Psychological approaches to child development

Learning theory originates from the Cognitive, Behaviourist and Communal approaches in the field of psychology. Each one of these approaches has assumptions that can be used to how it is applicable its approach to understanding human behaviour. The basic assumptions of the Behaviourist techniques are firstly traditional fitness this is learning through the procedure of relationship between a particular stimulus and response. Classical conditioning entails conditioned reflexes: all pets have this reflexive behavior which is not really a mindful control but is a response to a particular stimuli for example a kneejerk reflex will only jerk if is tapped in the right place while your lower leg is readily swinging this reflex is managed by the spinal cord and not by the brain this is an easy reaction to the stimuli another example is the creation of saliva in response to food when famished. This was studied in great details by Pavlov, (1911). Pavlov have been studying the digestive process in puppies, to carry out this he put dogs in harnesses and place a pipe up inside their cheek, he do this so he could measure the rate and development of saliva. He witnessed that the dogs would learn to salivate not only when these were given food however when they first caught sight of the meals pail. Pavlov set up many studies to research whether or not a puppy could figure out how to associate salivation with another response "the ringing of your bell", Pavlov found that after associating the audio of the bell with the demonstration of food the canines would salivate when they read the bell. The reflex of salivation had become conditioned. Pavlov found there to be always a tendency to generalise the training to other stimuli if a different bell was rang the pups would still salivate and the greater similar the audio of bell was to the original one the stronger the response this is recognized as the generalisation gradient. Although Pavlov examined pups it became noticeable that it was also a form of human being learning. (Hayes&Orell, 1996) (Pearce, 1987)

Menzies (1937) revealed how completely unconscious response could be conditioned respond to the sound of your buzzer, the response was vasoconstriction which is the process of arteries withdrawing from the surface of the skin in the cool. Menzies received his members to immerse their hands in a bucket of snow cold water when the buzzer was sounded this would cause vasoconstriction in their hands after some time vasoconstriction would take place when the buzzer sounded even though their hands were not immerged in this particular meaning their reflex have been conditioned. This study is important as it illustrates that traditional conditioning is nothing to do with our mindful decisions. (Hayes&Orell, 1996)

In 1920 Watson and Rayner performed a fitness experiment on just a little guy who became known only a small amount Albert; He was given a white rat and it was noticed that Albert was playful with the rodent he had no fear of it and was even comfortable picking it up. Next time the rat was presented with to Albert he reacted just as but the psychologists made a loud sound it was so quick it made little Albert cry they does this on numerous situations therefore finally the mere eyesight of the rat would make Little Albert cry next they launched a white rabbit and a Santa Claus mask which also made him weep, Little Albert had been conditioned to weep at the view of the white rat but during the process had made a connection that anything white and furry would make a noisy noise. This test offers us an information into the individual brain however this experiment would be unethical in the current expectations. (Hayes&Orell, 1996)(Pearce, 1987)

Traditionally, psychologists believed that responses that can be classically conditioned are involuntary responses for example: heart rate changes, gastric motility, sweating, eye blinks and sexual arousal. That is in contrast to operant conditioning, in which voluntary reactions are molded through their worthwhile and punishing effect Pavlov's studies confirmed how pets and humans can acquire new actions beyond the somewhat limited repertoire of the innate reflexes. (Davey, G 1981)

Pavlov presumed that the conditioned response could describe all varieties of learning. For many years, learning theorists presumed that nearly any perceivable neutral stimulus could turn into a Conditioned Stimulus and that just about any response could be conditioned this view of classical conditioning has been changed as a number of clinical tests have identified constraints to pets or animals' and humans' adaptability through traditional conditioning. ( Davey 1981)

Stimulus generalization allows you to react to similarities between environmental stimuli, while stimulus discrimination gives you to respond in a different way to stimuli that have some features in keeping with other stimuli. You generalize first, and then, through additional experience, you learn which stimuli are functionally similar and which stimuli require different responses. (Hayes, 1994)(McFarland, 1999)

