Theories of Infant Development

Theories of Infant Development

Theories of Infant Development Fogel Chapter 2 Created by Ilse DeKoeyer-Laros Overview Chapter 2

Biological Approaches Learning Theories Cognitive Theories Systems Theories Clinical Theories Experiential Exercises What is a Scientific Theory? a set of concepts that explains the observable

world with structures, processes, or mechanisms that are presumed to exist but that cannot be observed directly (p. 44) 1. Helps to organize systematic observations, using accepted methods of observation and assessment 2. Phrased in terms of general principles that can be applied to specific research findings and applications. 3. Should accurately predict future observations in a majority of cases. Theories of Human Development Focus on describing and predicting the ways in which children change over time & the origin of

individual differences Biological Approaches Charles Darwin: natural selection: those who can successfully adapt to the environment will live long enough to reproduce & pass down their characteristics to the next generation the environment influences which types of characteristics will survive and continue to evolve Biological Approaches

Genotype: raw genetic code, made up of DNA molecules the actions of the genotype are affected by the environment surrounding the genes this happens via the epigenome biochemical markers that turn on or off the actions of particular genes within each cell Phenotypes: the products of the genotypeenvironment interactions include tissues but also behaviors, intelligence, temperament Biological Approaches

the genotype determines the opportunities by which the environment may have an influence on the phenotype Biological Approaches Behavior Ecology Theory The study of behavior from an evolutionary perspective: all animals have species-specific behaviors that evolved through the process of natural selection

Biological Approaches Behavior Ecology Theory Critical period: limited period of time during which learning can occur that has a permanent and irreversible effect the first 6 prenatal months (brain & body) the early years (attachment, language)

Biological Approaches Behavior Genetic Theory the study of possible environmental and genetic explanations for individual differences in behavior and personality characteristics Research compares individuals that vary in their genetics and environments Genetics: twins (identical vs. fraternal), regular siblings, adopted siblings Environment: shared or nonshared Biological Approaches Behavior Genetic Theory

Heritability the extent to which individual differences are due to genetic factors the percentage of variability between individuals explained by genetic variability appr. 30% of the differences between people can be explained by genetic variability A certain set of genes increases the probability of developing a particular characteristic but doesnt determine it Biological Approaches Behavior Genetic Theory

Often, environmental variability has a larger probability of predicting individual phenotypes than does genetic variability many genes, each with a small influence Sometimes, genetic variability between individuals has a larger probability of predicting phenotypes than does environmental variability e.g., inheriting or not inheriting color blindness genes Problems with Biological Approaches Harder to apply to phenomena that did not occur

in the original species-typical environment Difficult to sort out the relative effects of genetic and environmental variability Behavior genetics does not tell us anything: about the probability that a particular individual will inherit a genetic potential or show a characteristic about the ways in which genes and environment act to produce a phenotype no guidelines for intervention or for enhancing development Learning Theories Major contributions: discovered simple yet powerful ways to enhance

learning have shown that any species can be trained to achieve more than expected by evolutionary models of species-typical behavior Major types: Classical conditioning Operant conditioning Social Learning Theory Learning Theories Classical Conditioning

An unconditioned response will occur at a new, conditioned stimulus after repeated exposure to pairing of conditioned & unconditioned stimuli Learning Theories Operant Conditioning B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) Operant conditioning: the process by which the frequency of an operant (spontaneous behavior) is controlled by its consequences

Learning Theories Operant Conditioning Reinforcers consequences that increase the frequency of the preceding behavior Positive reinforcer: an action or reward that follows the operant and increases its frequency Negative reinforcer: the removal of an aversive stimulus increases the frequency of an operant Punishment unrewarding consequence that decreases the frequency of an operant Extinction the frequency of an operant decreases when a reinforcing consequence is

removed Learning Theories Social Learning Theory Social Learning Theory proposes that: infants come to control not only their behavior but also the behavior of other people around them entirely new behaviors could be acquired almost immediately through observational learning the self (including cognitions and motivations) is an intelligent actor and organizer of information Albert Bandura (1925 - )

Problems with Learning Theory Real life is more complex than laboratory! Many other processes (e.g., genetics) may influence the way behavior is acquired Cannot explain the sequence and timing of developmental stages Cannot explain the spontaneous emergence of new behaviors E.g., stranger anxiety even when children have no experience with strangers, or smiling in blind infants

Cognitive Theories Focus on the mental experience of the person and aim to understand intelligence how people of different ages know about, perceive, plan, and remember their experiences Behavior is considered a form of intelligence: most of what people do is goal directed and depends on knowing what to do in certain circumstances Types Constructivist Theory Information Processing Theories

Cognitive Theories Constructivist Theory Intelligence is a form of adaptation to the environment Knowledge is an active process of coconstruction between the knower and what is to be known Jean Piaget (18961980) Cognitive Theories

