Understanding Children's Development, 5th Edition

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-05-01
  • Publisher: Wiley
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This leading child development text has been widely acclaimed for its international coverage and its rigorous research-based approach. It begins by introducing the ways in which psychologists study developmental processes before going on to consider all major aspects of development from conception through to adolescence. Accompanying website featuring testbank of multiple choice questions, figures for PowerPoint presentations and more Lucid discussion of the material, enlivened by the inclusion of case studies, and ideas for classroom discussion Emphasizes the practical and applied implications of developmental research The entire text has been updated to take account of developments in the field New chapters on antisocial behaviour; and on children and the media Extensive new material on developments in cognitive neuroscience Extended coverage of prosocial behaviour, family contexts, and involving children in research
Peter K. Smith is Professor of Psychology and Head of the Unit for School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Helen Cowie is Research Professor and Director of the UK Observatory for the Promotion of Non-Violence at the University of Surret in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Mark Blades is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sheffield.

Table of Contents

Preface to Fifth Edition



CHAPTER 1 Studying Development

Development Observed

What is ‘Development’?

Baltes’s Conceptualization of Life-Span Development

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model of Human Development

Obtaining Information about Behavior and Development

What Degree of Control?

Recording Data

Reliability and Validity

Participant Characteristics

Children/Young People as Researchers

Working With the Data: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

Objectivity and Bias

Ethical Issues

What Implications does Psychological Knowledge have for Society?

The Rights of Children

The Well-being of Children

The Scientific Status of Psychology

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 2 Biological and Cultural Theories of Development

Genetics and the Groundplan for Development

Twin Studies

Adoption Studies

Genes, and Shared and Non-Shared Environment

Identifying Genes and the Human Genome Project

Chromosomal Abnormalities

Down Syndrome

The Brain and Developmental Neuroscience

How Behavior Develops: Nature and Nurture

Birdsong: An Example of Behavioral Development

Rigidity and Flexibility

Imprinting and the Concept of Sensitive Periods

Individual and Social Learning Processes

Social Learning, Tradition and Culture

Communication Systems in Mammals


Thinking in Primates

The Evolution of High Intelligence

The Evolution of ‘Mindreading’ and of Metarepresentational Thought

Apes, Humans, and Culture

Evolution and Human Behavior

Evolutionary Theory

Sociobiology and Human Behavior

Box 2.1: Parent-offspring weaning conflicts among the Bofi farmers and foragers of Central Africa

Evolutionary Psychology and Evolutionary Developmental Psychology

Criticisms of the Evolutionary Approach

Culture and Development

Cultural-Ecological Models

Box 2.2: Development through participation in sociocultural activity

Social Constructionist Approaches

Deconstructing Developmental Psychology

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading


CHAPTER 3 Prenatal Development and Birth

From Conception to Birth

Germinal Stage

Embryonic Stage

Fetal Stage

Sex Hormones and Male-Female Differentiation

Fetal Learning

Box 3.1: Newborn and fetal response to the human voice

Prenatal Risks

Pregnancy Sickness

The Nature of Birth

Interaction Immediately after Birth


Premature and Low Birthweight Babies

Box 3.2: Cognitive status, language attainment and prereading skills of 6-year-old very preterm children and their peers: the Bavarian longitudinal study

Early Social Behavior and Social Interactions

Behaviors that Operate Primarily in Social Situations

Behaviors to which Social Responses are given

An Ability to Learn

An Enjoyment of Contingent Responding by Others


The Respective Roles of Infant and Caregiver

Very Early Bonding: The Work of Klaus and Kennell


The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS): Patterns of Infant Care in the UK at 9 Months

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading


CHAPTER 4 Parents and Families

The Development of Attachment Relationships

Who are Attachments Made With?

The Security of Attachment

Implications of Infant Attachment Security

Is the Strange Situation Valid Cross-Culturally?

Box 4.1: Infant-mother attachment among the Dogon of Mali

Why do Infants Develop Certain Attachment Types?

Disorganized Attachment and Unresolved Attachment Representations

Attachment beyond Infancy and Internal Working Models

The Adult Attachment Interview

Are Attachment Types Stable over Time?

Are Attachment Types Stable over Generations?

