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Preliminary Table of Contents
Annual Editons: Human Development, 13/14
UNIT 1: Genetic and Prenatal Influences on Development
Part A. Genetic Influences
1. Your DNA, Decoded, Mark Anderson, Delta Skymagazine, August 2010
This article explains the 6 billion genes (half from father, half from mother), made up of base pairs (A, C, G and T), which comprise each unique human's instruction manual. One's health, emotions, and personality are influenced by one's genome prenatally. Environmental factors after birth also affect human functioning.
2. The Incredible Expanding Adventures of the X Chromosome, Christopher Babcock, Psychology Today, September/October 2011.
This article explains XY (male) and XX (female) genetics and gender differences. There is mounting evidence that X-related brain development affects socialization, intelligence, and cognition. The Y chromosome has about 100 genes compared to about 1,200 X genes. Both genius and autistic spectrum disorders may be X related.
Part B. Prenatal Influences
3. The Prematurity Puzzle, Jeneen Interland, Newsweek, November 1, 2010
Research scientists are focusing on the placenta (an organ) to learn why premature infants are more likely to have autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and other developmental disabilities. Brain development, physical health, and cognitive abilities are stimulated by placental hormones over 40 weeks of pregnancy. The role of genes may be less crucial.
4. Unnatural Selection, Mara Hvistendahl, Psychology Today, July/August 2011
Years of prenatal sex selection in China, Korea, India, Balkans, and Caucasus countries has led to 20-30% more men and many stressors. Violence, sex trafficking and arranged marriages for women are rising. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis has arrived in the U.S. What ethics are involved in these gender choices?
5. The Beginnings of Mental Illness, Kirsten Weir, Monitor on Psychology, February 2012
Prenatal stress, malnutrition, and health problems can have lifelong consequences for offspring. All produce excess cytokines. Research has linked emotional disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, attention-deficit disorders, and schizophrenia to stressed pregnancies with immune system over-responsiveness.
Unit 2: Development During Infancy and Early Childhood
Part A. Infancy
6. Keys to Quality Infant Care: Nurturing Every Baby's Life Journey, Alice Sterling Honig, Young Children, September 2010
Dr. Honig, an expert on infant caregiving, shares 11 keys to enhancing baby's brain development, physical status, language skills, emotional regulation, and social abilities. She explains different infant temperaments and advises on how parents and teachers can shape behaviors to accommodate personalities.
7. Vaccination Nation, Chris Mooney, Discover, June 2009.
Parents have been scared by activists claiming (falsely) that vaccines cause infant autism. Science proves otherwise; this article cites multiple studies. The ethics of skeptics are dubious. Withholding vaccines can cause epidemics of largely vanquished diseases. Other environmental factors which trigger genetic diseases must be explored, and motivation to vaccinate must increase.
Part B. Early Childhood
8. How to Help Your Toddler Begin Developing Empathy, Rebecca Pariakian and Claire Lerner, Zero to Three, July 2009.
Personality is socialized as well as inherited. Teaching empathy in parenting practices during early childhood helps toddlers understand emotions and develop self-esteem. This article explains how to foster this complex skill.
9. How to Raise a Global Kid, Lisa Miller, Newsweek, July 25, 2011
Are children behind if they finish school as monogluts? Lisa Miller's focus is on early bilingual education and biculturalism. Language instruction increases brain development, yet each year fewer American schools offer it. Parenting to raise global kids can enhance social and emotional skills, resiliency, and world friendships.
10. Little by Little, Laura Bell, Science News, September 12, 2009.
Food allergies are 20% more frequent than 10 years ago. Scientists believe infants and young children raised in antiseptic cultures may have immature immunity. Parents may promote health and nutrition by introducing small portions of allergy-prone foods earlier. Other new strategies for reducing food allergies are discussed as well.
11. Ten Tips for Involving Families through Internet-Based Communication, Sascha Mitchell, Teresa S. Foulger, and Keith Wetzel, Young Children, September 2009.
Early childhood education can be greatly enhanced with family-school partnerships. The authors suggest 10 ways in which parents and teachers can work together to teach young children. Technology is required so inexpensive ways to access computers are given. Ways to overcome language differences are also addressed.
12. Trauma and Children: What We Can Do, Linda Goldman, Healing Magazine, 2012
Thousands of our children and adolescents are traumatized each year (e.g., bullying, violence, drugs, sex, gender issues). The sounds and images of technology repeat the "bad stuff." The author recommends that parents and educators talk about the events with simple facts and truthful responses. She suggests many activities (e.g., new email, writing, art) to enhance coping.
