Child Development PSY 302 – Lecture 1 – Class Notes
Chapter 1 - An Introduction to Child Development
In Class Assignments
Class room culture
I. Why Study Child Development?
II. Historical Foundations of the study of Child Development
III. Enduring Themes in Child Development important
IV. Methods for Studying Child Development
1 Development Psychology
Concerned with changes in human abilities and behaviour across life span
Changes in child’s cognitive, social, and other capacities
Uncovers processes and strategies that underlie these changes
I. Why Study Child Development?
A. Raising Children
Knowledge of child development can help parents and teachers meet the challenges
of rearing and educating children.
Researchers have identified effective approaches that parents and other
caregivers can successfully use in helping children manage anger and other
B. Choosing Social Policies
Knowledge of child development permits informed decisions about social-policy
questions that affect children.
Psychological research on children’s responses to leading interview questions
can help courts obtain more accurate testimonies from preschool children.
Research telling about the “simone says” children will be lead to believe in
To obtain accurate testimony, questions should be stated in a neutral fashion that
does not presuppose the answer, questions that the children has already answered
should not be repeated, and props associated with fantasy play should not be used
C. Understanding Human Nature
Child-development research provides important insights into some of the
most intriguing questions regarding human nature.
Recent investigations of development among children adopted from inadequate
orphanages in Romania supports the principle that the timing of experiences
often influences their effects. the longer that the children stayed in the
orphanage (more than 6 months), the more the effect on their intellectual and
Understanding Human Nature con’t
O’Connor et al. (2000)
Investigated intellectual performance of Romanian children adopted to English
Group 1: Children from UK who were adopted at 0 – 6 months
Group 2: Children from Romania adopted to English homes at 0 – 6
2 Group 3: Children from Romania adopted to English homes at 7 – 24
Group 4: Children from Romania adopted to English homes at 25 – 42
Conditions in orphanages extremely poor
Results: timing of experiences influences their effects
IQ at age 6
IQ decreases as time spent in orphanage increases
Still have considerable catch up from entry to UK
More social problems more antisocial problems
II. Historical Foundations of the Study of Child Development
- Early Philosophers’ Views of Children’s Development
- Social Reform Movements
- The Emergence of Child Development as a Discipline
A. Early Philosophers’ Views of Children’s Development
Provided enduring insights about critical issues in childrearing, even though their
methods were unscientific
Both Plato and Aristotle believed that the long-term welfare of society depended
on children being raised properly, but they differed in their approaches.
- Emphasized self-control and discipline
- Believed that children are born with innate knowledge
- was concerned with fitting child rearing to the needs of the individual child
- Believed that knowledge comes from experience
John Locke, like Aristotle, saw the child as a tabula rasa and advocated first instilling
discipline, then gradually increasing the child’s freedom.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that parents and society should give the child
maximum freedom from the beginning.
Social Reform Movements
In the nineteenth century, research was conducted for the benefit of children and provided
some of the earliest descriptions of the adverse effects that harsh environments can have
on child development
3 The Emergence of Child Development as a Discipline
Child development emerged as a formal field of inquiry in the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries.
Sigmund Freud and John Watson formulated influential theories of development
during this period.
Freud and Watson
Freud concluded that biological drives exerted a crucial influence on development.
Watson argued that children’s behavior arises largely from the rewards and punishments
that follow particular behaviors.
Children are product of the consequences of environment “little Albert” afraid
of the white and furry objects after the classical conditioning
Although the research methods on which these theories were based were limited, the
theories were better grounded in research and inspired more sophisticated thinking than
III. Enduring Themes in Child Development
1. Nature and Nurture
2. The Active Child
4. Mechanisms of Developmental Change
5. The Sociocultural Context
6. Individual Differences
7. Research and Children’s Welfare
Basic Questions About Child Development
- How do nature and nurture together shape movement? nature and
- How do children shape their own development? the active child