Developmental psychology began after the industrial revolution, when the need for a knowledgeable workforce prompted the social development of adolescence as a unique stage in a person’s life. The idea of adolescence began in the western world which is the reason early research came from that area. At first, developmental psychologist were intrigued by studying the brain of the child for the purpose that education and learning could be more successful.
Charles Darwin is credited with leading the first study of developmental psychology. In 1877, he wrote a short paper itemizing the development of natural forms of communication based on scientific observations of his infant son, Doddy.
The rise of developmental psychology as a specific subject can be traced back to 1882, when a German physiologist, Wilhelm Preyer, published a book entitled “Mind of the Child”. Preyer used extremely thorough scientific procedures while studying the many abilities of his daughter. In the book he describes the development of his daughter from birth to two and a half years of age. In 1888, Preyer’s book was translated to English. By this time, 47 additional studies from Europe, Britain and North America had been published to expedite the distribution of learning in the field.
During the 1900s, three main figures ruled the field with their thorough hypotheses of human development. Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development. His contributions include a theory of cognitive child development, detailed observational studies of cognition in children, and a series of simple but ingenious tests to reveal different cognitive abilities. Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) stressed the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition, as he believed that community plays a key role. Vygotsky claimed that social learning came before…