Summary of Child’s Play

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Child’s Play summary
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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.

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.



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.

Some psychologists claimed that scientific reasoning follows the same principles of discovery that children use to learn.

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