Constructivist Theory Two principles of biological adaptation: Assimilation: individuals use their existing abilities in response to challenges from the environment the application of what one already knows or does to the current situation Accommodation: the alteration of existing abilities to better fit the requirements of the task or situation Most actions involve both assimilation and accommodation Cognitive Theories

Constructivist Theory Piagets main goal was to apply his theory to the development of human intelligence he looked for the origins of intelligence in infancy First two years of life: sensorimotor substage explore & learn through movements and senses main feature: the growth of infants understanding of their bodies and how these relate to other things six substages (see Chapters 510) Cognitive Theories Constructivist Theory Appr. age

(in months) Piagets Substage 1 02 Reflex schemes 2 24

Primary circular reactions 3 48 Secondary circular reactions 4 8 -12

Coordination of secondary circular reactions 5 12 18 Tertiary circular reactions 6 18 - 24

Invention of new means through mental combinations Cognitive Theories Constructivist Theory Individuals play an active role in their own development motivation for developmental change comes from the experience of disequilibrium Infants develop knowledge by means of their own actions on the environment it is constructed Infants will learn better from experiences that

can be assimilated to their current level schemes: available set of skills and knowledge sensorimotor or conceptual Problems with Constructivist Theory Development does not always occur in the stages defined by Piaget research has shown that certain behaviors may appear earlier than Piagets stages suggest that they should (e.g., imitation in newborns) Piaget did not take into account the effects of

adults on infants Cognitive Theories Information-Processing Theories Goal: to specify the way in which the mind handles the information presented by the environment Research usually with sophisticated technology e.g., to measure such things as visual fixation time, eye movement patterns, auditory sensitivities Problems with Information-Processing Theory

Few clues about how each component develops more a theory of how infants act and think than a theory of how action and thought develop Many different approaches and thousands of research studies difficult to interpret, especially since there is no broad theoretical framework Systems Theories Goal: to understand developmental change in the whole child in the whole environment System: a set of interdependent components,

each of which affects the others in reciprocal fashion Theories include: Ecological Systems Theory Interactive Systems Theory Dynamic Systems Theory Systems Theories Transaction: the process by which systems components affect each other in a bidirectional and reciprocal way Example:

Infant: smiles Parent: relaxed, attentive, & smiles Systems Theories Systems have the property of self-organization: organized patterns emerge out of the mutual influences of each component of the system on the others

Systems Theories Feedback: components of a system have an effect on their own behavior during their transactions with other components deviation-correcting feedback (or negative feedback) deviation-amplifying feedback (or positive feedback) Systems Theories deviation-correcting feedback maintains a systems characteristics over time in spite of small deviations Parent: stressed

Infant: smiles Parent: relaxed deviation-amplifying feedback changes a system as a result of a small deviation Parent: stressed Infant:

fussy Parent: more stressed Infant: cries more Systems Theories Ecological Systems Theory The ecology of human development the study of the progressive, mutual

accommodation, throughout the life span, between a growing human organism and the changing immediate environments in which it lives, as the process is affected by relations obtaining within and between those immediate settings, as well as the larger social contexts in which the settings are embedded (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Systems Theories Ecological Systems Theory Systems Theories

Ecological Systems Theory 4 levels of system functioning Microsystem: all direct relationships between child & environment Examples: the family, play groups, church groups Mesosystem: relationships between the microsystems Example: interaction between family & day care center Exosystem: social systems that affect (but dont include) the child Examples: parents work, media, school board

Macrosystem: written & unwritten principles (e.g., beliefs, values, rules) that regulate everyones behavior Problems with Ecological Systems Theory Does not specify how these systems affect the child No guidance concerning which of the ecological factors are most likely to affect a family & under what circumstances Is not developmental does not explain how how infants develop from one age to the next

Systems Theories Interactive Systems Theory Louis Sander: recognized that parent and infant develop together as a system in relationship to each other over time Picture: Systems Theories Interactive Systems Theory Vygotsky: all individuals are defined by the social group and that knowledge is an

active social construction Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) adults do not directly socialize the child but follow the childs own motivations to learn mutual, cooperative transaction is at the heart of Vygotskys theory, which is why it is sometimes called sociocultural theory Systems Theories Interactive Systems Theory

Zone of proximal development: the time during which the next achievement in skill is about to occur but has not occurred yet Systems Theories Interactive Systems Theory The concept of the zone of proximal development suggests that children will acquire culturally acceptable practices only if parents can adjust the timing and level of their actions to the ongoing motivational state of the children Systems Theories

Interactive Systems Theory Guided participation: the active role that children play while observing and participating in the organized activities of the family/society in the company of adults Cultural differences In one study, Mayan mothers maintained adult status level, while U.S. mothers acted more like peers Pictures:

