Heather L. Justice
May 6, 2009
A Comparison of Theoretical Perspectives
Developmental psychology is the study of human development and the changes that take place from conception on. Through the study of human development, scientists are able to uncover patterns of development in which they make hypothesis and theories from. In their observations, developmental scientists have offered many theories that explain the growth of a child’s body, mind and personality. There are five major psychological theories which are the psychoanalytic, learning, cognitive, contextual and evolutionary / sociobiological perspectives. These perspectives guide scientist down a path of study and questioning that best suits their beliefs about the development of children.
Of the five perspectives, I have chosen to compare and contrast the learning, cognitive and contextual theories. In this comparison I will discuss the key concepts, similarities and differences of each perspective. In an effort to explain the overall development of a child, I plan to discuss the interaction between the cognitive, physical and emotional changes that take place during development. Lastly I will explain, how understanding child development can help children reach their full potential.
The job of a developmental scientist is an important one; they investigate and study changes or lack of change in the characteristics of children. The distinctive changes of the body, mind and personality are sorted into the physical, cognitive and psychosocial domains of development. What causes these changes to occur, do they occur in stages or are they reactions to the environment and how much influence does the person have on their own development? These are the questions that developmental scientist seek to answers. By observing how children learn, think, and socialize as guided by the learning, cognitive and contextual perspective,
Cited: Feldman, R. D., Olds, S. W., & Papalia, D. E. (2008). A child 's world" Infancy through adolescence [11th ed]. New York: McGraw-Hill.