cognitive development. Brain Development Neuroplasticity

• Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the human brain to change as a result of one's experience, that the brain is plastic or malleable.

• The basic functional elements of the brain are neurons that connect to each other (synaptic growth) to form neurons.

• Neuronal networks change as a result of learning, experience, and age.

• Each human brain has a unique neural architecture due to differences in individual experience.

• The neural connections (dendritic branching) in the brain grow in size and complexity after birth and myelination is accelerated.

• Synaptic growth is most significant in childhood and adolescence.

• Interaction with loving and responsive caregivers contributes to healthy brain development

• Various factors such as early social deprivation, inadequate nutrition, or living in a polluted environment may interfere with normal brain development.

• This can adverse effects on cognitive, emotional and social development.

• Maguire et al (2000) o Navigational experience and knowledge increased over years of regular practice o Posterior hippocampus increased in volume due to neuroplasticity in the brain. o Enriched environment - complex streets of London o The spatial navigation that the taxi drivers exercised daily is localised to the posterior hippocampus, enlarging this region of the brain due to its regular use.

• Rosenzweig Bennet (1972)

• the brains of rats in the enriched environment developed as they were being constantly stimulated Cognitive functioning

• Chugani (1999)

• Waber (2007) Strength

• Neuroscientific evidence provides a valuable insight into how the brain develops form the simple to the more complex and this can, to some extent, be linked to increasing cognitive competence

• Animal research shows that an enriched environment results in synaptic growth. This is also the case in human

• Developmental cognitive neurosciences has provided evidence of the devastating effects of neglect on the developing brain, which is useful for treating children with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems due to long-term stress Weakness

• It is not possible at this point to establish a direct cause-effect relationship between brain development and cognitive growth.

• Much of the empirical research within cognitive developmental neuroscience is correlational

• Little is known about the exact neural basis of cognition in normally developing children but longitudinal brain imaging studies like the Waber (2007) will perhaps provide more knowledge on this Piaget's method

• We develop in stages and must complete one stage before we move onto next

• Children are active scientists, who build and construct their own world based on schemas

• Schemas: mental representations of how to deal with the world

• Adaptation

• Children actively construct knowledge themselves when they interact with and interpret new objects and events base don their existing knowledge

• Assimilation - adding something to a existing scheme

• Accommodation - creating a new schema

• Equilibration - balance assimilation and accommodation to create stable understanding

• Four stages

1. Sensorimotor (0-2): the baby begins to interact with the environment
 No formal schema for the world or itself
 Know the world via tis immediate sense and motor or movement actions it performs (body

Developmental Psychology

Key words

Notes schemas) Little competence in representing the environment with language, symbols or image No awareness of objects or people not immediately in front of them

2. Preoperational (2-7): the child begins to represent the world symbolically
 Egocentric
 World is viewed entirely from the child's own perspective
 Piaget and Inhelder (1956)
 Criticism: Hughes (1975)
 Lack conservation
 Tend to cent
 Piaget's conservation task
 Criticism: McGarrigle & Donaldson (1974)
 To get out of this stage child needs to use symbols, describe feelings, pretend play and have object permanence

3. Concrete operation (7-12): the child learns rules such as conservation
 To get out of this stage you need mastery of conservation, think in logical manner, overcome egocentric characteristics, versibility and begin to understand time and space
 However, biggest problem is learning to think abstractly

4. Formal operation (12-adulthood): the adolescent can move beyond concrete thinking and consider the abstract
 Think abstractly, formally and logically
 Thinking is no longer tied to event

• Strengths o Contribute substantially to the study of cognitive development o Laid foundation for much of the early work on cognitive development o Has had major influence on education o Showed that they way children think is qualitatively different from the way adults think

• Limitations o Focused primarily on cognitive development s process located within the individual child and placed less importance on how contextual factors contribute to cognitive growth o Questing the timing of Piaget's stages o Vygotsky: Underestimating the role of instruction in cognitive development o Lack of scientific rigour Vygotsky's Theory

• Saw child as an apprentice

• Social interaction and culture has a dramatic impact on cognitive development

• Cognitive processes develop through social interaction

• Learning is largely mediated by social interaction of students and "More Knowledgeable Others"

