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 w2 Chapter 2 Theories and Issues  


Does birthday cake make children hyperactive? This common theory is actually not supported by research.             BananaStock/Thinkstock
Ive got a theory about that. Youve heard this said many times, generally from someone who has an idea about how something happened or why someone behaved in a certain way. We often base our actions on theories, even if theres no proof that were right. 
For example, some parents dont give their children sugar, fearing it will make them hyperactive. There is no scientific proof of this popular myth, but it continues to influence many parents. Sometimes inaccurate theories can be harmful, such as when they stop parents from giving their children vaccinations that can prevent harmful diseases. 
In this chapter, were going to look at psychological theories of human development. Psychologists call ideas about how people think, feel, or behave theories only if they are supported by good research, the type we discussed in the last chapter. Generally, the purpose of psychological theories is to explain and to predict the future. Theories also help us make sense of a wide range of different but related experiences (e.g., how different environments change our stress levels) and suggest new areas of research (e.g., what is a successful method for reducing stress?).
Sometimes theories can help change the future. For example, we have a well-supported theory that children who do not get enough to eat do poorer in school than those who receive adequate nutrition. From that information, we could predict that future students who have good nutrition will show better school performance than those who are hungry. This prediction led to the creation of the federal School Breakfast Program that feeds millions of poor children. Kennedy and Davis (1998, p. 801S) cite findings in Massachusetts schools that show a significant improvement in test scores and reduced absenteeism for students who participate in the program. That theory changed the lives of millions of children for the better!
Since modern psychology began in the last decade of the 1800s, thousands of theories about human thinking, emotions, and behavior have been offered. Some have stood the test of time and of intensive research studies. Others sounded good at the time but were not supported by later research. 
A good theory must be able to predict outcomes. For example, from Albert Banduras theory of modeling behavior, we can predict that younger children will engage in behaviors based on what they see older children do (Bandura, 1985). Although this outcome is not true 100% of the time, it will often be, thus giving us a tool for predicting child behavior whether that child is poor and living in Denver, middle class and living in Springfield, or rich and living in Birmingham. Theories are modified or refined to improve their predictability and better explain research data.
Unlike physics, psychology is not an exact science. In physics, if you drop two balls of different weights in a vacuum, they will hit the ground at the same time, every time. That demonstrates one aspect of the law of gravity. In psychology, if we can predict something will happen 95 times out of 100, we call it significant. With many significant results of research studies on the same topic, we can begin to say a theory has support, even though we are never totally sure it is right every time.

* Have you ever had a theory about something that later turned out to be wrong? How did you discover that your theory was incorrect?

You will read about many theories that will help explain and predict human behavior. Though at times imperfect, they have nevertheless stood the test of time and have been scrutinized through continued research. They offer us the best windows into the mind. Lifespan theories dont all fit neatly together like Lego blocks. Sometimes they dont appear to fit together at all. That is because psychological theories are like the story of The Blind Men and the Elephant. 
The story is this: A group of blind men came upon an elephant in the field. They had heard of an elephant before and wanted to understand what it was like. One grasped the elephants trunk and said, The elephant is like a big snake. Another grabbed a leg and said, No, it is like a tree trunk. A third held an ear and said, You are both wrong, an elephant is like a fan. Each man had grasped one part of the essence of an elephant but not the whole thing. And because of their lack of sight, they could not see the whole elephant. 
It is that way with psychologists, too. We can examine specific aspects of the mind as it develops, but there is no universal theory that explains or predicts everything related to human development. However, the more that we use research to grab onto different parts of the mind, the more we understand about the whole.
Theories of human development fall into broad categories. Each category gives us a different perspective into our development during specific periods of change. Each theory owes something to one of the earliest modern theorists of human development, John Locke (16321704). He said that the mind of an infant is a tabula rasa (a blank slate) on which the world writes; all ideas come from experience. He was also an early proponent of the most fundamental principle of psychology: empirical research. Locke believed that knowledge must be discovered scientifically through research and then, to derive general statements about a subject, analyzed for common elements (Locke, 1690/1965). Lockes empirical approach is the key to discovering new knowledge in every field of science.
After reading this section, you should have a basic understanding of the major types of theories that help explain human development, including similarities and differences. Here are the types that we will discuss: (1) psychoanalytic, (2) psychosocial development (3) cognitive development, (4) moral development, (5) behavioral, (6) social learning, (7) ecological, (8) personality and career satisfaction, and (9) eclectic (composite) theories. 
Theorists really do seem like blind men feeling different parts of an elephant, as some will readily admit. 
Psychoanalytic theory, developed by Sigmund Freud (18561939), was the first modern theory of psychology. As a practicing physician in Vienna, Austria, he treated soldiers coming back from World War I and was struck by some of the bizarre behaviors that he witnessed. He first used hypnosis and drugs but found they were not effective enough to discover the root cause of otherwise unexplainable behaviors. Some patients could not move a hand or arm, despite no physiological problems; others exhibited repetitive behaviors like constant tapping; there were also unexplained fears of harmless objects. Freud developed his psychoanalytic theory from these patients suffering from what we now call emotional problems.
Freud said that the mind comprises conscious and unconscious parts. The world as we know it is stored in our conscious mind. The unconscious mind is behind a closed door, which we usually cannot penetrate. It is filled with feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that are unpleasant or so disturbing that they are pushed out of consciousness. The unconscious mind influences behaviors in ways that we may not be aware of and may send messages to the conscious mind through dreams. For example, a person may have an unexplained fear of cats. The persons unconscious mind contains a terrifying memory as an infant of being nearly suffocated by a cat lying on his face. The memory is hidden, but the fear remains, influencing conscious behavior. Although the general idea of a conscious and unconscious has endured, like most of Freuds theories there is actually no consistent empirical evidence to lend support.
Freud theorized that our early childhood experiences and memories play a central role in personality development and its inherent problems. Based on the cases that he encountered, Freud developed the idea that during the first 5 or 6 years of our lives we go through several psychosexual stages. He felt that gratification shifted during these stages from the mouth (oral stage) to the anus and bladder (anal stage) and then to the genitals (phallic stage). Should any one of these early stages either be over- or undergratified, the person could develop a fixation and become locked into that stage of development. For example, someone who received too much or too little mothering in the oral stage may act immature and dependent, especially toward women who represent mother figures. According to Freud, people fixated at the oral stage would be likely to engage in excessive oral activities like smoking, drinking, overeating, and biting nails (Freud, 1924).
Another of Freuds enduring contributions is the idea that an individuals personality is composed of three parts, the id, superego, and ego. The id, which resides in the unconscious mind, is driven by only one thing: the desire for personal pleasure, me, me, me. For instance, if you have an urge to satisfy your hunger but have no cash, you may simply steal a hotdog from a street vendor. The superego, which mostly resides in the unconscious, is the source of what we call our conscience. It is the part of our mind that tells us what is right and wrong, including social norms. The superego wants to obey standards. If we dont, then we may feel guilty or anxious. The superego would tell the id not to steal the hotdog because it is wrong and you might get arrested. The third part of the personality is the ego, which resides in the conscious mind. The role of the ego is that of a mediator. It balances the demands of the id with the demands of the superego (Freud, 1915). When you really want that hotdog, the ego decides to go to the ATM, withdraw some cash, and then go back to purchase it, thus satisfying both id and superego. 
Freud believed that the mind tries to protect itself from frustration and severe distress such as war, rape, death, and so on. He believed that we have several techniques for this, which he called defense mechanisms (Corsini, 1994, p. 390). Here are a few common defense mechanisms that you might recognize:
Displacement: Here we cannot safely express negative feelings to the person responsible, so we unconsciously transfer our anger to someone safer. For example, your boss chews you out but you lash out at an innocent coworker. 
Compensation: Here we try to overcome feelings of inferiority in one area by excelling in another area. For example, someone who feels inferior in social situations may focus on schoolwork to feel intellectually superior. 
Rationalization: Here we look for an acceptable reason to justify our thinking or behavior. For example, we dont want to study at night but tell others we need to get more sleep so that we dont get sick. 
Psychoanalytic theory has given us a strong platform for understanding a whole range of common human behavior. Regardless of the lack of empirical support, Freuds theories remain historically significant. Many of the terms that he (or his followers) coined to describe human behavior are now part of popular language, such as unconscious, fixation, ego, defense, repression, rationalization, and denial. (VIDEO 1)
Freud had many followers who carried on his work, including his daughter, Anna. Erik Erikson (19021994) was a disciple of Freud who agreed with Freuds emphasis on the importance of the unconscious mind but disagreed with his emphasis on sexual tensions during the first 6 years of life as the key to personality development. Eriksons greatest contribution is his focus on psychosocial development, which refers to the development within the social environment in which a person lives, primarily focusing on relationships with other people (Erikson, 1968). His work has had a major impact, popularizing the idea that personality is dynamic, changing and growing throughout life. Eriksons emphasis on healthy ego development is a positive viewpoint suggesting that people have some control over their own development (unlike Freud who thought we spent our lifetimes trying to overcome the demands of the id). 
Erikson believed that there are eight stages in human development (to which he added a ninth, old age, late in his life). He believed that each stage is important for the healthy development of the ego and a fully functional person. The core of Eriksons idea was what he called the epigenetic principal. He believed that heredity and the environment have bidirectional influences on development. His stages dictate that we must gain certain insights at predetermined times, and those insights build on one another much like the floors of a new building going up. During each stage, we face a psychosocial crisis (that he later changed to opportunity and conflicting tendencies) that must be resolved. Each stage is like a turning point in life, offering both the potential for growth and the danger of failing. 
The titles of each stage include the word versus, which means there are two competing forces at work. The first is the desired outcome, and the second retards the development of the ego (personality). However, the resolution of each stage should not result in one-sided personality growth. For example, in Stage One: Trust Versus Mistrust, the desired outcome is trust of other people. That, however, must be balanced by reasonable mistrust so that the person is not nave, which would later hinder the development of a healthy personality (Erikson, 1950). There is no firm agreement about the age range of the stages because people develop at their own pace. The ages listed are the accepted approximations.
Infancy to 1 Year Old. During the first year of life, a babys entire existence depends on others. Infants come to trust or mistrust others based on whether or not their needs are attended to. If infants learn to  trust their parents, they will more easily trust the world as a safe place. According to Erikson, the virtue or quality of hope is associated with this stage.
Ages 1 to 3 Years. If infants trust their parents, then as toddlers they can more confidently explore the environment. As toddlers begin to master skills like crawling, walking, talking, and dressing and feeding themselves, they discover a sense of autonomy that leads to self-esteem. Parents must guide the development of this independence so that children develop appropriate self-control without feeling shame that they have done something bad or doubt in their own abilities. The quality of will, of what can be achieved, is developed in this stage. 
Ages 3 to 4 Years. If children are autonomous, they begin to show initiative in activities and try to acquire influence or control over objects and people, even temporarily. On the other hand, adults may  have influence in making children feel guilt when they assert themselves. Erikson thought play was vital in this stage to allow children to control situations safely as they developed this part of their identity. The virtue developed in this stage is purpose, or the courage to go after their goals despite risks or possible failure.
Ages 5 to the Onset of Puberty at About 12 Years. Play becomes more purposeful or goal oriented as children learn more about the ways of the world. If they take the initiative, they can accomplish things, a sense of industry. If they feel inadequate, perhaps because of the guilt from the earlier stage, children are discouraged in their attempts to acquire knowledge or complete tasks. In that case, they may feel incompetent and unproductive, leading to lasting feelings of inferiority. The virtue acquired in this stage is competence. It is by discovering a number of competencies that children begin to build a sense of identity.
Adolescence, Ages About 12 to 18 Years. This is the pivotal stage for Erikson, the one which all the others have been leading up to and which all the rest are dependent on. In this stage, teenagers try to discover who they really are, their self-identity, including their sexual identity, and what they want to do in life. Erikson used the term identity crisis to describe a conflict within the parts of ones identity that have been developed in the prior stages: trust, will, competence, and purpose. The goal in this stage is to achieve an integrated identity in which all parts of the self-image are in harmony with each other. 
When that doesnt happen, teenagers then anguish over who they are and how they fit into their social world, a state of confusion. The quality that develops here is a sense of fidelity to others. When that is the case, young adults can more easily create feelings of (emotional) intimacy. Think about it; if you do not really have a strong sense of identity, then what kinds of things can you really share with another person? To experience intimacy, the focus of the next stage, you must share your self.

