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Historical Developmental Psychology

Year Group 1997/98

Theme group that stimulates interdisciplinary research in historical developmental psychology.

About the topic

Since the publication of Ariès pioneering book in 1960, an exponentially increasing number of studies on the history of childhood and the family has been published. Critical reviews however, show that there are many serious theoretical and methodological weaknesses. It is argued that the empirical analytical research tradition of developmental psychology and pedagogy could be applied fruitfully to solve at least some of the problems. The nucleus is meant to help stimulate interdisciplinary research in historical developmental psychology. Only within the common interdisciplinary study of the cultural history of ideas on child development and education, the history of pedagogy, and the history of developmental psychology as well as the psychological knowledge of child development can new scientific insights emerge. The most important question to be answered is: what is the relationship between cultural historical change in ideas on children on the one hand, and pedagogical practice and (the empirical study of) actual behavioral development on the other hand. At the same time differences and commonalities between European, American, and Japanese historical changes can offer hints with respect to the cultural generalisibility of the relationships.