Tag: psychology history

Child and Developmental Psychology: Key Theories and Leading Child Psychologists

The human-being is such a diverse creation of nature that he passes through multiple phases, and each phase has its own set of changes and challenges. The phase of child development has intrigued psychologists all over the world for centuries now.

Whether that’s child behavior psychology or the child thought-process in general, psychologists have debated about the science for long now, whether that’s mental, emotional, social or other aspects of child psychology.

Key Personalities & Critical Theories in the field of Child Psychology

The following are thought-leaders in the field of child psychology, whose notions have shaped the future of the science as we find it today. Any child psychology curriculum is considered empty in the world, without a study of these child psychologists and their theories.

John Bowlby & Attachment Theory

John Bowlby (1907-1990) was a British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who developed a theory to describe the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans.

The Attachment Theory, as it was named, integrated the fields of psychological, evolutionary, and ethological theory, to articulate the notion that each child needs at least one primary caregiver to develop a bond with, that will result in the normal procession of social and emotional development.

Jerome Kagan & Developmental Psychology

Kagan is one of the pioneers of the core fields of developmental psychology. He earned a B.S. Degree from Rutgers University in 1950, Master’s from Harvard and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1954. After completing his Ph.D., Kagan spent a year as an instructor in Psychology at Ohio State University.

His research focused on personality traits beginning with infancy and continuing through adulthood.  He was one of the first few to point out possible biological influence on child psychology.

Lawrence Kohlberg & the Stages of Moral Development

Larry Kohlberg (1927-1987) was an American psychologist born in Bronxville, New York, who served as a professor at the University of Chicago and Harvard. Having specialized in research on moral education and reasoning, he is best known for his theory of stages of moral development.

The stages were divided into 3, with the order being Pre-Conventional, Conventional, and Post-Conventional. The first stage covered areas such as obedience and self-interest, the second covering interpersonal and authority, and the last one covering topics such as universal principles.

Erik Erikson & The Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development

Erik Erikson (1902-1994) was a Danish-German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst. After his graduation from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute in 1933, he emigrated with his wife, first to Denmark and then to the United States, to escape a Nazi invasion.

He became the first child psychoanalyst in Boston & held positions at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard’s Medical School and Psychological Clinic. His theory implied that the ideal human development process encompasses eight stages that dictate overall child development, with factors such as trust, will, shame, sense of purpose etc. coming into perspective.

Jean Piaget & the Theory of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget  (1896-1980) was a Swiss developmental psychologist who also served as the Director of the International Bureau of Education. His studies on children revolved around epistemology, which focuses on the dynamics of knowledge, its scope and limitations.

His most famous work is the Theory of Cognitive Development, which placed knowledge as the core child development, how it is acquired, used, implemented etc. And the process he used to explain it was spread over five core stages, from Assimilation & Accommodation to Former Operational.

Lev Vygotsky & Social Constructivism

Vygotsky (1896-1934) was a Russian psychologist who is considered to be the father of Social Constructivism. Born in Belarus, he was raised in the city of Gomel and attended the Moscow State University, later transferring to the Shaniavsky People’s University.

His studies implied that human social groups construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings, and then everyone derives from these socially-acceptable meanings.

Judith Rich Harris & The Modular Theory of Social Development

Judy Harris (born 1938), is an American titan of psychology, who graduated from esteemed schools such as Brandeis University and Harvard. Her most active research years were from 1977-1985, during which time she received the honorable  American Psychological Association’s George A. Miller Award for an Outstanding Recent Article in General Psychology.

Her theory focused on studying children as a peer group, rather than from the family perspective, and stated that the eventual adult personality of a human is dependent on how they were raised as a child by their parents. Her famous book, No Two Alike: Human Nature & Human Individuality is famous proponent of this.


Forensic Psychology: History, Career Prospects Information

Due to the multi-dimensional nature of today’s world, everything has become intertwined, even professions. From that aspect, even the legal profession relies on multiple branches to deliver on concrete decisions.

One of these critical branches is forensic psychology. As the field of forensic psychology has developed over time, everything from forensic psychology information to forensic psychology schools have silhouetted themselves out from the trend. Let’s explore the field of forensic psychology.

