Social and Personality Development: Chapter 1 discussion

Ch 1 Discussion

The different classical theories of social and personality development offer different explanations for how people come to be who they are. Imagine a hypothetical teen who is in court and who is about to be sentenced to jail for a serious crime. Choose two of the theories in this chapter and offer two contrasting hypothetical explanations, based on your chosen theories of “what went wrong.”

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When thinking of the analogy of a teen standing in a court room awaiting sentencing for a serious crime, automatically something negative pops into your head. Is this teenager rebellious, are they irresponsible, immature, reckless? These are the adjectives that come to mind when thinking of a teen facing jail time, but what is that isn’t necessarily the case? There are an abundance of theories and perspectives that address social and personality development, and could potentially explain how this teenager got into the situation that they are in. Psychodynamic Perspective suggests that children are extremely receptive to things that happen when they are young. Situations and scenarios that occur when they are young will ultimately determine their behavior later in life. According to this theory, this teenager could have witnessed horrible things growing up, and as a result they are acting out in their teens and being rebellious. Maybe the serious crime they committed was larceny or vandalism, and this behavior stemmed from seeing violent acts when they were young. This theory focuses on the nurture aspect, and puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of early development.

Contrarily, systems perspective says that elements or members of the system influence a person’s behavior, or more simply, you are who you hang out with. Using this theory, an argument can be made that the teenager standing in a courtroom awaiting sentencing is a good person for all practical purposes, who fell in with the wrong crowd. Unlike the Psychodynamic Perspective, which assumes people who come from difficult upbringings will also be difficult, this theory is applicable to people from all backgrounds because anyone is capable of falling in with the wrong people.

 

Parke, R. D., Roisman, G. I., Rose, A. J. Social Development. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781119497462/

 

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When I think of a teen facing jail time, the first  couple of things that come to mind, are where are this kids parents? How involved are the parents? What kind of crowd are they hanging around? Are they a leader or they a follower? Does the teen’s family show a history of getting in trouble with the law? The answers to these simple questions can take you in two directions, whether biology or their environment contribute to the behavior.

The cognitive social-learning theory supports the theory that this behavior can contribute to the environment the teen is in. They are confused about who they want to be, and are surrounding themselves by individuals who may not be the best influence. In this case they would be imitating those around them. Maybe they are hanging out with an older crowd and trying to impress them. In this case this would answer the question of them possibly being a follower and the type of crowd they are hanging around. This theory also suggests that the teen could possibly not be hanging around a bad crowd but possibly has witnessed this type of behavior and is choosing to mimic it.

If you are looking at the situation from a biological perspective human behavior genetics plays a big role in how a person functions. For instance if the teen is in court due to a fight, maybe the biology make up of the teen played a role in how they reacted in situation. Does the teens biology make them have a “short fuse” and they tend to lash out with anger? Where as another person in the situation could have just walked away? This theory almost suggests the teen could almost not help how they reacted, where as the cognitive social-learning theory, the teen is actively making the decision.

 

Parke, R. D., Roisman, G. I., & Rose, A. J. (2019). Social development. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 

 

 

The part of a teens brain that is responsible for being rational is said to not be fully developed until the age of 25 or so. When thinking of a teenager being sentenced in jail for committing a serious crime, we have to acknowledge all the internal and external factors that lead this young soul in the wrong direction.  According to the traditional learning theory there are three ways we can learn behavior; classical conditioning, operant conditioning and drive reduction. This theory is known to be useful for behavior modification but lacks the focus of each individual child. Per the text it is explained to be “one-size for all”. The teenager could’ve ended up in this scenario in result of not implementing any of the traditional learning theories. Specifically, operant condition, if as a child the teenager would have been exposed to consequences due to their behavior, they might have been able to associate rewards with good behavior and punishment with bad behavior hence they would be less likely commit a crime because they know the result would be punishment in jail. The system theories approach focuses more on how components and factors of the interacting system affect a child’s development. If in the young life of this teen they were exposed to violence, crimes, and interacted with negative components it explains that this form of setting is considered norm to the child. However, this theory does not explain which system influence is the specific one which affected the development.

 

Parke, R. D., Roisman, G. I., & Rose, A. J. (2019). Social development. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 

default – Stanford Children’s Health. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=understanding-the-teen-brain-1-3051.

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