Early Adulthood, Ages About 18 to 25 Years. The adult stages rest firmly on the successful resolution of the challenges of earlier stages. Although intimate relationships may have formed prior to this stage, the challenge here is to form deep and intimate relationships. In such relationships, young adults are able to  express their deepest fears, hopes, and dreams to another person and accept those of their partner. If the risk of disclosure is not taken, then fully intimate relationships will not be formed, and a sense of isolation from others may develop. Erikson does not limit these intimate relationships to sexual intimacy but to relationships with special friends also. The quality that develops here is love.
Middle and Later Adulthood, About 25 to 65 Years. Adults seek to accomplish goals that make them feel they have made a difference in the world. This is the payoff stage in which we can use the personality that weve developed to achieve our occupational, social, and personal goals. We gain a sense of fulfillment from those accomplishments but also seek additional satisfaction through mentoring younger generations. Generativity means the ability to be useful, to do things like teach values, coach baseball, and volunteer. In this stage, parents raise and mold the next generation. The virtue of care emerges in this stage as we seek to give back to society in some way. In contrast, some may do their 9-to-5 stints, come home, eat dinner, watch some TV, and do it again the next day. They develop a sense of stagnation, a feeling of selfishness and self-indulgence in which they do not wish to give back, just to continue taking.
About Age 65 and Older. Although the onset of this stage is likely later than when Erikson formulated his theory in 1950, the basic tenets still apply. If adults have been successful in prior stages, a sense of personal integrity emerges. People accept their lives and what they have accomplished, including giving back to younger generations. They gain a sense of fulfillment by looking back at their lives. The virtue that develops in this stage is wisdom. This wisdom leads them to accept lifes limitations; regrets about what might have been are useless to dwell on. Those who do not develop wisdom are subject to despair as they long for another chance at their goals. They may even feel anger or disgust for themselves, for their perceived failures. During this stage, thoughts of death are more common.
Late in his career, when he was an old man, Erikson added this ninth stage.
Very Old Age. In very old age, the physical, mental, and emotional structures that have been built over a lifetime begin to seriously fail. Close friends and loved ones die. Mobility is difficult and the size of the accessible world retreats to perhaps just a room. In some ways, the organism has come full circle, back in a single room and unable to function without help from others. In this stage, individuals make an adjustment in self-image to accept dependency; they develop insights or wisdom about the cycle of life and the inevitability of death. Those who cannot achieve this next step in the cycle of life fall into despair over their situation and what is to come. For more on Eriksons stages, click here:
Yale psychologist Daniel Levinson, who we will study in detail in Chapter 3, was interested in the changes that men went through in adulthood, and like Erikson, he separated his developmental periods into stages that he called eras. Levinson called the underlying pattern of a persons development a life structure, which includes all the roles and relationships that a person has throughout life. Within the life structure, we try to answer important questions such as What are the most important parts of my life, and how are they interrelated? Levinson believes that everyone goes through the same basic pattern of development, which he likened to seasons of the year (his 1978 book is titled The Seasons of a Mans Life). Each season has its own purpose. Levinson (1986) states that people go through each stage in the same order and at roughly the same age and that the findings of many studies support this. 		 
The primary components of a life structure are the persons relationships with others. Each relationship evolves over time and has different meaning at various times. For example, a childs relationship with a parent is different than later as a teen, a young adult, and an older-adult caregiver. Levinson believes that there are two or three central relationshipsmarriage, family, and occupationin most peoples lives. These have the greatest influence on the persons development.
Although the psychoanalytic and psychosocial development theories of Freud and Erikson are established in psychology, they are primarily based on observational studies, rather than experimental research, so predictions based on the theories are difficult to test. However, they have given parents a framework for viewing development and some useful guidelines related to child rearing. These theories also help us understand adult behaviors. 
For example, a young worker shows extreme shyness in the presence of coworkers and refuses to ask for a deserved raise. Eriksons stage theory would suggest the worker had not met the challenge of Stage Two: Autonomy Versus Shame and Doubt, where self-confidence was not gained. That could lead to another failure in Stage Three: Initiative Versus Guilt that left the worker with feelings of guilt for trying to assert herself. Like falling dominos, the inability to overcome the challenges of Stages Two and Three left her less able to meet the challenge of Stage Six: Intimacy Versus Isolation. In this stage, where she is now, lack of confidence and fear of self-assertion in a group makes the worker hold back, thus appearing shy to others. The chance of being accepted into a social group and to have intimate relationships is diminished, leading to feelings of isolation from others. 
This example shows how psychoanalytic and psychosocial development theories can help us understand how some behaviors may be viewed as the outcome of unresolved fears and doubts. According to these theories, behaviors are often related to unresolved emotional issues of the past, which psychoanalysis seeks to uncover. 

* Do you think the id, ego, and superego are present in your personality?
* What, if any, stage of Eriksons best describes where you are at in your life right now?

