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Prerequisites for the formation of developmental psychology and developmental psychology into an independent area of psychological science
The design of developmental psychology (child or developmental psychology) as an independent branch of scientific knowledge dates back to the second half of the 19th century. Two directions were united, until that time developing in parallel and independent of each other. These are studies of children's development, which were associated with natural sciences and medicine, as well as ethnographic studies of childhood and language, mainly the study of children's games and fairy tales. The works of the brothers Grimm, Taylor, Boas were especially popular. At the same time, developmental psychology finally began to be considered by scientists as an independent field of psychological science. The objective prerequisites for its formation were:
- requirements of teaching practice;
- development of development ideas in biology;
- the emergence of experimental psychology and the development of objective research methods. The requirements of teaching practice. At the beginning of the XIX century. many scientists wrote about the need to take into account psychological data in the formation of teaching methods for preschoolers. In Russia, K. D. Ushinsky spoke of the importance of the connection between pedagogy and psychology. In his work “Man as a subject of education” (1867), he wrote: “If pedagogy wants to educate a person in all respects, then she must first recognize him in all respects,” that is, in order to properly educate, one must understand the laws of mental development children, especially their moral development. To do this, we need to study the impact on children of such forms of culture as language, religion, law and art, which Ushinsky
called forming the psyche of man.
The task of the connection between pedagogy and psychology became especially urgent in the middle of the 19th century. in connection with the development of universal learning. While education was mainly home-based, it was not difficult to form an individual approach to each child, understand its features, interests, and make learning easy and entertaining for it. Individually selected not only the range of problems studied, but also the rate of learning, depending on the rate of assimilation of the material
a child. In the presence of a large number of children in classes (which was already in mass schools at that time), such an individual selection of adequate methods became impossible. Therefore, the need has ripened to study the mechanisms and stages of mental development common to all children in order to give objective recommendations at what age and in what sequence any children can be educated, and also what techniques are most appropriate for children of a certain age. These requirements also explain the range of problems that scientists of that time solved, since they were
mainly studies of driving forces and stages of cognitive development, while the development of communication or personal characteristics of children has not been studied much.
The famous psychologist W. James in his book “Conversations with teachers about psychology” (1899) wrote that psychology should not explain to teachers how to teach children, give them specific advice, but psychological knowledge should draw the attention of educators to the need to study the inner life of students; they must understand the spiritual life of the student “as some active unity, as he himself feels it, and sympathetically reproduce it in the imagination”.
These ideas of psychologists of the beginning of the century have not lost their relevance even now, especially in connection with the development of practical psychological service, as teachers often understand age-related psychology and developmental psychology precisely and solely as practical. However, recognizing the great importance of the latter, it is impossible to exclude the importance of theoretical research, thereby we would close the path for the further development of applied, practical psychological service.
Development of the idea of development in biology. Darwin's evolutionary theory has had a huge impact on psychology. The discovery of this theory actually meant expanding the subject of psychology, including questions of the relationship of morphology and function, behavior and consciousness, etc. However, of the greatest importance was the fact that with the theory of evolution in psychology two new postulates appeared - about adaptation as the main determinant that determines mental development, and about the genesis of the psyche, that is, that mental processes do not appear ready-made, But certain, regular stages in their development go through. It is these provisions that are fundamental to developmental psychology.
The idea that genetic stages in the development of the psyche can be distinguished has led to the emergence of a new research method - the genetic one, which explores the laws of general psychology, studying the gradual formation of a certain function. Naturally, such an approach to research was mentioned long before Darwin, but an understanding of the universality of this method and the ability to investigate the laws of the development process common to all spheres of mental life is connected with evolutionary theory. She helped the realization that the genetic method can become the basis of a special area of psychology, the subject of which is precisely the genesis of the psyche, i.e., genetic psychology, developmental psychology, developmental psychology. The evolutionary approach in psychology was reflected, first of all, in the concepts of A. Ben and G. Spencer, who argued that the psyche is a natural stage of evolution and its function is to provide adequate adaptation to the environment. These theories, especially Spencer's views, were widespread and had a huge impact on the developmental psychology.
No less important for the formation of a genetic approach in psychology was the theory of the famous psychologist and physiologist I.M. Sechenov, who wrote that the only method of objective research of the psyche is the method of genetic observation. He also emphasized the importance of studying the child’s mental development not only for the practical needs of pedagogy, but also for general psychology.
