Mopup from previous week: power of stereotypes and expectations.

Spencer & Steele, 1992

Experiment showed that gender differences in performance on a difficult math test could be eliminated if women took the test believing that men & women scored equally on this test. If women were told that the test was more difficult for women, they did worse than men.

Week 5 LECTURE NOTES: Social Development

Three main elements in early social development:

Characteristics of the child

(easy, difficult, slow-to-warm-up temperament)

Behavior of the parents (caregiver)

* Maternal responsiveness

* Styles of parenting

(authoritarian, permissive, authoritative)

Interaction between the two:

child's effect on parents

parent's effect on child

feedback loops

Early attachment:

* Not explained by Freudian theory

(oral needs)

* Not explained by behaviorist theory

(mother associated with food)

* Has a maturational basis (emerges around 6 months, as neurons in limbic system are myelinated)

Four attachment patterns (started out as three, last is new addition)

Secure (parent is base)

Avoidant (ignores parent, hostile)

Anxious-ambivalent (hesitant, clingy)

Disorganized (conflicting behavior)

Adult attachment:

Bartholemew & Horowitz four styles

Dimensions are positive versus negative view of self and view of other. Combined, this leads to four styles:

View of Self
View of


+ self

- self
+ other Secure

+ self + other


- self + other

- other Dismissing

+ self - other


- self - other

Other relationships of the child

Peers (siblings, friends)

peer relationships of the child are often measured via sociometric choice (children indicate who they like and dislike among their peers)

This leads to 4 categories that indicates how a child is viewed by peers:

+ = liked, - = disliked


high +, low -


high +, high +


low +, low -


low +, high _

Child's relationship to his/her self also develops over time, from concrete (I live in Eugene, my hair is red, I like ice cream) to more complex and abstract (I enjoy meeting new people, I have the temperament of a red-head--hot tempered & passionate)

Understanding of gender (pp. 552-553) illustrates changing view of self (I am a boy right [gender identity] now to I will always be a boy/man [gender stability]) and of others (people change gender by dressing up or always have the same gender [gender constancy])

Moral development

Cognitive social theories

(also encountered in last chapter)

These theories emphasize learning by reinforcement and modeling of prosocial behavior. Children develop expectancies and also schemas about appropriate behavior. Behavior is affected by behavior-outcome expectancies, self-efficacy, and competency.

Cognitive development theories


pre-moral (try to win)

morality of constraint (up to 9/10)

immutable rules

morality of cooperation

rules can be changed

Kohlberg's three levels:

(there are six stages and three levels, with two stages to each level)

preconventional (hedonism)

conventional (laws & rules)

postconventional (principles)

NOTE: Piaget & Kohlberg focus on understanding, which is not the same as moral BEHAVIOR.

Kohlberg's technique for measuring moral development is to code responses to moral dilemma stories, in which the person must explain what the person should do and why.

Empirical data (Kohlberg, 1963, 1969) show that at age 7, about 95% of children are at preconventional level; at age 13, about 55% have progressed to conventional, with 30% still preconventional and 15% on to postconventional; by age 16, about 30% have reached postconventional.

In another study (Colby, 1983) that followed people to a later age, 90% of 36-year-olds had progressed to postconventional and 10% were still conventional.

Kohlberg has been criticized for having an overly Western philosophical view of morality (hardly anyone reaches his stage 6).

Psychodynamic theories:

Narcissism = preconventional, premoral

Guilt is the primary motivation for moral behavior

Conscience is the superego, developed through identification with the parent (phallic stage); moral behavior is based on ability to control self (anal stage).

Note that self-control is also addressed in the emergence of self-regulatory systems discussed by Rothbart.

Note also that shame (what you feel when others discover you have been bad) and guilt (what you feel when you know that you have been bad) are different, and are emphasized differently in different cultures.

Erikson's stages:

Erikson is important because he emphasized development across the lifespan, rather than presuming that development is finished at adolescence.

Neurological evidence supports the continued plasticity of the brain up through adulthood.

Also, the social issues that people confront continue to change throughout the lifespan. Erikson proposed that development is driven by the changing tasks presented at different stages of life.

For example, adolescence corresponds to issues of identity because puberty changes a person both physically and socially; old age brings reflection because of death of others and impending end of one's own life. These life tasks continue to present themselves, regardless of whether you have come to a happy resolution of the prior issues.

See Table 14.7 for a summary and also the text discussion of Erikson.