Problems with Interactive Systems Theory Focuses on short-term developmental changes and does not provide a framework for understanding developmental change Focuses on parent-infant relationships, or small groups of co-participants, and not on broader issues (e.g., family systems) research inspired by Vygotskys work, however, explicitly focuses on cultural factors and differences Dynamic Systems Theory How does novelty emerge? Dynamic systems

theory gives conceptual & methodological tools to understand this Ilya Prigogine: interested in phenomena that make their own energy & become increasingly complex by generating novel forms Self-organization: the ability of systems to maintain themselves and to develop new forms Ilya Prigogine (1917 - 2003) Picture from Dynamic Systems Theory

Many dynamic systems display two properties 1. They form predictable and stable patterns in their macroscopic behavior 2. They are relatively unpredictable in their microscopic behavior Examples Seasons are generally expected to occur around the same time each year, but day-to-day weather patterns are hard to predict precisely Infant development can be described in general stages, an individual infants behavior on a given day and pattern of development cannot be predicted

Dynamic Systems Theory Chaos: microscopic unpredictability in the context of macroscopic stability Figure 2.7 trajectory of a mathematical equation that traces a path in 3-dimensional space that is similar on each cycle but never exactly the same Dynamic Systems Theory Dynamic systems theory is unique in that it allows for the possibility of indeterminism Determinism: all events have a cause, which can be found with enough scientific work we are unable to predict events in a persons life because we

simply do not have sufficient data Indeterminism: even if we could measure all the relevant variables, we still could not completely predict future behavior & development Butterfly effect a very small perturbation creates unpredictable novelty in a system, which results in macroscopic developmental change in the system Dynamic Systems Theory Self-organization spontaneously creates novelty

Dynamic Systems Theory Esther Thelen and Alan Fogel applied dynamic systems theory to explain infant development Infant development is not entirely predictable from biological, social, or cognitive factors Dynamic Systems Theory New abilities emerge through the dynamic indeterminacy of self-organization Thelen: 6-month-olds have all the skills for walking, except for the ability to balance. When this ability

develops by about 10 months infants walk spontaneously (self-organization) Fogel: many forms of interpersonal communication are transactional (there is feedback between the participants) and this transaction is characterized by continuous mutual adjustment of action and creativity Dynamic Systems Theory Co-regulation: the continuous mutual adjustment and co-creativity that appears in spontaneous communication synonym for self-organization as applied to interpersonal communication

explains both stability and change frames: repeating patterns of co-activity such as greetings, games, conversation topics creativity is inherent in communication and provides the seeds for spontaneous change Problems with Dynamic Systems Theory Relatively new theory description of infant development is still rather general and it could take years of research to further develop the theory Due to origins in physics, sometimes uses

complicated mathematical models, but human development is not easily reduced to measurable quantities Clinical Theories Observed infant: based upon direct observations of infants, constructed from quantitative research methods Clinical infant: constructed from clinical work with older children and adults and based primarily on qualitative research methods and participant observations

Clinical Theories Clinical infant: Participatory memories: nonconceptual composed of emotions, desires, and a sense of familiarity, without any specific time or place, felt as a being with or a reliving of past experiences (e.g., the feeling of what it was like to be cuddled) Conceptual memories: recall about an event communicated in the form of a verbal narrative, composed of specific categories for type of event, time, and place

Clinical Theories No matter what research method is used, infants psychological experience will always be unobservable by adults Clinical Theories Infantile amnesia: the inability to have conceptual memories of infant experiences Participatory memories likely to be unconscious, because they occurred when we did not have language or because they were traumatic nonverbal and often involve the whole body

often transformed over time for example, the memory of being ignored in infancy may be changed into feelings of depression in the adult Clinical Theories Psychotherapeutic Approaches Freud wanted to explore whether patients with psychosomatic complaints had any memory of a trauma that might have occurred early in life free association: asking clients to lie down and encouraging them to relax and say anything without fear psychoanalysis: the use of free association along with interpretation in psychotherapy

Infants are dominated by the id (irrational needs and desires) gradually learn to control their impulses through the ego the ability to tolerate discomfort & frustration and to moderate the pursuit of pleasure Clinical Theories Psychotherapeutic Approaches Erik Erikson: viewed each stage of development as a potential crisis of the personality leading to a new sense of individual identity development might progress or get sidetracked

More social emphasis focused on the way in which the infants body related to the family and to society Clinical Theories Psychotherapeutic Approaches Freud Erikson 0 - 1 Oral: Focus on