• Areas o Engagement between the teacher and student o Physical space and arrangement in learning environment (Rogoff and Waddell, Cole and Scribner) o Meaningful instruction in small or whole groups o Scaffolding/Reciprocal teaching strategies o Zone of Proximal Development
 The area of learning that a more knowledge other assists the student in developing a higher level of learning
 MKO -> less involved as the student develops the necessary skill
 ZPD - the gap between actual competence level and the potential development level
 Based on the mental functions that have not yet matured but are being in the process of maturation

• Scaffolding o Scaffolding instruction - role of teachers and others in supporting the learners development and providing support structures to get to the next stage or level o Teachers provide scaffolds so that the learner can accomplish certain tasks they would otherwise not be able to accomplish on their own o The goal of the educator is for the student to become an independent leaner and problem solver

• Language and internalization o Pre-intellectual social speech (0-3 years)
 Thought not constructing using language
 Speech is only used to enact social change o Egocentric speech (3-7 years)
 Language helps to control the child's own behaviour
 Spoken out loud

Developmental Psychology

Key words

Notes Inner speech (7+ years)
 Speech silently to develop their thinking
 Publicity for social communication

• Strengths o Concept of scaffolding - using for teachers and parents o The value of inner speech being a key part of learning and cognitive development received support o Important contribution to developmental psychology o Successfully applied to education

• Limitation o To vague in his outline of social influence o Lack of empirical supprot Differences: Piaget vs Vygotsky

• Vygotsky: his view of the importance for the role of others, more knowledgeable people in children's development

• Argued that although children can acquire some concepts through their won unaided play, they acquire the mechanisms of thinking and learning as a result of the social interactions between themselves and the adults around them





Source of cognitive development

Cognitive development is driven by an inbuilt tendency to adapt to new experience

Cognitive development is driven by social interaction experience with a culture

Concept acquisition

Child learns through active self-discovery-a mainly solitary process of adaptation of schemas

Child learns through instruction and guidance - results from social experience

Role of instruction

Child will only learn when ready

Cognitive development can be accelerated - increases scope of cognitive development, by enabling learning

Language and thought

Language develops as a result of cognitive development. Outward monologues are meaningless and egocentric speech is incidental to thought

The ability to use language is the key to cognitive development. Outward monologue direct thinking and later become internalized as thought

CD 2 - Discuss how social and environmental variables may affect cognitive development Development: the scientific study of how our behaviour and psychological process change as we pass through different life stage Poverty

• A major risk factor in children's cognitive development o Poor nutrition o Poverty-related health problems o Home environment o Parenting practices o Living in poor neighborhood with high levels of crime and unemployment

• Early poverty or adverse circumstances do not always/necessarily determine the path of an individual o Werner and Smith (1992) carried out a longitudinal study of high risk children and found that 1/3 of them had adjusted well to adult life

• Consider how may well known people who have come from poverty and have no obvious sign of poor cognitive development

• Pungello et al (2006) o described the Abecedarian Project which ran in the US from 1972-77 with 111 infants from poor families as participants o Half the children were randomly selected to receive educational intervention, the others were the control o Those receiving the intervention played games, had adult interaction based on learning and had general health care o The program had positive effects on cognitive development

• Wertheimer (2003) o Unlikely to be identified as gifted o Less likely to do extracurricular activities o Are less likely to go to university

Developmental Psychology

Key words


o o o o o o o


More likely to repeat a school year More likely to do extracurricular activities More likely to have a learning disability or a developmental delay Poorer academic performance More likely to have early unplanned parenthood More likely to be unemployed Schoon (2002) o Effect of LT poverty on academic achievement o 3000 children from the UK from birth to adulthood, 2 cohorts (1958, 1970) o Being raised in low SES family increases the risk for poor academic performance which can influence success in lather life o Being poor increases the probability of accumulated risk factors and the scale of the impact that this has on cognitive development

Before the child is born Hibbeln et al (2007) o Two groups of women (high & low omega- 3 fatty acids) o Children of those mothers who had a low seafood intake during pregnancy had lower motor skills and lower social development and communication skills than the children of mothers who consumed high levels of seafood

• Behavioral, emotional and academic problems are more prevalent among children with hunger

• Children experiencing hunger are more likely to be hyperactive, absent and tardy, in addition to having behavioral and attention problems more often than other children

• Children who are undernourished score lower on cognitive tests when they miss breakfast

• Teens experiencing hunger are more likely to have been suspended form school, have difficulty getting along with other children