Recall the analogy of The Blind Men and the Elephant. The psychologists who propose cognitive development theories are primarily interested in one part of development: mental growth in areas like logic, learning, and memory. These theories emphasize the cognitive (mental) change and development of the mind. 
Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (18961980) is generally considered the most influential cognitive psychologist. Early on he became fascinated that children of similar ages gave the same kinds of wrong answers to test questions. He concluded that, contrary to accepted theories of the time, children were not simply miniature adults. Instead, they proceed through a series of specific kinds of stages (discussed below).
Piaget also developed a theory of how children gain knowledge within each stage. Suppose a 1-year-old is exposed to a soft, squishy ball for the first time. After manipulating the ball, seeing its actions and what it feels like, and conducting mini-experiments with it, the child develops a mental structure (a way to organize and understand types of experiences) for ball. Later, when other small squishy things that roll after being thrown are presented, they can be incorporated into the mental structure for ball. 
Piaget called this process of incorporating information about new but very similar experiences that fit into an existing mental structure assimilation. If the child is then exposed to a baseball and finds that it is hard, much heavier and keeps rolling until it is out of sight, the child takes into account new properties of what a ball can be. Piaget called this process accommodation, or modifying a mental structure based on new experiences. If you previously used computers mostly for surfing the Web and communicating via email, you could easily assimilate new Web sites. If you are taking an online class for the first time, you will need to accommodate the new process.
Piagets lifes work consisted of trying to map the stages of cognitive development, especially in childhood. He found that certain behaviors only occur after children have entered the appropriate maturational stage. He theorized that children go through four stages of development, each with an increasing level of cognitive sophistication (1954, 1977). The stages unfold in a fixed sequence and provide feedback to the child about how the world works, as discussed next.
1. Sensorimotor Stage (Birth to 1824 Months of Age). In this stage, babies try to organize their basic behaviorssucking and graspingfor maximum effect in their physical world. They understand the world through their senses (e.g., the sound and sight of a rattle go together) and their motor actions (e.g., hitting, pushing, grasping). By the end of this stage, babies use simple symbols, like words, to influence the world. They begin to think about how to create desired outcomes such as how to get a ball that is across the room. Before they can effectively use symbols (next), they must learn object permanence. They are egocentric, having their own viewpoint as their only perspective.
2. Preoperational Stage (1824 Months to 7 Years of Age). Children begin using symbols (called symbolic representation). For example, a play truck becomes a real truck; dolls become children who are guests at a tea party. They begin to learn meaningful words, phrases, and language structure. Their attempts at logical thinking sometimes conflict with earlier beliefs. A bell is alive because it rings. A cloud can feel lonely, and a backfiring truck can be mad. At this stage, children still cannot fully grasp concepts like causality, quantity, time, reversibility, or other perspectives than their own. 
3. Concrete Operational Thought (712 Years of Age). Children master the basics of language structure and grasp concepts like reversibility and conservation. They start to imagine how someone else might feel or think. They grasp abstract terms like friend. They separate real from imagined causes. However, they have difficulty manipulating abstract ideas.
4. Formal Operational Thought (12+ Years of Age). As children become adolescents, they undergo yet another major shift in thinking. They can use abstract ideas and relationships. They can employ logical, organized and systematic plans to solve puzzles. They can think what if about various futures and contemplate pros and cons. They see inconsistencies in rules set down by parents, schools, and society. In short, their cognitive development has achieved more of an adult level. 
Piagets most famous series of experiments involves conservation. Piaget showed preoperational children three glass containers. Two of them were short, wide-bottomed beakers, filled with equal amounts of a liquid. The third was tall and skinny like a tube and empty. The children were able to correctly state that the small containers had the same amount of liquid. A child then poured the liquid from one wide container into the tall glass where the liquid rose higher because of the smaller diameter. When now asked if the two amounts of liquid were the same, children consistently said the taller glass (because of the higher liquid) held more. They could not grasp the idea that the amount of liquid doesnt change. When the same experiment was done with concrete operational children, the older children correctly reported the amount of liquid had not changed. They understood the concept of conservation of liquid. You may view the experiment here:
Piaget believed that the overriding goal of children is to make sense of their world. To do so, they try things and see what happens. If a child cries and a parent comes, then the child has an idea of how a piece of the world is organized. If the child pushes a jar of baby food off the highchair and it falls on the floor (rather than hanging in midair or floating away), another piece falls into place. And, as with all good theories, the child modifies behaviors based on results. Crying does not bring everyone, the child discovers, only a parent. 
Piaget acknowledged that the biological development of our minds and motor skills play a role in development, and he also believed that the instruction of parents, siblings, teachers, and friends play a role. However, unlike Lev Vygotsky (discussed next), Piaget emphatically stated that children actively build mental structures by themselves. One motivation for this development is their curiosity about how the world works, and the other is to resolve conflict or frustration, such as when a baby wants a pacifier but cannot figure out how to reach it. In both cases, achieving the goal is an active process the baby works to create.
Piaget defines operational as a mental routine that transforms information so it can be used. Operational routines include the use of logic by classifying, subdividing, recognizing parts of a whole, counting, and reversibility like the liquid conservation task. Preoperational children may recognize pictures of various vegetables and fruits but cannot classify them into the right categories. [VIDEO 3]
Piaget remains an influential theorist but he has also been criticized for underestimating the cognitive development of children, especially in their ability to learn operational thinking like conservation, classification, and numbers. Many psychologists find that these skills are often present much earlier than Piaget demonstrated (Siegler, 1998). Piagets stage theory has held up reasonably well, but as Piaget himself stated, not all children master all tasks in each stage at the same time. Other criticisms call into question Piagets belief that the development of broad mental structures allows mastery of similar tasks (Flavell, 1977). Flavell also suggests that, rather than Piagets idea of stable stages bracketed by periods of great change, development occurs more gradually.
It is normal for theories to undergo change and refinement over the years as more and more research is done. That is the great value of the scientific method in helping us to separate facts from conjecture. As the English poet Charles Lamb said, It was a beautiful little theory murdered by a gang of brutal facts. Science requires that theories without support must be tossed out, no matter how appealing they are.
Lev Vygotsky (18961934) was a Russian psychologist who believed that social interaction and culture were the most important parts of cognitive development. Psychological tools like language, memory, and mathematics give us a foundation for mental growth because we have a way to understand the world symbolically. We grow by manipulating the symbols. For instance, one culture might teach math by using mostly manipulative objects, another by calculators and computers. The most important part for Vygotsky is the interaction that children have with peers and skilled adults. The interaction allows them to use the psychological tools that in turn will prescribe cognitive development. 
At any given time in development, Vygotsky believed that a child had a range of potential for acquiring a new skill, as long as there was some assistance available. Whereas in the United States we are mostly concerned with knowing where a child is developmentally, Vygotsky was perhaps ahead of his time in wanting to know where a child could be. That range is Vygotskys zone of proximal development (ZPD). It refers to tasks that are too difficult for a child to complete alone but could be learned if adults provided guidance. It is within that zone where parents and teachers must work to help children develop. Generally this involves the adult giving a lot of help and advice early and then gradually letting the child do it alone as skills and confidence grow (Vygotsky & Cole, 1978). 
Vygotsky called this strategy of assisting children within their ZPDs, scaffolding (meaning giving help but not more than is needed). It is now a common term in schools across the world. At the same time, though, conscientious adults have always known to give just the right amount of help so that children remain challenged. We see this approach in all sorts of learning tasks, from riding a bicycle to understanding math concepts. In fact, we continue to use this same idea as adults, whether we are getting help in learning how to do a new job or following the advice of a counselor in making a rocky relationship better. We all tend to learn best with guidance while building new skills on the back of old skills. 
Information-processing theory suggests that the way a computer processes information can help us understand how the human mind develops information-processing skills in childhood (Klahr, 1992). Just like a computer learns your searching, fill-in, and preference habits, the more information that we learn to process, the more we are likely to understand later. As our long-term memory stores get larger, they are used to help us analyze new information. We also learn techniques to process information more efficiently. For example, we can remember short-term information, like a phone number, better by using rehearsal, which means we repeat the information. As we develop, we begin to use more sophisticated organizational techniques to understand, store, and retrieve information. For example, every time that you go shopping at the same store, you get better at finding the items you need. You learn that putting lists of items into categories or visualizing them makes them easier to remember. 
This last point is of particular interest because of differences between two types of retrieval, recall and recognition. Recognition memory means that you recognize the information, such as on a multiple-choice test. Recall memory is what you use when answering fill-in questions; you have to remember information without it first being presented. Recognition memory is quite different than recall memory. Somehow, cues help our minds locate where information is stored when at first it was unavailable. Recognizing an answer is often much easier because the task is a matching exercisewe recognize a word or idea stored in our memories, a phone number or the capital of South Dakota. 
The complexity of the human mind is far greater than a computer, so this theory will only provide some insights, not the whole picture of cognition. And while it is useful in understanding cognitive learning, it is not very helpful in many other areas of development. 

* Can you think of a time when you knew that you had the answer to something in your memory but couldnt quite retrieve it? 
* What steps did you take to help you remember it?

Information-processing and Vygotskys sociocultural theories both assume that cognitive development occurs gradually, like hiking a continuous mountain road. They are in contrast to Piagets theory that emphasizes discrete stages, like climbing from one mountain ledge to another, higher one. Piaget has been criticized for not explaining individual differences, and information-processing theory lacks broad explanations for things like emotions and social interactions. Importantly, all three approaches view cognitive development as a positive, active process. 

Were looking at adult development from overlapping viewpoints. Cognitive development theories help us understand how the mind operates and how it changes throughout the lifespan. Your cognitive abilities play an enormous role in the types of jobs you have, your success in doing them, and your ability to function in the world (e.g., balancing a checkbook, deciding if a sales pitch makes sense). If you cannot think logically, remember important ideas, combine related ideas to reach sound conclusions, or organize steps in completing a task, then you are at a disadvantage when you compete with those who can do those things.
When you are faced with learning a chapter of material, focusing on cognitive operations of the mind will help you understand the material: 
1. Set specific goals. Rarely do you need to memorize an entire chapter.
2. Break up the work into manageable sections each day, being sure to follow your plan so that you do not fall behind.
3. Make a list of daily topics that will help you focus on concepts.
4. Most topics are broken up into subtopics. Write a one-sentence summary of each of the subtopics. Youll see that you are creating an outline of the chapter, both concretely (on paper or on your computer) and in your mind.

Cognitive theory shows us several important points about memory that you can use in studying. We remember more when we can relate new material to things we already know. 
1. Use Piagets concept of assimilation to associate new ideas with something from your experience. This process gives the material more meaning.
2. We remember more when we can visualize the information. This is called imagery, and it is a powerful memory device. Try to see examples of the ideas presented, such as Piagets theory of conservation. 
3. We remember more when we manipulate the information, not just read it. You might write a summary or draw a picture of some part of the information.
4. We remember more when we can combine or chunk two or more ideas or items into one, just like breaking up a 10-digit phone number into three sections. 
5. The more times that you review the key ideas, the more likely that you will remember them. This is the learning principle of repetition. If you are manipulating the information while you are repeating it, your learning will jump a lot over just reading your notes. Time between reviews also helps to improve memory.
Learning how to learn is an important part of any students academic preparation. We do not instinctively know how to do this, but by studying and practicing these techniques, you can understand and remember far better than you do right now.
Lawrence Kohlberg (19271987) was an admirer of Piaget. He was interested in the intersection of psychology and the philosophy of ethical behavior when faced with moral dilemmas. He developed a theory of moral development by posing difficult what if questions to children ranging in age from 10 to 16 years old, whom he then tested periodically for the next 20 years. Here is a summary of a question that he posed (Kohlberg, 1981):
The wife of a poor man named Heinz was dying from an incurable disease. A druggist in their town discovered a cheap cure, but charged $2,000 a dose for it. The man was unable to beg or borrow the $2,000. He went to the druggist and begged for a cheaper price, but the druggist refused. That night, the man broke into the drug store and stole the medicine. Should the man have done that?

By looking at the various responses to these and other questions, Kohlberg was able to classify the development of moral judgments into three levels:
1. At the preconventional level of morality (ages 410 years old) children believe that rules are handed down from authority figures and must be obeyed. They say, Its against the law to steal. The goal is to avoid punishment. Many parents of young children can relate to the speed police sitting in the car seat who like to remind drivers when the car is exceeding the posted speed limit, even by 1 mile per hour. Younger children base their moral judgments about a mistake on its severity. If, for example, one child breaks a small window roughhousing while another breaks a large window while helping a parent, younger children say the wrongness of the act is determined by the size of the damage.
2. Conventional morality refers to judgments that are based on social norms, especially group norms. Children internalize social standards as their own. In this stage, where children are now entering their teens, they believe that people should honor commitments and live up to the expectations of others. They would say of the man who needs the medicine, He should steal it because his intentions are good, and no one should let another person die. They see the druggist as evil because his motives are selfish. Of those children age 12 years and older, 80% picked this answer. However, late in this stage, respecting authority is seen as important for maintaining good social order. They say, While his motives were good, we cant have everyone just breaking the law.
3. Postconventional morality depends on self-chosen principles that may transcend respect for authority. The concept of civil disobedience arises. Civil disobedience is deliberately breaking laws that are believed to be immoral and being prepared to accept the legal consequences. The American Civil Rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the independence movement in India led by Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi are examples of mass civil disobedience to attain a moral goal. Those who exhibit postconventional morality say, Heinz is justified in stealing the medicine. It is fair and just that the wife be saved, even if theft is necessary. The law is flawed and should be changed so others dont face this same dilemma. They try to define principles by which social agreements will be the most just. Kohlbergs research showed that 95% of children and 81% of adults did not achieve stage 3 (Walker, de Vries, & Trevethan, 1987).

