Psy 221 TTh/Medvin
Fall 2000


Name_____________________________ Phone_____________

Please number your top three choices of student activities.

_____1. Testing the development of object permanence: Ch 5

_____1A. Adult responsiveness to infant cries: Ch 6

_____2. Assessments of  language development: Ch. 7.

_____3. Development of self in infants: Ch. 8

_____4. Piagetian cognitive tasks I: Ch 9.

_____5. Observations of preschool play behavior: Ch. 10.

_____6. Memory tasks with children: Ch 11.

_____7. Piagetian conservation tasks II: Ch 11

_____8. Content analysis of television programs commonly viewed by children: Ch 12

_____9. Interviewing children about friendship. Ch 12.

_____10. Assessment of moral development. Ch 13.

_____11. Assessment of personal identity. Ch 14.

_____I am flexible in the project to which I am assigned.

_____It is difficult for me to attend group meetings: my best times to meet are_______________
I know children I can test between the ages of _____________________________________; these children live in _____________________________________________________________ (New Wilmington, my hometown of ________, etc.)

Psy 221T/Th /Medvin
Fall 2000

Rationale: Every student will have the opportunity to conduct research "mini-projects" with parents, children and/or adolescents.  Students will work in groups of 2-3 individuals to promote cooperative learning.  These activities are designed to facilitate:

(a) an understanding of research and methods in developmental psychology
(b) interpretation of research via the scientific literature
(c) peer teaching via student presentations, with various forms of media as aids (i.e., videos, overheads, audiotapes, handouts).

Assignment:The projects will either be a replication of a study already conducted, or a variation that you develop (descriptions are listed below).  These projects count for 10% of your course grade. I will grade you on the quality of your presentation (criteria are attached).  In addition, your group member(s) will also rate you on the amount of effort you put into your project, and how well you cooperated with other group members (criteria are attached).  Both will be counted in the consideration of your final grade. The due date for each project is also listed. You are responsible for information presented by your peers on class examinations.

Activity Descriptions:  Choose from among these activities.  The sources cited are available to aid you in the design of your project, as well as the interpretation.  *Starred articles/sources are on reserve at J.S. Mack Library--the others you can find in the library, unless otherwise noted.  You must use at least one source that is not your textbook. Also, the ethical standards for research with children is on reserve. Note that for projects involving children in the Preschool Lab (3-5 years of age), you must be available sometime between the hours of 8:45-9:15 AM , and 10-11 AM.

1. Testing the development of object permanence: Ch 5, September 26.

Find at least two infants between the ages of 2 and 12 months. Inform the parents that you will be showing some objects to their infant that will tell you more about cognitive development. Make sure you ask for parental permission before you work with the infants. Present each child with different object permanence tasks. Follow the instructions described in Coates and Vietz (1981). How do your findings compare to those of other investigators? What do these studies tell us about infant cognitive development?

 *Coates, D. K. & Vietze, P. M. Object permanence: Out of sight, out of mind?

1A. Adult responsiveness to infant cries: Ch 6,  October 5

Locate a mother and/or a father of a young infant (or several infants). Enlist the parents’ assistance in recording the baby’s cries, and note the cause of each cry. Then have parents and non-parents listen to the tapes, and describe their reactions. Compare the two sets to assess difference in interpretation of infant cries between parents and non-parents. Be sure to note the ages of the children that the parents have.

Gustafson, G. W., & Harris, K.L. (1990). Women’s responses to young infants’ cries. Developmental Psychology, 26, 144-152.

2.  Toddler language development: Ch 7, October 12.

 There are two possibilities here.  One technique for studying language is to interview one or two parents of a child between 1 and 2 years of age about their toddler’s early vocabulary.  Parents can be asked to list the words their children produce and the contexts in which they use each of them.  You should be able to see illustrations of the sensorimotor foundations of early language, the spurt in vocabulary that typically occurs between 18 and 24 months, and early two word combinations. There is also a survey form in the Tomasello source below that might be useful here (see your instructor for copies of it).

 Alternatively, you may want to audiotape several children ranging in age from about 18 months to 3 years of age.  You could calculate MLU, check for the presence of Brown’s 13 grammatical morphemes, and note the presence or absence of various characteristics of child directed speech.

 Bates, E., Bretherton, I., & Snyder, L. (1988). From first words to grammar: individual differences and dissociable mechanisms. New York: Cambridge University Press.

