DEP: Chapter 10C

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social referencing
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relying on another persons emotional reaction to appraise an uncertain situation – begins at 8-10 months – children continue to read cues from others, especially trusted adults
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voice of caregiver
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more effective than a facial expression alone because it conveys both emotional and verbal information
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how does social referencing help toddlers?
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1. allows them to compare their own and other’s assessment of events 2. helps them move beyond simply reacting to others emotional messages, allowing them to use those signals to guide their own actions and find out about others intentions, preferences and desires
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4 year old Ella becomes nervous when her swimming class practices floating on their backs. She looks at her mother, who calms her. Reassured, Ella relaxes and enjoys floating on her back. What is she demonstrating?
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social referencing
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temperament
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refers to early-appearing, stable individual differences in reactivity and self-regulation
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reactivity
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refers to variations in quickness and intensity of emotional arousal, attention and motor action
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what is temperament believed to form?
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the adult personality
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Thomas and Chess’s New York Longitudinal Study
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investigation of the development of temperament that followed 141 children from early infancy to adulthood
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results of Thomas and Chess’s longitudinal study (updated by Rothbar)
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1. temperament can increase a child’s chances of experiencing psychological problems or can protect a child from the negative effects of a stressful home life 2. parenting practices can modify children’s temperaments considerably
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3 types of children based on temperament according to Thomas and Chess
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1. the easy child 2. the difficult child 3. the slow-to-warm-up child
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the easy child
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– 40% of the sample – quickly establishes regular routines in infancy, is generally cheerful and adapts easily to new situations
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the difficult child
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– 10% of the sample – has irregular daily routines, is slow to accept new experiences and tends to react negatively and intensely – places children at high risk for adjustment problems in early and middle childhood
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the slow-to-warm-up child
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– 15% of sample – inactive, shows mild low-key reactions to environmental stimuli, is negative in mood and adjusts slowly to new experiences – tend to show excessive fearfulness and slow, constricted behavior in the late preschool and school years
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what were the rest of Thomas and Chess’s sample considered to be? (35%)
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do not fit any one category – show unique blends of temperamental characteristics
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why are researchers so interested in temperament?
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because it is thought to be the foundation for adult personality
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is temperament stable?
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because it develops with age, it is not very stable – overall stability is low to moderate – some children remain the same and many others will change
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temperament and age
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temp. develops with age and the meaning of a particular behavior (which will change as child gets older)
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when are long-term predictions about early temperament most accurate?
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after age 3 when the child’s system of emotion, attention and action is better established – in 3rd year children perform more consistently across a variety of tasks requiring effortful control
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why is temperament more stable at age 3?
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areas in the frontal lobes involved with suppressing impulses are developing rapidly
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what does the low to moderate stability of temperament show us?
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that experience can modify biologically based temperamental traits – however, children rarely change from one extreme to the other
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Thomas and Chess’s Goodness of Fit Model
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explains how temperament and environmental pressures together can produce favorable outcomes – involved creating child-rearing environments that recognize each child’s temperament while encouraging more adaptive functioning – helps explain why temperamentally difficult children are at risk for later adjustments in life
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good fit
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more adaptive functioning -positive and sensitive parenting increase emotion regulation
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poor fit
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adjustment problems
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matching temperament and child-rearing
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1. parents of difficult children tend to use angry, punitive discipline which undermines the development of effortful control – sustains child’s irritable style 2. positive and sensitive parents help babies regulate emotion; difficulties declines by age 2-3 and benefits of parental sensitivity, support and clear expectations continue into childhood and adolescence
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why is earlier better in temperament control?
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effective rearing conditions and child temperament are best accomplished early, before unfavorable temperament-environment relationships can produce maladjustment
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a mom and dad know their son is aggressive and change their child-rearing style to counteract his maladaptive behavior. what are they using?
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the goodness-of-fit model
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effortful control
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early predictor of effects of self control on later academic achievement
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the marshmallow test
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children who pass enjoy greater success as adults
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the marshmallow experiment by Mischel and Goleman
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test of effortful control – group of 2 year olds given a marshmallow and were promised another if they could wait 20min. before eating the first one – some children could wait and others could not – researchers followed the progress of each child and demonstrated that those with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more dependable and scored avg. of 210 points higher on the SAT

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