Kohlbergs theory has stood up well, although it has been modified to fit newer data. In addition, many researchers have found cross-cultural differences (e.g., Fuchs, Eisenberg, Hertz-Lazarowitz, & Sharabaany, 1986). One major criticism is that Kohlbergs research was conducted exclusively with males but has been applied to females. According to Carol Gilligan, males and females have differing views of morality (Gilligan, Sullivan, & Taylor, 1995). Although there are some similarities, Gilligan found that females are more concerned with the context in which a decision is to be made and males are more absolute.

* What would you do in the Heinz example, and why?
* Which moral development stage do you think that you are in?
* Can you think of a time that you have displayed postconventional morality? What was the issue, and what was the outcome?

Behaviorism is one of the largest and most influential schools of developmental psychology interested in how we learn. Behaviorists believe that we can only study behaviors that can be measured as a result of ones interaction with the environment. They believe that other than reflexes and instincts, behaviors are learned, not built into genetic wiring. In our Blind Men analogy, this area of psychology holds a different part of the elephant than others we have studied. To their credit, the behaviorists are the only psychologists who have ever figured out how to teach a chicken to dance, as youll see in the section B. F. Skinner.			
Behaviorists are most concerned with actions that are observable. Traditionally, they have believed that all behavior is a function of learning. However, modern behaviorists more readily accept that the idea that biology (maturation) and even internal thought processes play a role in development. One of the most important concepts in behaviorism is that we link existing, or learned, simple behaviors together into more complex patternsmuch like building a bridge with Lego blockssuch as learning language, social skills, and motor skills. 

Ivan Pavlov (18491936), a Russian physiologist who won a Nobel Prize for his study of digestion, first demonstrated classical (Pavlovian) conditioning. While studying salivation in dogs, he accidentally discovered that dogs would salivate without food being present. When he presented food to the dogs while ringing a bell, Pavlov learned that after a while the sound of the bell alone would produce salivation (Pavlov, 1927/2003). Pavlov called this process learning through association; that is, dogs learned to associate food with the sound of the bell and responded the same to both stimuli. 
Pavlov was primarily interested in physiology, so the sole focus of classical conditioning is on automatic responses salivation, fear, nausea, and the like things that we have no control over. Pavlov found the door to behavioral explanations of development, but it was John Watson who opened it. {VIDEO 4]
John Watson (18781958) is the father of behaviorism, which builds on classical conditioning. It takes a  very mechanistic approach to development through building associations, akin to the idea that if I flip a switch (a stimulus), a light will come on (a response). His most famous experiment was with Little Albert, using an experimental method that would not be allowed today. Watson first exposed 9-month-old Albert to a white rat. Albert appeared to enjoy the rat. Later while Little Albert was playing with the rat, Watson stood behind him and struck an iron bar with a hammer, making a loud sound that scared the baby. He did this several times. When Little Albert was later exposed to the rat, he cried and wanted nothing to do with it (Watson & Rayner, 1920). Watson also found that Little Albert had generalized his response to other furry white things, like a rabbit, dog, even a sealskin coat, but not hard objects like blocks. Click here to see the experiment:
To Watson this proved that the basic component of both learning and behavior is the association between a stimulus and a response, the stimulusresponse (S-R) unit. These associations are built through repetition. These S-R units are the building blocks of all behavior. Linking simple S-R units together is the way that any complex behavior is created, much as you learn to hit a golf ball by linking a variety of smaller behaviors, like keeping your head down, twisting your hips, pulling your arms back, and so on. 
Watson proposed the law of recency, which states that the more recently a response has occurred to a particular stimulus, the more likely it will happen again (Watson, 1928). His law of frequency states that the more often a response occurs to a particular stimulus, the stronger an association is built between them and thus the more likely the pairing of that stimulus and response will occur again. For example, when you get in your car, the more times that you buckle your seat belt, the more likely you will do so the next time you get in the car. Watson laid down the theoretical foundation for behaviorism and popularized it, but it was B. F. Skinner who became its best known proponent.

We often use conditioning to associate two behaviors together. We treat phobias (unrealistic fears) by associating the object of the fear with a good feeling, like relaxation. Have you ever tried to associate something you were nervous about with a positive feeling? 
College students are notoriously overstressed, so relaxation techniques may help you manage your stress levels and reduce your current association between school and stress. The most common techniques are the following:
* Guided relaxation:
* Meditation:
* Progressive Relaxation (also known as the Jacobson technique):
In the same way that Little Alberts fear was strengthened each time that Watson hit the iron bar in the presence of the rat, the stress response is weakened every time a person relaxes in the presence of a stressful stimulus.

 B. F. Skinner (19041990) is one of the founders of modern psychology. His theory of operant conditioning is one of the most popular and influential theories in the history of psychology. Remember, in classical conditioning, the response is conditioned to an artificial stimulus (like the bell) that comes before the response; in operant conditioning, this process is turned on its head. In operant conditioning, the person does something and then is either rewarded or punished for it. 
Based on Edward Thorndikes law of effect, Skinners theory states that reinforced behaviors tend to be repeated and those that are not reinforced tend to die out. If a student outlines the key points of a chapter then gets an A on the test, the good grade provides reinforcement for the behavior and makes it more likely that the student will outline for the next test. When people get paid for going to work, they are likely to continue working. If eating a particular food gives you pleasure, you are likely to eat it again. On the other hand, if a student doesnt study for the test and flunks it, he is less likely to engage in that behavior again. Skinner called these responses operant behaviors. See it in action here:
While reinforcement increases the frequency of a response, punishment decreases the frequency of a response. If a parent slaps a childs hand every time that the child reaches for a cookie, the child will decrease the frequency of the reaching behavior (at least while the parent is in the room). That is a form of punishment. 
The terms used in operant conditioning can be misleading. Punishment means to provide a response that will weaken or discourage repetition of behavior, such as hand slapping. Taking away a childs toy is also punishment in that it removes something positive from the situation. Reinforcement or reward means providing a positive element that strengthens the repetition of a behavior. When the rowdy child retreats to a chair and a coloring book and a parent gives praise, that is positive reinforcement because it adds something positive to the situation. Negative reinforcement is also a reward (this is where it gets tricky to understand). Here, something negative is removed from the situation. For example, a rowdy child is told to sit quietly in a chair for 30 minutes; if the child sits quietly for 20 minutes, a parent may take away the last 10 minutes of punishment by allowing the child to get up. Taking away something negative is, by definition, negative reinforcement. The child feels rewarded for quiet behavior because of the 10-minute reprieve. [VIDEO 5]
Skinner found that reinforcement or punishment is most effective when it is done as close to the initial behavior as possible. If your dog wets the rug, it doesnt do much good to yell at him when you find it an hour later. The lack of immediate reinforcement is one reason why so many New Years resolutions only last a few weeks before they are abandoned. 
Skinner also found that for learning to occur and endure, the desired behavior does not have to be reinforced every time. As long as it receives periodic reinforcement, it tends to reoccur. Skinner used operant conditioning to create all sorts of behaviors in people and animals. Using his own invention, the Skinner Box, he taught pigeons to read and move as he wanted them to. Watch the experiment here:
One of Skinners key processes in learning is shaping. It involves reinforcing behaviors that are closer and closer to the desired outcome. An easy form of shaping occurs in this scenario: One person yells hot or cold when another person gets closer or farther from a targeted response. It is the basis for shaping complicated animal behaviors too, such as teaching seals to clap and chickens to dance, just like Skinner trained pigeons to move in a circle. Here is an example of the outcome of training a chicken to dance through operant conditioning:
One of Skinners most enduring contributions is the idea of behavior modification, a common behavioral therapy technique that is used to eliminate unwanted behaviors or to create desired behaviors. Behavior modification often uses an association technique called counter conditioning to gradually eliminate undesirable behaviors. This technique has helped people modify behaviors by losing weight, quitting smoking, and improving social skills (Skinner, 1938; Skinner, 1957a; Skinner & Ferster, 1957b). {VIDEO 6]
Although behaviorism has provided many benefits and insights into human development, it is also the subject of criticism. Many feel that it overreaches by explaining all behaviors as s-r chains. Behaviorism does not do well in explaining creativity, creation of new or novel sentences, thoughts about nonexistent events, or imaging alternate futures. 
It also now seems simplistic to presume that conditioning is not affected by the environment (for example, environmental stress affects degree of learning). Watson eventually achieved his goal of elevating psychology to be more in line with other sciences, but in many ways, behaviorism is too confining to explain much of the thoughts and feelings that is the focus of developmental psychology.

Operant behaviors are part of everyday life. Parents and teachers use Skinners ideas to modify the behavior of children in both desirable and undesirable ways. Employers use operant conditioning through pay raises, bonuses, praise, and parking spots. Spouses use it, too. In fact, nearly everyone uses operant conditioning in the form of physical or verbal rewards and punishments to try to modify the behavior of others and themselves. That is why Skinner is one of the most influential psychologists in history. You can use the ideas of operant conditioning as well. 
Positive reinforcement can be created in three ways to help you: 
1. After you have studied for your set timesay, 1 hourpraise yourself. 
2. Ask your family to praise you for studying. 
3. Give yourself some small reward, such as a small gift or a walk around the block. 
But you must be tough, and so must your support network. Rewards are not given until the goal is accomplished. You also need to use punishment. When you choose to play when you and those around you know that you should be studying, they should ask you, Why arent you studying? It doesnt have to be any more pointed than that to have an effect. Of course, you can also punish yourself, such as withholding something that you like when you dont earn it by studying. Simply telling yourself that you have not lived up to your own expectations can be a powerful stimulus for change.
How have you used the ideas of operant conditioning in your daily life? Have you tried it on your children or your spouse? How successful were those attempts? Have you used the idea of positive reinforcement to try to modify your behaviors, such as losing weight, time management, smoking, or other things you want to change about your life? How would you do that if you wanted to? 
* Think of times when you have used punishment and negative reinforcement, perhaps with your children. Which was more effective?
* How have you used behavior modification techniques to make changes in your life? How did they turn out?

