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Developmental Psychology

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Developmental Psychology
Hello and welcome, So, before I kind of begin, talking about cognitive development, I will try and ah spend today's lecture in talking about some other aspects and some basic aspects of development and some basic questions that surround the notion of development, as far as you are talking about a human being. So, let us begin. Now the field that kind of ah does this ah investigation into developmental ah spans is referred to as developmental psychology.Now developmental psychology is the study of progressive changes in behaviour and the abilities of a child.So, ah there are two things you have to understand here when I am talking about abilities of the child, I am talking about ah physical abilities ah emotional, social, other kinds of abilities, what are the basic perceptual abilities, how ah how well can he see here,how well can he put together two pieces of information, how does the he understand thesocial constructs, you know ah morals and ah you know theory of mind other kind of peopleand the development and sum total of all of these developments.All of these abilities that the child acquires through its lifespan, is what kind of reflects in the child's behaviour So, developmental psychology parse tries to take into account both of these aspects in ah more in ah, you know in a kind of an unfolding way.So, it's like a story that is unfolding ah.In the first chapter, you see ah that the child is ah you know just born with very limited perceptual ah capabilities as well.So, the ah child cannot see properly, the child you know does not really understand, concepts language is not there, but eventually ah all of these abilities start developing one over the another and a lot of these developments are so much linked with each other.During the course of this development is what ah you know you can also see that there are changes in the behaviour of the child that is coming up.So, both of these things are very linked together and this is what basically forms the subject matter of what developmental psychology does.It basically involves every stage from the conception of the child to the death of thechild Now, this cycle of development ah, this isa slightly different issue ah the cycle of development, also ah you know kind of keepsaffecting us throughout the life and there are two major factors that we will talk aboutah shortly or the factors of heredity; that is the nature issue and environment that isthe nurture part . So, very shortly I will just ah ask you to wholly about this topicfor a minute.I will just come back to this after I have talked about who does developmental psychology.. Developmental psychologists basically ah arethe ones who are interested in the questions of development and they are the ones who studya persons biological, emotional, social, personal and cognitive development . So, that thisis basically the 5 aspects of development, that we might talk about and this developinga spans from infancy from the you know the time the child is born to adulthood and youknow ah till ah the senile ah stages as well So, we talked about what developmental psychologyis.We talked about ah developmental psychologists do , but then coming back to something I wasreferring to.In the last ah slide is one of the ah very important questions, one of the most importantquestions, actually that are asked when you talk about developmental ah you know patternsin ah human behavior And when you talk about developmental patternsand how the abilities of the human being evolve, is is the question about the relative contributionof ah nature ah; that is the biological makeup of the . And when I am talking about biologicalmakeup, I can be talking at two levels, I can be talking at the fact that what is thebiological makeup of the human being as a member of a particular species, the homo sapiens. What is it, what is the sum total of the evolution that this person has gone throughover the last millions of years That is also a very important aspect of biologicalmakeup.The fact that we do not have tails, is basically not ah you know in somebody's personal biologicalhistory, but that is basically you know the history of the biological history of the entirespecies . So, we can talk about.when you are talking about nature, we can talk about those effects species level effectsas well . Other kinds of effects that we would talk about, when you are talking about individualsin question, then you could talk about things like their genetic makeup ok.I will talk about some of these aspects ah in the lecture later as well , but then whenyou are talking about the personal aspects of the nature question, you are talking aboutgenetic makeup.You know what are the environments , what is, you know what kind of genes the parentsof the person had, ah what were ah you know the environment, how did they bring this personup, whether those genes manifested or not, how much of the persons behavior can be actuallyyou know explained back to the kind of genetic makeup that this person would have had andagain ah biology is a very ah you know is a very prominent ah factor in explaining somebody'sbehavior, its its a prominent ah you know reason about ah why a person, why people behavein the ways they do So, this is the nature part of the questionand then you come to the next part.The next part is the nurture part, what is the nurture part . Now the nurture part againah, it can be looked at ah variously, you can talk about microcosms, you can talk aboutsay for example, what kind of nutrition the child is getting, what are the parents ahyou