 Brown, R. W. (1973). A first language: The early stages. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

 Tomasello, M., Mervis, C. B., & Stiles, J. (1994). Variability in early communicative development. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59 (5), 1-189.

3. Development of self in infants: Ch. 8, October 17.

This project examines the development of the self in infants. You will test an 8-month-old infant
and an 18-month-old infant with a mirror recognition task. Two tasks will test for mirror
recognition of the self and of an object near the infant. Also, ask the parents about the use of the word "I" or "Me". Then compare to text and other articles.

Lewis, M. (1979). Social cognition and the acquistion of self. New York: Plenum Press.

*Lewis, M., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1985).  Individual differences in visual self-recognition as a function of mother-infant attachment. Developmental Psychology, 21(6), 1181-1187.

*Research Project: Development of self in infants. On reserve.

4  Piagetian Tasks I: Ch 9, October 19

 Find children between 4 and 6 years of age, and between 6 and 8 years of age.  Inform the child's parents that you would like to give their youngsters some problems to solve that will help you learn more about cognitive development.  Make sure that you ask for parental permission before you work with the children.

 Appropriate tasks to use with preschoolers include the standard conservation of liquid task; a conservation of number task using coins, poker chips, or buttons; the seriation task;  and the three mountain perspective taking task (using construction paper cones as mountains).  For example, you might present each child with Piaget's conservation tasks, and some of the newer studies that have been done challenging his findings.  Carefully record the children's answers and the reasoning behind their responses.  How do the two youngsters compare?  At which Piagetian stage would you place each child?  (Suggestions for conducting conservation interviews are included in the following two articles.)

 Bisanz, J., Morrison, F. J., & Dunn, M. (1995). Effects of age and schooling on the acquisition of elementary quantitative skills. Developmental Psychology, 31(2), 221-236.

 *Ormrod, J. E., & Carter, K. R. (1985). Systematizing the Piagetian clinical interview for classroom use. Teaching of Psychology, 12(4), 216-219.

*Research Project 2 Conservation Tasks

5. Analysis of children's play patterns: Ch  10, November 2.

Compare the play of younger (3 years old) versus older (4-5 years old) children. Does the amount of solitary versus group play change with age? Does play become more complex with age? Some things you may look at include the proportion of time is spent playing in Parten's play catagories (i.e., unoccupied, onlooker, solitary, parallel, etc.), or Smith's (group, parallel, solitary, adult); the type of play (sociodramatic, rough-and-tumble, formal games, etc.); the materials used, and the content of play (e.g. specific roles played). You may want to compare your findings with the other studies and your text.. You may also want to analyze sex differences in play partners: are play partners more likely to be of the same sex, and does this change with age (compare with Martin & Fabes, 1999) ? Here a scan sampling technique might be the most useful (described in Smith). To conduct this project in the Preschool Lab, students need to be available on MWF and T/Th from 8:50-9:10 AM and/or 10:00-11:00 AM.

 Howes, C., & Matheson, C. C. (1992). Sequences in the development of competent play with peers: Social and social pretend play. Developmental Psychology, 28(5), 961-974.

 *Martin, C. L., &  Fabes, R. A. Assessing the strength and stability of sex-segregation in children. Poster session presented at the meetings of the American Psychological Association, Boston, 1999.

 *Partens, M. B. (1932). Social participation among preschool children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27, 243-269.

 *Smith, P. K. (1978). A longitudinal study of social participation in preschool children: Solitary and parallel play reexamined. Developmental Psychology, 14(5), 517-523.

6. Memory tasks with children: Ch 11, November 9.

 Find children between the ages of 7-11. Demonstrate children's use of memory strategies when faced with a set of items to remember. You may want to illustrate strategies for rehearsal, organization, and/or elaboration. (see sheet from instructor for additional details). Compare your findings to those of other investigators. How do children's abilities change with age?

 *Memory task handout

 Bjorklund, D. F., & de Marchena, M. R. (1984). Developmental shifts in the basis of organization memory: The role of associative versus categorical relatedness in children's free recall. Child Development, 55, 952-962.

 Ornstein, P. A., Naus, M. J., & Liberty, C. (1975). Rehearsal and organizational processes in children's memory. Child Development, 46, 818-830.

 Pressley, M., & Levin, J. R. (1977). Developmental differences in subjects' associative-learning strategies and performance: Assessing a hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 24, 431-439.

