Child Development 138 (04) - Hembree
Social and Emotional Development
California State University, Sacramento
Fall, 2010 

 

Modern Theoretical Perspectives

I.  Biological perspectives

A.     Ethology

1.  Assumptions

 

 

 

 

2.  As applied to human development

 - -  innate behaviors as well as a predisposition to learn particular things

 

 - -  behavior is adaptive and ensures survival

 

 

 - - early experience important - critical (sensitive) periods  

 

 

 --  methodology, e.g.,  

 

-- ethogram    

 

 

-- deprivation study  

 

 

 

          3.  Examples:

  • Attachment - Bowlby  

 

 

 

 

  • Peer relations  - Dominance hierarchies 

 

 

 

 

 

4.      Evaluation

 

 

 

 

 

B.     Behavior-genetics

1.  Assumptions

 

 

 

 

2. Methodology

   family studies (twin study, adoption study)    

 

 

 

3. Estimates of genetic contribution  

-  Concordance rates

 

 

 

 

- Heritability coefficients

 

 

 

 

 

   4.  Problems with behavior-genetics approach

 

 

 

C.  Gene/Environment Interactions (Scarr & McCartney, 1983)

1. Passive

 

 

2. Evocative 

 

3. Active/niche-picking

 

 

  4.   A developmental perspective

    

 

 

II. Bronfenbrenner - Bio-Ecological approach

 A.   Importance of person, process and context

 

 

 

           B.  Series of nested systems  

 

        Microsystem  

 

 

        Mesosystem  

 

 

        Exosystem  

 

 

        Macrosystem  

 

 

           

C.   Family as context

 

 

 

 

 

D. Natural experiments

 

 

 

 E. Role of biology and proximal processes

 

 

 

III. Cognitive Perspectives

A.  Vygotsky

1. Assumptions

 

 

2 . Differences between Vygotsky and Piaget

        the role of play  

 

 

        the role of language (as our social tool)  

 

 

 

        the role of adults/peers  

 

 

      3.  Processes

 

 

     4. Evaluation

 

   

 

B.  Social Information Processing

1 . Assumptions

  • Focus on mental processes associated with social situations ; like any other cognitive process  

 

 

  • thinking influences social behavior

   

 

2. Example: Guerra & Slaby

 

 

 

 

3. Evaluation

 

 

 

 

 

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Send problems, comments or suggestions to: hembrees@csus.edu. Updated: August 25, 2010