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Learning Objectives
• What are the five basic issues in human
Where does each major theorist – Freud,
Erikson, Skinner, Bandura, Piaget, and
Gottlieb – stand on each of these issues?
Theories of Human Development
• Theory: Ideas proposed to describe/explain
certain phenomena
– Organizes facts/observations
– Guides collection of new data
 Should be internally consistent
 Falsifiable: Hypothesis can be tested
 Supported by data
Other Assumptions About Human Nature
• Nature/Nurture: Heredity or environment most
– Is development primarily the product of
genes, biology, and maturation – or of
experience, learning, and social
Other Assumptions About Human Nature
Goodness/Badness: Underlying good or evil
– Are humans innately good, innately bad, neither (tabula
rasae) or both?
• Thomas Hobbes
– Children are inherently selfish and bad
– Society’s responsibility to teach them to behave
• Jean Jacques Rousseau
– Children are inherently good
– Innate ability to know right from wrong
– Would go right as long as society stays out of the way
• John Locke
– Infants are tabula rasae or “blank slates”
– Children are neither either good nor bad
– Experiences determine the direction children take
Other Assumptions About Human Nature
• Active/Passive Development: Self
determination or by others
– Do humans actively shape their own
environments and contribute to their own
development …
– or are they passively shaped by forces
beyond their control?
Other Assumptions About Human Nature
• Continuity/Discontinuity: Stages or gradual
– Do humans change gradually …
• Weight gain in children
– Or do they quickly change dramatically into
different beings?
• Adolescent growth spurts
Other Assumptions About Human Nature
• Quantitative/Qualitative Changes: Degree or
– Do humans change in quantitative ways …
• Gains wrinkles, grows taller, knows
more vocabulary words
– Or do they progress through qualitatively
different stages?
• Caterpillar into a butterfly
• Non-verbal into speaking toddler into
prepubertal child into a sexually mature
Other Assumptions About Human Nature
• Universal or Context Specific Development
– Is development similar from person to
person and from culture to culture…
– Or do pathways of development vary
considerably depending on the social
In America preschool children sometimes believe
their dreams are real but give up this belief as they
age; where as, Atayal culture of Taiwan have been
observed to become more and more convinced as
they get older that dreams are real because that is
what most people in their culture believe.
Learning Objectives
• What are the distinct features of Freud’s
psychoanalytic theory?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of
the theory?
Freud: Psychoanalytic Theory
• Instincts and unconscious motivation
• Id, Ego, and Superego formed from psychic
energy (Libido)
Id: Instinctual nature of humans
 Pleasure Principal
Ego: Rational and objective
 Reality Principal
Superego: Internalized moral standards
• Dynamic system: Regular conflicts within
Freud’s Psychosexual Development
• Child moves through five stages
– Oral Stage
Oral receptive vs. Oral aggressive
– Anal Stage
Anal retentive vs. Anal expulsive
– Phalic Stage
Oedipus & Electra Complex
– Latency Stage
Identification with same-sex parent
– Genital Stage
Satisfy mature sexual instinct
Freud’s Psychosexual Development
• Stages result from conflict between Id & Superego
• Conflict creates anxiety
• Ego defends against anxiety with defense
• Early experiences have long-term effects on
Freud’s Psychosexual Development
• Freud
– Emphasized the role of nature over nurture
– Believed humans are basically evil
– Believed development has qualitative changes
– Believed development was discontinuous
– Believed development was passive
– Believed development was universal
Strengths and Weaknesses of Freud’s Theory
• Strengths
– Awareness of unconscious motivation
– Emphasized important early experience
• Weaknesses
– Ambiguous, inconsistent, not testable
– Not supported by research
Learning Objectives
• How does Erikson’s psychoanalytic theory
compare to Freud’s theory?
What crisis characterizes each of Erikson’s
psychosocial stages?
Erik Erikson
• Most influential neo-Freudian
• Some differences with Freud
– Emphasis on psychosocial stages
– Less emphasis on sexual urges
– More emphasis on rational ego (choices)
– More positive, adaptive view of human
– Development continues through adulthood
Erikson’s Stages: Approximate Ages
• Trust vs. Mistrust: Importance of responsive
Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt: Preschool
Initiative vs. Guilt: Preschool
Industry vs. Inferiority: School-age children
Identity vs. Role Confusion: Adolescence
Intimacy vs. Isolation: Young adult
Generativity vs. Stagnation: Middle age
Integrity vs. Despair: Old Age
Strengths and Weaknesses of Erikson
• Strengths
– Focus on identity crisis of adolescence still
most relevant
– Emphasis on rational and adaptive nature
– Interaction of biological & social influences
– Sometimes vague and difficult to test
– Does not explain how development comes
Learning Objectives
• What are the distinct features of the learning
theories covered in this chapter: Watson’s
classical conditioning, Skinner’s operant
conditioning, and Bandura’s social-cognitive
What are the strengths and weaknesses of
the learning theories?