know, how are the parents bringing up the child ah.you can talk about say for example, how was the child interacting with the environment,what are the things he is getting encouraged for, what are the things he is getting youknow a scolded for.So, that he does not really do it and then there are ah slightly ah larger questions,you know you taught you go above ah just the immediate family to the larger family, youknow relatives and friends and those people and then you can actually look at the societyat large So, when I am talking to you about and youwill discover their various things, ah you know ah during the course of this week aboutthis nature versus nurture debate ah, I would actually ah appreciate if you could actually,you know ah try and pin ah ah the development of various abilities to nature and nurture,and I am sure what you ah might ah get at the end of it, is the fact that both of thesequestions, both of these ah aspects of development, both of these you know major factors thatah attempt to explain human development kind of work together.and I i will not really spill all the beans ah in, in the first ah lecture itself, butthat is pretty much the sense I get, when I am kind of you know looking at this vastdevelopmental data and that is pretty much what I would also appreciate you doing . So,multiple perspectives, I mean just ah kind of ah for a minute going to the backgroundof this question , multiple perspectives have been proposed to tackle this nature and ahnurture debate . It starts ah long back as a as a as the 70thcentury, 70th century philosopher John Locke ah , he rejected the notion that babies areminiature adults, you know ah I mean ah earlier people ah might think or people used to thinkthat you know babies are just miniature forms of adults ah, just that they are smaller andjust that they they have less ah abilities in terms of talking and ah other things, butah typically there will be mental functioning, there will be cognitive functioning, exactlythe same as adults Now, this is something that John Locke ahkind of ah rejected and he said, that ah its a very probable that the mind of a newborninfant is like a blank slate.So, he does not really assume anything that the child already brings him ah, you knowbrings with himself or herself ah.According to John Locke all knowledge is acquired through the senses and its provided entirelyby experiences.So, the child when he comes into this world does not really have a lot of you know ahah knowledge or attitudes or preferences and those kind of things, but the child interactswith the environment using the 5 senses and then the child basically learns by hit andtrial by experience.Suppose the child wants to you know ah um you know, you get ah you want to get a ahah cup of milk to the child and you know that milk is hot the tile will touch it in thefirst part . But then quickly realize that this is ah,you know this is hot and probably I should ah you know not touch ah this ah at the moment,next time you bring a cup the child has already learned that ok, the the liquid inside maybe hot.So, I will not touch it, I will kind of wait till somebody introduces me to it . So, theseare these are the kind of questions that ah have been asked and ah a very extreme versionI have talked about this in much detail . When I have talked about ah you know historyof ah cognitive psychology in ah the earlier course now.So, a slightly more ah you know slightly more ah extreme version of the tabula rasa conceptwas argued for, by the behaviorist a school of psychology you know, you could rememberJohn Watson and BF Skinner and some others Edward Thorndike for that matter . Now Watsonand skinner argued that human nature is completely malleable, you can kind of you know ah getpeople to do whatever they want, if you are just manipulating the rewards and consequences,ah the rewards and punishments Now, early training; so what they believedwas that early training can turn a child into any kind of adult, regardless of heredity.So, they are kind of these people are giving a lot of importance on the nurture part andnot really so much on the nature part.They would assume that given the correct kind of training and I will just ah kind of demonstratethis with a quote that ah you know Watson famously said .So, Watson says ah give me a dozen healthy infants ah well formed and my own specifiedworld to bring them up in, and I will guarantee ah you know ah anyone at a to take any oneat random and ah train him to be any kind of specialist that I might ah want him tobe . So, you could make them doctors, lawyers, merchants, chief etcetera and even yes ah,you know even beggars or ah you know thieves or you know regardless of the talents ah,the tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of the ancestorsSo, what ah Watson is trying to say is that given the right kind of conditions, giventhat you can manipulate the condition that somebody is being brought up in ah, you cankind of you know get whatever ah effect out of the you know individual, you can mold theindividuals to be whatever they are.And the idea is , the philosophy behind this is that people are some ah, adjust the sumand total of what their environment wants him to be.So, given any kind of, you know in given ah any kind of environment, the persons behavioror what the person turns out to become, is just as a consequence of that environment.So, there is something which ah you know Watson has said . Now, there is another ah ah theory,I was talking about the nature part, I was talking about the species historySo, Charles Darwin ah you know the ah, he is given the famous theory of evolution 1859the origin of species.So, Charles Darwin ah emphasizes in that