Textbook

Textbook
o Crain, W. (2010). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th Ed.). Pearson ISBN-10: 0205810462; ISBN-13: 9780205810468.

2A Evolution

Objective
Examine the basic tenets of evolutionary theory

Evaluate the association of evolutionary processes in terms of human development and behavior.

Overview
Evolutionary theory has given rise to heated debates concerning the origins of humans, how we develop, and its influence on human behavior. Often referred to as the “great debate,” these issues still create controversy as we struggle with the question–did mankind evolve or was it created by a supreme being? We know evolution occurs within species–we can see evidence of that. One of the clearest examples is that of a white moth in Europe during the time when that continent was mostly agrarian. In that species of moth, all were white, with an occasional genetic aberration that produced rare numbers of gray moths within the species. As industrialization swept the European continent, and gray buildings and smoke stacks covered the landscape, the white moths were easy prey for birds, while the gray moths were effectively camouflaged. In time, only gray moths were left to pass on their genetic material. The question, then, is not does evolution occur (we know it does), but whether a lower species can evolve into a higher species (i.e., ape to man). At this point, there does not appear to be clear evidence supporting that concept. So, the search for the “missing link” goes on.

The 1850 publication of Charles Darwin’s work in Origin of the Species moved the field from philosophical ideas into the scientific study of human development. Some of the main ideas that evolved from Darwin’s work include:
• Survival of the genetic line is the goal toward which all living things are driven
• Survival of the fittest
• Natural selection
With recent scientific discoveries in the field of genetics, we now know that there are striking similarities in the genetic make-up of humans and all other life forms. This knowledge gives rise to the concept of “the network of species” that suggests that all species are linked in a network of living things. The PBS series, “The Secret of Life” (I strongly recommend watching this – especially the first three episodes) shows how DNA – the building block of genes – is not only similar between humans and other life forms presently on the planet, but shows that ancient creatures also shared the same type of genetic material. Finally, evolutionary theory provides the roots for two other theories that we will be discussing in this course: Attachment theory and Bio-social theory.

Whether you are a “true evolutionist” and believe that all life sprang from a single source, or you are a “true creationist” believing that all life was divinely created, or you fall somewhere between the two points of view, you can appreciate the evolutionary processes that have and continue to take place on the planet.
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Assignment

Yes, this can be a loaded topic, but please stick to the text and keep your discussion overtones positive.

1. The text states that Darwin waited 17 years to publish his theory and then, only did it because someone else was about to publish the same ideas and he wanted to receive credit for his work. Consider why a researcher would want to wait 17 years to publish his/her work. Find another scholarly source that indicates why he waited so long to publish (and be sure to cite it!). What does this say about Darwin?
2. Darwin’s theory of natural selection indicates that certain physical characteristics and/or behaviors allow certain beings to live/ pass on their genes to future generations. Think of one example of how technology is now interfering with that idea. To say it another way, how do humans in the 21st century hinder natural selection? What would Darwin say if he could see these ideas today? Should we listen to him?
3. Define instinctive behavior in your own words and find a scholarly research example of it not found in the textbook. Make sure to give the reference information for the article you find so you peers can also find it if they wish to do so.
4. Define imprinting in your own words and find a scholarly research example of it not found in the textbook. Make sure to give the reference information for the article you find so you peers can also find it if they wish to do so.
5. In conclusion, can ethological theories be of use in today’s world? How can they help us in our modern society?
Textbook
o Crain, W. (2010). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th Ed.). Pearson ISBN-10: 0205810462; ISBN-13: 9780205810468.

2C Attachment

Objective
Review the ethological roots of attachment patterns between infants and their care givers.

Outline factors that enhance or interfere with the attachment process.

Describe the different phases of attachment

Distinguish between the different attachment statuses and factors that influence whether a child becomes securely attached or is insecurely attached.

Overview
Ethology has its roots in evolutionary theory and involves studying behavior of organisms in their natural environment. Ethologists are interested in instincts–and as discussed earlier–instincts are inborn and are designed to promote survival. The main propositions from ethology include the following ideas:
• Newborns in the upper levels of the animal kingdom are unable to survive on their own. They need at least one nurturing adult to protect them.
• Bonding takes place during the first few hours of life
• This bond promotes survival of the infant
• This bond continues over time
The work of Konrad Lorenz on imprinting and bonding provided the foundation for later work on attachment. In their studies of Rhesus monkeys, Harvey and Margaret Harlow found that infant monkeys separated from their mothers suffered long-term psychological effects. Similar effects were observed with young children separated from their mothers and housed in orphanages. David Levy was one of the first to report on the effects of maternal deprivation, as he described adopted or foster children who seemed incapable of showing love. We now refer to this phenomenon as attachment disorder or reactive attachment disorder. A recent example of this disorder has been reported among Romanian orphans who were adopted by American parents. In 1945, Levy shocked the medical community when he showed a documentary film, Grief: A Peril in Infancy that showed the emotional deterioration of a hospitalized child over the period of a few weeks. Still, it wasn’t until the late 1960s and early 1970s that hospitals began to change their visitation policies to allow parents to stay with their children on pediatric wards and allowing infants to stay with their mothers.

John Bowlby is generally considered the founder of Attachment Theory. He believed that much of the future well-being of individuals is determined by first relationships. A recent book by Robert Karen, Becoming Attached: Unfolding the Mystery of the Infant-Mother Bond and its Impact on Later Life, supports Bowlby’s assertion. Bowlby described four phases of attachment: (1) Indiscriminate responsiveness to humans (birth – 3 months), (2) focusing on familiar people (3 – 6 months), attachment and active proximity seeking (6 months – 3 years), and (4) partnership behavior (3 years to end of childhood).

Mary Ainsworth, a student of Bowlby, developed the Strange Situation Model to study attachment behaviors and described four styles of attachment: (1) Secure (60 – 75% infants), (2) Insecure-Avoidant (12 – 20%), (3) Insecure-Ambivalent-Resistant (5 – 10%), and (4) Disorganized-Disoriented (5-10%). She not only described attachment styles, but was able to show the association between styles of parenting and the each attachment categories.

Prior and on-going research shows that attachment is associated with the well-being of each child and is an important predictor of how an individual will function in relationships throughout his or her lifetime. Attachment theory has evolutionary roots and the attachment process is a survival mechanism for the infant. However, as recent scientists note, it is not just a matter of the infant becoming attached to the parent. What is even more important for the infant’s survival and ultimate well-being is the attachment of the parent to the child.
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Assignment

1. Outline the 4 phases of attachment, including the ages of the child(ren) and typical behaviors you would see during this time.
2. Outline the 4 patterns of attachment, including the descriptions of the children when the mother returns.
3. Too often, I have students who wish to write about attachment for a major paper and then only talk about infant attachment and directly relate that to adult behaviors. Is this what Bowlby and Ainsworth did? Defend your answer.
4. Bowlby’s research seems to indicate that a secure base is useful and needed by all ages- even adults and the elderly. Do you agree with the examples provided- that we all need a secure base to give us courage to adventure into the unknown?
5. Securely attached infants have responsive mothers that understand their child(ren)’s cues. Should first-time parents have education to prepare them for reading young children’s cues? Should it be mandatory? What kinds of consequences are associated with insecurely attached children?