Chapter 1 - Chapter 1 History Theories and Methods Learning...

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Chapter 1: History, Theories and Methods Learning Objectives Explain what child development is and why it is important to study child development Discuss the history of child development. Have views about childhood and child development changed across time? If so, how? Describe/ discuss the major controversies in the study of child development. Describe how psychologists study child development. Discuss the ethical considerations involved in studying child development Truth or Fiction? During the Middle Ages, children were often treated as miniature adults (T) Children come into the world as “blank tablets,” without inborn differences in intelligence and talents. (T) Nail biting and smoking cigarettes are signs of conflict experienced during early childhood. (F) Children should not be punished. (T) Research with monkeys has helped psychologists understand the formation of attachment in humans. (T) To learn how a person develops over a lifetime, researchers have tracked some individuals for more than 50 years. (T) What is Child Development? Defining “Child” through Periods of Development o Conception and Prenatal o Infancy o Early Childhood o Middle Childhood o Adolescence Development is: The orderly appearance, over time of physical structures, psychological traits, behaviors and ways of adapting to demands of life Dimensions of Development o Biological o Cognitive o Social o Emotional o Behavioral Defining Development o Qualitative changes (changes in quality) Development o Quantitative changes (changes in size) Growth Field of study that tries to understand the processes that govern the appearance of growth of children’s o Biological structures
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o Psychological traits o Behavior o Understanding o Ways of adapting to demands of life Why Do Researchers Study Child Development? 1. Gain insight into o human nature (why are humans the way they are) o origins of adult behavior (how do we explain adult behavior) o origins of difference (why do humans act differently) sex gender roles culture o origins, prevention and treatment of developmental problems 2. Optimize conditions of development (ex: effects of parent-infant interaction, effects of bottle feeding vs. breast feeding, effect of various foods and chemicals, etc.) What Views of Children Do We Find Throughout History? o Ancient Times and Middle Ages: Children viewed as innately evil and discipline harsh Treated as property and servants Age 7 is the “age of reason” Children were treated as miniature adults Transition to study of development in modern times John Locke (1632-1704) o Child came into world as a tabula rasa, or “blank slates” o Focus on role of environment and experience Jean-Jacque Rousseau (revised Locke’s stance) (1712-1778) o Children are inherently good and moral Industrial Revolution (18 th to the 19 th century) o Family defined as Nuclear unit of mother, father, and children o
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