Attachment Theory as a Paradigm

Bowlby’s ‘Maternal Deprivation’ Hypothesis

Box 4.2: The effect of early institutional rearing on the behavior problems and affectional

relationships of 4-year-old children

Care Outside the Family: Childminding and Day Care

The NICHD Longitudinal Study

Day Care: An Overview



Types of Family

Lesbian and Gay Parents

Styles of Parenting

Conflict between Parents



Physical Punishment and the ‘Smacking’ Debate

Child Maltreatment and Abuse

The Assessment and Extent of Child Maltreatment and Abuse

The Effects of Child Maltreatment and Abuse

Causes of Child Maltreatment and Abuse

Models of Parenting

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS): Patterns of Child Care in the UK at 3 and 5 Years

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 5 Siblings and the Peer Group

Early Peer Relationships


Siblings in the Home Environment

Sibling Influences: Play, Teaching

Sibling Influences: Conflict and Social Comparison

Sibling Influences: Theory of Mind

Twins and Multiplets

Only Children

Family Size, Birth Order, Intelligence and Creative Lives

Peer Relationships in Preschool and School

Measuring Peer Relationships: Sociometry

The Concept of Sociometric Status

Box 5.1: Dimensions and types of social status: a cross-age perspective

A Social Information Processing Model

Rejected Children

Subtypes of Rejected Children

Popular and Controversial Children

Perceived Popularity

Neglected Children, Loneliness and Social Withdrawal


What Characterizes Friendship?

Origins of Friendship

Conceptions of Friendship

Quality of Friendship

Box 5.2: Monthly instability in early adolescent friendship networks and depressive symptoms

The Importance of Peer Relations and Friendship

A Long-term Study of Correlates of Childhood Friendship and Sociometric Status


Social Skills Training

Family and Peer Relationships

Group Socialization Theory and the Role of the Peer Group: How Important are Families?

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 6 Developing Emotional Intelligence and Social Awareness

How Children Begin to Understand Self and Others

The Infant’s Recognition of Self

How Children Categorize Others

Emotional Development

Producing Emotions

Recognizing Emotions in Others

Box 6.1: Changes in embarrassment as a function of age, sex and situation

Understanding Others’ Emotions, Desires and Beliefs

Developing Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Regulation

Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Box 6.2: Trait emotional intelligence and children’s peer relationships at school

Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

Early Sex Differences and the Development of Gender Identity

Sex Differences among Children in Western Societies

Awareness of Gender Identity and Sex Differences

Cross-cultural Studies

Theories of Sex-Role Identification

Biological Factors

Social Constructionist Approaches

Social Learning Theory

Cognitive-developmental Theory and Gender Schemas

Social Cognitive Theory

Maccoby’s Attempt at Synthesis

Children’s Knowledge and Beliefs about National Groups

Ethnic Awareness and Preference

Emphasizing Diversity

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading


Characteristics of Playful Behavior

Exploration and Play

The Development of Play

Play Types and Sequences

Physical Activity Play

Rough-and-tumble Play

Play with Objects

Fantasy and Sociodramatic Play

Box 7.1: Universal, developmental, and variable aspects of young children’s play: a cross-cultural comparison of pretending at home

Imaginary Companions

Language Play

War Toys and War Play

Video and Computer Games

Games with Rules

Factors Affecting Play

Play in Different Cultures

The Play Ethos

Play Theorists

The Benefits of Play: The Evidence

The Forms of Play

Correlational Studies

Box 7.2: Boys’ and girls’ uses of objects for exploration, play, and tools in early childhood

Experimental Studies

Play Therapy

The Benefits of Play: An Overview

Chapter Summary

Discussion points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 8 Children and Media

Children’s Use of the Media

Children and Television

Learning from Television

Sesame Street

Television in Relation to Other Activities

Influence of Television: Stereotypes

Influence of Television: Aggression and Violence

A Longitudinal, Correlational Study on Adolescents

A Two-site Longitudinal Study

Computer Games

Box 8.1: Media use and school achievement—boys at risk?