Another type of learning is Operant Fitness which involves understanding how to do it again or totally stop certain behaviours, although is more complex than classical fitness it is still a straightforward form of learning. In 1911 Thorndike argued that some replies were learned not only because they are associated with a stimulus response but because that they had unpleasant consequences. This is known as regulations of effect which is the research of different types of learning it is currently known as operant conditioning the psychologist responsible for expanding it was Skinner. Like Pavlov, Skinner investigated learning by using pets or animals he do this because he wished to study simple varieties of learning whereas human learning is normally complicated. By by using a Skinner box which really is a device that contained simple elements that were necessary for learning a response, he'd place a eager animal either a rat or a pigeon into the box and view their behavior the package would contain three things a lever a food delivery chute and a light, as the animal began to go around the container it would eventually press the lever and food would be supplied meaning that the behaviour had been rewarded and would have an influence in reinforcing that behavior which would make it work again. (Hayes&Orell, 1996) (Blackwell& Skinner, 1951)

Skinner introduced the term operant or operant response to distinguish the responses in operant fitness from those in traditional conditioning. In classical fitness the conditioned response does not have an effect on whether or when the stimulus occurs.

Supernanny uses positive encouragement and rewards which is most effective in producing good behavior. Positive rein forcers are events that strengthen a response if they are experienced from then on response occurs. These are roughly equivalent to rewards. For children, positive rein forcers range from food, smiles, money, or other attractive outcomes. The demonstration of positive re-enforcers after a response is called positive reinforcement. The process of strengthening tendencies by pursuing it with the removal of an aversive stimulus is called negative encouragement and other suitable effects. Negative rein forcers are stimuli such as pain, dangers, or a disapproving frown that fortify a response if they're removed after the response occurs. Whether it takes the proper execution of delivering something pleasurable or getting rid of something aversive, reinforcement always escalates the probability of the habit that precedes it. (supernanny. com).

Developmental psychologists are considering how parent's impact upon a child's development, furthermore sourcing actual cause and result links between your activities of parents and children's development can be quite difficult. Baumrind (1967) conducted a study on more than 100 preschool age children using naturalistic observation and parental interviews she could identify four important measurements of parenting which are disciplinary strategies, ambiance and nurturance, communication and targets of maturity and control. Baumrind (1967) stated that most parents screen one of four parenting styles which can be: Authoritarian parenting which is where the parent controls, designs and evaluates the frame of mind and behaviour of a kid using strict guidelines set up by the parents they believe in keeping the kid in their place. In addition they do not encourage verbal give and take, thinking that the kid should allow their term for what's right. Next is the Authoritative parent or guardian they try to escort the child's activities however in a logical, issue-oriented manner. They encourage verbal give and take and share with the kid the reasoning. This sort of parenting can result in children being obedient but lack contentment and self esteem. The authoritative parent or guardian affirms the child's present characteristics, but also sets requirements for future carry out. These parents want their children to be assertive as well as socially sensible. This sort of parenting can result in children being happy ready and successful. Permissive parents have hardly any demands to make on the children the parent consults with the kid about decisions and provides explanations as to the reasons they need to be executed. They avoid control and use reason and manipulation not to overt ability but to perform mature behaviour permissive parents are nurturing and commutative and are greater than a friend when compared to a parent with their children. This parenting style can bring about children having low happiness and self-confidence but likewise have problems with expert and sometimes can do poor at school. Finally the uninvolved parent has few requirements and has very low responsiveness and communication with the youngster even though these parents may fulfil their child's basic needs they will be detached from their child's life in extreme cases this can lead to reject r neglect of their children. This parenting style lacks lowest in all life domains and children lack in self esteem and are less experienced. (Baumrind, 1967)

The BBC information reported on a report "Tough Love is good for children" It expresses a balance of heat and discipline better communal skills more an authoritarian or disengaged upbringing. It says children aged five with "Tough Love "parents were twice as likely to show good personality capabilities. However in line with the report features such as application, self regulation and empathy were much more likely to be developed in children whose parents were of the "Tough Love "category, it discovered that these attributes make a vital contribution to life chances and opportunity. The building figure data came from more than 9000 homeowners in britain, it discovered that children from the richest backgrounds were doubly more likely to develop key characteristics, additionally children whose parents were committed were also doubly likely to show such features than children from lone father or mother or step-families. , it added that when parental style and confidence were designed in the difference in child figure development between richer and poorer individuals disappeared. They recommended that the government's sure start program should be refocused for the utilization as a tool in early treatment and urge to find out more and support for households and children with disengaged or low income parents. This article figured it mentioned that parenting was the most crucial influence. (BBC Reports)

One could argue that no matter what parenting style is given throughout child years it shows on a child's decision making frame of mind and behaviour, and has a great impact on a child's development. After learning about parenting styles on child development it is evident that all parents should simply use the authoritative parenting style after all it is much more likely to produce happy self-confident and ready children.

