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Remember the hidden picture activities you did as a child? Were you good at finding the hidden pictures? How about finding Waldo in the Where s Waldo ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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What is a theory?
To guide their questions, research, and
interpretations of data, developmental scholars
construct theories. A theory is
an organized system of principles and
explanations for a particular phenomena.
There are 7 categories of theoretical approaches
to child development 1. Biological
Theories 2. Behaviorism and Social Learning
Theories 3. Psychodynamic Theories 4.
Cognitive-Developmental Theories 5. Cognitive
Process Theories 6. Sociocultural Theories 7.
Developmental Systems Theories
Biological theories
These theories focus on genetic factors,
physiological structures and functions of the
body, and the psychological processes that help
the child adapt and survive in their environment.
Emphasis on NATURE.
Theorists include Charles Darwin, Arnold Gesell,
Maria Montessori, Konrad Lorenz, John Bowlby,
Henry Wellman, Susan Gelman, David Bjorklund,
Robert Plomin, Sandra Scarr, and Mary Ainsworth.
John Bowlby 1907-1990 Born in England Physician
and Psychoanalyst at the University of
Cambridge Developed attachment theory. Classic
works The Nature of the Childs Tie to His
Mother (1958), Separation Anxiety (1960), Grief
and Mourning in Infancy and Early Childlhood
Mary D. Ainsworth1913 - 1999 Born in Glendale,
Ohio. Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the
University of Toronto in 1939.Known for work on
early emotional attachments. Studied cultural
differences in attachment formation in infants in
Uganda. Co-author with John Bowlby.
Konrad Lorenz 1903-1989 Born in Altenberg,
Austria. Established the science of ethology.
Awarded the Nobel Laureate in Physiology and
Medicine in 1973 for his studies concerning the
organization of individual and group behavior
patterns. Laid the foundation of an evolutionary
approach to mind and cognition.
Charles Robert Darwin, 1809-1882 is best known
for devising the theory of evolution to explain
to diversity of species, but also wrote widely
about the emotional bonds between humans, and
similarities between the emotions of humans and
Arnold Lucius Gesell 1880-1961, was a
psychologist and pediatrician who was a pioneer
in the field of child development. Gesell made
use of the latest technology in his research
video and photography and one-way mirrors He
realized the vast importance of both nature and
nurture. He cautioned others not to be quick to
attribute mental disabilities to specific causes.
He believed that many aspects of human behavior,
such as handedness and temperament are
inheritable. He understood that children adapted
to their parents as well as to one another. He
thought that a nationwide nursery school system
would benefit America.
Maria Montessori (1870 1952) was an Italian
physician, educator, philosopher, humanitarian
and devout Catholic best known for her
philosophy and the Montessori method of education
of children. Her educational method is in use
today in a number of public and private schools
throughout the world. Education is not what the
teacher gives education is a natural process
spontaneously carried out by the human
individual, and is acquired not by listening to
words but by experiences upon the environment.
The teacher prepares a series of motives of
cultural activity, spread over a specially
prepared environment, and then refrains from
obtrusive interference.
Henry Wellman is a developmental psychologist
specializing in cognitive domains. Such domains,
like the child's understanding of language or
space, are rapidly acquired cognitive structures
that frame and encourage further developments.
Wellman's research focuses on this question in
children from infancy to adulthood, growing up in
this and other cultures, as well as impaired
children (autism) that seem to fail to develop a
normal understanding of people's mental lives.
Susan Gelman is a Professor of Psychology at the
University of Michigan. Her research focuses on
the topics of cognitive development, language
acquisition, categorization, inductive reasoning,
causal reasoning, and relationships between
language and thought. Gelman subscribes to the
domain specificity view of cognition, asserting
that the mind is comprised of specialized modules
sub-serving specific cognitive functions.
