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Introducing Child Psychology

  • ID: 2240090
  • Book
  • August 2003
  • 404 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Introducing Child Psychology is for all those who want to find out what psychology can tell us about the nature and development of children. Assuming no prior knowledge, it is designed to suit students of psychology at school or university, those training to work with children in a variety of different professional roles, or general readers who are interested in what makes a child tick .

The book begins with an explanation of the aims and principles of child psychology as a scientific discipline, and describes the methods used to obtain knowledge about children. It then goes on to present the major topics of development that have been investigated by psychologists, paying particular attention to the most recent research findings.

Throughout, psychological knowledge is consistently related to practical issues, showing what psychology has to offer in real–life situations involving children.

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List of Boxes.

List of Figures.

List of Tables.

About The Author.


1. Finding Out About Children:.

What Is Child Psychology?.

Nature And Aims.


Cross–Sectional And Longitudinal Approaches.

Why Do We Need Child Psychology?.

Answering Questions: The Subjective Way.

Answering Questions: The Objective Way.

The Role Of Theory.


Further Reading.

2. The Nature of Childhood:.

Historical Perspective.

The Child As Miniature Adult.

The Child As Victim.

Today s Child.

Cultural Perspective.

Variations In Child Rearing Practices.

Individualistic And Collectivistic Orientations.

Personality Development Viewed Cross–Culturally.

Adults Thinking About Children.

The Nature Of Belief Systems.

Links To Child Development.


Further Reading.

3. Beginning Life:.

Our Inheritance.

Genetic Transmission.

Genetic Disorders.

Nature And Nurture.

Fact And Fiction Concerning Genes.

From Conception To Birth.

Stages Of Prenatal Development.

Environmental Influences On Prenatal Development.

The Newborn s Adjustment To The World.

Childbirth And Its Psychological Consequences.

Prematurely Born Children.

How The World Looks To Newborns.

Action Patterns And The Brain.

Parental Adjustment.


Further Reading.

4. Forming Relationships:.

The Nature Of Relationships.


Families As Systems.

Family Variety And Child Development.

Divorce And Its Consequences.

Developing Attachments.

The Nature And Functions Of Attachments.

Developmental Course.


Internal Working Models.

Relationships Among Peers.

Horizontal And Vertical Relationships.

Contribution Of Peer Relationships To Development.

Status Within Peer Groups.


Further Reading.

5. Emotional Development:.

What Are Emotions?.

Nature And Functions.

Biological Basis.

Developmental Course.

Children s Conception Of Emotion.

The Emergence Of Emotion Language.

Conversations About Emotions.

Thinking About Emotions.

Socialization Of Emotions.

Acquiring Display Rules.

Parental Influences.

Emotional Competence.

What Is Emotional Competence?.

From Other–Control To Self–Control.

Why Do Children Differ In Emotional Competence?.


Further Reading.

6. The Child As Scientist: Piaget s Theory of Cognitive Development:.


Aims And Methods.

Basic Features Of Theory.

Stages Of Cognitive Development.

Sensori–Motor Stage.

Preoperational Stage.

Concrete Operational Stage.

Formal Operational Stage.

Pros And Cons Of Piagetian Theory.




Further Reading.

7. The Child As Apprentice: Vygotsky s Theory of Socio–Cognitive Development:.


The Man.

The Theory.

From Other–Assistance To Self–Assistance.

What Goes On In The Zone Of Proximal Development?.

How Do Adults Assist Children s Problem Solving?.

What Makes For Effective Assistance?.

Can Peers Act As Tutors?.

What Role Do Cultural Factors Play In Adult–Child Tutoring?.

Is Joint Problem Solving Superior To Working Alone?.





Further Reading..

8. Children As Information Processors:.

Modelling Mental Activities.

Is The Mind A Computer?.

The Nature Of Thought.

The Problem Of Access.

Symbolic Representation: Language, Play, Drawing.

Organising The Mind.

Forming Concepts.

Constructing Scripts.


The Nature Of Memory.

The Development Of Memory.

Autobiographical Memory.

Children As Eyewitnesses.

Thinking About People.

Describing Others.

Understanding Others.


Further Reading.

9. Using Language:.

What Is Language?.

Nature And Functions: Communication, Thinking, Self–Regulation.

A Uniquely Human Ability?.

The Developmental Course Of Language.

First Words.

Forming Sentences.

Are There Critical Periods In Language Acquisition?.

Communicative Competence.

A Note On Literacy.

Explaining Language Acquisition.

Behavioural Approaches.

Nativist Approaches.

Social Interaction Approaches.


Further Reading.

10. Towards Adulthood:.

Becoming A Person.

Biological Underpinnings Of Individuality.

Constructing A Self.

Self–Esteem: Its Nature And Development.

The Self In Adolescence.

Influences On Self–Development.

Acquiring A Sense Of Gender.

Continuity And Change.

Investigating Continuity.

Predicting From Early Behaviour.

Predicting From Early Experience.

Tracing Developmental Pathways.


Further Reading.



Name Index.

Subject Index.

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"This is a splendid book written with great clarity, it presents the core issues, ideas and evidence on the development of children, and captures the excitement of recent research. It raises the key questions that make the study of children so exciting, and is always judicious in its weighing of the evidence to answer them. A wonderful book accessible, enjoyable, and
wise to be recommended for students at all levels and for teachers."
Judy Dunn, Institute of Psychiatry, London

"This book provides an engaging, detailed and informative introduction to child psychology. Whilst obviously scholarly, the book is eminently accessible and readers should have no trouble in appreciating the different approaches to child psychology or in getting to grips with some of the more difficult concepts. The author himself states that children are fascinating and important and this is obvious throughout the text. Each chapter explores a specific area allowing the reader to develop real insight into the world of children. The judicious use of text boxes and insets helps clarify specific issues and points. This comprehensive book should prove to be indispensable to all readers who want to work with and understand children." Bernie Carter, Professor of Children′s Nursing, University of Central Lancashire

"This is an excellent introduction to the methods, theories and main concepts used by psychologists to describe our current systematic understanding of children and their development from conception to early adulthood. The treatment is comprehensive and crystal clear reflecting the author′s vast experience and authority in the field. Schaffer′s scientific rigour is matched with his fascination with and delight in children which illuminate every chapter. His measured conclusions will be invaluable to a wide range of professionals who work with and promote our understanding of children." Professor Charles Desforges, School of Education, University of Exeter

"Schaffer has written an accessible book which succinctly describes and evaluates concepts, perspectives, and research findings in child psychology and relates them to matters of practical importance in the care of children. It provides an excellent introduction for students new to the subject and to those embarking on university courses." Pamela Calder, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, South Bank University

"The book assumes no previous knowledge, but at the same time is rich and penetrating: its style is engaging, and research findings are reported clearly ... as well as communicating the excitement of the field as a whole ... The book is beautifully presented, and is a pleasure to use ... Introducing Child Psychology is a book to enjoy, and to recommend both to trainees and to experienced psychologists." Peter Appleton, Clinical Psychology

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