Advertising to Children

Unhealthy Food Products

Children’s Understanding of Advertisements

Product Placement and Advergames

Effects of Advertising on Children

Box 8.2: Exploring the relationship between children’s knowledge of text message abbreviations

and school literacy outcomes

Media Interventions

Restrictive Interventions


Media Literacy

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 9 Helping Others and Moral Development

The Development of Prosocial Behavior

Experimental Studies

Observational Studies

Factors Influencing Prosocial Behavior in the Family and in School

Box 9.1: Child-rearing and children’s prosocial initiations towards victims of distress

Prosocial Behavior in School and the Peer Group

Peer Support Systems in Schools

Sex Differences in Prosocial Behavior

Box 9.2: The effects of primary division, student-mediated conflict resolution programs on playground aggression

Cross-cultural Differences in Prosocial Behavior

The Development of Moral Reasoning

Piaget’s Theory

Kohlberg’s Theory

Early Criticisms of Kohlberg’s Theory

Later Revisions of Kohlberg’s Theory

The Domain Approach to Moral Development

The Age of Moral Responsibility in the Context of Youth Crime

Can We Teach Moral Values?

Emotional Literacy

The PATHS Intervention

Results of the PATHS Intervention

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 10 Social Dominance, Aggression and Bullying

Dominance in Children

Social Dominance in Younger Children

Social Dominance in Older Children

Aggression in Children

Types and Typologies of Aggressive Behavior

Developmental Changes in Aggression

Is Aggression Maladaptive?

Box 10.1: Strategies of control, aggression and morality in preschoolers: an evolutionary perspective

Origins of Aggression: Genetic Factors and Temperament

Callous-unemotional Traits

Origins of Aggression: Parenting

Origins of Aggression: Peer Group Factors

Origins of Aggression: Neighborhood Factors



Bullying in School

Finding out about Bullying

Types of Bullying


Incidence and Structural Features of Bullying

Causes of Bullying

Consequences of being Victimized

Interventions against Bullying

Large-scale School-based Intervention Programs

Box 10.2: Bully/victim problems among schoolchildren: basic facts and effects of a school-based intervention program

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading


CHAPTER 11 Perception

Methods for Studying Infants’ Perception

Preference Technique

Box 11.1: Is face-processing species-specific in the first year of life?



Summary of Methods

Visual Perception

Investigating Infants’ Visual Perception

Pattern Perception

Face Perception

Box 11.2: Effects of prior experience on 4.5-month-old infants’object segregation

Perceptual Constancies

Object Separation

Depth perception

Auditory Perception

Effects of the Environment on Perceptual Development

Intermodal Perception

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 12 Language

Main Areas of Language Development

Sequences in Language Development

Shared Rhythms

Babbling and Echolalia

First Words and Sentences

Box 12.1: Facilitating children’s syntax development

Gleitman’s Syntactic Bootstrapping Hypothesis

Barrett’s Multi-Route Model

From 3 to 5 Years

The Development of Discourse and Narrative Skills

Taking Account of One’s Own and Others’ Perspective

The Role of Fantasy and Make-Believe

Mastering the Convention of Different Genres

Pre-Reading and Pre-Writing Skills

Box 12.2: Categorizing sounds and learning to read: a causal connection


Explanations of Dyslexia

Theories of Language Development

The Innate Basis of Language: Chomsky’s Views

Pinker and the Evidence from Pidgin and Creoles

Language and Cognition: A Piagetian Perspective

Cognitive-Functional Linguistics

Adult–Child Speech

A Continuing Debate

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 13 Cognition: Piaget’s Theory

Underlying Assumptions: Structure and Organization

The Stages of Cognitive Development

The Sensori-Motor Stage

Reinterpretations of Piaget: The Sensori-Motor Stage

The Pre-Operational Stage

The Pre-Conceptual Period

Box 13.1: Piaget’s mountains revisited: changes in the egocentric landscape

The Intuitive Period

Reinterpretations of Piaget: The Pre-Operational Stage

Box 13.2: Conservation accidents

The Concrete Operational Stage

Reinterpretations of Piaget: The Concrete Operational Stage

The Formal Operational Stage

Reinterpretations of Piaget: The Formal Operational Stage

Piaget’s Theory: An Overview

Educational Implications

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 14 Cognition: The Information Processing Approach

Information Processing Limitations

Stage-Like Performance in Information Processing

Problem-solving Strategies

Box 14.1: The origins of scientific reasoning


Memory Development

Encoding Strategies

Retrieval Strategies

How Do Memory Strategies Develop?