Albert Banduras work arose as a reaction against the behaviorist approach that focused exclusively on reinforcement and punishment. Bandura said that people learn and behave based on observing and imitating modelsthat is, by watching other people. Children and adults develop in certain ways based on the models they watch. Psychologists call this process observational learning. For example, in the 1950s and 1960s, millions of people watched television ads for cigarettes featuring a rugged cowboy called the Marlboro Man. He exhibited manly qualities that teenage boys admiredtough, self-reliant, an outdoorsman. He also smoked Marlboros. As with many forms of advertising, modeling led many teens to take up smoking. 
One major value of observational learning is that we do not have to perform an action in order to find out what its likely outcome will be (Bandura, 1977). For example, if a child cries and is rewarded with a candy bar in the supermarket, other children will try out that behavior, too. Although the first child received reinforcement (the candy bar), the second child at first learns strictly through observation. Diners use modeling when they look at how others hold chopsticks; students use modeling when teachers demonstrate math problems; children model the behavior of other children when deciding to try out the new equipment at the park. Because observational learning, or modeling, involves people other than the learner, psychologists call these processes social learning. 
Banduras most famous experiment involved the Bobo doll (Bandura, Ross, & Ross, 1963). It is considered to be the first experimental demonstration that shows how modeling affects aggressive behavior. Ninety-six children, ages 36 years old, saw either a real-life, filmed, or cartoon demonstration of aggression against a Bobo doll, essentially, a 5-foot-tall balloon that pops back up when it is hit. In the demonstrations, the Bobo doll was hit, kicked, and thrown by adults, along with shouts like Pow! To track gender influences, some children saw same-sex demonstrators, while others saw opposite-sex demonstrators. A control group did not see any demonstration. In the second phase of the experiment, for 20 minutes the children were left alone in a playroom with attractive toys like a tea set, bears, cars and trucks, as well as the 5-foot Bobo doll. Compared with the control group, boys and girls in every experimental group were more attracted to the Bobo doll and showed significantly more aggression. You can watch the dramatic results here:
In a follow-up study, Bandura (1965) exposed 4-year olds to the same demonstrations, but this time some children saw the demonstrator rewarded or punished. Results showed that children who saw the demonstrator punished later hit Bobo far less than those who saw him rewarded. This suggests that all the children wanted to behave aggressively, but the fear of punishment restrained one group. These studies are still cited as having implications related to the violence that children see on television or in their real lives, with the danger that they will model that violence. 
Prosocial behavior is also modeled. Rushton (1975) found that when children saw adults donating money to charity, they were also more likely to do so. However, White (1972) found that children readily give when a model does, but they will not happily give when they are simply told to do so by a model who does not give. A great deal of research with children clearly shows that children are far more influenced by what adults do than what they say. It is the behavior of the model that is critical.
Children also use observational learning to learn gender-appropriate behaviors. They learn girl-like and boy-like behaviors by watching live models like mothers, fathers, and peers and also those in the media. [VIDEO 8]
Banduras work has received widespread acceptance. It is the psychological underpinning for all of the How To videos that you can find to help you learn everything from making a cabinet to giving CPR. One area of disagreement is among those who follow Piaget. They say that social learning does not emphasize Piagets idea that children spontaneously pay attention to novel events for their own sake, rather than seeking them out as models for learning. They also object to Banduras lack of emphasis on stages of development. This is likely another case of the blind men and the elephant, where the theorists have hold of two similar but different parts of the elephant.

How can you use modeling to help you succeed academically? Modeling is done not only visually but also verbally. Although you cannot sit in the classroom and watch good students, there are several productive ways that you can use modeling to help you do well within the structure of your online classes. Learning from the postings is one way. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Read the comments that the instructor makes to the postings of other students. See which postings receive positive comments and which ones are criticized. 
2. Read those postings to see what elements each group has in common, what the instructor thought was important.
3. Model your next posting on those of the good students, including those key elements of their posting. Then make sure you have avoided the mistakes of the other students. Look for those key elements that you have identified, such as length, depth, examples, clear sentences, and so on. 
4. Use the comments of the instructor to refine your postings. Soon youll be getting positive comments just like those students you modeled.
Could you use this strategy for improving your study skills?

Ecological theory proposes that human development is best explained in terms of the interaction between individuals and the environments in which they live or have lived. Urie Bronfenbrenner (19172005) said there are five contexts that influence development. They may be thought of as concentric rings, like an archery target, with the larger rings influencing all smaller rings within them, as Figure 2.1 shows (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). 							
The microsystem consists of our primary daily environment: family, school, neighborhood, religious and group affiliations. Each of these interactions may range from excellent to poor and thus have a direct impact on the daily development of children. 
The mesosystem refers to the connection of all the microsystems influencing a child. Changes in one microsystem can impact others. For example, fighting parents create distress in the home, which can influence how well children perform in school.
The exosystem consists of the larger forces like social programs, the economy, funding for schools, availability of legal aid, and after-school programs. These factors can determine the quality of available services, especially education, which influences childrens development.
The macrosystem is the cultural context, the beliefs and values of the larger society. Compared to American children, Iraqis have grown up with a different perspective of freedom, economic opportunity, cultural values, and of course, safety. Some parts of American culture emphasize self-reliance more than others. Schools and neighborhoods are in part products of the culture in which they exist, sharing a common identity and often an accepted set of values, gender roles, and opportunities.
These systems not only interact but also change over time. The chronosystem reflects potential changes by including environmental events and historical circumstances that influence development. For example, if a states economy crashes, then social service funding is cut (exosystem), people lose jobs and friends move away (mesosystem), and family stress levels rise (microsystem), which may lead to behavioral changes in the children. Divorce, natural disasters, 9/11, changes in voting rights, and increased job opportunities for women and minorities are other examples of sociohistorical influences (Bronfenbrenner, 2004). 
Although Bronfenbrenner (2004) has acknowledged the influence of biology (genes) and has begun to integrate it into his theory, he is still criticized for not emphasizing biology enough. In addition, although ecological theory does a good job explaining environmental connections, there is scant mention of cognitive factors. Once again though, think of it as simply another part of the elephant.
* Describe the influence of each of these four ecological systems on you during your teenage years. 

* How did each help shape your development and personality?

Psychologist John Holland believes that a strong link exists between personality and career satisfaction. He called this personality-type theory. The theory states that people feel that their job or profession is fulfilling if there is a match between some important features of their work and their personality. A simple example is that of a naturally creative person who lands a fulfilling job in the arts. 
Holland (1992) identified six personality types and their best job matches in his career satisfaction theory. You will note in Table 2.1 that some professions appear in more than one category; this is not unusual. Professions may offer several major rewards, each of which may appeal to different personality types. For example, an elected government official may feel most rewarded by helping others, by the power of the office, or by the chance to solve complex problems. Table 2.1 is certainly not inclusive of all the jobs offering rewards for each personality type. In addition, peoples personalities are seldom totally dominated by one type, so multiple characteristics are likely to lead to a number of satisfying careers.					

Table 2.1 John Hollands Personality Types
Personality Type
Matching Careers
Likes to solve concrete problems, work with hands and tools, physical labor, practical. Social activity jobs do not appeal.
Firefighter, repair and construction, farmer, rancher, forestry, athlete, physical therapist, police officer, soldier, engineer, architect
Likes to solve puzzles and discover relationships, enjoys math or science ideas, values scientific and intellectual jobs. Enjoys exploration of places and ideas. Selling or leading does not appeal.
Lawyer, psychologist, reporter, scientist, engineer, computer scientist, professor, mathematician, finance, physician
Likes creative jobs, especially in the arts, values opportunities for self-expression, creativity and independence. Highly structured, repetitive jobs do not appeal.
Actor, artist, author, dancer, graphic designer, fashion designer, model, marketer, public relations, musician, set designer, composer, radio or TV personality, teacher in the arts field
Enjoys solving social problems and interacting with others in a cooperative manner. Jobs involving machines, animals, or isolated work do not appeal.
Doctor, nurse, teacher, therapist, theologian, human relations, trainer, education, nutritionist, psychologist
Likes to persuade others, selling things and ideas; enjoys leading others and being in charge; values jobs emphasizing energy, ambition, competition, and social interaction, creating new businesses or opportunities. Solitary jobs that do not influence do not appeal.
Politician, lawyer, corporate or nonprofit manager, executive, stockbroker, public relations, salesperson, insurance agent, administrator, realtor, retail store manager or owner
Conventional (organizer)
Likes to work with numbers or records in a neat, orderly way. Values good organization and jobs emphasizing systematic approaches and concrete plans. Jobs that require ambiguous ideas or unstructured activities do not appeal.
Accountant, payroll clerk, copyeditor, actuary, CPA, proofreader, technical writer, investment banker, chief financial officer, bank clerk, administrative assistant

Too often, young people select professions simply because they are easy, seem glamorous, or offer the potential for quick riches. They make their choice without knowing the personality attributes required to have long-term success. We have a tendency to fool ourselves into believing what we want to believe or what others, like parents, want us to believe. For example, a student may want the big money a stockbroker makes but hates dealing with people and trying to sell. The mismatch between job requirements and personality makes success unlikely. So, learning earlier what you like and what you have an aptitude for can short-circuit some unhappy and costly choices.
There is seldom a perfect correlation between the job and the workers personality; all jobs have positives and negatives for any worker. A job may provide the creative outlet for an artistic personality but not offer the financial rewards needed to have a pleasant life. Overall there seems to be a relatively low correlation between job satisfaction and Hollands personality attributes, either due to the multiple positive and negative aspects of jobs or the inaccuracy of the theory. 

* Which of Hollands six personality types best describe you? (Your answer may include more than one)

* Do the matching careers look appealing to you? Are they careers you have had in the past?

Unfortunately, many people don't think about matching their personality needs to their careers until it is too late. They just drift into a career or focus on the potential earnings or the convenience of a job. Then they wonder why they dont feel satisfied. 
The MyersBriggs Type Indicator instrument that you were exposed to in Chapter 1 is a standard way to evaluate the match between personality and career. The link that follows will take you to another test that is supposed to give you results similar to the MyersBriggs inventory: It will also show you some possible careers based on your answers. As before, these tests are included only to give you ideas; do not make any career choices based solely on these results. Guidance from professionals will help you make the wisest choices.				
Eclectic theories use multiple perspectives to explain human development. They take pieces of one and add to pieces of others in search of a composite that will explain more than any of the individual component theories (Parke, 2004). These theorists believe that the proponents of many of the major theories that weve looked at have been too rigid in rejecting alternate possibilities to account for developmental events. To come full circle, eclectic theories use the information about the elephants trunk, leg, ears, and so forth to create a composite that resembles a large animal.
For example, Vygotskys idea of social interaction in cognition complements Banduras theory of social learning. As alluded to earlier, Bronfenbrenner and Piaget can be integrated to explain how children at different stages of cognitive development may interpret divorce or social influences differently. This interdisciplinary approach also looks at what contributions may be made by related fields like anthropology and biology too. The hope is that the resultant salad theory composed of pieces of many theories will do a better job of explaining actual human behavior and development. 

