PSYCHOLOGY 6 Essay Example

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Question 1

Qualitative developmental change refers to growth from a pre-conceptual to a more solid functional level of performance. This means that an individual is able to predict what similarity or difference exists when there are changes occurring along more the one dimension. It is characterised by transformation- creating something that was not part of the old. Qualitative developmental change usually occurs in distinct steps or stages. It distinguishes the underlying differences in abstract and concrete thinking. An example would be where a toddler who cannot speak being qualitatively different from a preschooler who speak well (Kipp, 2009).

Quantitative developmental change, on the other hand, is continuous and gradual and it builds on previous levels. They are usually changes that occur in level or quantity aspects. An example would be the amount of vocabulary a child learns as he or she grows up. A child learns a language from sounds to words to sentences (Shaffer, 2008).

Question 2

The child transition is considered non-normative. This is because this transition is unusual and would be unexpected in children of this age. This difference in years in the transitional period is very short for normal quantitative development to influence his skills, unless an unusual event happened. What would be considered normative developmental change should be able to affect children of the same age, if no outside influence is applied (Goswami, 2011). Non-normative development change is influenced by the occurrence of atypical events at unusual times in the child’s early life and an example of this would be a child lifting weights at a very early age of 7 years without any side effects. Most children that age are not able to do that. Normative developmental change on the other hand, is influenced by events that affect a group of people similarly, for example, puberty affecting adolescents (Swanson, Edwards and Spencer, 2010).

Question 3

Ainsworth identified three infant attachment styles. Firstly is Secure-Attachment where the child appears comfortable interacting with strangers if its caregiver is present but becomes upset if the caregiver leaves. Secondly, the Anxious-Ambivalent Insecure Attached child appears anxious interacting with a stranger even if its caregiver is present. If the caregiver departs, the child shows distress and will show resent to its caregiver even after she returns. Lastly, the Anxious-Avoidant Insecure Attached child shows no emotions whether in the presence or absence of caregiver and also avoids strangers (Erdman 2010).

Hazan and Shaver identified four attachment styles in adults. First, the Secure-attached adults are self conscious and openly show intimacy. Anxious-preoccupied adults are less trusting and express high levels of emotions. Adults who are Dismissive-avoidant suppress feelings, seek independence and tend to avoid any form of attachment. Lastly, Fearful-avoidant adults are confused about emotional closeness and seek less intimacy (Cohn, 2011).

Question 4

The first strength noted in the Halberstadt et al. research would be the large sample the researchers used and thus the outcomes represented the target group. The diverse characteristic of the sample ensured results were representative of a wide cultural mix. Focus on a specific age group, limited the scope, giving a more accurate finding.

Use of mother-report questionnaire and mono-method constructs were a major weakness in the research as this might have initiated bias. Measures to the variables were gathered in a laboratory instead of the natural environment of the home and data collected was drawn from one point. To improve the research, the authors should have collected measures from the homes of the subjects thereby capturing more natural family interaction moments. Two, they should have included the fathers to reduce probable bias. Thirdly, they should have collected data that were uncorrelated so as to make informal inferences.

Question 5

Some human development studies are usually based on very a small number of cases and the minimal data such researchers collect are supposed to substantiate, change or question most human development theories (Salkind, 2006). It can be seen that such results usually represent a negligible fraction of the subjects. Today, we are eager to find out how we can contribute to the development of children. This increase in concern has lead to all kinds of researches being carried out to satisfy our curiosities. Such researches have come up with ‘clear-cut’ common answers to issues such as discipline and self-regulation (Newman, 2008). Human development involves individual factors and it is essential to identify the specific qualities of a given relationship or environment before making conclusions as to what should be recommendations should be given. Most mainstream developmental journals are likely to provide oversimplified solutions to problems since they are impersonal and their findings and recommendations could be misleading (Deneulin, 2009).

Question 6

The phrase made by Patricia Kuhl that babies ‘take statistics’, means that babies, mostly between 8-10 months, can discriminate any sound from any language they hear. These statistics refer to the distribution of specific sounds related to a specific language. Once these sounds are absorbed, they are filtered and it transforms the child’s brain; this filtering changes them from being ‘citizens of the world’ as Patricia puts it, to being more culture bound. This form of sound discrimination is very important in language acquisition as at this age children are at the point referred to as critical period. The first critical period is crucial as this is the time that children attempt to master the sounds that are commonly used in their language. If the child masters the sounds of its language, it will be able to distinguish different sounds as it grows thereby enabling it to acquire the preferred language at an early age.


Dacey, J. S., Travers, J. and Fiore, L. B. (2008). Human Development Across the Lifespan. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Rathus, S. A. (2011). Psychology: Concepts and Connections. (10th ed). New Zealand: Cengage Learning.

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