Knowledge and Memory Development

Constructive Memory and Knowledge Structures

Summary of Information Processing Approach

Children’s Eyewitness Research

Children’s Suggestibility

Box 14.2: The effects of stereotypes and suggestions on preschoolers’ reports

Why are Children Misled?

The Cognitive Interview

Achieving Best Evidence

The Effects of Stress on Children’s Recall

Summary of Eyewitness Research and Suggestibility

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 15 Children’s Understanding of Mind

The False-Belief Task

Box 15.1: Beliefs about beliefs: representations and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children’s understanding of deception

Children’s Knowledge of Mind Before About 4 Years of Age

Distinguishing Mental States in Language

Understanding the Relationship between Seeing and Knowing

Understanding the Appearance-Reality Distinction

Predicting Behavior

When is Theory of Mind Achieved?

Theory of Mind After 4 Years of Age

Theories about the Development of Understanding the Mind

Do Children with Autism Lack an Understanding of Other’s Minds?

Box 15.2: Domain specificity in conceptual development: neuropsychological evidence from autism

How Far Can a Deficit in Understanding Mental Representations Contribute to an Explanation of ASD?

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 16 Learning in a Social Context

The Challenge of Vygotsky

Individual Mental Functioning: Its Sociocultural Origins

Cole’s Work with the Kpelle

The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

Hedegaard’s Teaching Experiment

Language and Thought

The Impact of Bruner

Scaffolding in Practice

Box 16.1: Capturing and modeling the process of conceptual change

Guided Participation in Sociocultural Activity

Collective Argumentation

The Community of Inquiry

Implications for Education

Box 16.2: Mathematics in the streets and in schools

The Role of Peers as Tutors

Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL)

Is Synthesis Possible?

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 17 Intelligence and Attainment

The Development of Intelligence Tests

The First Tests

Revisions of the Binet-Simon Scale

Other Intelligence Scales

Reliability and Validity



The Early Uses of Intelligence Tests

Concepts of Intelligence

Sternberg’s Theory of Intelligence

Box 17.1: People’s conceptions of intelligence


Box 17.2: Calendar counting in ‘idiot savants’. How do they do it?

Intelligence in a Social-Cultural Context

The Use of Intelligence Tests

Children with Learning Difficulties

Gifted Children

Attainment Tests

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading

CHAPTER 18 Deprivation and Enrichment: Risk and Resilience


Extreme Deprivation and Neglect

Feral Children

The Koluchova Twins


The Effects of Institutional Rearing on Children’s Development

Early Studies During and After World War II (1939–45)

Later Studies in Other Cultures

Romanian Adoptees: The English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA) Study

Socially Disadvantaged Children

Social Disadvantage in the UK

The Impact of Racial Prejudice and Discrimination

Street Children

Growing up with Political Violence

Box 18.1: Children and political violence: an overview

Explanatory Models

The ‘Deficit’ and ‘Difference’ Models

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk-focused Intervention

Interventions: The Role of Families

Nurture Groups

Compensatory Education Programs in the USA

USA Compensatory Programs Evaluated

Box 18.2: Lasting effects of early education: a report from the Consortium of Longitudinal Studies

Compensatory Education Programs in the UK

Sure Start

A Continuing Debate

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading


CHAPTER 19 Adolescence

The Biological and Physical Changes of Puberty

Variations in Physical Maturation Rates

The Secular Trend in Age of Puberty

Theories Concerning Pubertal Timing

Psychological Effects of Puberty

Effects of Physical Changes

Box 19.1: The associations among perceived pubertal timing, parental relations and self-perception in Turkish adolescents

Effects of Hormones

Brain Development at Puberty

Effects of Cognitive Changes

Effects of Early and Late Maturation

Sexual and Romantic Development

Lesbian and Gay Adolescents

Adolescence as a Period of Turmoil, or ‘Storm and Stress’

Identity Development and the ‘Identity Crisis’

Conflicts with Parents

Mood Disruption

The ‘Isle of Wight’ Study

Relations with Peers and Risk-Taking Behaviors

Box 19.2: Cultural bases of risk behavior: Danish adolescents

Adolescence in Different Cultures

Margaret Mead and Samoa

Broad and Narrow Socialization

Historical Changes in Adolescent Behavior

Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

Leisure Pursuits and ICT

Adolescent Mental Health

Chapter Summary

Discussion Points

Further Reading



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