UNIT 3: Development During Childhood: Cognition and Schooling
Part A. Cognition
13. An Educator's Journey toward Multiple Intelligences, Scott Seider, Edutopia, 2008.
Can intelligence be defined as a general ability? The theory of multiple intelligences (MI), put forth by Howard Gardner, answers NO. The author describes his appreciation of a poor student's "smartness" on the athletic field. Gardner's theory focuses on different ways in which children use cognitive processes (e.g., body-kinesthetic, music). Schools are not required to educate for every area of MI.
14. Creating a Country of Readers, Sid Trubowitz, Phi Delta Kappan Magazine, October 2010, p. 80.
Cognition begins prenatally; so should reading. Sid Trubowitz believes women who are pregnant or have infants ought to be instructed to read to their babies. Schools can start with meditative reading and extend library hours. Storytelling can be integral to family life. Black-outs of technology can be devoted to reading. Let us create a culture that reads.
15. Brainy Ballplayers, Nick Bascom, Science News, January 14, 2012
Cognitive psychologists have identified how brain development differs in elite athletes. Novices use more thinking (e.g., stress, emotion). Pros use less conscious thought. Practice and prediction let neurons and muscles work in unison to execute complex plays. Thinking too much can disrupt this memory (e.g., "choking").
16. In Defense of Distraction, Sam Anderson, New York Magazine, May 25, 2009.
This article is an exposition about the massive amounts of multitasking, electronic technology interpretation and distractions add to our lives by the culture's "Information Age." (An average adolescent in the United States spends six hours per day on-line.) While hyper-focusing programs abound, the author argues that harnessing distractions may increase brain efficiency for complex cognitive processing.
Part B. Schooling
17. What I've Learned, Michelle Rhee, Newsweek, December 13, 2010
School reform is difficult. It involves culture change. This article describes the struggles to improve education in Washington, D.C. between 2007-2010. More than 20 nations surpass children in the United States in science, reading, and math. There is no large lobby to promote school students' best interests. The author presents several suggestions for putting "students first."
18. From Lockers to Lockup, Jessica Bennett, Newsweek, October 11, 2010
Can children and adolescents be bullied to death? Technology allows peer cyber bullying to an extent never experienced before. Should schools expel students who are vigilantes on-line? Is it a crime? Will the perpetrator be emotionally harmed by the suicide of his/her victim? Can digital violence ever be curtailed?
19. Reformed Schools, Jonathan Miller, New York Times Magazine, April 10, 2011, pgs 34-41, 54-56.
This article describes the education of children and adolescents from a health-challenged, violence-ridden Bronx neighborhood public school. Despite reform movement expectations, testing, restrictive union rules, and incoming charter schools, the principal of P.S. 223 is creating a culture that values learning.
20. LGBT Educators' Perceptions of School Climate, Phi Delta Kappan Magazine
This award-winning article describes the climate of education for LGBT students and teachers. Factors such as age, level of teaching, years in job, and area of the U.S. were examined (e.g., homophobic bullying was least tolerated in the midwest). Principal support, differentiation between LGBT and pedophilia, and domestic partner benefits can improve school climate.
UNIT 4: Development During Childhood: Family and Culture
Part A. Family
21. The Angry Smile, Signe L. Whitson, Going Bonkers Magazine, October 2009.
Children learn how to behave in unhelpful passive-aggressive modes from parents, peers, school personnel, television characters, and in cultural contexts. Passive-aggression is not genetic. It can be changed through socialization. This article tells how to substitute assertive expression for passive-aggression.
22. Do-It-(All)-Yourself Parents, Linda Perlstein, Newsweek, February 6, 2012
A popular approach called "attachment parenting" includes home schooling. About 300,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. are now home schooled. State laws vary; from no reporting to submission of plans and test scores. Advantages are flexible differentiated instruction, no bullying, family togetherness, and welcomes from colleges.
23. Child Welfare and Chidlren's Mental Health Services: A Decade of Transformation, Ken Olson, Healing Magazine, 2010
A U.S. study of mental health services to children and families concluded that systems are "in disarray." States had better reviews if they focused on domestic violence, emotional distress, and drug abuse. A transformation to family-driven, community-based services was recommended. Will such child welfare cost less and work better?.
Part B. Culture
24. Engaging Young Children in Activities and Conversations about Race and Social Class, Rebekka Lee, Patricia G. Ramsey, and Barbara Sweeney, Young Children, November 2008.