David Bjorklund's research interests are in the
areas of cognitive development and evolutionary
developmental psychology. Research projects
conducted in his lab include the use of simple
arithmetic strategies while playing a board game
("Chutes and Ladders"), as well as how parents
interact with children during such games to
facilitate children's mathematical performance,
etc. Related scholarly interests include issues
of the possible role of development in human
cognitive evolution and the establishment of
evolutionary developmental psychology as a
subdiscipline within psychology.
Robert Plomin (1948- ) is an American
psychologist best known for his work in twin
studies and behavior genetics. Plomin has made
two of the most important discoveries in that
field. First, he has shown the importance of
non-shared environment, a term that he coined to
refer to the environmental reasons why children
growing up in the same family are so different.
Second, he has shown that many environmental
measures in psychology show genetic influence and
that genetic factors can mediate associations
between environmental measures and developmental
Sandra Wood Scarr (born August 1936) is an
American psychology professor. In the 1960's,
Scarr studied identical and fraternal twins'
aptitude and school achievement scores. The study
revealed that intellectual development was
heavily influenced by genetic ability, especially
among more advantaged children. It also showed
that on average, black children demonstrated less
genetic and more environmental influence on their
intelligence than white children. Scarr also
collaborated with Margaret Williams on a clinical
study which demonstrated that premature birth
infants who receive stimulation gain weight
faster and recover faster than babies left in
isolation (the practice at that time).
Behaviorism and social Learning theories
Theorists focus on environmental stimuli and
learning processes that lead to behavioral
change. When children act, the environment
responds with rewards or punishment.
Emphasis on NURTURE.
Theorists include B.F. Skinner, John B. Watson,
Ivan Pavlov, Sidney Bijou, Donald Baer, and
Albert Bandura.
B.F. Skinner 1904-1990 Ph.D. in Psychology from
Harvard University in 1931 Taught at Harvard
University Started the science of operant
behavior, a branch of behaviorism He originated
programmed instruction.
Albert Bandura 1925-present Perhaps Albert
Bandura is most noted for his Social Learning
Theory, which resulted from his famous Bobo doll
experiment. Albert Bandura believed that
aggression must explain three aspects First, how
aggressive patterns of behavior are developed
second, what provokes people to behave
aggressively, and third, what determines whether
they are going to continue to resort to an
aggressive behavior pattern on future occasions.

John B. Watson 1878-1958 Founder of behaviorist
school of psychology. Concluded that heredity is
a minor factor in human beings actions.
Ivan P. Pavlov 1849-1936 Russian physiologist,
three major emphases of research function of the
nerves of the heart, primary digestive glands,
conditioned reflexes Most significant figure in
the history of Russian psychology and pioneer in
research in classical conditioning. His Lectures
on Conditioned Reflexes is a classic work
setting forth a psychology and psychiatry based
on the principles of conditioning,
serendipitously discovered the paradigm of
classical conditioning while doing research on
the digestive system.
Sidney W. Bijou Dr. Bijou introduced the operant
method for the systematic study of children in
laboratory settings. He and his colleagues at the
University of Washington introduced field operant
methods for children and published a methodology
for such studies. Dr. Bijou has an impressive
publication record, including 16 books and over
150 articles. Dr. Bijou and Dr. Donald Baer
published a highly regarded series of books on
the behavior analysis of child development.
Donald Baer, 1931-2002, was a world-renowned
psychologist who significantly contributed to his
field of research. Baer was at the forefront of
the applied behavior movement and pioneered the
development of behavior analysis at two separate
institutions, incl. the University of Kansas.
Some of his most noteworthy contributions include
literature on behavior-analytic theory,
experimental design, and early childhood
Psychodynamic theories
Theorists focus on how family and society affect
how children control and express instinctual
urges such as sexuality and aggressiveness.
Social relationships affect childrens basic
trust in others and perception/identity of
themselves as individuals.
Theorists include Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and
Erik Erikson.
Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939, is often referred to
as the Father of psychoanalysis. He studied under
Charcot in Paris, developing techniques such as
hypnosis. After using hypnosis, Freud developed
the technique of free association. Freud's theory
focused on the unconscious, drives and defenses.
He developed the 3-part theory of human behavior
(id, ego, and superego) and the Oedipal Complex
(childs attachment to opposite-sex parent.
Anna Freud, 1895 - 1982 Continuing the work of
her father, Sigmund Freud, she was a pioneer in
the psychoanalysis of children. She received her
training in Vienna and then emigrated to England,
where she founded and directed a clinic for child
Erik H. Erikson 1902-1994 Erikson is a Freudian
ego-psychologist. This means that he accepts
Freud's ideas as basically correct, including the
more debatable ideas such as the Oedipal complex,
and accepts as well the ideas about the ego that
were added by other Freudian loyalists such as
Heinz Hartmann and Anna Freud. Erikson, however,
believed in the influence of the environment.
Erikson is most widely noted for his 8-stage
model of psychosocial development.
Cognitive-developmental theories
Theorists believe that childrens thinking
undergoes transformations toward increasingly
abstract and systematic patterns. It may depend
on early experiences. Children can eventually see
a single event from several valid points of view.
Theorists include Jean Piaget, Bärbel Inhelder,
Lawrence Kohlberg, David Elkind, Robbie Case, and
John Flavell.
Jean Piaget 1896-1980 Swiss psychologist
pioneering work on the development of
intelligence in children. His studies have had a
major impact on the fields of psychology and
education. In his work Piaget identified the
child's four stages of cognitive development In
the sensorimotor stage, birth to age 2, the child
is concerned with gaining motor control and
learning about physical objects. In the
preoperational stage, ages 2 to 7, the child is
preoccupied with verbal skills, naming objects
and reasoning intuitively. In the concrete
operational stage, ages 7 to 12, the child begins
to deal with abstract concepts such as numbers
and relationships. Finally, in the formal
operational stage, ages 12 to 15, the child
begins to reason logically and systematically.
Lawrence Kohlberg 1927-1987 Kohlberg, an American
psychologist, is best known for his work in the
development of moral reasoning in children and
adolescents. Kohlberg concluded that children and
adults progress through six stages in the
development of moral reasoning.
John Flavell (1928- )Flavell's research
focused on children's understanding of the roles
of others and on children's communication skills
and developing memory skills. Flavell found that
children need to understand the concept of memory
before they can develop skills for utilizing and
improving memory. He called this knowledge
Bärbel Inhelder (1913-1997) was a Swiss
developmental psychologist, the most famous
co-worker of Jean Piaget. Inhelder's work was
particularly significant in the discovery of the
stage of "formal operations" occurring in the
transition between childhood and adolescence.
This type of thinking involves deductive
reasoning and the ability to reason
David Elkind (1931- ) Dr. Elkind is a
renowned author and clinical psychologist. His
research has focused on cognitive and social
development of children and adolescents and has
included studies of stress, its causes, and its
effects on children, youth, and families. He has
served as a consultant to schools, mental health
associations, and private foundations.
Robbie Case 1945-2000 Cases research includes
important papers on social, emotional, and
linguistic development and on the development of
creative intelligence. His main research focus
centered on theories of intellectual development
in relation to educationspecifically math. He
was the author of a stage theory of cognitive
development, integrating important aspects of the
Piagetian stage theory and cognitive
information-processing theory to capitalize on
the strengths and overcome limitations of each,
and particularly to draw out from this
integration implications for the design of
cognitive process theories
Theorists focus on both nature and nurture.
Children are born with the basic capacity to
perceive, interpret, and remember information.
Those capacities change with brain maturation,
experience, and reflection.
Theorists include David Klahr, Deanna Kuhn,
Robert Siegler, Ann L. Brown, Henry Wellman,
Susan Gelman, John Flavell, and Robbie Case.