book ah, and ah very many other places ah the biologicalbasis of human development and kind of you know its triggered a lot of others here isto start looking more seriously at heredity and the biological factors that make up individuals.So, these are the two ah, you know these are the two basic ah ah concepts.These are how they weigh against each other and during the course of this chapter ah whatyou will realize is, ah you know how, what is the relative contribution of each of thesethings . Now, let us go a little bit more into detail about the biological evolutionpart ah.So, heredity; heredity basically refers to the transmission of physical and psychologicalcharacteristics from parents to their children through genes.So, I will talk about what genes also.There are two things; physical characteristic, how tall you are going to be , what is thecolor of your hair, eyes, what is the shape of your ears, those kind of things.And also psychological characteristics, if you are you know ah generally a happy person,if you are generally ah you know angry kind of a person .A lot of times you will see people making these kind of comparisons you know my sonhas a temper which ah kind of ah you know resembles my temper and those kind of things. So, heredity is kind of trying to include both of these things physical characteristicsand psychological characteristics and this is happening through genes.Let me come ah, let me elaborate what genes are.So, I will just ah take a bit ah around that Now, how does heredity operate . The nucleusof every human cell contains what is called the DNA or ah the full form is deoxyribonucleicacid.Now DNA is basically a long ladder like ah chain of ah chemical molecules.ah The order of these molecules or the organic bases basically acts as a code of geneticah information.I am sure you must have seen this helix like figure of ah the DNA and everywhere else andyou will see that these ah sequences ah or these components are at (Refer Time: 13:51)like that, and ah the sequence of these ah particular molecules kind of encodes in itself,the particular information that the gene is supposed to or that is the DNA supposed toah transmit from one ah, you know ah in a one ah generation to the otherNow, the DNA basically ah is, ah in each cell contains a record of all the instructionsthat are needed to make a human being and there is; obviously, much more ah room leftto spare.So, the idea is, all the physical characteristics, how from the conception the combination ofthe ah genes from the mother and the parent are combined and what kind of ah ah individualbiologically will be formed, is also coded into genes , what kind of individual psychologicallywill be formed is also coded into these genes .So, human DNA has like ah 46 chromosomes ah.These are basically 23 pairs of chromosomes, and new ah, newborn basically receives 23chromosomes from the mother, 23 chromosomes from the father and that is why he get around46 chromosomes.Now, coming to what genes are.Genes are a really small segments of DNA that affect a particular process or a personalcharacteristics.Suppose for example, you can talk about the color of the eye, or you can say for example,talk about the psychological characteristic for that matter ah.We will at some point I could refer to ah ah; so there is ah this ah you know ah psychologicaldisorder, which is called a schizophrenia.Schizophrenia basically the symptoms are largely behavioral ah, the there are biological underpinningsah for that kind of disease ah.We will we will talk about these ah things in a bit more detail as we move aheadNow, sometimes ah there could be a single gene that is responsible for ah you know inheritedfeatures.For example, eye color.So, there is a single gene that governs what kind of eye, color of eyes you are going tohave ; however, ah there ah.So, ah; however, there could be ah many other characteristics which basically are polygenic.So, many genes combine to kind of give you those characteristics, I will come to thatin a bit Now, genes basically ah how do they manifest.So, genes could be dominant genes or recessive genes.A dominant gene is ah one that every time it kind of ah features, it ah kind ah, everytime it appears ah, the features that it controls will ah be present every time . So, for example,and that is one, so that is a dominant gene and then there is a recessive gene.Recessive gene basically that is one that must be paired with the second recessive genebefore its effect will be expressed.For example if the child gets ah one blue eyed ah one blue eyed gene and one brown eyedgene from both parents and you know he has one blue one brown eyed gene , the child willalways ah end up getting the brown ah ah brown colored eyes , because the brown color ofeyes is basically.The brown eyed gene is basically the dominant gene.So, it will express itself every time it is present in the genetic makeup of somebodyNow, if one or both parents have brown eyes ah, the couple children will only have browneyes, because they are ah apparently only brown eyed genes . Now if each parent hasone brown and one blue eyes ok.So, then what is the child getting.The child is getting basically probably you know one blue eye one ah ah one blue eye gene,one brown eye gene and ah permutation of that . There is therefore, a 25 percent chancethat the child gets both blue eyed genes and ends up having eyes of blue color ok.So, that is how this ah dominant and recessive ah aspect of genes workNow, as I was saying, most characteristics; however, that we inherit are polygenic, andthey are controlled by many genes ah in combination.For example, there are almost 200 genes that play a role in determining a person's heightok ah.Now