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Chapter 1

Chapter 1.docx

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Mark Schmuckler

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rdChild Psychology 3 Canadian EditionChapter 1Child Development Themes Theories and Methods Child development seeks to account for the gradual evolution of the childs cognitive social emotional and motor capacities first by describing changes in the childs observed behaviours and then by uncovering the processes and strategies that underlie these changes what things change as children get older and how these changes come about Almost a century ago the field emerged when scholars became interested in the topicDarwin researched infants sensory and perceptual capacities and childrens emotionsJames Baldwinappointed to U of T 1889 work on mental development used own daughter as a subject to examine handedness suggestion imitation and will in infancy1926 St George School for Child Study in Toronto opened headed by William Blatz today called Institute for Child StudyBlatz known for study on Dionne quintuplets sisters raised in special public display compound Better information about child development can help society protect and advance the wellbeing of children can help shape social policy on behalf of childrenThemes of DevelopmentOrigins of Behaviour Biological versus Environmental Influences o Most theories agree that biological and environmental factors both influence human development but disagree on the balance between the influences o Early yearssome held strictly biological or environmental views o Gesell 1928course of development was largely predetermined by biological factors focused on maturation genetically determined process of growth that unfolds naturally over a period of time o Watson 1928assumed biological factors placed no restrictions on the ways that the environment can shape the course of a childs development could produce a genius or a criminal by properly organizing the environment o Modern developmentalists explore how nature and nurture interact together to produce developmental variations in different children o Children actively influence and modify the actions of their parents and others with whom they interact the interaction between biology and environment is an active dynamic process in which the child also contributes to the processPattern of Developmental Change Continuity versus Discontinuity o Some view development as a continuous process where each new event builds on earlier experiencesabilities without abrupt shifts from one to the next development is a smooth and gradual accumulation of abilities quantitative o Discontinuous development is seen as a series of discrete steps or stages in which behaviours get reorganized into a qualitatively new set of behaviours different from the preceding qualitative o Most contemporary child researchers see development as continuous interspersed with periods of change that are discontinuous o Disruption to behavioural continuity may not be problematic to developmentexample children who were raised in deprived institutional settings early in life experienced positive change after being adopted into healthy familiesForces that Affect Developmental Change Individual Characteristics versus Contextual and Cultural Influenceso Interactionist viewpointstressing the connection between the individual and contextual influences ie children with aggressive personality traits are more likely to join a gang or a karate class seek contexts where they can display those traits however in contexts that
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