Learning Theories: Classical Conditioning
• Behaviorism: Conclusions should be based
on observable behavior only
• Tabula Rasa - Environmental view
• Association Learning
– UCS: Built-in, unlearned stimulus
– UCR: Automatic, unlearned response
– CS: Stimulus causes learned response
– CR: Learned response
The three phases of
classical conditioning
Learning Theories: Operant Conditioning
• Probability of behavior based on
environmental consequences
– Reinforcement
• Pleasant consequence
• Increases probability
– Punishment
• Decreases probability
• Unpleasant, aversive
Possible consequences of whining behavior.
Moosie comes into the TV room and sees his father talking and joking with his sister. Lulu,
as the two watch a football game. Soon Moosie begins to whine, louder and louder, that he
wants them to turn off the television so he can play Nintendo games. If you were Moosie’s
father, how would you react? Here are four possible consequences of Moosie’s behavior.
Consider both the type of consequences – whether it is a pleasant or aversive stimulus –
and whether it is administered (“added to”) or withdrawn. Notice that reinforcers strengthen
whining behavior, or make it more likely in the future, whereas punishers weaken it.
Bandura: Social Cognitive Theory
• Formerly called social learning theory
– Humans think, anticipate, believe, etc.
• Cognitive Emphasis: Observational learning
– BoBo doll studies
– Model praised or punished
– Child learned to imitate rewarded model
– Vicarious reinforcement
Learning Theory: Strengths & Weaknesses
• Strengths
– Precise and testable theory
– Carefully controlled experiments
– Practical applications across lifespan
• Weaknesses
– Inadequate account of lifespan changes
– Ignored genetic and maturational
Learning Objectives
• What is Piaget’s perspective on cognitive
What are the strengths and weaknesses of
Piaget’s theory?
Piaget: Cognitive Developmental Theory
• Intelligence: Ability to adapt to environment
• Constructivism: Understanding based on
• Interactionist
– Both biological maturation and experience
required for developmental progress
• At each new stage, children think in a
qualitatively different way
Cognitive Developmental Theory
• Strengths
– Well-accepted by developmentalists
– Well-researched, mostly supported
– Influenced education and parenting
• Weaknesses
– Ignores motivation and emotion
– Stages not universal especially the last one
Learning Objective
• How do systems theories, in general,
conceptualize development?
Contextual/Systems Theories
• Lev Vygotsky: Sociocultural perspective
– Cognitive development is a social process
– Problem solving aided by dialogues
• Gottlieb: Evolutionary/Epigenetic Systems
– Genes, neural activity, behavior, and
environment mutually influential
– Normal genes and normal early
experiences most helpful
Learning Objectives
• What are the essential elements of Gottlieb’s
epigenetic psychobiological systems
perspective of development?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of
the systems approaches to development?
Gottlieb – Developmental Psychobiology
• Interaction: Biological & environmental
Individual programmed through evolution
Current behavior results from past adaptation
Ethology: Behavior adaptive to specific
– E.g., food scarcity creates nomadic
– Species-specific behavior of animals &
Gottlieb: Epigenesis
• Instinctual behavior may or may not occur
• Depends on early physical and social
Genes alone don’t influence behavior
A system of interactions
People develop in changing contexts
– Historical
– Cultural
Strengths and Weaknesses
• Strengths
– Stresses the interaction of nature and
– Only partially formulated and tested
– No coherent developmental theory
Learning Objective
• How can we characterize the theories in
Class Participation Question 1
(from Box 2.1)
Directions: Choose one option for each statement
and write down the corresponding letter.
Biological influences and learning experiences are
thought to contribute to development. Overall:
a. Biological factors contribute far more
b. Biological factors contribute somewhat more
c. Both biological and environmental factors
contribute equally
d. Environmental factors contribute somewhat more
e.Environmental factors contribute far more
Class Participation Question 2
Children are innately:
a. Mostly bad; they are born with basically
negative, selfish impulses
b. Neither good nor bad; they are tabula
rasae (blank slates)
c. Both good and bad; they are born with
predispositions that are both negative and
d. Mostly good; they are born with many
positive tendencies
Class Participation Question 3
People are basically:
a. Active beings who are the prime determiners
of their own abilities and traits
b. Passive beings whose characteristics are
molded either by social influences (parents,
other significant people, and outside events)
or by biological changes beyond their control.
Class Participation Question 4
Development proceeds:
a. through stages so that the individual changes
rather abruptly into a different kind of person
than s/he was in an earlier stage
b. In a variety of ways – some stage-like, and
some gradual or continuous
c. Continuously – in small increments without
abrupt changes or distinct stages
Class Participation Question 5
When you compare the development of
different individuals, you see:
a. Many similarities: Children and adults
develop along universal paths and
experience similar changes at similar ages
b. Many differences: Different people often
undergo different sequences of change and
have widely different timetables of