Summary of Child’s Play

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In a whirlwind tour of the history of child psychology and learning, Yale professor of psychology Henry Cowles looks at how studies of childhood learning influence our understanding of science. Focusing on the works of American philosopher John Dewey, Cowles shows that two main aspects of childhood learning – spontaneity and interaction – are also central to scientific reasoning. getAbstract recommends this accessible article to anyone interested in child play and scientific reasoning.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How early 20th century child psychology influenced people’s understanding of the scientific method,
  • What the main elements of scientific reasoning are, and
  • How scientific reasoning is related to childhood learning.
 

About the Author

Henry Cowles is an assistant professor of the history of modern medicine and science, of history, and of psychology at Yale University. His current research focuses on the cognitive history of the scientific method.

 

Summary

In the early 20th century, psychologists studied child and animal behavior to gain an understanding of the adult mind.

Analysing the behavior of children to understand the workings of the adult human mind was a widely used method among psychologists in the early 1900s. They believed that children tended to act without subterfuge or self-consciousness, and thus gave an unadulterated view of the inner workings of the human mind.


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