Child Psychology

1924 WordsOct 8, 19998 Pages
I. Purpose of paper: Child Psychology, study of children's behavior-including physical, cognitive, motor, linguistic, perceptual, social, and emotional characteristics-from birth through adolescence. Child psychologists attempt to explain the similarities and differences among children and to describe normal as well as abnormal behavior and development. They also develop methods of treating social, emotional, and learning problems and provide therapy privately and in schools, hospitals, and other institutions. Two critical problems for child psychologists are (1) to determine how environmental variables (such as parental attitudes) and biological characteristics (such as health) interact and influence behavior, and (2) to…show more content…
Behaviorists encourage experimental studied and were responsible for moving child psychology into the mainstream of psychology. Although they contributed much to the study of children, their concepts eventually were viewed as being overly narrow (The Volume Library 1990: Volume 2). In the early 1960's attention was focused on the work of the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, who since the 1920's had been writing about children's cognitive development. Piaget called himself a genetic epistemologist-that is, a person who studies the origins of human knowledge-and his theories led to more advanced work in child psychology. This work involves both experimental and observational methods and, in accounting for behavior, integrates biological and environmental variables. Thus, current studies have their origins in Darwin's theory of evolution but also consider Watson's concern for environment (Kroll 1995). A theory of development should reflect an attempt to relate behavioral to chronological age; that is the diverse behavioral characteristics should be related to specific stages of growth. The rules governing the transitions between these growth states also must be identified. The dominant developmental theories are Freud's theory of personality development and Piaget's theory of perception and cognition. Both explain human development in terms of interactions of biological determinants
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