Exploring Developmental Theories: Toward a Structural/Behavioral Model of Development

Exploring Developmental Theories: Toward a Structural/Behavioral Model of Development

Exploring Developmental Theories: Toward a Structural/Behavioral Model of Development

Exploring Developmental Theories: Toward a Structural/Behavioral Model of Development

Synopsis

Through the evaluation and integration of developmental theories, this volume proposes a new structural/behavioral model of development. Dr. Horowitz's model helps account for both the behavioral development of children (with extensions across the life-span) and for the universal and non-universal characteristics in human behavioral development. Exploring Developmental Theories also sheds a new and different light on the nature- nurture or heredity-environment controversy and on the topic of continuity and discontinuity in development.

Exploring Developmental Theories:

• examines the concepts of stage, structure, and systems; organismic theory; and general system theory;

• analyzes open and closed systems as well as organismic and mechanistic world views;

• integrates the concepts associated with organismic and mechanist world views;

• examines learning mechanisms and processes that foster the acquisition of behavior, and

• discusses the strengths and weaknesses of Gessel, Piaget, and behaviorism in accounting for behavioral development.

Excerpt

In the last 50 years, and more especially, in the last 30 years, we have learned an enormous amount about behavioral development. Our journals and textbooks are filled with facts about the behavioral capabilities of infants and young children, with concepts and theories about how these behavioral capabilities develop, and with discussions of the practical implications of our knowledge for child rearing. the lay-public is eager to discover what we know and to learn what it means for the everyday life of individuals.

As behavioral scientists laboring in the vineyards of developmental psychology we readily acknowledge that we now have more facts about the behavior of infants and young children. Our knowledge has led to minirevolutions in our conception of the behavioral capabilities of infants and in how we characterize the cognitive sophistication of young children. We also know much about the laws of learning. This knowledge has been applied with great benefit to the handicapped and the retarded and in educational settings for normal children. We have identified a large number of behavioral phenomena and have enlarged our descriptive lexicon considerably.

The increase in our knowledge, however, has not been accompanied by concomitant advances in developmental theory. the basic theoretical umbrellas that currently guide most developmental research have their roots in the 1920s and 1930s. the era of grand developmental schemes is acknowledged as past, yet the concepts and orientations associated with these theories continue to permeate our discussions of behavioral development. Mini-theories designed to address specific phenomena, behavioral . . .

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