Trust vs. mistrust: Development of expectancy for either gratification or frustration 1 - 3 Anal: Focus on Autonomy vs. shame/doubt: Selfassertiveness and selfcontrol or uncertainty and shame experiences of the mouth (e.g., sucking,

eating, crying, biting) experience in anal region such as elimination and retention Table 2.5 Psychoanalytic Stages of Development Clinical Theories Psychotherapeutic Approaches Margaret Mahler (1975): psychoanalyst who believed that many psychopathologies could be prevented by early intervention; worked with

infants and young children Infant psychiatry: the application of clinical psychology to work with infants & their families most clinical interventions in infancy focus on the parent-infant relationship and on parent education Clinical Theories Psychotherapeutic Approaches Daniel Stern (1985) infants have early senses of self that remain with the person throughout life Emergent self (0-2 months): awareness of how the different movements, sensations, and feelings cohere into recognizable states

Core self (2-8 months, also called the ecological self ): the experience of being an active agent that does things in the world, has feelings, and has a history of prior experiences Subjective self (8-15 months): infants discover that they have inner experiences that are different from others around them, and they can choose to share feelings and experiences with others Verbal self (after 15 months): use language to talk about inner states and to construct a coherent identity in the company of other people Clinical Theories Somatic Awareness Approaches

May use talk, but typically use body movement & touch as a way to access the participatory memories of early childhood since infants experience their world via movement and touch, this seems to be a more direct route to an adults infant experience than merely talking Clinical Theories Somatic Awareness Approaches Watsu: clients are moved freely in the water, stretched gently, and cradled in the practitioners arms

By being moved so freely through the water, by being stretched and repeatedly returned to a fetal position, the adult has the opportunity to heal in himself whatever pain or loss he may still carry from that time (Dull, 1995, p. 65). Clinical Theories Somatic Awareness Approaches Rosen method: by listening to the clients body with gentle touch and to the words they use to describe their experience, the practitioner can help the client to relax, relieve pain, and

breathe easier the body tells its own story Clinical Theories Somatic Awareness Approaches Moshe Feldenkrais (19041984), originally a physicist and judo instructor, invented The Feldenkrais Method organic learning: very young children use all their senses and every part of their bodies, while adults appear to involve less of themselves Feldenkrais believed that alienation from the body

contributes to habitual, usually unconscious, patterns of muscular tension and psychosomatic illnesses Clinical Theories Somatic Awareness Approaches Two Feldenkrais methods Awareness through Movement students are asked to make small, slow movements )often based on the movements observed in babies), reduce their efforts, and sense how even simple movements are connected with every part of the body Functional Integration

students lie on a padded table as a practitioner gently touches and moves them, promoting deep relaxation, kinesthetic awareness, and new ways to move Clinical Theories Somatic Awareness Approaches Bodymind centering (BMC): adults do exercises based on normal infant sensorimotor development has been used in the treatment of parent-infant relationships at risk & and with infants who

experience sensorimotor difficulties Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen dance teacher & physical therapist could help many clients by taking them through the sensorimotor stages of prenatal and infant development, step by step Clinical Theories Somatic Awareness Approaches Dance Movement Psychotherapy expressive dance-like movements to foster a more

integrated sense of self in relation to others successful for infants and children with autism, communication delays, sensory integration difficulties, hyperactivity, and trauma (Tortora, 2006) kinesthetic empathy: the ability to feel another persons feelings by moving like that other person Somatic psychotherapy: focuses on felt bodily sensations, breathing, and movement on the pathway to psychological well-being Problems with Clinical Theories

More could be learned by combining systematic qualitative with quantitative methods Hard to prove whether participatory memories of infancy are what that adult actually experienced as a baby memories of early infancy are typically about feelings and body states, not about particular incidents the adults parents would find it difficult to remember whether a particular event happened, and even if they did, their experience of it as a parent would not be the same as the infants experience Psychoanalytical theories tend to focus reward or blame on the parents, but the child contributes as well

No one approach can treat all behavioral and psychological issues of children and adults Experiential Exercises: Exploring the Clinical Infant The infants psychological experience is unobservable so how can we understand the clinical infant? by re-experiencing infant-like movements, sensations, and states of being by interacting with infants as a participant observer by talking to your parents or caregivers about

your own infancy Experiential Exercises: Exploring the Clinical Infant This book includes Experiential Exercises simple exercises that allow an opportunity to experience the clinical infant for yourself Do these in a quiet room where you can feel what is happening in your body. Many students feel self-conscious when first doing this. It is, after all, unusual for adults to act like babies! Almost all students, however, change their minds after actually doing the exercises for a while.

Experiential Exercises: Finger painting Done individually or in groups Need materials, space and time Just start painting! Notice the concrete feelings in yourself such as emotions or sensations of color, temperature, texture. Notice if any memories come back to you. Are they pleasant or unpleasant? What does this experience tell you about yourself today? About yourself as a child?

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