SOCIALISATION: Theories of Human Development - Professor Watson's Lectures

You will find 12 audio lectures here on the theories of development and in the resources on Module 3 you will find the continuing 12 lectures.

It is difficult to comprehend human nature without understanding our origins and the processes that guide our development from conception to maturity. Thus, the study of human development is a valuable tool, not only for understanding children and helping them to develop optimally but also for understanding ourselves as adults.

The key to gaining insights into the phenomena of human development is to organise facts and data into coherent, scientific theories. Without such theories, scientists, including developmental psychologists and other students of human development, would make little progress in devising meaningful studies that further our understanding or in applying what we know in a way to benefit others. These lectures compare the historical and philosophical backgrounds from which each theorist emerged and the domains of development that each theory can explain.

By examining the important points of each of the theories, the lectures help the student to compare them and see how they differ, where they converge, and how they complement one another to explain universal patterns of human development, individual differences, and abnormal development. Real-life examples and findings of major scientific studies are used to clarify the main points of the theories. In the end, the student will be prepared to judge which theories are valid and how each theory is valuable in giving us understanding of children and developmental processes.

The first lecture provides an introductory background for the study of the six theories and discusses the value of scientific theories generally.

Lecture Two begins a discussion of the history that set the stage for the systematic study of child development. It covers the early history of conceptions of children before any scientific study of them existed.

Lecture Three compares two major worldviews of human nature and development, as seen in the thinking of two influential philosophers, Locke and Rousseau. Lecture Four concludes the history of child study and the ways in which the major theories emerged.

The subsequent lectures discuss each of the six theories in turn.

Lectures Five through Seven discuss Freud’s psychodynamic theory as it applies to child development, particularly to personality development. These lectures provide insight into the roles of the unconscious, competing drives, and the ways in which a person develops the ability to adapt to various demands from within and from the environment.

Lectures Eight through Eleven discuss Erikson’s Psycho-social theory and how it developed from Freud’s influence to become the first theory to describe development across the entire life span.

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