As a result of mastering this topic, the student must:


• the main directions of development of the child's psyche, formulated by K. Levine:

• Basic experiments that illustrate the specificity of human behavior in a phenomenal field;

be able to

• analyze the specificity of human behavior in a phenomenal field;

• operate with the concept claim level for the analysis of the child's mental development;


• The skills of analyzing the practical application of the field theory of K. Levin from the standpoint of modern scientific knowledge.

Phenomenal field and behavior

From the point of view of K. Lepin, the person (both child and adult) reality is revealed as a special phenomenal field. Better to say, a person sees not the world itself, but a psychological picture of the world. However, such a picture does not arise simply as a consequence of the effect of stimuli on the sense organs, but as a result of the systemic organization of all sensory experiences. From the point of view of Gestalt psychologists, such a system appears as a result of the structuring of a phenomenal field. Levin set the task to explain how this structuring takes place.

He believed that any person is constantly in a special psychological space, which is built on the basis of the influences of various objects around him and experiences emanating from the person himself. All the impressions that arise in this process form a phenomenal field. Levin believed that human behavior can be understood from the forces acting in such a field. In other words, a change in the structural organization of the psyche is reflected in the behavior change. The scientist noted the following aspects of development - the diversity of behavior, the organization of behavior, the expansion of areas of activity, the interdependence of behavior and the degree of realism.

In his opinion, with increasing age there is an increase in the variety of behavior. For example, if the behavior of a newborn is basically limited to a limited repertoire (physiological functions, crying, sucking, etc.), then the behavior of the child of the elder age has great differences. At the same time, the behavior itself is changing, which is becoming more and more differentiated. So, if a child at the age of one year goes straight to the goal (using the shortest path), then eventually he learns to use workarounds, various tools and social interaction to achieve the desired. A similar trend is also observed in the sphere of emotional expression. As an example, you can consider a smile, which at first is difficult to distinguish from other emotional reactions. Gradually, in the behavior of the child there are all kinds of new smiles - arrogant, provocative, welcoming, etc. In the sphere of the needs and interests of the child, differentiation is expressed in an increase in their number. In addition, similar changes occur in the field of cognition: increasing knowledge leads to an expansion of the child's ideas about the world. In the sphere of social interaction, the main indicators of differentiation are the increase in the number of people with whom the child comes into contact and the gradual increase in the variety of the species themselves and the ways of interaction.

However, the development of behavior can not simply lead to increased diversity. Simple accumulation of actions can only promote chaotic and incoherent behavior. Therefore, according to K.Levin, in the opinion of K.Levin, "the organization of behavior is also acquired." In other words, behavior is transformed into a single system that can be subordinated to a certain time for any purpose. The older the child, the more time he can behave in accordance with any idea. So, the idea of ​​the game (for example, in the daughter-mother) can organize the most diverse actions dictated by the role of the child (the arrival of the father from work, dinner, etc.), hierarchizing them.

A vivid example of the increase in the organization of the motor system and the emotional-necessities of the child is the threading of the needle. For a small child, this task is extremely difficult: the more he wants to achieve success, the more his muscles strain, which hinders the task. With age, there is not a general increase in tone, but there is a consistent tension and relaxation of individual muscle groups, which allows you to successfully manage the process of achieving the goal. Unlike a child, an adult, even if he really wants to do something quickly, easily relaxes his muscles and also easily strains them when he needs to carry a heavy load, although the activity itself may not be desirable.

In addition, if initially the action was performed as a single and continuous, now it can be interrupted by other actions for a long time, which does not prevent the child from successfully completing it afterwards. With the complexity of the organization of behavior, forms such as joke and deception appear. The peculiarity of these actions lies in the fact that they proceed at two levels - external and internal, which are held by the child simultaneously.

The next direction in changing children's behavior is related to the expansion of the activity area. We can say that as the child ages, the psychological world begins to expand, the boundaries of its phenomenal field increase. If at first the three-month-old child lives in the cradle and the area of ​​his activity is actually limited by it, then gradually he masteres the space of the room, the house, the garden, the street, etc. In this space, according to K. Levin, the child has two areas: associated with the free movement of the child and with objects that attract attention but are closed to the child, or forms of activity. The discrepancy between these areas determines the level of the child's claims. The increase in free movement leads to an expansion of opportunities and an increase in the level of aspiration. It is important to note that the change in this living space can not always occur gradually, events in the fate of the child can radically affect the structure of the entire space. Such changes are, for example, the birth of a brother or sister. As a result, it becomes necessary to structure the newly emerged living space, which, from the point of view of Levin, inevitably leads to a crisis in the development of the child. In parallel with the expansion of the living space, there is a change in its temporal parameter or, as its psychologist has determined, a temporal perspective: if a small child lives in the present, then with increasing age, his life space starts to include both a distant psychological past and the future (both influence on the present behavior of the child).

With age, the child's interdependence varies. Since a growing diversity of behavior presupposes differentiation and integration, in addition to increasing diversity in behavior, the interdependence between its elements decreases. A characteristic example of this is the differentiation of the motor behavior of the child. If initially, for example, the act of grasping is that the baby wants to bring the object closer with eyes, hands, feet and mouth, then the child subsequently uses the entire hand, the hand and then the fingers, which start moving independently of the movement of the whole hand. In other words, a small child strives to act with all his body, and the older child will act more selectively. Such selective behavior presumes an increase in the tone of one part of the muscular system and a decrease in the other.

Reducing interdependence occurs in the emotional sphere. Thus, the amount of muscle activity in a baby is directly proportional to the feeling of hunger. In older children such a pattern is not observed - they better control themselves, and their motor system does not demonstrate the state of the emotional-needs sphere. For example, if the behavior of an infant is largely determined by the degree of its fatigue, then the adult in this respect is more independent, since it is still capable of continuing activities.

In addition, if in infants the satiation of one need is interconnected with the general state of satisfaction, then with the time the saturation of one need is separated from the saturation of other needs. K. Levin pays special attention to the problem of the interdependence of behavior and environment, which is manifested in field behavior, which is associated with the response to the action of momentary stimuli. The older the child, the more he can be relatively independent of this stimulation, which is associated with the development of a time perspective.

Over time, the environment becomes less subjectively colored for the child, which leads to a more realistic perception, regardless of the changing moods and needs of the child. Such growing realism is especially noticeable in social relations: children begin to react to another person more objectively. In particular, if a small child does not feel well, he can transfer his condition to a peer and, for example, drive him away, showing his discontent, but with age he begins to distinguish his state from attitude to another.

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