Forensic Psychology Definition

The word “forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensis,” meaning “of the forum,” where the law courts of ancient Rome were held. According to the American Board of Forensic Psychology, “forensic psycjobhology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system.”

History of Forensic Psychology

Basis for Forensic Research in the Legal Profession

J. McKeen Cattell conducted some of the earliest research on the psychology of testimony in 1895 at Columbia University. He posed a series of questions to students, asking them to provide a response and rate their degree of confidence in their answer. Cattell’s results indicated a surprising degree of inaccuracy, which generated interest among other psychologists who went on to conduct experiments on eyewitness testimony.

Evolution of the Profession

Inspired by Cattell’s work, Alfred Binet replicated Cattell’s research and studied the results of other psychology experiments that applied to law and criminal justice. His work in intelligence testing was also important to the development of forensic psychology, as many future assessment tools were based on his work.

What do Forensic Psychologists do?

Forensic psychology professionals conduct a wide range of tasks, depending on the type of courts they are assigned to. The following are some

Family Court

  • Child Custody Evaluations
  • Visitation Risk Assessments
  • Grandparent Visitation Evaluations
  • Mediation of Parental Conflicts about Children
  • Child Abuse Evaluations
  • Adoption Readiness Evaluations
  • Development of Family Reunification Plans
  • Evaluations to Assess Termination of Parental Rights

Psychotherapy Roles

  • Parent-child family counseling
  • Therapeutic supervised visitation
  • Parenting skills training
  • Anger management
  • Divorce adjustment counseling for children and adults
  • Parental communication skills training

Civil Court

  • Personal Injury Evaluations
  • IME Second Opinion Evaluations
  • Assessment of Emotional Factors in Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
  • Worker’s Compensation Evaluations
  • Civil Competency Evaluations
  • Psychological Autopsies

In civil court cases, forensic psychologists also provide psychotherapy and counseling to individuals for the following problems:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Phobias Related to Traumatic Events
  • Psychological Factors in Chronic Pain
  • Adjustment Counseling following trauma
  • Couple Counseling regarding the impact of the trauma on the relationship
  • Desensitization

Criminal Court

  • Evaluations of Juveniles accused of criminal acts
  • Juvenile Pre-sentencing Evaluations
  • Juvenile Probation Evaluations
  • Juvenile Waiver Evaluations
  • Evaluating the Credibility of Child Witnesses
  • Assessment of Juvenile and Adult Sexual Offenders
  • Competency and Diminished Capacity Evaluations
  • Adult Pre-sentencing Evaluations

Forensic psychologists also provide counseling and psychotherapy services to individuals involved with the criminal court, in cases such as

  • Counseling of individuals who violate restraining orders
  • Counseling juveniles on probation
  • Supportive counseling for the victims of crimes
  • Counseling of individuals awaiting trial
  • Counseling adults on probation
  • Anger management skills training for violent offenders
  • Counseling and psychotherapy for sexual offenders

Careers in Forensic Psychology

The following are some job descriptions in forensic psychology, that are commonly found across the profession. They provide critical insight into the type of work that lies ahead after a forensic psychology degree

Forensic Psychiatrists in Corporations

  • Determine the mental fitness of an individual to participate in the program for new applicants
  • Provide psychiatric consultation regarding employees mental fitness to senior staff
  • Provide program consultation for high-risk individuals and situations, including risk management planning with senior staff
  • Support training exercises and policy development for Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and next-of-kin notification in case of line-of-duty deaths

Victim Advocates

  • Provide crisis intervention services for non-offending parents of alleged child victims of sexual/physical abuse prior to forensic interviews
  • Conduct brief needs assessment by interviewing non-offending parents of all child victims and providing referrals to necessary services
  • Provide education regarding legal process, answer questions and provide advocacy for parents
  • Manage the Case Review process by consulting regularly with parents and multidisciplinary team of child protection, law enforcement, family court and prosecuting attorney’s offices professionals to ensure follow-up on cases

Forensic Psychology Salaries

Salaries within forensic psychology can range greatly depending on the sector of employment, although most entry-level positions for those with a doctorate degree start out between $35,000 and $40,000 annually. Those in private practice who offer consulting services typically earn more.