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Lecture 1

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John Vervaeke

PSY210H1F Lecture 1 - Developmental Psychology is about learning how individuals are different. - The ancient view regarding children was that they saw children as slaves, property, or animals that had to be socialised and turned into people. - They believed that children or young individuals could not be considered people. - The reason was that children are not capable of inferrential reasoning, language abilities, a conscious sense of self, no normative awareness, can not judge consequnces of their actions, and do not have any control or ownership of their bodies. All these reason indicate that children cannot be held accountable for their actions and why we deny children legal and moral responsibility at such a age. - We start as blank slates when we are born, waiting to be written upon. Hence in a sense we start from zero and eventually get to what we call a “person”. - With the advent of Christianity, the status of children changed. Christianity described children being similar to what Adam and Eve were before they fell from grace (innocent, valuable, and pure). Hence, Christianity began to define children as sacred and vaulable beings. - The view of John Locke was that children are no differnet in kind from us but rather in degree. We are essentially the same being, the only difference is that we know more than children. Children are just like adults except smaller and ignorant. Hence, the only way of turning a child into an adult is by means of education. They have the same cognition and abilities etc but they just lack the amount of knowldege and information we have gained over the years. - A criticism of John Lockes view is that if children are smaller than us we can exploit them eg. Child labour and slavery. Children were small during the industrial revolution so companies would hire more children as they could go between the cracks and fix borken machinery rather than the company having to shut down the whole factory. - It was believed that children should not be studied as there is nothing to gain or no insight that can be obtained from studyign child psychology. - This view cahnged with the advent of Freud and Piagen. They came up with a theory that explained child development as a process of stages in which cognition is qualitatively different. - This is a critism of John Locke aswell because when you say two individuals are at different stages of cognition does not mean they have the same cognitive abilities as each other, and just lack information. Rather that no moater how much instruction you give one you cannot teach him that thing as he is incompetent. - In essence this theory implies that between any two stages there isnt a quantitative difference but rather a qualitative difference. This shows that it doesn’t not mean children do not have intelligence or knowledge, but that they cannot make sense of it as they lack that cognitive maturity. - Some behavior that seems bizarre from our perspective may seem very normal from the eyes of a child. This reflects the differences that arise from being at varying stages of development. This bizarreness goes both ways as from the childs feels your perespective is irrational. - From this we can kind of see why studying children is in effect essential as even though children and adults are at different stages of development , the stage of development that the children are at eventually leads to forming an individual hence in essence we are studying the causes that led to the formation of individuals. Why Does Someone Want To Study Child Psychology?
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