• A healthy diet can have less quantifiably measurable affects on a child such as increased self-esteem, improved

• Raloff (1989) o 1023 6th-grade children over the course of one year o Given free school breakfast improved their maths and science scores

• Northstone et al 92010) o 4000 children in the UK o Birth to age 8 o Regularly ate processed food, fat and sugar -> lower intellectual performance at the age of 8.5 o IQ fell by 1.67 for every increase on a chart reflecting the amount of processed fat in their diet

• Food Research Action Centre (FRAC) o Meta-analysis of breakfast programme studies in USA o Children who skip breakfast are less able to distinguish among similar image, show increased errors, and have slower memory recall o Children experiencing hunger have lower math scores and are more likely to have to repeat work - or even an academic year Parenting

• Michigan Department of Education (MDE) (2001) o Most consistent predictors of a child's academic achievement and social adjustment were parent expectations o Higher grades, test scores and graduation rate o Increased motivation and better self-esteem o Better school attendance o Lower rates of suspension o Decreased use of drugs and alcohol o Fewer instances of violent behaviour o Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students' academic success as family socioeconomic status o Parents involved intensely -> benefit achievement o Families whose children are doing well in school exhibit the following characteristics
▪ Established daily family routine
▫ providing time and a quiet place to study
▫ assigning responsibility for household chores
▫ being firm about bedtime
▫ have dinner together
▪ Monitor out-of-school activities

Developmental Psychology

Key words


setting limits on TV-watching checking on children when parents are not home arranging for after-school activities communicating through questioning and conversation demonstrating that achievement comes form working hard

Wood et al (1976) o Introduced the notion of scaffolding as development of Vygotsky's ZD theory o Disorganized and spontaneous thoughts presented by the child are responded to with the more systematic, logical and rational concepts of a more knowledgeable helper Environment

• Rosenweig, Bennet and Diamond (1972) o Investigated environmental stimulation on brain plasticity - how it affect neuron development in the cerebral cortex o Rats - either in Enriched Condition (EC) pr Impoverished Condition (IC). EC rats provided with objects to play with the maze training. IC rats in individual cage with no stimulation. After 30-60 days - rats killed and brain studied to see change o EC- increased thickness and higher cortex weight o EC- more acetylcholine receptors

• Farah et al (2008) o Investigated relationship between environmental stimulation and parental nurturance on cognitive development o Longitudinal design - 110 African American middle schoolers (av age 11.8). Recruited at birth and evaluated at age 4 and 8 o Interviews and observational checklist were used to measure environmental stimulation (variety of experience, encouragement to learn music, colours) and parental nurturance (warmth & affect, verbal responsively etc). o Also lab cognitive tests - language and memory o positive correlation between environmental stimulation and language development o Age also a factor o Positive correlation between parental nurturance and long-term memory performance

SD 1 - Examine attachment in childhood and its role in the subsequent formation of relationships Attachment:

• A close emotional relationship between two persons, characterized by mutual affection and a desire to maintain proximity.

• Bowlby (1969) - people who are securely attached take pleasure in their interaction and feel comforted by their person's presence in times of stress and anxiety

• Attachments are reciprocal and lead to synchronized routines, generally harmonious interactions between two persons in which participants adjust their behaviour in response to the partner's behaviour

• Parental sensitivity is important in the development of attachment

• Attachment can be observed from around the age of 7 months

• Bowlby shows separation distress when the primary attachment figure leaves the child

• This essay is going to uncovers and assumptions and interrelationship of the attachment in childhood and its role in subsequent formation of relationships

Children that form no attachments (privation) can grow up have significant problems with relationships due to poor social and language skills.

• Children who experience deprivation (because they are separated from an attachment figure) can grow up to suffer from problems such as depression (where they withdraw from others) or emotionless psychopathy (where they show a lack of consideration of others).

• Children who develop and maintain attachments are more likely to grow up to have productive relationships. Approaches to Attachment:

• Lorenz (1935) o Showed that geese showed a strong bond with the first moving object that they encounter. o He labelled this response "imprinting" o Lorenz identified that there as a critical period in which imprinting must occur o Lorenz suggested that an infant's kewpie doll appearance leads the caregiver to perceive the infant as cute or lovable.

• Alley's (1981)research shows that adults selected drawings of infants with cubby cheeks and babyish features to be cuter compared to images that reflect an appearances of 2, 3 and 4 year olds

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