Titan: Developmental Psychology and Child Essay

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Developmental Psychology

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Developmental Psychology

There are three main theories of development that I shall discuss in this assignment, 'Cognitive', the main theorist being, 'Piaget', (1896 - 1980), The, 'Psychosocial Theory', 'Erikson', (1902 - 1994), and, The 'Psychosexual', of, 'Freud', (1856 - 1939).

Cognitive Psychology draws the comparison between the human mind and a computer, suggesting that we like the computer process the information we acquire from around us and then react accordingly. Hearnshaw, (1987), claims that Cognitive Psychology is both one of the oldest and also one of the newest parts of Psychology, cited in ?T. Malim?, (1994). Information is collected through our senses i.e. vision, touch, smell etc and then processed through our brain. Cognitive Psychologists largely seek explanations of Cognitive development, memory, attention, artificial intelligence, perception and social cognition. The methods used are usually Laboratory experiments under controlled circumstances i.e. memory tests, and, Case studies.

Piaget, (J), (1896-1980), carried out case studies on his own children to study the stages of cognitive development. Piaget concluded that the child was an organism which adapts to the environment, he also studied with the opinion that all children went through the same set stages of development and that there were no individual differences.
Piagets? Stages of Development: -

The Sensorimotor stage, (0-2): - Early in the sensorimotor stage the child is entirely egocentric, everything is an extension to the self, they can?t distinguish themselves from their environment. The child has no concept of past or future all it is aware of is the here and now. The child relies entirely on it?s senses i.e. sight, hearing, touch. It is believed by Cognitive Psychologists that ?.. ?To begin with, a baby will rely on in-built behaviours for sucking, crawling and watching? as cited in Moonie, N, (1995). A child does not understand that an object does not cease to exist when it is out of sight. However, in contradiction, Bower & Wishart, (1972), used infrared cameras to see what the child does when an object disappears. The child is shown a bottle in the light, when the child reaches to grasp the bottle the lights are turned out. Bower & Wishart recorded that the child continued to reach for the bottle for up to 1.5minutes after the lights are turned out. Another point made by Piaget is that not only does the child look for an object, which is hidden, but also the child will not look for it even if part of it is showing. The object must be fully visible for the child to look for it. Between the ages 6-7 months the child will recognise a partly visible object and by 8 months the child will look for an object that is totally hidden, (all ages are approximate, although Piaget believed children went through the same