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Chapter 1 Intro and Overview to Child Development

Victor the "wild boy of aveyron"

In paris a boy was abandoned and was wild

At that point high degree of poverty and lots of kids abandoned, this one might have been ill(autistic)

Doc tried to teach him language etc, so experimental, but little progress in communicating

Never learned to speak and interact but able to show affection, and potty trained

Language, we need early stimulation to develop properly. He was passed 5

Victor experimental for 5 years, then sent off to be taken care of by care giver

History of child development

John Locke

English philosopher, childs mind a blank slate

Instructing child from early age had best influence, acknowledged that nurture and experience key factor in kids developing

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Talked about nature side, kids born pure and just need support

Abuse and Child Labor

In 1600s Massachusetts law to kill stubborn or rebellious children by father

1700s out of protection for animals came protection for children

19th century, kids separated from families and worked in industrial setting

England 1833 factory committee to see what appropriate for kids, decided on 12hour days

1800s Charles Darwin wrote "evolution of species" so changed way we look at development, through evolutionary process

William Preyer wrote first text looking at some of these issues, rules of observation(rely on direct obs, record immediately, be unobtrusive, avoid training child

James Mark Baldwin, theres a process to development and there is different stages of development

Central Questions of Developmental Science


Level of continuity between humans and species?

-Phylogeny-evolutionary history of a species

-Darwin The Origin of Species

-Distinguishing features of humans: culture and language(distinct ability to communicate)

In individual development continuous?

-ontogeny: development of an individual organism

-Qualitative vs. quantitative change

-developmental stages

Sources of Development

Nature: inherited biological predispositions

Nurture: influences of social environment, especially family and community

Most aspects of development involve both


Critical Periods: period of growth during which specific environmental or biological events must occur for normal development(ie imprinting, attached to first thing they see)

Sensitive Periods; an optimal time for certain developments to occur and when environmental events are most effective

Individual Differences

Between different individuals

Same individuals at different points in time

Developmental Science: Types of Research




Research Criteria

Objectivity; not biased by investigators preconceptions

Reliability: same under diff conditions

Validity: we measure what we want to measure

Replicability: able to reproduce results

Methods of Data Collection

Naturalistic Observations


Clinial Interview

Research Design

Longitudinal Studies: information from same subjects over time(Cohort effect)

Cross-sectional Studies: groups representing a cross section of ages are studied

Microgenetic Studies: Intense study of individual process over time

Ethical Standards

Developmental Theories

Theory: " a framework of ideas or body of principles that can be used to guide the collection and interpretation of a set of facts."

May change over time

No single theory is sufficient in and of itself

Biological-Maturation Framework(NATURE)

Endogenous: change comes from the inside due to genetics, biological heritage

Major cause of Change=maturation, sequence of genetically determined changes that occur with age. Environment is secondary.

Theorists tend to focus on....

Environmental-Learning framwork(Nurture)




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