As you have read, each theorist touches a different part of the elephant that we call our personality. There is no one unified theory of personality development; human beings are far too complex and different. 
Like the eclectic theorists, you need to be like a visitor to the elephant, taking some ideas from every area that seems relevant to you. Sometimes the applications are not immediately clear, and that is why weve asked you to reflect on it throughout the chapter to help you see the relevance. As you progress through this text, you will see how the theories help you understand your own development. 
Take some time to explore each of the questions below. The insights that you gain will help you better understand yourself, those around you, and the future that will make you happy.
* Which theory that you have studied could you best relate to? Describe why and think of examples in your life. Do you believe others close to you would agree? 
* Give some detailed examples of different theories that help you to better understand the thoughts and behaviors of your parents, siblings, or close friends.
* Describe your own development in terms of Eriksons stages. 
* In Bronfenbrenners ecological theory, he suggests that our development is influenced by a wide range of sources, from family and friends to society and culture. Review his ideas and then decide how your development has been influenced by the rings, or systems, of influence as he suggests. What influences were the strongest? The weakest? Be careful as you think about this; some influences can be so pervasive that we are simply unaware of their influence.
* How can you use what youve discovered about yourself to improve your current outlook and move toward your goals? How will you overcome the challenges that you are likely to face in the current stage of your life?

From the outside, any house of science looks peaceful, the picture of calm certainty about things like biology, physics, or psychology. But open the door of any house and step inside, and you are greeted by shouting, banging doors, fistfights, and even some pie throwing. In psychology especially, because there is so much variation in people, there is often much disagreement.
Research papers supporting one idea will be politely taken apart by other psychologists who have different ideas. They know that a study showing one outcome is not definitive. Often, even a dozen or more studies are (legitimately so) met with skepticism. There always seems to be other research showing differing results or criticism of how the research was conducted. Even ideas that once were accepted as proven come under fire as new research looks at the same problem, sometimes decades later. Psychology, like other sciences, has moved toward greater understanding through not only research but also the clash of conflicting ideas. The heat of conflict spurs scientists to find new ways to the truth and highlights issues that may have been overlooked before. In fact, the conflict of ideas is one of the most important ways in which we make new discoveries. 
Some of the theories that weve studied are characterized by definite periods, or stages, of development, such as those proposed by Erikson, Freud, Levinson, and Piaget. There are mostly clear lines of separation like the stages of a butterfly/caterpillar or the way an infant learns to stand, walk with others, and then walk alone. Part of the controversy has to do with specific areas of theoretical interest (i.e., what part of the elephant they were touching), but the discussion about whether development occurs in definite stages or it transitions smoothly has created dissention among developmental psychologists.
Most people think of the developmental process as continuous, much like the growth of a plant. Skinner, Bandura, and the information-processing approach see development simply as slow and steady. In those views, thinking, memory, or behaviors do not abruptly change as Piaget might argue. Instead, the mind and body gradually incorporate new information to add to the old store. Changes are small and cumulative. We certainly see evidence for continuous development in activities like running, manipulation of numbers (math), and language development. 
It is also clear, however, that certain types of development will not take place until the time is right, such as walking, certain kinds of abstract thought, and the start of puberty. This stage, like development, is referred to as discontinuous. Psychologists say that discontinuous development is tied to sensitive periods throughout early life during which the environment has a stronger impact on development. During these periods, we are primed and ready to move into the next area of learning. 
Some scientists think that the environment or our physical age triggers stages. For example, Freud sees the anal stage as related to potty training of a toddler. Clearly, the successful conclusion of this stage requires both physical and cognitive development to physically do what is required and to understand and remember what should be done. 
Piaget also supported the idea of discontinuous development. He said that cognitively immature children were inherently unable to move into the next stage of development, much like 6-month-olds are physically unable to walkno matter how much you teach them. Piaget found evidence for his views in the way that younger children cannot understand conservation, but older children immediately understand the concept without any training.
Psychologists today generally believe that human development includes continuous and discontinuous changes. Sometimes the same type of development may include both. For example, children start talking when they are ready, when their brain and motor skills have developed enough to form words. But once that happens, there is a constant upward trend in language acquisition and speaking skills. One way of looking at it is comparing human growth to that of a tree. At first glance, it looks as if a tree has continuous growth. On further inspection though, it is apparent that there is a growth phase, a fruit or seed phase, and perhaps a dormancy phase. 

Perhaps there are some parts of your life that felt like they transitioned smoothly, like the transition from first to second grade. There are other transitions that feel like they occur in stages, such as going from junior high to high school or leaving high school and going into the workforce full time. 
* What parts of your development felt continuous?
* What parts felt discontinuous? 

Supporters of a discontinuous view of development look at biology and maturation as an overriding determinant in growth. Those who turn to the continuous view of development point to the importance of environmental influences on thoughts and behavior. These two approaches highlight the factors involved in the controversy over nature versus nurture. 
This controversy is so old that the United States was still a British colony when it first began! The nativist philosophers (there were no psychologists yet) believed some basic mental abilities were inherited from parents (the nature influence). The empiricist philosophers said abilities came from learning and experience, as John Locke expressed in his tabula rasa theory discussed earlier in this chapter. Lockes ideas are the cornerstone of the nurture theory that all we are is due to the influences of our environment. 
The environment (the nurture part) can influence our development in other ways. One person eats a healthy diet and grows up fit and strong, while another eats junk food and develops diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. One set of parents demand their child do homework every night, while another set puts no demands on their child. The first one goes to a good college and finds a rewarding career, while the second one is more likely to struggle. 
Our environment plays a huge role in how we develop, what pathways are open to us, and which are closed. The multiple influences of the environment (nurture) over many years are largely responsible for shaping us into the unique individuals that we are. But it is not the only influence. We are also shaped by our genes, by nature. That is why we will sometimes see the advantaged child struggle in life, while the child with neglectful parents (but good genes for cognitive development) will be successful.
One of the clearest examples of how nature and nurture interact comes from a study by Hood (2005) in which two strains of rats were bred to show high or low levels of aggressiveness. In separate colonies, they behaved like their genes dictated. But when raised together, they showed similar levels of aggression. We see here how the environment can influence genetic predispositions.
There is evidence that some common physical and psychological problems may be influenced by both nature and nurture (Plomin, DeFries, & Craig, 2002). Obesity, for instance, is probably related to both heredity and environment. Twin studies show some heritability for obesity (Collaku, Rankinen, Rice, &  Leon, 2004; Plomin & Schalwyk, 2007), but it is probably not nearly as high as some of us would like to believe. The fourfold increase in the obesity rate of children since the 1960s provides strong evidence for the influence of environmental factors. It is apparent, of course, that the types of food we eat, carrots or carrot cake, is under our control while genetics is not. We must be careful not to use genetics as an excuse for unhealthy behaviors.
To understand the idea behind the nature part of this controversy, one must understand the basics of how we inherit characteristics. You may remember that the entire code for creating a new human being is carried on 46 microscopic strands of chemicals called chromosomes, 23 each from the father and the mother, who pass on characteristics to their children. Each chromosome contains many genes. In all 46 chromosomes, you have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes! 
Genes are small pieces of the chromosomes that determine how, when, and where the body makes each of the many thousands of different proteins required to build and maintain every cell, bone, organ, and muscle. They are responsible for eye color, hair texture, part of your intelligence, and whether or not you are likely to be able to dunk a basketball. 
When there is a mistake of some sort in copying the chromosomes as new cells develop inside the mothers womb, serious genetic-based diseases or abnormalities can develop. Some are inherited, like sickle-cell disease and cystic fibrosis, whereas others typically are not, such as Down syndrome. Other defects, such as color blindness, have little impact on quality of life. (To take a quick color-blindness test, click here:
Some genes are responsible for creating behaviors, too. When babies are born, they have an automatic desire to suckle (the sucking reflex) and the ability to do it. Newborn babies are also genetically primed to move their mouth toward a touch on their cheek (the rooting reflex), an inherited survival mechanism helping a newborn find mothers nipple. 
Personality is also significantly influenced by heredity. For example, Kagan and Snidman (1991) found that about 15% of children followed in a longitudinal study seemed to have been born with a predisposition for shyness, making them unusually anxious about unfamiliar objects, places, and people. Rothbart (2004) reports that shy children often have shy parents. Here you would be correct to question if nature or nurture were at work. After all, as Bandura showed, children could certainly learn shy behavior from their parents. However, Rothbart also found that shyness persisted in children even when nonshy parents had adopted them. Even when shyness is modified by environmental factors like learning specific skills, the genetic predisposition cannot be eliminated.
Some mental disorders are also related to geneticsfor example, schizophrenia, a mental condition in which the person loses contact with reality (depicted in the film A Beautiful Mind). McGuffin, Owen, and Farmer (1995) reported that a persons chance of developing schizophrenia is 10 times greater than normal if a parent was schizophrenic. The chance of developing schizophrenia if your identical twin has it is about 50/50. 
At first glance, it appears then that schizophrenia is absolutely a genetic disorder because identical twins inherit the same genes. However, about 50% of the time the other twin does not become schizophrenic. What could account for the difference? It could be the environment in the mothers womb, something that occurs during or after the birth process, or something during the years of development that lead up to the onset of the disorder. We do not know. But any variable outside of the genetic code (which, remember, is responsible for about 50% of the variation) that triggers the onset of schizophrenia must be environmental. Although we cannot pinpoint the triggers, we do know the strength of genetic involvement for schizophrenia, as can be seen in Figure 2.2. 					
The influences of nature and nurture on intelligence are much harder to determine. Psychologists have tried to assign percentages to this debate for many years. Most researchers agree that the range generally falls between 40 and 60%, but with great debate on whether heredity or the environment is the more dominant influence. In trying to find the answer, psychologists often use identical twins (who have the same genetic makeup) and adopted children (who have a completely different genetic makeup than their adoptive parents). Here are some findings from both groups. 
 Identical Twins. The University of Minnesota has an ongoing twins project that continues to follow over 8,000 pairs of twins. Bouchard, Lykken, and McGue (2009) report that there was not much difference between twins raised together and twins raised apart on psychological and physiological evaluations. Some of the twins raised apart had even entered the same professions, married similar spouses, had similar favorite foods, and had similar weights. These data clearly suggest that genetics has an impact on physical and mental development.
 Adopted Children. Adopted childrens IQ scores are closer to their biological parents than to their adoptive parents. This finding suggests a strong genetic influence on IQ. But, like schizophrenia, when we look at the IQ scores of identical twins raised apart, they are far from identical, showing that the environment in which children are raised plays an important role (Petrill, Saudino, & Cherny, 1998). 
Psychologists and behavioral geneticists today tend to agree that looking at genetics and environment in some sort of additive way (40% + 60% = 100%) is too simplistic. The latest idea, and one that is intuitively appealing, is that heredity and the environment collaborate to produce a persons physical, cognitive, and psychosocial characteristics. For example, a baby inherits genes from his parents, which are then expressed, modified, or even turned off by exposure to environmental factors like differences in nutrition, learning, and emotional support. Genes provide the blueprint for development, but the environment continually modifies their expression, both biologically and psychologically. [VIDEO 9]
The idea that genes set down the foundation that the environment paints is supported by studies of maturation (the set pattern of physical development controlled by our genes), as briefly noted in Chapter 1. Arnold Gesell filmed hundreds of babies and toddlers, watching what they were able to do at certain ages. From this mass of observations, Gesell developed principles and an average timetable for developmental skills, primarily physical achievements. Gesell believed that only as the body developed physically was it able to master new skills and that these new skills appeared in a fixed order (e.g., sitting then walking, babbling then talking, drawing a circle before drawing a square). Gesell recommended that since different children develop at different rates, they should not be forced into behaviors when they are not ready, based on some artificial timetable or belief. Parents should simply let nature takes it course and encourage new behaviors as they naturally occur (Gesell & Ilg, 1943).
Gesell believed that cognitive development was also influenced by maturation. Babbling in infants is seen as a preparation for speech, which begins at about 3 or 4 months of age in nearly all children, no matter what language or culture they are exposed to. Even deaf babies babble, so apparently babbling is programmed into our genetic code as a necessary physical and cognitive preparation for speech. There is evidence that socioemotional development is also influenced by maturation. For example, the emergence of empathy occurs fairly consistently around the age of 2 years old (Hu, Chan, & McAlonan, 2010).

