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PSY6038 Fundamentals In Developmental Psychology

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PSY6038 Fundamentals In Developmental Psychology

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PSY6038 Fundamentals In Developmental Psychology

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Course Code: PSY6038
University: Birmingham City University

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Country: United Kingdom

Question:
Observation of a developmental phenomenon and observational field notes.
 
Students are encouraged to choose among different aspects of development, observe the specific phenomenon of psychological functioning and produce field notes.
 
The observational field notes will include the student’s description of the setting, the behavior or actions occurred and a written account of human action and interaction.
 
How can ToM be used to determine development within a child?
Answer:

Individuals go through multiple changes in their lives, which are termed as growth through their developmental lifespan (Heckhausen, Wrosch & Schulz, 2010). Developmental psychology focuses on ways individual changes in a course of lifespan from childhood through adulthood and old age. The domain of psychology is concerned with emotional, social and cognitive development which occurs through life. A developmental psychologist demarks developmental milestone at each stage of life activity, in order to analyse any sort of challenges faced at a particular stage of life. The current analysis is based on field observation conducted with Rough Test with a 17 and ½ month old assessment of self-recognition. The current scope of analysis incorporates various developmental psychological theories for integrating their application in personal and professional life (Piaget, 2008). The study will attend to the following research question:
How can ToM be used to determine development within a child?
Observation in field study can be of multiple types; in this case structured observation was made. The child was first made to play with the colour on her forehead and later it was removed. The mirror test or rough test is performed to analyse behavioural technique which was developed by psychologists Gordon Gallup Jr. The test was conducted to analyse self-recognition, which determines the child’s cognitive capability.  
Each theory and concept related to developmental psychology is connected to different life stages. Some theories includes psychosexual development, stages of moral development, stages of psychosocial development, cognitive development, model of hierarchical complexity, ecological systems theory, constructivism, zone of proximal development, evolutionary development psychology and attachment theory (Haase, Heckhausen & Wrosch, 2013). Amongst all theories which are indicated here, the Theory of Mind is an attribute of mental states which includes beliefs, intents, emotions, desires, knowledge and others for understanding perspectives from another. It is a theory which is used for understanding regular human social interaction while judging other’s behaviours.
The theory of language and moral development discusses Developmental Language Delay (DLD) as children. These children had long-term impacts from DLD as adults also which is termed as specific language impairment (SLI). Children with DLD when grown up as adult have associated behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD). As children with SLI have been seen to face challenges in peer relations, exhibit shyness, have poor friendship quality and are at risk from victimization. There are challenges related to depression and anxiety in children with SLI (Rutter, 2008).
Kohlberg theory analyses at 3 levels  with 6 stages as pre-conventional, which is below 9 years, conventional which includes 10 to 11 years and post-conventional which marks formal operational minority above 20 years. The stages include heteronymous morality, instrumental morality, good-child morality, law and order morality, social-contract reasoning and universal ethical principles. The theory states that dilemmas not being child friendly and are potentially culturally biased (Cicchetti & Toth, 2009). There is also stated a difference between reasoning and behaviour. 
Storm and Stress Arnett (1999) provided basis for common stressors while conflicting with parents, mood disruptions and risky behaviours. Zuckerman (2007) analysed 4 traits of sensation seeking such as thrill and adventure, experience, disinhibition and boredom susceptibility. Erikson’s theory studies intimation as against isolation stages in human life. Parkinson’s theory is focuses on depression related behavioural disorders. Kubler-Ross examined cross-cultural stages of five emotions.
The current task observation is based on home setting, where the child is placed in front of a mirror. Her mother holds the child and records a video to show her interests in the activities that are done by the child. This field observation study is conducted according to ToM Rough’s test. In this case the child playing in the mirror was tested for self-recognition. When the make-up on her forehead was on, she was playing with the image, later on wiping off the make-up the child realized it was her own reflection. The subject here is being younger than 18 months did not touch her own forehead while seeing the red spot on other girl’s forehead.  This ToM task makes use of Shared Attention task, where the child was initially playing with the mirror image considering it to be someone else’s image (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013). The focus of this activity was on finding focus of the child, who initially notices the first image and later was amazed was finding the same image being of herself. This depicts that the child has appropriate cognitive development whereby she notices changes that are taking place. The mother was able to reinforce proximity by initially putting the red mark on her forehead and later removing the same. The child reacts when she sees her own reflection with joy. Her mother was able to establish joint attention.
Initially the mother in the first video conducted the Rough test and allowed the child to play with the image. Till the child was engaged and playing with the image consistently and no interests was lost, she was not disturbed. After a period of time switching was made to a separate reinforcer, when a bit of interests from the child was lost (Fletcher & Sarkar, 2013). This reinforcement activity was a trick played on the child till she was smiling and then waiting to introduce a new image. Gradually the amount of time of engagement was increased. A video recording was kept on to make the child realize that whatever she was doing was important and was being noticed. This further encourages the child to keep playing with the mirror image, as she was trying to talk and make friends with her. Sharing a joint attention allows to stretch time and engage the child in the activity. Then once the red mark is wiped off from his forehead, once it was felt that the child was at point of meltdown. The moment the child stopped sharing attention momentarily, it was a point which was decided that the mark should be erased. Then the mood of the child changed again and she started to smile understanding the trick played on her. Introducing variety while playing with the mirror allows sharing attention in the highly preferred activity.                 
Implications from such ToM research study conducted on the child by recording her activity is tremendous in nature. ToM deficits can be noted as early as age 2, which can easily address ASD deficit amongst children (Jordan et al., 2013). The objective of this study was to improve social skills or to treat the same. Though ToM tests can have outcomes related to emotion recognition, facial recognition, social skill rating system and social skills observation. ToM allows early recognition of cognitive, social and behavioural deficit recognition. Once detected such deficits can lead to addressing certain cognitive deficits such as autism, schizophrenia, depression, dysphoria and specific language impairment. Once detected such psychological; challenges can be treated such that the child grows up to be an adult with limited behavioural, cognitive and social challenges. Theory of Mind tests is directly observed and termed such as because a human being exists due to the existence of their own mind. In absence of its introspection and direct access there can be a whole lot of challenges which appears in adulthood period. A large number of tests allows easy detection of such challenges and then subsequently treating them accordingly. The theories, concepts and tests present aids in such detection and then subsequently resolving the same.        
References
Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S. L. (2009). The past achievements and future promises of developmental psychopathology: The coming of age of a discipline. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50(1?2), 16-25.
Fletcher, D., & Sarkar, M. (2013). Psychological resilience: A review and critique of definitions, concepts, and theory. European Psychologist, 18(1), 12.
Haase, C. M., Heckhausen, J., & Wrosch, C. (2013). Developmental regulation across the life span: Toward a new synthesis. Developmental psychology, 49(5), 964.
Heckhausen, J., Wrosch, C., & Schulz, R. (2010). A motivational theory of life-span development. Psychological review, 117(1), 32.
Jordan, N. C., Hansen, N., Fuchs, L. S., Siegler, R. S., Gersten, R., & Micklos, D. (2013). Developmental predictors of fraction concepts and procedures. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116(1), 45-58.
Piaget, J. (2008). Developmental psychology: Incorporating Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories in classrooms. Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Perspe fictives in Education, 1, 59-67.
Rutter, M. (2008). Developing concepts in developmental psychopathology. Developmental psychopathology and wellness: Genetic and environmental influences, 3-22.
Shaffer, D. R., & Kipp, K. (2013). Developmental psychology: Childhood and adolescence. Cengage Learning.

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