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An Essay On Development Psychology: an Observation And Experiment On The Level Of Cognition, Morality And Psychological Stages Of a Child

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Developmental Psychology Paper

Children are one of the most interesting creatures in the world. I recently observed a teacher´s daughter who has 6-year. She is a little girl that has full of happiness and laughter. Since her mother is a teacher, she is well educated and has superior intelligent than other kids in the same age. I did some observations and experiments with her to find out her level of cognition, morality, and psychosocial stages. Eventually, I used all the results I got from the observation and matched with Piaget, Erickson, and Kohlberg and other scientists´ stages, and I found out interesting things that surprised me after studying this chapter.

Cognitively, according to Piaget´s stages of cognitive development, she matches in the early concrete operational stage. In this level, children that have 6-11 years old have master object permanence, stranger anxiety, animism, egocentrism, conservation, and mathematical transformation. She is aware of toys are not alive (animism) and things can´s disappear magically (object permanence). To test egocentrism, I asked her some questions like ¨What would you buy your mom/dad for her/his birthday¨, and her answers to this is based on their parents’ interests instead of herself. Additionally, I asked her to shut her eyes and think if I can still see her, her answer was ¨yes¨. This again shows she has mastered preoperational stage. However, when I asked her ¨How many children do your parents have, ¨ she needed additional time to think. This shows she is not fully developed egocentrism in some ways.

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To prove that she is on concrete operational stage, I still needed to prove her ability of conservation. I tested her conservation of mass by using the clay experiment. I used two same amount of clay, and I made sure she thought they are equal. I flatten one of them and she told me they were not the same anymore. I was really surprised that she did not have the ability to answer this correctly. Then, I tried the length test. I used to chopsticks and made sure she thought they are the same length. When I moved one of them a little bit to the right, she still said they are the same. After these two experiments of conservation, I understood that for some of the 6-year-old kids, they are still in the process of developing conservation and trying to jump to concrete operational stage.

To make sure she is in the concrete operational stage, I tested her some mathematical equations and other experiments that can test her ability to reserve information. She correctly answered 8+4 and 12-4 by using her fingers. This told me she has some how developed her mathematical transformation ability but not yet master. In other experiments, She correctly answer me how many brother/sister she has (she has one brother), but when I asked how many brother/sister does you brother have, she answered me ¨no¨. Even though she has some how understood egocentrism, but when facing an egocentrism question with a little bit of abstract thinking including, she finds is hard to answer it. As a result, I consider her in the early concrete operational stage, which she is still trying to master egocentrism and develop conservation and mathematical transformations.

Morally, according to Kohlberg’s levels of morality, she is definitely in the level of preconventional morality. In this level, kids are self-interest and obey rules to avoid punishments or gain concrete rewards. Since I could not perfectly observed this, I asked her mother for additional information, and I found out that she is really obedient and listen to authority almost all the time. By her self-control, it shows she is trying to avoid punishments and gain some reward and accomplishments. Moreover, when her brother and her do something wrong, they always blame each other to avoid any punishments. This again tells me that she is still focusing on herself instead of others.

Psychosocially, according to Erikson´s stages of psychosocial development, I consider her in the stage of Initiative vs. Guilt. Even though she is now in elementary school, but as a 6-year-old girl, she is still focusing on initiate tasks and carry out plans. If she fails, she might feel guilty. She is still learning morally and cognitively, so it is natural for her to be in this stage because in that age, kids always make mistakes and afraid of punishments. She is starting to make some plans and do some tasks by herself like doing her homework and being the peacemaker between her friends. She is starting to be more mature by learning how to act in different environments base on her own personality.

For more information, her parents are authoritative, which means parents are both demanding and responsive. This is good for her growth and development during childhood. This is why she can develop well her temperament, or emotional reactivity or intensity. She is really talkative and outstanding. However, as a girl, she still has some stranger anxiety even though she has passed that age. She is really silent in front of any strangers. Fortunately, she has a secure attachment toward her parents. When facing any strangers, she usually sees her parents as protections. In my opinion, even though kids develop stranger anxiety, but shyness in front of strangers still exist for some kids. In addition, she is still really interested about the environment and aware of changes. When she enters her mom´s classroom, she looked around for a while and was aware small changes on the wall. This shows her hippocampus, which control memory, has improved. About talking, she has developed her language by speaking things grammatically. Based on her education, her language has improved. Also, she has a sense of explaining herself when others do not understand well. This again shows her ability to consider for others.

All these results tell me her level of cognitive, morality, psychosocial, and other fields. However, even though scientists put different ages in different levels, some differences from results have occurred, like in the ability of egocentrism. In my opinion, kids grow in different types of families and learn different things by their different environment and cultures. Also, I think kids have different levels of intelligence. These all can get unexpected results in different kids. Therefore, we should not blindly put kids in the different scientists´ stages only by their ages but also by how well they develop. In conclusion, Joy is mostly growing in the stages of Piaget and other scientists, and she is well educated and growing healthily.


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