through the expression of genes, heredity kind of determines your physical characteristics;like eye color, skin color, and susceptibility to particular diseases . Also ah genes canswitch on or switch off.What is switch on or switch off mean.it basically says that this is a chronological instruction.So, at particular time the gene might manifest itself, at a later age the gene might notbe able to manifest itself . So, these are ah some informations about ah how the genething works . Now, there is some other concept that I would like you to know .Heredity continues to exert a powerful influence throughout the maturation of the individual;that is the physical growth; however, the organs ah coming up; however, the differentability is happening , happening ah, which are basically ah tied to both the developmentof the body, the development of the brain and the nervous system.So, I am talking about ah from the time that a child is born , till the time that a childkind of matures completely . The physical maturation goals are complete, the psychologicalmaturation goals are complete, the nervous system ah is completely developedNow, as the human growth sequence ; that is encoded in the DNA as it unfolds genetic instructionsinfluence the body characteristics; like size and shape, height intelligence, athletic potential,personality traits somehow ah a sexual orientation and a host of other details.So, given that the child inherits these ah you know 23 pairs of ah chromosomes from boththeir pay, from combined from both their parents ah the chromosomes have ah genes they havea DNA structure; that is what ah kind of you know will unfold with time as the child isgrowing up.Obviously, with the interaction with nutrition and environment ; that is what will lead toah kind of determine ah, the different aspects of the different ways in which you know onthe physical characteristics and psychological characteristics will develop . Now, one ofthe important factors have just ah referring to ah in all of this ah, all of these genesah you know governing how you are kind of ah going to ah become , is the environment. The environment basically refers to the sumof all external conditions that affect a person.Or external conditions are everything that is outside the individual.So, for example, the kind of food that the person is eating or the kind of instructionthat a person is getting and those kind of things . Now, ah individuals ah.So, you can, you should think of ah the human brain as a very active organ, its not reallya passive organ that is sitting and just receiving all the you know inputs that we ah that youare getting . So, this brain ah interacts with the environmentin various ways.Suppose for example, ah I will, I will just ah tell you that the new born's brain ah hasa very few dendrites and it has ah, it makes very less synapses than an adult brain.So, ah if if I tell you what the ah, what a neuron is, the structure of neuron is thatit has a cell body there are dendrites dendrites which are branching structures and there isan axon ah ah which kind of release the signal.Now, the number of dendrites basically kind of ah tell you how many branches, how manyconnections that is neurons of made, and then you can talk about ah synapses that are basically, you know connections that the two cells are makingNow, when the child is born there are very few dendrites and very few connections thatthese cells have made . As the child grows during the first 3 years of life millionsof new connections are getting formed in the brain every day . How these connections beingformed ah.These connections are being formed in response to whatever the child is learning how, whateverhe is experiencing , how is he interacting with the environment.At the same time as the child grows up, a lot of unused connections kind of disappeared.So, a lot of things that a child is not really done, is not really interacted, is not reallygrasped that kind of information, those ah redundant connections kind of get away, theythey are not there anymore . Now, during this ah interaction between heredity and environmentand this interaction kind of starts very early.So, we will talk a little bit about prenatal influencesWhat a prenatal influences.Prenatal influences are ah that you know ah things that are happening with the child,even before the child is born.So, as I said developmental psychology, actually starts from the conception ok ah.The initial parts; obviously, are more in the purview of biology, neurobiology, whatI am kind of just trying to give you a brief glimpse of them here .So, environmental factors, as I was saying , they actually start influencing the developmenteven before birth ok.Although the intrauterine environment you know where the child is the mother's wombis highly protected, environmental conditions can still affect the developing child.Let us take some examples now for example, when the mother is pregnant and the child'sfetal heart rate ah you know when the mother is pregnant, the child's fetal heart rateand movements can increase ah and do increase very often, whenever there is a loud soundor vibrations you know around the around the mother.suppose for example, that is one of the reasons why pregnant woman would ah you know liketo avoid going to very crowded places or places where there is high, no its because its itsits thought that the child is not really ah ah, is not perceiving those things and reactingto those things . So, even though the environment is kind of , insulated in some sense, it cannotah stop things like you know sound and other things I will refer to ah very shortly ahin reaching the child.Another very interesting thing is that if the child, if the mother is