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Developmental Psychology: Kathleen Stassen Views Essay


1. If you were a developmental psychologist, which group of children would you study: Play Years or School Years? Why?

The group of children that I would like to study as a developmental psychologist is ‘play years.’ Play is a very important part of development in the early and late childhood years. Play emerges as early as age two when young children start to explore their immediate surroundings by touching, squeezing, tossing, and banging.

As a result, through different instances of exploratory and sensory play, young children learn to feed themselves besides using different materials such as clay and paint to engage their peers in play. At age three and above, most children are capable of engaging their peers in different types of complex and exciting play including dramatic play, construction play, physical play, socio-dramatic play, games with rules, and games with invented rules.

A lot of studies have documented the importance of play in children’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Play is important since it enables the children to develop excellent social, emotional, and intellectual skills, which are imperatives for learning in school and social settings. For instance, some types of play, such as block building contribute to the children’s intellectual development by enabling them to develop skills in logical mathematical thinking, cognitive problem-solving, and scientific reasoning.

Other types of play, such as rough-and-tumble, are also important in enhancing the development of social and emotional self-regulation skills in children. Generally, the list of developmental benefits and pedagogical values of play is endless. Therefore, the main objective of studying children in the category of ‘play years’ entails gaining more insights into the importance of play in various aspects of development. This information is very useful, considering that it informs the participation of adults in the children’s play by pointing out areas where they can offer their support.

2. Of which discipline would you be a member: Cognitive or Psychosocial? Why?

I would like to become a member of the discipline of cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology is concerned with the study of mental processes, including different aspects of development such as memory, perception, language, intelligence, attention, problem-solving, decision-making, and judgment. Therefore, members of cognitive psychology, which is part of the larger field of cognitive science, have the opportunity to interact with different professionals drawn from a variety of disciplines including linguistics, neuroscience, and philosophy.

Most importantly, members of cognitive psychology study the mental processes involved in the acquisition, processing, and storage of information. As a result, cognitive research can go a long way in terms of informing pedagogical and social programs aimed at improving memory, increasing skills in decision-making, managing disorders associated with attention, and improving problem-solving skills. Thus, cognitive research ensures that educational curricula reflect the needs and expectations of learners, and hence, it enhances learning.

As opposed to other disciplines such as behaviorism, which is generally focused on observable behaviors, cognitive psychology takes a closer look into the internal mental processes, which determine how people think, remember, and learn. Furthermore, in comparison to psychoanalysis, which is concerned with the study of subjective perceptions, cognitive psychology follows the scientific method in studying different phenomena associated with internal mental processes.

Therefore, the prospects for researching with far-reaching implications are high in the area of cognitive psychology as opposed to other disciplines such as psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Moreover, being a member of cognitive psychology, one has greater opportunities and challenges in conducting objective research projects whose results are bound to improve the lives of many people.

3. If you chose Cognitive, which theorist would you follow: Piaget, Vygotsky or Information Processing? Why? Give examples.

Having indicated that I would like to become a member of the cognitive field of psychology, I would prefer to follow in the footsteps of Piaget and Vygotsky. The two theorists are among the most important people in the history of cognitive psychology owing to their contributions on the topic of cognition. Jean Piaget is the first cognitive psychologist to study cognition in early childhood.

According to Piaget, cognitive development occurs rapidly in the age of 2-6 years. He called this stage of cognitive development preoperational intelligence by observing that the young children in this age-group developed language and imagination through symbolic thought devoid of logical, operational thinking. For instance, “Flag” can be used symbolically to refer to an item that can be seen or something that can be imagined, such as a country. Therefore, symbolic thought enables children to think, imagine, and remember different things in the real world.

On his part, Lev Vygotsky is well known for his contributions to the topic of cognition in young children. Contrary to Piaget’s observations in that early cognition in children is egocentric, Vygotsky noted that young children’s thinking is guided by various socio-cultural factors, especially the influence of mentors. According to Vygotsky, mentors play a major role in the children’s early cognition and learning by providing challenges, offering support, adding crucial information, and encouraging motivation.

Therefore, children learn through guided participation in which the mentors share social experiences and explorations with young children. Moreover, mentors provide the scaffolding needed to help young children to learn social skills and concepts, including language, which is a very important factor in learning, private speech, and social mediation. Overall, both Piaget and Vygotsky provide a variety of important insights into the topic of cognition in young children, which forms the foundation for additional research for other developmental psychologists.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Developmental Psychology: Kathleen Stassen Views." May 7, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/developmental-psychology-kathleen-stassen-views/.

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