The United States has one of the most diverse populations in the world. Education about race and social class through positive activities (art, role-play, games, books) can reduce biases. Conversations, and language used, are vital to influencing attitudes. It is valuable to socialize children to adopt cross-race and cross-social class friendships.
25. Use the Science of What Works to Change the Odds for Children at Risk, Susan B. Neuman, Phi Delta Kappan, April 2009.
Research documents that intelligence is not all genetic; it grows with targeting language and motivation in cultures of poverty. Education of single-parents in their homes which focuses on child-caregiver activities increases both cognitive and social-emotional development. Early intervention can break the cycle of disadvantage.
26. Culture of Corpulence, Claudia Kalb, Newsweek, March 22, 2010
Obesity is rampant in our culture. One of First Lady Michelle Obama's causes is to give children more nutrition in school lunches. Unhealthy fast foods, used regularly by working families, contribute to problems with diabetes, hypertension, and early heart disease. Parents often allow sedentary technology (TV, video games, computers) to replace exercise. Obesity hampers self-esteem.
UNIT 5: Development During Adolescence and Young Adulthood
Part A. Adolescence
27. The Incredible Shrinking Childhood, Elizabeth Weil, New York Times Magazine, April 1, 2012
Pre-adolescent girls with early puberty have more emotional health risks. One theory is that early puberty affects cognition, making the brain suspectible to depression. Another theory is that changed physical status may be due to environmental estrogens. Parenting focused on exercise, nutrition, and self-esteem helps vulnerable girls.
28. Foresight Conquers Fear of the Future, Edward Cornish, The Futurist, January-February 2010.
Adolescents are experiencing rapid changes in socialization. They fear a future with widespread aggression, drug abuse, and moral/ethical decline. Do they have "future phobia"? The author reports that trend analysts have predicted future outcomes. Young adults who have foresight and creativity will choose careers and lifestyles that embrace technology's advances.
29. Interview with Dr. Craig Anderson: Video Game Violence, Sarah Howe, Jennifer Stigge, and Brooke Sixta, Eye on Psi Chi, Summer 2008.
A scientist with ongoing research on video game technology has ample evidence to support increased aggression in children and adolescents who play violent video games. Those with high trait aggressiveness are more influenced to behave with hostility. However, those low in trait aggressiveness are equally affected. Studies about the effect on brain development (ADHD, drug addiction) continue.
30. Digitalk: A New Literacy for a Digital Generation, Kristen Hawley Turner, Phi Delta Kappan, September 2010
The author argues that digitalk is not deficient language, but different. Adolescents have mastered standard English and developed creative shortcuts to talk to their peers. Schools can use technology (e.g., instant messaging) as education tools for thinking. Students can be taught to code-switch for higher level writing (e.g., grammar and mechanics).
31. Portrait of a Hunger Artist, Emily Troscianko, Psychology Today, March/April 2010.
The author uncovers the truths behind the malnutrition experienced by an adolescent with anorexia nervosa. Her genetics and family stress contributed to her health problems. Food became her best friend, as well as her obsession. Her emotions (envy, resentment, scorn) were triggered by weight-consciousness. Her recovery was dramatic.
Part B. Young Adulthood
32. Are We There Yet, Jessica Bennett, Jesse Ellison, and Sarah Ball, Newsweek, March 29, 2010.
Has 40 years of Women's Lib changed much of the culture in the United States? Across all careers men earn, on average, 20% more. More women have college educations, but few are Fortune 500 CEOs, law partners, or politicians. Gender differences have increased since 9/11. The United States ranks 31st now in the Global Gender Gap Index. What ethical issues arise out of this gender backlash?
33. Heartbreak and Home Runs: The Power of First Experiences, Jay Dixit, Psychology Today, January/February 2010.
First memories (love, sex, victories, losses, lying) last longest. They shape our personalities. Young adults use the language of self-talk to convince themselves what kinds of persons they are. While these early experiences have power, they do not determine all future behavior. Emotions are sufficient, but not necessarily the only reason for personal ways of reacting to events.
34. All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting, Jennifer Senior, New York Magazine, July 12, 2010.
Adulthood is less happy when marriage leads to parenting. Children make demands and add stressors unknown to childless couples. The emotions of family life range from agony to ecstasy. Gender differences are minimal. Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman found that child care ranked very low on all adults' lists of pleasurable activities.