7. Piagetian conservation exercises with children II: Chapter 11, November 9.

 Give elementary school children a series of conservation tasks. For example, use the standard conservation of liquid problem, followed by a conservation of weight task for children who show an understanding of liquid conservation. You should be able to illustrate the concept of horizontal decalage. Other combinations of tasks can be used as well (ie classification tasks). Compare your results to the discussion in the textbook.

 Balch, W. R. (1986). The use of student performed developmental exercises in the classroom. Teaching of Psychology, 13, 140-142.

*Ormrod, J. E., & Carter, K. R. (1985). Systematizing the Piagetian clinical interview for classroom use. Teaching of Psychology, 12(4), 216-219.

8. Interviewing Children about friendship: Ch 12, November 14.

 This activity involves exploring children's social-cognitive understanding of friendship using Piaget's flexible, open-ended clinical interviewing technique. Locate three children to interview about their understanding of friendship: (1) a 5-7 year old, (2) an 8-10 year old, (3) an 11-15 year old. Prepare a list of questions to ask, including: What is a friend? Why is it nice to have a friend? How many friends do you have? What are their names? What makes a friend different from someone you just know? How can you tell that someone is a best friend? What do you and your friends do together? Do you ever fight with your friends? What do you fight about? What do you do to settle a fight with a friend? Who is the most popular person you know (in your class or group) ? What is that person like? Why do you think they are popular? Interview each subject separately, assuring the youngsters that their answers will be confidential. Use a tape recorder or take careful notes. If the children's answers are unclear, follow up with some clarifying questions. Compare your findings with Damon's model, as described in Berk (1991), and with your textbook.

 *Berk, L. (1991). Child development, 2nd edition. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon, pp. 460-462. "Conceptualizing relations between people"

Clark, M. L., & Bittle, M. L. (1992). Friendship expectations and the evaluation of present friendships in middle childhood and early adolescence. Child Study Journal, 22(2), 115-133.

9.  Content analysis of television programs commonly viewed by young children. Ch. 12, November 14.

 Watch several Saturday morning cartoons, later-afternoon children's shows, and prime-time adult-oriented television programs.  For each, tally the number of violent and prosocial acts depicted on the screen.  Violent acts include both expressions of physical force as well as threats of harm and verbal abuse.  Prosocial behavior encompasses all acts of generosity, helping, cooperation, and self-control, in which the actor shows a willingness to work for long-term goals and resist temptation.  Compare the incidence of prosocial acts to aggressive acts.You might also in general note gender differences in roles that characters play, the amount of stereotyping, and the prevalence of male versus female characters. In addition, you could look at how children’s understanding of television changes with age; for example, did the programs they watch really happen, happen in the past, or probably happened?  What types of socialization messages are children receiving from television?

Boyatzis, C. J. (1997). Of power rangers and v-chips. Young Children, 52(7), 74-79.

Huston, A., Watkins, B., & Kunkel, D. (1989). Public policy and children's television. American Psychologist, 44, 424-433.

 *Greenfield, P. M. (1984). Mind and media: The effects of television, video games, and computers. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

10. Moral dilemmas and the assessment of moral reasoning: Ch 13, November 21.

Assess college students' level of moral reasoning using the Heinz dilemma. There are several possible approaches to this project. You may take a methodological approach by presenting Kolhberg's Heinz dilemma in its original version along with Sobesky's (1983) modifications of it to compare how varying story elements affect maturity of moral reasoning.  In addition, you can also have subjects recall a personal moral conflict they have actually experienced, select and justify a course of action, and compare this reasoning to the hypothetical Heinz dilemma responses, as did Walker et al. (1987).

Colby, A., & Kohlberg, L. (1987). The measurement of moral judgement. New York: Cambridge University Press. (I have this--see me.)

Sobesky, W. E. (1983). The effects of situational factors on moral judgements. Child Development, 54, 575-584.

Walker, L. J., de Vries, B., & Trevethan, S. D. (1987). Moral stages and moral orientations in real-life and hypothetical dilemmas. Child Development, 58, 842-858.

11. Assessment of personal identity: Ch. 14, November 28.

Have both freshman and senior students write personal responses to Marcia's semi-structured questions designed to assess the young persons' commitments to occupational, religious, and political values as identity achieved, moratorium, foreclosed, or diffused. Two questions that can be used include: (a) How willing -do you think you'd be to give up going into (chosen occupation) if something better came along? (b) Have you ever had any doubts about your religious beliefs? Classify the answers you receive based on Marcia's classification system. Compare their responses. How do your findings relate to those of other investigators?

