Class 03: Development I:
Prenatal & Childhood Development
Consider these two children
(Kristof, 2014, Feb. 22 & 2014, Mar. 02, NY Times)
|Johnny is a 3 year old, happy
and friendly kid born to a single White mother. He lives
in Point Pleasant, WV in a trailer with his mom who
doesn't have enough money to fix her broken car.
How do you think each of these children will develop over the next twenty years?
What are the most important factors affecting how these children will develop?
Development is the sequence of age-related changes that occur as a person progresses from conception to death.
1. Germinal Stage: Conception to 2 weeks
Stage: 2 to 8 weeks (end of 2nd month)
Environmental Risk Factors to Fetal Development
1. Maternal Malnutrition, esp. if mother has severe lack of nutrition
2. Stress & Emotion. High levels of stress on the mother may affect hormonal balance during gestation. Anxiety & depression in mother are associated with behavioral difficulties in their children
3. Maternal Drug Usage: Tobacco, cocaine, prescription drugs, etc.
4. Maternal Alcohol Consumption
- Drinking may lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
- Microcephaly (small head)
- Heart defects
- Intellectual impairments and motor development delays
- FAS is one of three groups of disorders which are labeled as "Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders" (FASD). The others include Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD). More information about these disorders can be found at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.
- OLD ESTIMATE (IN BOOK): 0.5 to 2-3 FAS births per 1000 children
- OLD ESTIMATE: 10 FASD Births per 1000 children
- NEW ESTIMATE: conservatively estimated at 11 to 50 FASD births per 1000 (when testing 1st grade children (May et al, 2018)).
- Hence, alcohol-related neurological impairments may affect 1.1 to 5% of all children born in the US. This higher rate of impairment was not previously understood.
- Many FASD children have never previously been identified or diagnosed.
- Even "moderate" levels of drinking can have negative effects on developing child
"As suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the message about alcohol use during pregnancy to the public should be clear and consistent: there is no safe amount, time, or type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant." (Lange, Rehm, & Popova, 2018, p. 448)
5. Maternal Illness (Infections)
- Rubella, STDs, mumps, flu may affect fetal development
- AIDS & genital herpes can be passed to fetus. Risk of AIDS infection to baby today is ca. 2% (vs. 20-30% in mid-1990s) because of antiviral drugs.
6. Environmental Toxins, e.g., air pollution (affects cognitive development at age 5); flame-retardant materials slower mental & physical growth
7. Fetal Origins of Adult Diseases. Links to adult-onset diseases are increasingly found when researchers look back at the prenatal experience of people. Conditions such as depression, mood disorders, obesity, diabetes, etc. have been found to be related.
Physical & Motor Development:
Exploring the World
Young children spend much of their time exploring the world. That exploration begins with the development of their motor skills
Pattern = (1) cephalocaudal (head-to-foot) & (2) proximodistal (center-outwards)
Maturation = development which comes from the unfolding of genetic blueprint
- Previously, most motor development was seen as maturation: We now reject this as the only explanation
- Now, infant exploration, experimentation, & learning are also seen as utterly crucial
- Milestones in development show the typical age (i.e., the median age) at which a child displays a behavior or ability (see above)
- However, there is wide variation at age of onset of developmental milestones = "individual differences"
- Early motor development can be influenced or shaped by culture though maturation still is the central force
- In some cultures in Africa and elsewhere, early motor development can occur about 1 month earlier than in the US for tasks such as standing and walking because of various types of infant exercises. In some other cultures, swaddling and maternal infant carrying can delay some motor development. However, within a few months such infants catch up.
- Later motor development is highly shaped by culture
Temperament: Easy vs. Difficult Babies [Not in text, but important]
Temperament = characteristic mood, activity level, & emotional reactivity
Thomas & Chess: Longitudinal Study
1956: 141 middle class children
1961: added 95 children from working-class background
Followed these children into adolescence & adulthood
Temperament well established by 2-3 months
- Easy (40%): happy, regular in sleep & eating, not readily upset
- Slow-to-Warm-Up (15%): wary of new experience, slower to adapt, less cheery & regular
- Difficult (10%): erratic in sleep & eating, glum, resistant to change, irritable
Remainder (35%) are mixtures of the other styles
Early Emotional Development: Attachment
Attachment = close, emotional bond of affection between child & caregivers
- Babies do NOT bond "immediately" or "instantly" to their mothers. Bonding takes time.