35. I Can't Think, Sharon Begley, Newsweek, March 7, 2011.
Technology can give us too much information, resulting in a cultural information paralysis. The brain's working memory only holds about seven items without conscious cognitive processing. Overload results in recent information trumping good data, and bad decisions being made. Creativity requires percolating of ideas at the unconscious level. Slower choices are often better choices.
36. Peek Hours: What Makes a Neighbor Nosy? Sushma Subramanian, Psychology Today, July/August 2010
The writer describes two personality types who snoop: anxious individuals who want to protect/control, and insecure persons who feel information-deprived and are thus motivated to fill knowledge gaps. Technology (e.g., email, Facebook, Google, cell phones) makes peeking easy. Respecting another's privacy requires trusting the other.
UNIT 6: Development During Middle and Late Adulthood
Part A. Middle Adulthood
37. Good Morning, Heartache, Kathleen McGowan, Psychology Today, March/April 2009.
Adulthood depression is common. Genetic factors and life stressors affect brain chemistry creating negative emotions. Drug abuse and death by suicide are at-risk. This article describes journeys back to health with multiple components. Meditation, spirituality, creativity, humor, nutrition, exercise, sleep, acupuncture, medication, and cognitive therapy all help.
38. The New Survivors, Pamela Weintraub, Psychology Today, July/August 2009.
The link between cancer and death is being broken. The stress of surviving cancer is making some adults psychologically hardier. Transformative benefits include more positive emotions, spirituality, self-esteem, and friendships. Empowered by hope, survivors generate more forgiveness, gratitude, kindness, and humor than in the past.
39. Curing Cancer, Sharon Begley, Newsweek, September 13, 2010
Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has a 90% cure rate. Technology has allowed identification of the genetic mutations in ALL and they are hit with multiple drugs simultaneously. Identifying specific mutations in adult cancers and targeting specific drugs against their drivers can prevent death. Progress is slow. Health depends on more genotyping and effective drugs.
40. Can You Build a Better Brain? Sharon Begley, Newsweek, January 10 and 17, 2011.
Studies purporting nutritional paths to brain development are weak. Adults and aging persons who exercise, meditate, and play technology-based games improve their memory and intelligence. Cognition mechanics require BDNF to stimulate neurons, attention to strengthen synapses, motivation to actualize potentials and a reduction of stress hormones.
41. How to Fix the Obesity Crisis, David H. Freedman, Scientific American, February 2011
Obesity is the primary lifestyle-related health concern in the United States. Are nutrition (food choices) and exercise the best fixes? Behavioral science adds four other weight-loss conditions: assessment of motivation to eat, monitoring eating, behavior shifts, and social support. Genetics and brain functioning (e.g., hypothalamus, limbic system) will not prevent weight loss.
Part B. Late Adulthood
42. Why Do Men Die Earlier? Bridget Murray-Law, Monitor on Psychology, June 2011
This article explains gender differences in health in adulthood and aging. Male socialization towards aggression and suppressed emotions leads to drug abuse and earlier death. Women, and men with self-reliance and self-esteem, live longer. Cultural education and removal of minority stress can extend life.
43. More Good Years, Dan Buettner, AARP The Magazine, September/October 2009
The Earth has a few "Blue Zones." These are cultures where many people reach age 90+ in good health with physical stamina. On the Greek island of Ikaria, there is no Alzheimer's and little cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Aging well is attributed to good nutrition (Mediterranean diet), exercise, spiritual values, strong family and friendship bonds, optimistic emotions and few stressors.
44. Age-Proof Your Brain: 10 Easy Ways to Stay Sharp Forever, Beth Howard, AARP The Magazine, February/March 2012
Dementia is not inevitable. Elders, even those with a genetic link to Alzheimer's, can delay or prevent it. Included in the ten suggestions for keeping brain health are meditation, spirituality (a mission in life), social networking, stimulating new memory, exercise, and nutrition factors (e.g., Mediterranean diet, spices, vitamin supplements).
45. The Old World, Ted C. Fishman, New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2010
Global economics are having a profound impact on the careers of aging workers. The author describes an "age apartheid" which is occurring in China, India, and elsewhere. Young workers are wanted. Elders are facing retirement without meaningful pensions or health care. Decisions about government spending pit old against young.
46. The Real Social Network, Martha Thomas, AARP The Magazine,May/June 2011
In 2001, Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood began a "village movement." This socialization trend is growing rapidly. Aging persons stay in their own homes. Their "village" organizes services like those in retirement communities. Connectedness to neighbors allows for home maintenance, transportation, health care, and other social networking.