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CHYS 1F90 Chapter Notes -Child Development, Toilet Training, Moral Agency

Child and Youth Studies
Course Code
Lauren Mc Namara

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CHYS - Science of Development Notes
Thesis: In child development, a theory is an organized set of ideas that is designed to
explain and make predictions about development.
The Early Biological Perspective:
Maturational Theory: Child development reflects a specific and prearranged scheme or
plan within the body. In Gesell’s view, development is simply a natural unfolding of a
biological plan; experience matters little. Development would occur naturally without
interference of adults.
-This was discarded because it didn’t touch on the impact environment has a child’s
Ethological Theory: Views development from an evolutionary perspective. Many
behaviors are adaptive-they have survival value.
-However, how does experience fit in?
A critical period in development is the time when a specific type of learning can take
place; before or after the critical period the same learning is difficult or even impossible.
For example, chicks follow the first thing they see after birth. They are programmed to
imprint on someone, usually a mother to create an emotional bond. The critical period
for imprinting was only one day.
Children’s genes influence virtually every aspect of their development.
The Psychodynamic Perspective:
Oldest theoretical perspective on child development.
Psychodynamic Perspective: development is largely determined by how well people
resolve conflicts they face at different ages. Three primary components emerge at
different times.
1. Id- is the reservoir of primitive instincts and drives. A hungry baby crying is the id in
2. Ego- the practical, rational component of personality. This develops during the first
year of life as infants realize they cannot always have what they want. The ego tries to
solve the problems it is faced with when it must fight with the id- the wants of a human.
3. Superego (moral agent)- Happens during preschool years as children begin to learn
adult rights and wrongs.
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