The ideas that Freud researched stressed the importance of childhood activities, relating to Freud child development is referred to as some "psychosexual stages" Freud defined these levels as oral, anal, phallic, latency period, and genital. Each stage requires the satisfaction of any libidinal desire and can later are likely involved in adult personality. Erickson developed Freud's ideas on development throughout individuals lifespan. Erikson thought that each level of development is targeted on conquering a turmoil. Theorist Jean Piaget advised that children think in a different way than adults. Piaget's level theory identifies the cognitive development of children. Cognitive development requires changes in cognitive process and talents. In Piaget's view, early on cognitive development consists of processes based after actions and later advances into changes in mental operations. Piagets focus on qualitative development possessed an important effect on education, although he didn't specifically apply his theory to education but has been found in that children should trained at the level for which they may be developmentally ready. A criticism of Piaget is his research methods in he used his own three children for his experiments, other children in Piaget's small research test were all from well-educated specialists of high socio-economic status. Because of this unrepresentative sample, it is difficult to generalise his studies to a more substantial human population and research has shown that Piaget's debate that children will automatically move to the next stage of development as they mature. Some data found implies that environmental factors may are likely involved in the introduction of formal operations. (About. com)

Social learning theory is occurs within cultural context and is observational learning, imitation and modelling so this means people observe learning behavior of others. Behaviourists say that learning has to be represented by a long lasting change in behaviour; in contrast sociable learning theorists say that because people can learn through observation by themselves. Sociable learning theory is becoming progressively cognitive in its interpretation of individual learning. Understanding and expectations of reinforcements or punishments have a significant influence on behaviours that individuals display. Gleam transition between behaviourist learning ideas and cognitive learning theories. The surroundings reinforces and punishes modelling. Much behavior can be discovered through modelling: Aggression can be learned through models. Much research shows that children are more ambitious when they observed aggressive or violent models. Moral thinking and moral behavior are influenced by observation and modelling, including moral judgments regarding right and wrong.

Bandura (1961) designed a report which he known as the Bobo Doll experiment, His research used three sets of children the first being the control group which did not include a grown-up. The other two groupings included adult actors with one group exposure to a grown-up showing verbal and physical hostile behaviour to the inflatable doll and the other witnessing a unaggressive adult, Bandura (1961) discovered that the band of children who were subjected to the adult demonstrating aggression were more likely to show the same behavior when left together in a room to learn than those whose teams had a passive adult or no adult by any means, The three communities were also divided evenly between children and the results also showed that males were 3 x more likely to imitate the physical hostile behaviour than women, although it was discovered that the level of imitative verbal aggression was a comparable for men and women in the group, Bandura (1961) demonstrates that children have a tendency to imitate the behaviour of a grown-up role model so are acting very much the same an adult will. (Shuttleworth, 2008)

However there are extreme samples that show that a real human child will imitate the behaviour of whatever it comes into contact with the most, exposure to a model behaving aggressively ends up with observational learning and intense behaviour.


  • http://www. betterlucktomorrow. com/character_sites/steve/Little%20Albert. htm
  • http://psychology. about. com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/childdevtheory. htm
  • Shuttleworth, M. (2008). EXPERIMENT-RECOURCES : Online. Available: http://www. experiment-resources. com/bobo-doll-experiment. html#Hypothesis [Accessed: 15/10/09]
  • Davey, G (1981) Animal Learning and Fitness MacMillan Press.
  • Hayes, N. (1994) Rules of Comparative Mindset Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Martin, P. & Bateson, P. (1993) Measuring Behaviour (2nd ed. ) Cambridge School Press
  • McFarland, D. (1999) Pet Behaviour (3rd ed. ) Longman
  • Pearce J. M. (1987) An Release to Canine Cognition
  • Lawrence Erlbaum Ridley, M. (1995) Pet Behaviour: a concise benefits (2nd Ed. )
  • Blackwell Skinner, B. F. (1951) How to Teach Animals Scientific American Dec 1951 pp
  • http://www. supernanny. com/Advice/-/Supernanny-techniques/-/Discipline-and-reward. aspx
  • http://www. devpsy. org/teaching/parent/baumrind_styles. html
  • http://newsvote. bbc. co. uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news. bbc. co. uk/1/h. . .

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)