Sechenov's views, especially his idea of
internalization of mental processes, had a great influence on the further formation of developmental psychology, in particular, on the concept of L. Vygotsky.
One of the first attempts to systematically monitor the mental and biological development of a child from birth to three years is described in the book of V. Preyer, “The Soul of a Child” (1882). The author concluded that biological inheritance manifests itself in mental development, which serves, in particular, as the basis for individual differences. V. Preyer sought not only to reveal the content of the child’s soul, to describe the development of cognitive processes, speech, emotions of the child, but also to teach adults to understand children using objective methods. To this end, in the appendix to his book, he placed a sample diary, which outlined a study canvas for each age.
The emergence of experimental psychology and the development of objective research methods. For a long time, diary observations remained the only method for studying the mental development of children. Pestalozzi and Jean Paul began to keep diaries of observations of their children. Of great interest are the diary observations of Darwin on the development of his son Francis, which were published in 1877 under the heading "Biographical sketch of a small child." I.Ten described the process of learning speech by his daughter, comparing it with the historical development of the language. The basis of both processes was considered the universal mechanism of associations.
However, the first who really systematically carried out diary observations of the children was T. Tideman, whose book appeared in 1787. He also became the first author of a psychology textbook that addressed issues related to child psychology. At the same time, both in the diary and in the textbook T. Tideman closely linked the upbringing of children with the previous analysis of their physiological and psychological characteristics. With the expansion of the subject of psychological research, it became possible to develop new, experimental methods suitable for studying the mental development of children.
The psychological laboratory founded by W. Wundt in 1879 in Leipzig instilled confidence in the possibility of using the experiment in the study of problems of developmental and educational psychology. From Wundt it is customary to conduct a pedigree of psychology as an independent discipline. If in Wundt’s laboratory only the first step was taken in the development of objective methods for the study of the psyche, the work of G. Ebbinghaus determined a whole direction in
psychology, for the first time opening the possibility of experimental study of such a crucial mental process for age psychology as memory. Although G. Ebbinghaus did not develop a special psychological theory, his research became key for experimental psychology. The importance of statistical processing of data was shown in order to establish the laws that govern mental phenomena.
No less important for the development of new, objective research methods were the work of F. Galton, who invented many methods of experimental research of children, first using in psychology methods of statistical processing of results. Among the achievements of F. Galton, it is worth highlighting the development of the test method, which has firmly entered into science. The statistical approach - applying a series of tests to a large number of individuals - has been put forward as a means of introducing exact quantitative methods into psychology. This has received great practical application, and further improvement of the technique for the development and application of tests has changed the essence of developmental psychology, making it possible in the future to form a whole system of objective methods of psychological research of children.
The further use and popularity of tests is already connected with the name of Alfred Binet, who developed special tests for the study of children's intellectual development. A. Binet was one of the first psychologists to experimentally study the stages of development of thinking in children, setting them the task of defining concepts (what is a chair, what is a horse, etc.). These studies led him to the idea that it is possible to develop standards for the intellectual development of children and methods for diagnosing the formation of thinking. Together with T. Simon, he developed a series of questions of varying degrees of difficulty and based on the answers of children determined the level of their intelligence, eliminating children with a lag or mental retardation. These methods showed themselves so well in the first tests that A. Binet decided to create tests not only to identify children with mental retardation, but also for the general diagnosis of the intellectual development of all children from 3 to 18 years old. A. Binet introduced an indicator of intelligence - mental age, which was determined by the success of the test tasks. Comparison of mental age with chronological was the basis for the conclusion about the level of mental development of the child. The coincidence of mental age with the passport testified to the normal development of the child. If a child performed tasks intended for older children, then his indicators of mental development were considered high. The child's failure to complete tasks intended for his age gave grounds for concluding that the level of mental development was low. The theoretical and methodological ideas of A. Binet and T. Simon are the basis of modern psychometrics - the practice of measuring the mental development of children. On their basis, an indicator of the development of intelligence, the coefficient of intelligence (IQ), as well as an idea of a statistical test norm, was introduced into psychometry.
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Prerequisites for the formation of developmental psychology and developmental psychology into an independent area of psychological science
- Isolation of developmental psychology and developmental psychology into an independent field of psychological science
Isolation of developmental psychology and developmental psychology into an independent area of psychological
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- THE ORIGIN OF AGE PSYCHOLOGY AS AN INDEPENDENT AREA OF PSYCHOLOGY
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