experiencing,a lot of stress , a lot of tension during the pregnancy , the child ah you know thesethis kind of affects the child's growth ah both physical and psychological very adversely. So, mothers whose found, who have been found to be ah you know tense and ah highly youknow in depressed for example, ah during their pregnancy , the children turn out to be muchsmaller and weaker at birth.So, they are not only their physical development is affected and there are also ah studiesthat tell you ah ah, that tell you the fact that , this is a children this is a children'sah psychological, development you know development in terms of intelligence and other things,is also very severely affected ah.Another example could be a say for example, if a mother is exposed to potentially harmfulsubstances or say for example, diseases during the pregnancy , then also the child couldsuffer from things like you know birth defects or congenital disorders.Birth defects are basically when the child is born with particular anomalies and congenitaldisorders are may be the physical things are ok, but there is a particular disorder thatthe child you know is born with . I will refer to some of those kind of things now ..Now, certain viruses like that of the, you know ah the human immune virus, the aids virusthat is and drugs like for example, nicotine, caffeine, Mariana, cocaine and heroine ahcan still pass through the placenta and harmfully affects the fetal development.It can cause disastrous effects for the developing child.So, you might ah kind of remember that pregnant women are advice very heavily against ah usinga lot of you know caffeine, using a using any kinds of drugs for that matter, any kindof alcohol for that matter . Now, these agents which can actually stillpenetrate ah you know the mothers womb and they can still affect the child's developmentare referred to as Teratogens.So, Teratogens are object and they are substances that can harm the ah you know a healthy developmentof the child . Now, ah this period, this prenatal period is also a time, where various genitiveeffects might ah you know ah show up the various genetic effects, might manifest .For example, ah there is this disease called down's syndrome, and I am sure you might haveheard of down syndrome somewhere.This is a down syndrome is basically a disease that results from an extra 20 first chromosomeah and can cause ah you know physical ah anomalies.It can cause abnormal physical traits ah.Some of the abnormality is a physical anomalies that can be manifested ah things; like thereare folding ah of ah the skin at the corner of each eye, where the tongue is much widerthan normal and there are ah you know defects with respect to how the heart is ah, you knowsupposed to function Also down syndrome has a severe effects onthe development of the brain and which basically you know this abnormal development of thebrain, because of this extra chromosome can ah can result in various degrees of mentalretardation as well . So, again these these are genetic effects, these are you know congenitaldisorders that the child might be born or born with . And ah down syndrome is not theonly disorder, its not the only you know congenital ah disorders or genetic disorders that a childmight be born with ah.There are almost around 450 different kinds of genetic disorders that are now you knowcan be tested and identified even during the , you know the person is pregnant, even duringthe mother is pregnant . So, these are some of the ways and I was just trying to kindof tell you . These are some of the ways that can ah you know ah affect a child's ah physicaland its psychological development, even before the child is really come into the world.you know even before the child is born these are some of the things biologically that mightyou know ah create problems for the child . I will just talked about some of more ahyou know evidence is some of the most studies about these things . Now, researchers havereported that you know ah females women who are pregnant, women who have admitted usingcocaine and other combinations of drugs like alcohol or marijuana or other kinds of opiatesah, have a high risk of having infants ah, which will have lower birth rate ah.They will have a lot of irritability, they will be ah very difficult children to reallyah you know bring up ah and also poor feeding habits, which will anyways leads to you knowah the child being weaker and you know the development not being normal . So, that isone of the things ah.Children ah from about 4 to 7 years old who had been exposed to cocaine, vial they werein their mothers womb were found to be more impulsive, they were found to be less ableto adapt to stressful ah situations and they were also had a lot more behavioral problemsin life, than did children ah you know ah than did children from a group of motherswho had not used drugs during their pregnancy .So, for example, you know there are things that can decide how the development will turnout even before the person is born.So, there is no , you know there is nothing that the child can do about this ah.This is something that has biologically pre specified the course of development.So,I have talked to you about a lot of these things ah.Basically I talk predominantly about biological aspects of evolution today, ah biologicalaspects of development today, but there is also a lot of stress on the environment part.ah When you talk about other kinds of development, emotional, social and other things you willsee that there is a ah kind of a tradeoff there .But ah certainly today I hope you kind of appreciate the fact that you know there area lot of ah biological factors that affect the course of human developmentThank you