PSY210H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Internal Validity, External Validity, Active Child
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Lecture 1 Introduction
What is child development?
•Social, emotional, cognitive, language, and motor skill changes between birth and late adolescence
•From dependency to increasing autonomy
•Sequential progression but unique course for every child
•Developmental milestones: Set of functional skills or age-specific tasks that most children can do at a
certain age range
Why study child development?
•Raising Children: Knowledge of child development can help parents, teachers and practitioners meet
the challenges of rearing and educating children.
•Choosing Social Policies: Knowledge of child development permits informed decisions about social-
policy questions that affect children.
•Understanding Human Nature: Child-development research provides important insights into some of
the most intriguing questions regarding human nature.
oWatch video clip
•Origin of the human soul
oBoth Plato and Aristotle believed that the long-term welfare of society depended on children
being raised properly, but they differed in their approaches
oPlato: emphasized self-control and discipline; believed that children are born with innate
oAristotle: was concerned with fitting child rearing to the needs of the individual child; believed
that knowledge comes from experience
•Early modern period
•Industrialization Child Labor, Child Crime, Legal Protection for Children
•Modern Childhood: Concept of childhood as a time of fun of happiness.
•Child Development Pioneers:
oJohann Nicolas Tetens (1777): Lifespan development
oDietrich Tiedemann (1787): Diary of infant and toddler development (based on systematic
oWilliam Preyer (1882): The soul of the child
•The Emergence of Child Development as a Discipline
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oChild development emerged as a formal field of inquiry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
oSigmund Freud and John Watson formulated influential theories of development during this
Psychosexual development theory: Child seen as passive; Biological drives exerted a
crucial influence on development
Although the research methods on which his theory was based were limited, the theory
was better grounded in research and inspired more sophisticated thinking than their
Behaviorism: Watson argued that children’s behavior arises largely from the rewards
and punishments that follow particular behaviors.
Classical conditioning in humans
Little Albert or the “experimental proof “of the Tabula Rasa
Watch video clip
oWilliam Stern (1871 – 1938)
Studies of the development of language in children
One of the first psychologists to systematically describe development of the whole
personality of the child.
oCharlotte Buehler (1893-1974)
1922: The inner life of the adolescence (first time to use a developmental perspective)
In Vienna, Buhler established a focus on experimental research based on diaries and
behavioral observations(the "Vienna School”)
Developed intelligence assessment tests for children which are used to this day
oAnna Freud (1895-1982): Founder of Psychoanalytic Child Psychology
Importance of the ego and its ability to be trained socially
Research, observation and treatment of children
Established a group of prominent child developmental analysts
Normality and Pathology in Childhood (1965):
•Use of developmental lines charting theoretical normal growth
•-> Comprehensive developmental theory
Enduring Themes in Child Development
1. Nature and Nurture
oNature refers to our biological endowment, especially the genes we receive from our parents.
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