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Developmental Psychology 2.1.docx

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Elizabeth Johnson

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Child Development: Themes, Theories, and Methods - Developmental Psychology is the scientific study of changes or continuities in an organism between initial conception and death - Developmental psychology focuses on development during the lifespan - Child development is a field of study that seeks to account for the gradual evolution of the child’s cognitive, social, and other capacities first by describing changes in the child’s observed behaviours and then by uncovering the processes and strategies that underlie these changes - In short, child development psychologists are interested in what things change as a child grows up and how these changes go about - The field of child development is highly interdisciplinary with important practical and theoretical implications - In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the field of developmental psychology was born - The field was highly multidisciplinary and had many practical applications History of the Field - Plato (428-347 BC) (Nativist) o Experience is not the source of human knowledge because our senses are too fallible o Children enter the world armed with innate knowledge about the world and experience simply triggers this pre-existing knowledge o Nativist: emphasizes the role of nature (or innate factors) in development - Aristotle (384-322 BC) (Empiricist) o Human knowledge is based in perceptual experience o Children do not possesses extensive innate knowledge o Child’s mind likened to a blank tablet o Empiricist: emphasizes the role of nurture (or the environment) in development  Example: Wild boy Aveyron and Jean-Marc Itard - John Locke (1632 – 1704) o Human knowledge is based in perceptual experience o Child’s mind likened to a tabula rasa or blank slate o In short, Locke believed that children began their journey in life very lightly packed and picked up necessary knowledge through experience - Charles Darwin (1809-1882) o One of the earliest systematic observations of child development o Showed that infants and children can be studied o Conducted research on infants’ sensory capacities and young children’s emotions o Observed development of his own son and published his observations in what was known as a “baby biography” - Jaques Rousseau o Children enter the world with extensive innate knowledge - G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924) o Founder of developmental psychology o Was inspired by Darwin’s Theory of Evolution o Established the Normative Approach to studying development o Opened first Psychology lab in North America at The Johns Hopkins University - Binet o Developed first tests of mental ability - William Blatz o School for Child Study o Later became famous for his work on the Dionne quintuplets, exploring the interaction of environment and genetics What is Basic Research? - Basic research seeks to understand development for the sake of science o Example: Do children have an inborn attraction to human faces? - Applied research has a clear practical application o Example: Is lack of interest in faces early in development a predictor of autism? - Understanding basic research helps with the understanding of fundamental questions and methodologies in child development - This leads to the ability to identify interesting aspects of development and critically evaluate research findings - Well informed and cutting edge application of most recent knowledge to practical areas The Ethics of Research with Children - In the late 1960s, ethics of psychological experimentation became an issue - In 1972, American Psychological Association (APA) proposed the code of ethics - In 1974, US federal government created regulations concerning human research - In the late 1970s, a document by the Canada Council was made that looked upon the ethical principles that should be observed by researchers when experimenting with human subjects - Informed consent is the agreement to participate in a research study that is based on a clear and full understanding of the purposes and procedures of that study The Bill of Child Participants’ Right in Description Child-development Research The right to be fully informed Every child has the right to full and truthful information about the purpose of a study in which he or she is to participate and about the procedures to be used The right to give informed and voluntary Every child has the right to agree, either consent orally or in writing, to participate in a research project. If a child is too young to understand the aims and procedures of the study and to make an informed decision, researchers must request the informed
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