Separation Anxiety = emotional distress shown by infant when separated from those whom they are attached to
- Emerges at 6-8 months
- Peaks at 14-18 months
Patterns: Research by Harry Harlow, Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999, see photo) and others
Form of child's attachment arises out of complex interplay between infant & mother. Both child & mother are active contributors to this process.
In the 1950s, Harry Harlow found that, among baby monkeys removed from contact with their mothers, there was a distinct preference to hold on to "substitute mothers" who were covered in terry cloth rather than to hold onto wire mothers which fed them. When these monkeys were frightened, they sought contact (comfort) with the cloth-covered mothers. This challenged the operant behavioral prediction that they would prefer the figure which had rewarded them with food.
Based on work by the British psychologist John Bowlby after World War II in the UK, an evolutionary theory of infant behavior developed to argue that infants are biologically programmed to emit positive responses to their caregivers, especially their mothers, by smiling, cooing, etc. These responses by babies, in turn, elicited from their caregivers a greater willingness to care for them. A powerful bond (attachment) arises between baby and caregiver.
Mary Ainsworth, a psychologist at SUNY Stony Brook, researched the qualities of the attachments of these children. She originally argued there were three different types and, later on, a fourth type was identified. In each of these forms of attachment, young children develop "an internal working model of the dynamics of close relationships" (p. 330 in Weiten, 2013) which will effect the ways they interact with others as they grow up.
The Strange Situation
Ainsworth devised an experimental situation in which children between the ages of 14 and 24 months of age could be observed and evaluated on the type of attachment with their parent. Here is the description for that experiment called the "Strange Situation" from Wikipedia.
In this procedure of the strange situation the child is observed playing for 20 minutes while caregivers and strangers enter and leave the room, recreating the flow of the familiar and unfamiliar presence in most children's lives. The situation varies in stressfulness and the child's responses are observed. The child experiences the following situations:
Four aspects of the child's behavior are observed:
- Parent and infant are introduced to the experimental room.
- Parent and infant are alone. Parent does not participate while infant explores.
- Stranger enters, converses with parent, then approaches infant. Parent leaves conspicuously.
- First separation episode: Stranger's behavior is geared to that of infant.
- First reunion episode: Parent greets and comforts infant, then leaves again.
- Second separation episode: Infant is alone.
- Continuation of second separation episode: Stranger enters and gears behavior to that of infant.
- Second reunion episode: Parent enters, greets infant, and picks up infant; stranger leaves conspicuously.
- The amount of exploration (e.g. playing with new toys) the child engages in throughout.
- The child's reactions to the departure of its caregiver.
- The stranger anxiety (when the baby is alone with the stranger).
- The child's reunion behavior with its caregiver.
Types of Attachment
1. Secure Attachment: playful, exploring, sociable (67% in US White middle-class)
2. Anxious-Ambivalent (Resistant): visual checking, clinging, moving toward contact (21%)
3. Avoidant: maintains proximity but avoids close contact (12%)
4. Disorganized: lack of any coherent or organized response by child [not in book]
- parent experienced as frightening or frightened; child dazed or unfocused
- pattern noted in early 1990s by researchers reexamining Ainsworth's data
- may be caused by significant abuse by parent(s) of child
- may be related to significant emotional problems in older children, adolescents, and adults
What is happening? Infant and young child develops an internal working model of the dynamics of close relationships and that model influences how the child and later adult interacts with a wider range of other people.
What about the impact of day care upon attachment?
- Most research finds that there is minimal effects upon attachment for children in day care
- Maternal insensitivity to a child combined with low quality day care does show decreasing levels of secure attachment
- "Difficult temperament" children are particularly vulnerable to lowered secure attachment in low quality day care settings (e.g., too few staff, little attention to child)
Cultural Differences in Attachment
- Germany: Higher levels of avoidant attachment
- Japan: Very low levels of avoidant attachment, almost 1/3 are anxious-ambivalent; but slightly higher levels of secure attachment than in the US
Communicating: Language Development
- All children who can hear and are exposed to language learn to speak at roughly the same pace.
- Exposed in the womb to the sounds of their mother's voice, the nervous system of the fetus becomes more sensitive to the sounds and the pacing of the mother's native language.
- From birth to ca. 6 months, babies cry, coo, and laugh.
- After 6 months, babies begin to babble which increases in complexity.
- By 10-13 months, babies begin to emit sounds that approximate words, e.g., mama, papa, abba, dada.