* Describe the specific ways in which your genes and the environment impacted your life.

* Give an example of how your genetic makeup and your environment have interacted to create a specific skill of yours.

* Can you think of abilities necessary for school that are a result of both genetic and environmental influences?

In this chapter, you have seen a number of different views of human development. It is important that you understand all sides of the basic theories and issues. Controversy benefits our discovery of the truth because no theory is perfect when it is first presented. Only through questions, additional experiments, and discussions are the problems with the initial theory resolved and a sharper version of the theory created. Of course, some theories remain controversial, such as Freuds. Scientists recognize the importance of this give and take and recognize the end result will be a clearer understanding of the operation of the human mind.
You can use this attitude yourself. Do not be afraid to question ideas, even if they are printed in a book or come from people with a string of degrees behind their names. History is full of stories about theories that were widely accepted, only to founder when someone was brave enough to question it. Physicist Albert Einstein, who worked in the Patent Office in Switzerland when he developed his theory of relativity, changed the entire understanding of our physical universe, an understanding that nearly everyone agreed was fact. 
Never be afraid to question established ideas. Do not be afraid to ask questions about things you do not understand or do not agree with. It is those who ask the hard questions who have been responsible for most of the advances of science.
A. How can you use the ideas in the nature-versus-nurture controversy to help you better understand yourself and others? Can you think of a particular example in your life where one of the theories of development interacted with either a nature or nurture influence to have an effect on your development? (For example, a shy teenager in Eriksons Stage Five: Identity Versus Identity Confusion begins to mature as genes for development turn on. This leads to an increase in self-confidence, being welcomed into several social groups, and developing a positive self-image, the central challenge of that stage of development.) 

B. Kohlberg discusses the development of our morals and our ethical viewpoints, leading to our ideas about right and wrong (which Freud suggested was the role of the superego). What are your core values, the beliefs and commitments that you will not change? Does your behavior reflect these core values? If not, why not?

C. Several theorists describe the inner influences on our thoughts and behavior, while others emphasize the outer influences coming from the environment we are in and the people we associate with. Our behavior is a combination of those two types of influences, but one may be stronger than the other. Do you believe you are more inner directed or outer directed? Why? Think of some examples. Do you believe this balance is best for your growth, or would you prefer a new balance between the two? How can you make it happen?

D. Based on what you learned about eclectic theorists, come up with your own eclectic theory, listing the components of the major theories that apply to you. What combination of these theories best describe you as a person now? What issues (nature versus nurture, continuous-versus-discontinuous development) can you use to explain your theories?

The story below was compiled from a reflective essay written by an Ashford University student enrolled in PSY 202: Adult Development and Life Assessment. Note the application of Levinsons theory to a pivotal life experience. 
By Francis E. Lott III
Growing up, I had a deep admiration for my grandfather, Francis E. Lott I. He was raised in an orphanage, joined the navy at the age of 17, transferred to the army to become a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division. As a young child, I was fascinated by his stories, and knew I wanted to join the military.
In August 2001, my grandfather lost his battle with cancer. This was devastating to me and our family. This was a time in my life that I started to really look at myself and figure out what I was doing and where I was headed. I came to the realization that I was getting nowhere, treading water and struggling to stay afloat. September 11, 2001a day that broke every Americans heartprompted me to join the U.S. Air Force. A few weeks later, I walked off a charter bus onto Lackland AFB and into a snake pit of basic training instructors hissing at the top of their lungs. 
Little did I know at the time that I would use a fast-paced adaptation of Levinsons life structure to survive basic training. As I stepped off the bus, I was immediately engorged in the novice phase. My novice phase would last only a couple of weeks, adapting to the stressors levied by my training instructors. By week 3, I learned how to take commands, became accustomed to the daily routine, and reached the midera phase. Weeks 5 and 6 of basic training showed that I had become a motivated and disciplined individual. I progressed into the culmination phase of my 6-week life structure crash course. Finally, I reached basic training graduation and realized that I had come to a turning point in my life. And, better yet, I realized it was a turn for the best. 
Since that time, almost 9 years have come and gone. While on deployment, Ive spent numerous days away from my wife and home. Ive adjusted to the military life and am proud to wear my uniform. In 12 years, I will begin a new life structure by retiring from the military and competing for a job in the private sector. My goal is to prepare myself for a second career by finishing my education at Ashford University. 

This chapter introduced you to a wide range of theories related to the development of our thinking, emotions, and social integration. Most of them looked at different aspects of development. There is no unified theory of psychological development and likely never will be. There are nine categories of theories.
Psychoanalytic Theory
* Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalytic theory, said that the human mind has both a conscious and an unconscious part. We hide unpleasant or disturbing memories in our unconscious, but they still influence behavior. 
* Freud believed that our personality is composed of three parts, the id which always seeks pleasure (Its all about ME!); the superego (we call it our conscience), which governs our ethical behavior (Do the right thing); and the ego, which mediates between the two as it decides which actions to take. 
* Freud stated that we use defense mechanisms to protect our minds from severe distress, isolating or changing highly stressful events or images so that our conscious mind does not have to face them. Defense mechanisms include but are not limited to techniques like rationalization, denial, repression, and displacement.
Psychosocial Development (Stage) Theory
* Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson developed influential theories suggesting our lives develop in patterns, often within roughly the same time frame. 
* Each stage offers challenges and leads to the development of physical or psychological skills that are needed to progress to the next stage, such as a person must learn to trust others before achieving an emotionally intimate relationship.
* Erikson, a disciple of Freud, thought that we go through eight developmental stages in life, each one with a psychological challenge that must be met in order to develop important new aspects of our personality. Erikson later added a ninth stage.
* When the challenge of one stage is not met, it may delay the persons ability to meet the challenge of later stages also. 
* The most important stages for an integrated personality come before the person reaches adulthood.
   Cognitive Development Theories
* Cognitive development theories are focused on thinking, learning, and memory, not on social or emotional growth. 
* Jean Piaget was one of the most influential theorists with his ideas about the four stages of cognitive development of children. 
* Piaget said that cognitive growth occurs in part through the mechanisms of assimilation: incorporating information about new objects or experiences that fit within existing mental structures based on past experience with other examples. 
* Piaget also said that cognitive growth occurs through the mechanism of accommodation, in which mental structures we use to understand the world are modified based on new information.
* Lev Vygotskys sociocultural theory says that children develop in stages in part based on our interaction with peers, skilled adults, and the manipulation of symbols.
* Vygotsky said that a child has a range of potential for acquiring new skills, the zone of proximal development. Adults can best help children develop through the use of scaffolding, or giving help, but not more than is needed for children to succeed on their own.
* Information-processing theory likens the mind to a computer. 
* Memory is broken down into recall and recognition tasks. 
* Memory techniqueslike encoding information with mental keywords, repetition, imagery, and mnemonicscan improve memory. 
* Association between old and new information can improve both understanding and memory. 
* The computer analogy is useful but certainly much too limited for a complete understanding of the human mind.
   Moral Development Theory
* The Lawrence Kohlberg theory of moral development looks at the intersection of psychology and ethical behavior.
* Kohlberg hypothesized that moral development took place in three stages: preconventional, conventional, and postconventional. Most people never reach the final stage.
   Behavioral (Behaviorism) Theories
* The three pioneering theorists of the behaviorist movement are Ivan Pavlov, John Watson, and B. F. Skinner. Behaviorism is among the most influential theories of development. 
* Pavlov originated the theory of classical conditioning in which an unrelated stimulus is associated with a physiological response until its presence will cause that response to occur.
* Watson is the father of the school of behaviorism, which builds on the ideas of classical conditioning.
* The core idea of behaviorism is that a stimulus can be associated to a response through techniques such as the law of frequency, which states that the more often a response happens after a particular stimulus, the more likely an association will be built between and thus more likely that pairing will happen again. His law of recency states that the more recently a response happens to a particular stimulus, the more likely an association will be built and that pairing will happen again.
* B. F. Skinner is the leading behavioral theorist. Skinner called his theory operant conditioning. It states that behaviors tend to reoccur when rewarded and tend to diminish when not rewarded or punished. Thus, behaviors can be modified or trained by associating the behavior with a reward or punishment.
   Social Learning Theory
* Social learning theories link our development to the influence of others. 
* Albert Bandura emphasized the importance of observing others and modeling their behavior as a way to learn. His ideas of modeling help explain many everyday ways of learning new skills and behaviors.
* Banduras theories have received widespread acceptance. They form the psychological basis for all the How To videos.
   Ecological Theory
* The ecological theory of Urie Bronfenbrenner suggests that our development is affected by several types of influences, in four concentric rings from most to least influential. 
* Bronfenbrenner emphasized that the first ring, the microsystem is the most influentialour everyday contacts with parents, friends, institutions like schools, our job, church, and so on. 
* Larger influences, like our society, culture, and so on also play a major role in development, but its influences may be more indirect.
* Ecological theory has been criticized for not emphasizing the role of genes enough in its developmental theory and for minimizing the role of cognitive factors.