 Adams, G. R., & Fitch, S. A. (1982). Ego stage and identity status development: A cross-sequential analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 574-583.

 *Grotevant, H. D., & Cooper, C. R. (1981). Assessing adolescent identity in the areas of occupation, religion, politics, friendship, dating, and sex roles. Manual for administration and coding of the interview. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 11, 52 (Ms. No. 2295).

 Simmons, D. D. (1970). Development of an objective measure of identity achievement status. Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment, 34, 241-244. (we will need to order this on inter-library loan if you want to use it.)


 In doing projects with children, it is essential that you have a careful plan of exactly how these activities will be conducted. I would like each group to hand in an initial plan for their research project by Thursday, September 14. You will not be able to start testing subjects without my approval. Please type your plan, and make it double-spaced. Your description should include the following information:

 a) Introduction: Discuss the purpose of your activity. For example, if your project replicates someone else's study, briefly mention the study.
  b) Subjects: Depending on the topic, you will need to use 2-6 subjects for your study. Subjects may be recruited where appropriate from area youth groups, the Preschool Lab, local parents, or your friends, siblings, and relatives. Indicate if you know subjects you can use (and who they are), or will need help recruiting them. Consider when you will be able to test subjects as well: for example, if you want to work with children from the Preschool Lab, you must be able to test them between the hours of 8:45-9:15, and 10-11 AM.
 c) Methods: Describe the materials and testing space that you will need. Give a step-by-step procedure for how you will test the children. In some cases, your procedure will be clearly discussed under the description of the activity; in other instances, you will need to specify. Attach any scripts (what will you say to your subjects) and/or questionnaires that you plan to use for my review.
 (d) Results: How will you analyze your findings?  More specifically, how will you summarize your results? Will you show individual data, as well as group summaries?
 (e) Discussion: What articles/models/textbook material will you compare with your findings? Cite one article that you have read from the suggested list under your project.


 The format of the presentations will be as follows: (a) all students will participate in the presentation, (b) they will last NO MORE THAN 15 MINUTES (you will be given a 3 minute and 1 minute warning; students from class will serve as timekeepers), (c) afterwards, there will be a 5 minute question-and-answer period. I have attached a sample grading sheet.

 In addition to your presentation, you will provide the class with a handout of your presentation. This is worth 10 points. The handout should include a description of your introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references (in APA style, 4th ed). Your classmates should be able to use your handout to study for an exam question on your presentation. If you want my office to make copies for the class, you must give your handout to me two days in advance.

PSY 221/T/TH




_____10 pts: Introduction: Why are you conducting this study? Is it a replication, a variation, or other? Do you have a hypothesis? Discuss the purpose of your activity, the theory supporting the activity, and appropriate background material.

_____10 pts: Methods: How did you design your study? Include information on subjects, materials, procedures, study design.

_____10 points: Results: What are your findings? How well did you interpret these? (Use some form of table of chart to present the information you have found).

_____10 pts: Discussion: How well do your results relate to the textbook and the articles you have read? What are the implications of your findings?


_____5 pts: Clarity (Ability to explain main points, answer questions, organization of presentation)

_____5 pts: Style (Eye contact, gestures, use of multimedia materials; smoothness of presentation)

PRESENTATION GRADE:_____ 50 points

_____10 pts: Handout (grammar-1 pt, organization-1 pt, spelling-1 pt., explanation-7 pts.)

TOTAL PROJECT GRADE: _____60 points

PSY 221
Dr. Mandy B. Medvin

Rankings of Student Partner(s)


Student Activity:

Rank your partner on the amount of effort and cooperation s/he put into your student activity. Check the appropriate ranking:

Effort                                                                                            Cooperation
______100% = full effort  ______100% = full cooperation
______ 75% ______ 75%
______ 50 % = half effort  ______ 50 % = half  cooperation 
______  25%  ______  25% 
______    0% = no effort ______    0% = cooperation

Reason for the ranking if different for 100%:

Now, rank yourself on the amount of effort and cooperation you put into your student activity.  Check the appropriate ranking:

Effort                                                                                            Cooperation
______100% = full effort  ______100% = full cooperation
______ 75% ______ 75%
______ 50 % = half effort  ______ 50 % = half  cooperation 
______  25%  ______  25%
______    0% = no effort ______    0% = cooperation

Reason for the ranking if different for 100%:

A low ranking by your partner, and clear evidence of a lack of effort and/or participation, will result in a lowering of your grade (typically one grade point)