- By 18 months, toddlers can say 3 to 50 words, but understand the meaning of more than that even if they can not use them.
- From 18 months onward, most children experience a very strong vocabulary spurt. By age 2 they generally have 900 words, by age 6 (1st grade), a vocabulary of 10,000 words and, by age 10 (5th grade), it may be as high as 40,000 words.
- Children learn as many as 20 new words a week by means of fast mapping, i.e., mapping a word onto an underlying concept after only one exposure.
Parent-Infant Speech & Language Learning (not in book; from Weisleder & Fernald, 2013))
- There is a relationship between the number of spoken words an infant and toddler has been exposed to and that child's vocabulary development.
- Rather than general exposure to overheard conversations or language directed toward others, child-directed speech by an adult (mother, fathers) is central to that infant's language development.
- Such interactive effects of infant-adult speech appears to give the infant greater opportunity to process speech and figure out appropriate responses.
- Take Away Idea: Talking to Children Matters => Early Language Experience Strengthens Processing and Builds Vocabulary
|Personality Development: Erikson's Theory|
Stage = developmental period in which characteristic patterns of behavior are exhibited and certain capacities become established
Stage theories in developmental psychology hold that
1. Individuals pass through stages in a certain (invariant) order
2. Stages are age-related
3. Each stage represents a qualitative change or transition (discontinuous from past stages)
Three important stage theories in development are
- Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development (Personality)
- Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development (Thinking) Covered in next class
- Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development (Moral Reasoning & Judgment) Not covered
Erik Erikson (1902-1994)
- Erikson was German-born and an early follower of Freud & his daughter, Anna
- Came to the United States in 1930s
- Developed & expanded upon Freud's stages into a more comprehensive theory of development over the life span.
- We develop within a psychosocial world and our relationships and the world put demands upon us to grow and change at each stage.
|Infant (0-1 yo)
||Oral||Basic Trust vs.
||Autonomy vs. Shame
|Early Childhood (4-6)
||Phallic||Initiative vs. Guilt
|Late Childhood (7-12)||Latency||Industry vs.
||Ego Identity vs. Role
|Adult Transition (19-26)||(Not examined||Intimacy vs. Isolation|
|Early/Middle Adulthood (26-55)||by Freud)||Generativity vs. Self-Absorption|
|Later Adulthood/Old Age (55+)||Integrity vs. Despair|
1. Trust versus mistrust (~ birth to about 2 years old)
Erikson's stages in childhood (Stages 1-4; we will look at Stages 5-8 later)
2. Autonomy vs. Shame-Doubt (~ ages 2-3)
- If child's basic needs for warmth, food, and other biological needs are met & child attaches securely to caregivers, the child will look at the world in a trusting and basically positive way
3. Initiative vs. Guilt (~ ages 3 to 6)
- Child begins to take responsibility for some self-care (e.g., feeding self) and exploring the environment. If parents let child do so, the child acquires a sense of self-sufficiency and control.
4. Industry vs. Inferiority (~ ages 7 through 12)
- Children are faced with integrating themselves within the larger family, with cooperating and sharing with siblings and parents, and with interacting through play and other activities with the environment around them. If they can do so successfully, they can regard themselves as both good and able to take initiative. Otherwise, such children can begin to see themselves as guilty and incapable of interacting well.
In all societies around the world, children after the age of 6 are challenged to enter into the larger social world of their neighborhood and school beyond the circle of their own families. Society expect that they will learn the basic skills and competencies to function within that society more broadly. If they do so successfully, they experience themselves as capable and industrious. But those who do not succeed in the social world of the neighborhood or the work demanded in school come to see themselves as inferior and incapable.
Here is a diagram of the most important stage theories in current psychology (will open in new window) or in pdf format
Evaluation of Erikson's Theory
Though we will look at the 2nd half of Erikson's theory later, what general comments can we offer about what he proposed?
- His theory has been very productive in getting researchers to investigate development broadly.
- Understands the importance of the social context in which development takes place.
- Accounts for both continuity and transitions in development.
- Inadequate to describe individual differences in personality
- Culturally-grounded: American, and particularly, male development may be over-emphasized in the later stages of his theory
Lange, S. Rehm, J., & Popova, S. (2018). Implications of higher than expected prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. JAMA, 319(5), 448-449. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.21895
May, P. A., Chambers, C. D., & Kalberg, W. O., et al. (2018). Prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in 4 US communities. JAMA, 319(5), 474-482. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.21896