   Personality Theory of Career Satisfaction
* John Holland said there is a strong link between our personality and how satisfied we are with a particular career. Careers providing rewards that meet the personality needs of an individual tend to be seen as rewarding, although there are many other factors playing a role in overall job satisfaction. 
* These links are identified in career personality tests, such as the MyersBriggs test, which help people match their personalities to rewarding careers.
* Holland identified six personality types: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, and enterprising.
* Research suggests the link between personality type and best career is weak, perhaps because the actual relationship is more complex than the theory.
       Eclectic (Composite) Theories
* These theories simply blend several of the above theories into one, thereby offering a wider range of explanations for behavior. 
* Proponents believe that the standard theories are too narrow and rigid to adequately explain behavior and permit alternative explanations.
Controversies and Issues in Adult Development
* There are several long-standing areas of disagreement among psychologists as they relate to cognitive, emotional, and social development. 
* Most theories and controversies focus on different aspects of development and are not in conflict with each other. But on certain basic levels, such as stage versus nonstage theories of development, psychologists still do not fully agree on how development takes place. It is likely that an answer rests in a combination of both. 
* Continuous-versus-discontinuous development: Some believe there are no stages of development, that we simply develop at a long, slow pace. Others see stages. It is likely that there are stages for parts of our development and not for others.
* Nature versus nurture
o The debate between the influence of genetics and the environment on development has gone on for nearly 300 years. 
o Our hereditary influences from our parents are carried on the 46 pairs of chromosomes holding over 20,000 genes controlling many aspects of our physical development.
o The choices that we make in life and the environments that we live in have a major impact on our development. 
o It is likely that both heredity and environment play a major influence on development, interacting with each other to form an individuals physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development.
* Maturation
o Maturation is related to the nature-versus-nurture debate. Maturation is the set pattern of physical development controlled by our genes.
o  It states that our development is strongly influenced by preprogrammed genes which turn on or off at certain times to create developmental changes. 
o A leading proponent of the idea of a genetic timetable was Arnold Gesell, who said that physical and cognitive skills develop in a fixed order when the time is right.
o There is debate over how much influence genetics has over development, and the likely answer is the same as above: Genes and the environment interact to guide development.
accommodation: The process of adjusting an existing mental structure or scheme to accommodate new information or experiences.
anal stage: Freuds psychosexual stage where the child has a fixation on functions related to the anus and bladder.
assimilation: The process of fitting new experiences into an existing mental structure or scheme; most easily accomplished when new experience is similar to prior experiences.
behavior modification: The process of changing a behavior through the use of operant conditioning, using reward and/or punishment; a behavioral goal may be to increase or decrease the behavior; often used to build or break habits such as dieting or smoking.
behaviorism: An influential school of psychology focused on learning; emphasizes that learning occurs through repeated associations of a stimulus and a response, resulting in a measurable behavior (such as one measured by a test).
career satisfaction theory: Hollands theory that satisfaction in a career depends on a good match between one of six personality types and the career chosen.
classical (Pavlovian) conditioning: Pavlovs theory that an unrelated stimulus can produce an automatic response by repeatedly pairing it or associating it with the stimulus that normally causes that response.
cognitive development theory: A theory related to the development of mental capabilities, including memory, attention, learning, language, thinking, problem solving, reasoning, and creativity, among others. 
conservation: Piagets term to denote that the quantity of things (water, sand, etc.) do not change when transferred to different-shaped containers.
continuous developmental process: A controversial issue related to the process of development; states that development is a continuous process of change and does not occur in stages.
control group: A group of people in a research setting who are very similar to a test group on a set of important variables (such as age); used to measure the influence of an experimental treatment on the test group by comparison to the control group that did not receive the treatment.
conventional morality: Second of Kohlbergs three levels of moral thinking in which moral behavior is valuable as a way of conforming to and supporting a group or social order.
counter conditioning: A behavior modification technique that gradually eliminates undesirable behaviors, such as smoking.
defense mechanism: A technique used by the mind, often without conscious awareness, to protect itself from undue harm caused by severely stressful situations and memories.
discontinuous developmental process: A controversial issue related to the process of development; states that development does not occur in a smooth, continuous process but in a series of stages, each of which presents challenges that must be overcome to successfully move on to the next stage of development.
eclectic theory: A developmental theory incorporating different ideas from several other theories to offer a broader perspective capable of explaining a wider range of thoughts and behaviors; also called a composite theory.
ecological theory: Bronfenbrenners theory that proposes human development can be explained in terms of the interaction between individuals and the environments in which they live or have lived.
ego: One of Freuds three proposed divisions of personality that serves as a mediator between the urges of the id and superego; resides wholly in the conscious mind and guides our thoughts and behaviors.
epigenetic principal: A core concept in Eriksons stage theory of human development stating that both heredity and the environment have a bidirectional influence on development, both influencing and being influenced by our development.
fixation: A strong and continuing focus on a part of the body or body function related to one of Freuds psychosexual stages; associated with pleasurable sensations driven by the id.
generativity: The ability to be useful to others, especially those younger than us, by participating in such activities as coaching, mentoring, and parenting.
id: One of Freuds three proposed divisions of personality that is fixated on personal gratification to the exclusion of all else; resides wholly in the unconscious mind.
information-processing theory: A developmental theory that equates the development and functioning of human cognition with the information-processing programs of a computer.
law of effect: The early behaviorist Edward Thorndikes theory stating that actions that receive rewards are more likely to occur and those that receive punishment are less likely to occur.
law of frequency: A behaviorists term to describe the principle that the more often a response happens after a particular stimulus, the more likely an association will develop between them and the more likely that pairing will happen again. 
law of recency: A behaviorists term to describe the principle that the more recently that a response occurs to a particular stimulus, the more likely an association will develop and it will happen again.
life structure: Levinsons term for the underlying pattern of a persons overall development, including the roles and relationships that a person has throughout life.
modeling: See observational learning.
moral development: Kohlbergs developmental theory focusing on the interaction of cognitive and socioemotional development with ethical principles as they influence ethical behaviors.
nature: The term that denotes the influence of genetics on development; part of the nature-versus-nurture debate about influences on development.
nurture: The term that denotes the influence of a persons environment on development; part of the nature-versus-nurture debate about influences on development.
observational learning (modeling): Banduras developmental theory of learning positing that people learn new ideas and behaviors by watching others; has consequences in both cognitive and socioemotional development.
operant conditioning: Skinners theory that learning can be influenced by associating a behavior with either a reward and punishment to strengthen or eliminate that behavior.
operational: A mental routine used by young children to transform information or experiences in a way they can be analyzed, such as classifying, counting, and subdividing.
oral stage: Freuds psychosexual stage where a child has a fixation on the mouth.
phallic stage: Freuds psychosexual stage where the child has a fixation on the genitals.
postconventional morality: Kohlbergs third and last level of moral thinking in which moral behavior is seen as valuable in and of itself, without reference to authority figures, groups, or social order.
preconventional level: First of Kohlbergs three levels of moral thinking, usually occupied by children ages 4- to 10-years-old; belief that rules must be obeyed because they are given by those in authority and violation will result in punishment.
psychoanalytic theory: A theory proposing personality development is shaped by both conscious and unconscious thoughts and motivations; according to Freuds psychoanalytic theory, the three elements of personality are the id, ego, and superego.
psychological theory: A logical and organized set of ideas designed to explain human thought, emotions, or behavior.
psychosexual stage: A psychological developmental stage in children proposed by Freud; includes oral, anal, and phallic stages.
psychosocial development: That part of human development taking place within the social environment that a person lives in, primarily focusing on relationships with other people.
recall memory: Memory process in which memories are accessed without the help of cues.
recognition memory: Memory process in which memories are accessed with the help of cues, such as in multiple-choice questions. 
reinforcement: A term in operant conditioning referring to a process by which an association between a stimulus and a response is strengthened; commonly thought of as a reward.
scaffolding: Vygotskys term to describe giving help but not more than is needed for the other person to accomplish a task on their own.
schizophrenia: A mental condition in which a person loses contact with reality, often creating a distorted perceptions or hallucinations affecting both speech and thinking.
shaping: A term in operant conditioning referring to a process of modifying behaviors toward a desired goal by the use of reinforcements.
social learning theory: A theory popularized by Bandura, stating that learning is facilitated by observing and modeling the behaviors or ideas of others.
superego: One of Freuds three proposed divisions of personality that is fixated on morality and ethical behavior; resides partly in both the unconscious and conscious minds.
zone of proximal development: Vygotskys term to describe the difference between the ability to do a task without help and the ability to do the same task with some help. Help provided by scaffolding allows the person to then accomplish the task on their own without further help.


  • By kmbelden
  • on September 6, 2010 am 9:14


Does birthday cake make children hyperactive? This common theory is actually not supported by research. BananaStock/Thinkstock
“I’ve got a theory about that.” You’ve heard this said many times, generally from someone who has an idea about how something happened or why someone behaved in a certain way. We often base our actions on theories, even if there’s no proof that we’re right.
For example, some parents don’t give their children sugar, fearing it will make them hyperactive. There is no scientific proof of this popular myth, but it continues to influence many parents. Sometimes inaccurate theories can be harmful, such as when they stop parents from giving their children vaccinations that can prevent harmful diseases.
In this chapter, we’re going to look at psychological theories of human development. Psychologists call ideas about how people think, feel, or

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