chapter  10
92 Pages

The Developmental Approach

ByBrian D. Cox

Modern developmental psychology is a child of evolution. As the scientific study of children began in the 19th century, rigorous Victorian self-improvement was mixed with the spiritual upward evolution of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and the new theories of Darwin and Haeckel to lend a new urgency to the need for child-rearing data and advice. Developmental psychology began as a separate area of study at the moment when children began to be seen as living laboratories of evolution. In the 40s and 50s, Jean Piaget turned his attention to the famous stage theory, considering how children’s thought formed a sequence of developmental structures, focusing on what he called structures d’ensemble or operational structures. Piaget’s genetic epistemology was focused, as its name implies, on how children construct for themselves a useful model of the world of object knowledge for themselves.