Developmental Psychology or Child Psychology is the study of the way the human individual begins developing, from birth, or time spent in
the womb, through early childhood and into adolescence and adulthood. In Developmental
Psychology, it is thought that the growth process or awakening of the new born to his or her senses, acquiring memory,
experience, learning, personality traits, and language, all follow universal patterns that are the same for every human individual.
In the areas where these patterns are limited or beset by variables, those conditions can be ascertained and understood through
study with the methods of Developmental Psychology and Child Psychology. As such,
an understanding of child psychology is important for parenting, education, health,
The leading proponent and developer of Child Psychology is Jean Piaget, the French psychologist. Drawing upon the work or Rousseau, and other Enlightenment
thinkers who reflected on the nature of the child and human development, Piaget propounded a Developmental Psychology with a theory of stages in childhood that could be studied and marked with unique factors
of cultural acquisition (Funderstanding,
2007 [online]). The awareness of these stages could lead to a more efficient means of rearing and
educating the child according to the standards of the society at large (Huitt, W., & Hummel, J., 2007 [online]). Much is made of the debate between “nature” and “nurture” in Child Psychology and Developmental Psychology. Researchers in Child Psychology must determine which characteristics of human development are arisen from a biological, genetic,
and instinctual basis, and which are sculpted and formed by learning, experience, reaction, and feed-back in the environment
by the individual. While most practitioners of Child Psychology draw a middle
line between the two factors, acknowledging the influence of both learning and inherent biological factors, there are sub
schools within both views of Developmental Psychology that propound more exclusive
The Transpersonal Psychology movement, led by Abraham Maslow and Stanislav Grof,
expanded the traditional Child Psychology view
of human development to include time spent in the womb. Grof in particular posited several stages of Developmental Psychology related to time in the womb, the beginning of the birth
contractions, entry into the birth canal, and emergence. According to the Transpersonal Psychology
School, these experiences of the fetus and new born are experienced by
the human individual according to the sense awareness and understanding present at that time, and exist as deep behavioral
patterns in the unconscious realms of the human mind (Dr. Nelson Soucasaux, 2007 [online]). They may also lead to the development
of personality characteristics or character traits in the human individual, as they predate early infancy and childhood development,
and form a mental foundation for further research in Developmental
Psychology and Child Psychology.
Other Child Psychologists and researchers in Developmental Psychology investigate the way
the infant perceives the world, explores, and develops language. Many investigations have been undertaken through Developmental Psychology into the role of conditioning and instinct in early
childhood, and how it effects the later development of the individual. As the variable and long term nature of these studies
is difficult to conduct, Practitioners of Child Psychology
or Developmental Psychology must limit their inquiry generally to specific topics that lead to the improvement of infant
health and childhood education. The over-all goal of Child
Psychology or Developmental Psychology would be an understanding of the way early childhood experiences lead to the development of intelligence,
art, music, creative faculties, honesty, integrity, perseverance, and other values cherished by the society at large. Parents
are encouraged to research Child Psychology and Developmental Psychology to have a better understanding of the patterns and situations that repeat in childhood development.
1. Funderstanding Piaget (Article).
URL http://www.funderstanding.com/piaget.cfm. Copyright: 1998 - 2001.
Last accessed 12 November 2007.
2. Huitt, W., & Hummel, J. (2003). Piaget's theory of
Cognitive Development. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta,
GA: Valdosta State University.
URL http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/ col/cogsys/piaget.html. Last accessed 14 November 2007.
3. Soucasaux, Dr. Nelson. Stanislav Grof's Perinatal Matrixes of the Unconscious and Women's Medicine.
URL http://www.mum.org/sougrof.htm. Last accessed 12 November 2007.