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Psychoanalytic, Psychosocial, Behavioral, & Cognitive

Psychoanalytic Perspective

  • Sigmund Freud—Children move through stages in which they confront conflicts between biological drives and social expectations. How these conflicts are resolved determines personality

      • Psychosexual stages
        • Healthy personality development depends on how parents manage their child’s sexual and aggressive drives in their first few years


Psychoanalytic Perspective

  • Three parts of the personality
    • Id—unconscious and largest portion of the mind
      • Children are born with it
      • Source of basic biological needs and desires
    • Ego—conscious part of the mind
      • Emerges in early childhood
      • Tries to balance the id’s demands
    • Superego—conscience
      • Develops between 3-6 years of age
      • Insists that children conform to the values of society


Erickson’s Psychosocial Perspective

  • Psychosocial Development—development of individual’s interactions and understanding of each other and of their knowledge and understanding of themselves as members of society.
    • Views developmental changes in 8 stages (4 during childhood)
    • Each stage necessitates the resolution of a crisis or conflict
    • Each stage represents a pair of most negative and most positive aspect of the crisis for that period.
  • Trust-versus-mistrust stage
    • Birth – 1½ years of age
    • Consistently meeting the physical and psychological needs of infants = infants developing feelings of trust.
      • Infant’s interactions with the world are generally positive
  • Opposite care leads to mistrust
    • Leaves infant unable to meet the challenges required in the next stage of development.
  • Autonomy-versus-shame-and-doubt stage
    • 1½ – 3 years of age
    • Toddlers develop independence and autonomy if exploration and freedom are encouraged
    • Experience shame, self-doubt, and unhappiness if overly restricted and protected.
    • Key to developing autonomy is in the amount of control
      • Too much control
        • Cannot assert themselves and develop their own sense of control over their environment
      • Too little control
        • Children become overly demanding and controlling.
        • Initiative-versus-guilt stage
          • 3 – 6 years of age

          • Children’s desire to act independently conflicts with the guilt that comes from unexpected consequences of such behavior.

          • Physical and emotional consequences

            • e.g. Falling and laughter from others


          • Children understand that they are persons in their own right

          • Children begin to make decisions about their behavior

          • To help children resolve the conflict of this stage, parents must react positively to children’s attempts to independence.

            • Don’t just impose everything. Consider them before making decisions that will affect them.


Industry-versus-Inferiority Stage

  • 6 – 12 years of age
  • Increasing competency in this area characterizes successful psychosocial development.
    • Social interactions
      • Can determine and carry on throughout rest of their life
    • Academic interactions
      • Can permanently affect their next school years and possibly life.
  • Difficulties in this stage lead to feelings of failure and inadequacy.
    • e.g. when children stop trying and accept the notion that they are not smart enough.


Identity-versus-role-confusion stage

  • Encompasses adolescence
  • Time of testing to find their identity
    • Strengths, roles in society, what their capable of, etc
  • If confused about their role in life, adolescent may lack stability
    • May struggle maintaining close personal relationships later in life



Intimacy-versus-Isolation Stage

  • Early adulthood
  • Focuses on developing close relationships with others
  • Difficulties in this stage = feelings of loneliness and fear of relationships
  • Successful crises resolution – possibility of forming relationships that are intimate on a physical, intellectual, and emotional level.


Generativity-versus-Stagnation Stage

  • Middle adulthood
  • Generativity—ability to contribute to one’s family, community, work, and society, and to assist the development of the younger generation
  • Failure at this stage = feeling stuck in life and may still be trying to find an appropriate career.
  • Success at this stage = feeling positive about what future years may bring


Ego-Integrity-versus-Despair Stage

  • Later adulthood until death
  • Failure at this stage = feeling of regret over what might have been achieved but was not
  • Success at this stage = feeling a sense of accomplishment


Behaviorism and Social Learning

  • Behaviorism—directly observable events (stimuli and responses) are the appropriate focus of study.
    • Classical Conditioning—reflexive responses
      • Ivan Pavlov
        • Dog salivation to bell
      • John B. Watson
        • “Little Albert” and rat
    • Operant Conditioning—voluntary behavior
      • Reinforcement (+ -)
      • Punishment (+ -)


Social Learning Theory

  • Social Learning Theory—emphasizes modeling, imitation, or observational learning as a powerful source of development.
  • Albert Bandura (1977)
    • Repeating behavior that was modeled by someone else.
    • Stresses importance of cognition
      • Children gradually become more selective in what they imitate


Piaget Cognitive Development Theory

Cognitive development—process by which a child’s understanding of the world changes as a function of age and experience.

    • Seek to explain the quantitative and qualitative intellectual advances that occur during development.
    • Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development (1970)
      • Suggests that children around the world proceed through a series of four stages in a fixed order.
      • Stages differ in quantity of information acquired at each stage and in the quality of knowledge and understanding as well.
      • Movement from one level to the next depends on a child reaching an appropriate level of maturation and being exposed to relevant types of experiences.


Sensorimotor stage (Birth to 2 years of age)

  • Children base their understanding of the world primarily on touching, sucking, chewing, shaking, and manipulating objects.
  • Initially, children have relatively little competence using language, images, or other kinds of symbols
  • Object permanence—the awareness that objects and people continue to exist even when out of sight.
    • Infants at this stage lack Object permanence
    • Critical development during this stage
    • Developed after 9 months of age.
      • e.g. Children younger than 9 months don’t look for hidden toy. Children older than 9 months, do.


Preoperational stage (2 to 7 years of age)

  • Use of language is most important development during stage
  • Ability to use symbols
    • e.g. push book as if it were a car
  • Egocentric thought—a way of thinking in which a child views the world entirely from his/her own perspective.
    • It’s all about the words “me” and “mine”
  • Principle of conservation—knowledge that quantity is unrelated to the arrangement and physical appearance of objects
    • Not developed yet by children in this stage.
      • e.g. same amount of water on two different size glasses.


Concrete operational stage (7 to 12 years)

  • Mastery of principle of conservation at beginning of stage
  • Children begin to overcome some egocentrism
  • Children begin to think more logically
  • Children learn reversibility
    • Idea that some changes can be undone by reversing an earlier action
      • E.g. rolling a ball of clay into a sausage shape


Formal operational stage (12 years to adulthood)

  • Abstract, formal, and logical thinking
  • People in this stage approach problems systematically
    • Manipulate factors at will
    • Examine effects of changes in one variable at a time
    • Ability to rule out is unique to this stage
  • Many individuals never reach this stage
    • 40-60% of college students and adults fully reach this stage.


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Psychology 041 – Life Span Psychology

1.  History and Fundamentals