Theories lead to predictions that we can test in research; in the process, the theory is supported or not. When results of research match the predictions, this supports the theory. When results differ from the predictions, this shows that the theory is incorrect and needs to be revised. Perhaps now you see why theories are essential for child development research: They are the source of predictions for research, which often lead to changes in the theories. These revised theories then provide the basis for new predictions, which lead to new research, and the cycle continues
Five Major Theoretical Perspectives Biological Psychodynamic Learning Cognitive-developmental Ecological
Biological Perspective According to the biological perspective, intellectual and personality development, as well as physical and motor development, proceed according to a biological plan. One of the first biological theories, maturational theory, was proposed by Arnold Gesell (1880 – 1961).
According to 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. How do you feel about that theory? Do you agree with the maturational theory? If yes or no, explain why.
Other biological theories give greater weight to experience. Ethological theory views development from an evolutionary perspective. In this theory, many behaviors are adaptive –they have survival value. Ethological theorists assume that people inherit many of these adaptive behaviors.
Psychodynamic Perspectives This is the oldest scientific perspective on child development, tracing its roots to Sigmund Freud’s (1856 – 1939) work in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries. Freud was a physician who specialized in diseases of the nervous system. Many of his patients were adults who suffered from ailments that seemed to have no obvious biological cause. Using his patients’ case histories, Freud created the first psychodynamic theory in which development is largely determined by how well people resolve conflicts they face at different ages.
Two aspects of Freud’s theorizing have influenced child development research. The first was his theory of personality. Freud proposed that personality includes three primary components that emerge at distinct ages. 1. Id – is a reservoir of primitive instincts and drives 2. Ego – is the practical, rational component of personality 3. Superego – emerges during the preschool years as children begin to internalize adult standards of right and wrong. Freud believed that development proceeds best when children’s needs at each stage are met but not exceeded. If children’s needs are not met adequately, they are frustrated and reluctant to move to other, more mature forms of stimulation.
LEARNING Learning theorists champion John Locke’s view the infant’s mind is a blank slate on which experience writes. John Watson (1878-1958) was the first theorist to apply this approach to child development. Watson argued that learning determines what children will be. He assumed that with the correct techniques anything, could be learned by almost anyone. Watson did little research to support his claims; B.F. Skinner (1904-1990), filled the gap. Skinner studied operant conditioning in which the consequences of a behavior determine whether a behavior is repeated in the future. Skinner showed that two kinds of consequences were especially influential. Reinforcement is a consequence that increases the future likelihood of the behavior that it follows. Name a positive reinforcement you may give a child for cleaning his or her room. A punishment is a consequence that decreases the future likelihood of the behavior that it follows. Give an example of when a punishment would be issued and for what type of behavior.
ECOLOGICAL Most developmentalists agree that the environment is an important force in development. However, only ecological theories have focused on the complexities of environments and their links to development. For ecological theory, which gets its name from the branch of biology dealing with the relation of living things to their environment and to one another, child development is inseparable from the environmental contexts in which a child develops. In other words, all aspects of development are interconnected, much like the threads of a spider’s web are all intertwined. Interconnectedness means that no aspect of development can be isolated from others and understood independently.
Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages. Birth to 12 to 18 months Trust vs. Mistrust 18 months to 3years Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt 3 to 6 years Initiative vs. Guilt 6 to 12 years Industry vs. Inferiority 12 to 18 years Identity vs. Role Confusion 19 to 40 years Intimacy vs. Isolation 40 to 65 years Generativity vs. Stagnation 65 to death Ego Integrity vs. Despair We will now view a YouTube Video called, “Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development 8 stages by Paul Glazer 6:04
JEAN PIAGET, LEADING PROPONENT OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENTAL THEORY
Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory Sensorimotor 0-2 Preoperational thought 2-6 Concrete operational thought 7-11 Formal operational thought Adolescence
Sensorimotor Infant’s knowledge of the world is based on senses and motor skills. By the end of the period, infants uses mental representations
Preoperational Child learns how to use symbols such as words and numbers to represent aspects of the world, but relates to the world only through his or her perspective.
Concrete Operational Child understands and applies logical operations to experiences, provided they are focused on the here and now
Formal Operational Adolescent or adult thinks abstractly, speculates and beyond on hypothetical situations, and reasons deductively about what may be possible Now we will watch a YouTube video called: Piaget’ Developmental Theory: Overview 4:57 Write a one paragraph summary of the video
References www.youtube.com “Piaget’s Developmental Theory and Overview” by Davidson www.youtube.com www.youtube.com “Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development 8 stages by Paul Glazer www.youtube.com http://webCortland.edu/andersmd/erik/sum.HTML