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2: Developmental Theories
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- 2.1: Introduction to Developmental Theories
- Theories are valuable tools for understanding human behavior; if fact they are proposed explanations for the “how” and “whys” of development. A theory guides and helps us interpret research findings as well. It provides the researcher with a blueprint or model to be used to help piece together various studies. Theories can be developed using induction in which a number of single cases are observed and after patterns or similarities are noted, the theorist develops ideas based on these examples.
- 2.2: Psychodynamic Theory
- Freud has been a very influential figure in the area of development; his view of development and psychopathology dominated the field of psychiatry until the growth of behaviorism in the 1950s. Freud believed that most of our mental processes, motivations and desires are outside of our awareness. Our consciousness, that of which we are aware, represents only the tip of the iceberg that comprises our mental state.
- 2.3: Psychosocial Theory
- Erik Erikson was a student of Freud’s and expanded on his theory of psychosexual development by emphasizing the importance of culture in parenting practices and motivations and adding three stages of adult development. He believed that we are aware of what motivates us throughout life and the ego has greater importance in guiding our actions than does the Id. Erikson divided the life span into eight stages. In each stage, we have a major psychosocial task to accomplish or crisis to overcome.
- 2.4: Exploring Behavior
- Classical Conditioning theory helps us to understand how our responses to one situation become attached to new situations. John B. Watson believed that most of our fears and other emotional responses are classically conditioned. Operant Conditioning theory emphasizes a more conscious type of learning than that of classical conditioning. A psychologist named Thorndike authored the law of effect, which suggests that we will repeat an action if it is followed by a good effect.
- 2.5: Exploring Cognition
- Jean Piaget is one of the most influential cognitive theorists in development inspired to explore children’s ability to think and reason by watching his own children’s development. He was one of the first to recognize and map out the ways in which children’s intelligence differs from that of adults. Lev Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who believed that a person not only has a set of abilities, but also a set of potential abilities that can be realized if given the proper guidance from others
- 2.6: Research Designs
- We have just been looking at models of the research process and goals of research. This section is a comparison of research methods or techniques used to describe, explain, or evaluate. Each of these designs has strengths and weaknesses and are sometimes used in combination with other designs within a single study.
- Essay: Lifespan Psychology
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