David Klahr His current research focuses on
cognitive development, scientific reasoning, and
cognitively-based instructional interventions in
early science education. His earlier work
addressed cognitive processes in such diverse
areas as voting behavior, college admissions,
consumer choice, peer review and problem solving.
Deanna Kuhn Deanna Kuhn argues that schools
should teach students to use their minds well, in
school and beyond. Bringing insights from
research in developmental psychology to pedagogy,
Kuhn maintains that inquiry and argument should
be at the center of a "thinking curriculum"a
curriculum that makes sense to students as well
as to teachers and develops the skills and values
needed for lifelong learning.
Robert S. Siegler Bob Siegler specializes in
the cognitive development of problem-solving and
reasoning in children, especially in math and
science. Three areas of particular interest to
his research are strategy choices, long-term
learning, and educational applications of
cognitive-developmental theory.
Ann Leslie Brown (1943-1999) was an educational
psychologist who developed methods for teaching
children to be better learners. Her realization
that children's learning difficulties often stem
from an inability to use metacognitive strategies
such as summarizing led to profound advances in
educational psychology theory and teaching
sociocultural theories
With an emphasis on nurture, theorists believe
all children will naturally learn to use
communication, intellectual abilities, and
social-emotional skills but families and
community/culture influence how they carry out
these tasks.
Theorists include Lev Vygotsky, A.R. Luria, James
Wertsch, Barbara Rogoff, Patricia Greenfield,
Mary Gauvain, Jerome Bruner, and Michael Cole.
Lev Vygotsky 1896 1934 This Russian
psychologist believed that through social
interactions with parents, teachers, etc. a child
comes to learn the habits of her/his culture,
including speech patterns, written language, and
other symbolic knowledge through which the child
derives meaning and allows them to construct
her/his knowledge. Vygotsky also researched the
importance of play on developing abstract
thinking skills and in learning social rules of
society. He believed in using less abstract
presentations of material in the classroom, and
letting students experience more real-world
A.R. Luria (1902-1977) Alexander Luria
developed the "combined motor method," which
helped diagnose individuals' thought processes,
creating the first ever lie-detector device. His
overall psychology approach fused "cultural,"
"historical," and "instrumental" psychology and
is most commonly referred to presently as
cultural-historical psychology. He also developed
the Luria-Nebraska, a neuropsychological battery
of tests that differs from standardized tests
because the administrator has some flexibility.
James V. Wertsch Wertsch's research is concerned
with language, thought and culture. He has
focused on collective memory and identity in
countries such as Russia and Ukraine, and he is
now examining these topics in the Republic of
Georgiaa natural laboratory for the emergence of
democracy and civil society,
Barbara Rogoff is an educator whose interests lie
in understanding and communicating the different
learning thrusts between cultures. She discusses
Constructivist theorists Piaget and Vygotsky in
relation to collaboration, the role of adult
experts in the process of learning, peer
interaction and community collaborative
sociocultural activities.
Patricia M. Greenfield believes that a single
test may measure different abilities in different
cultures. Her findings emphasized the importance
of taking issues of cultural generality into
account. She focuses on the role of the
environment in the development of abilities,
cultural beliefs, and values.
Mary Gauvain studies how social and cultural
processes contribute to children's acquisition,
organization, and use of cognitive skills. A
fundamental question about human cognition
underlies her research. She describes theory and
research on social contributions to cognitive
development in four areas - attention, memory,
problem solving, and planning. She also discusses
family, peer, and community factors influence not
only what a child learns, but also how learning
Jerome Seymour Bruner (1915- )Bruner's ideas are
based on categorization. "To perceive is to
categorize, to conceptualize is to categorize, to
learn is to form categories, to make decisions is
to categorize." Bruner maintains people interpret
the world in terms of its similarities and
differences. Like Blooms Taxonomy, Bruner
suggests a system of coding in which people form
a hierarchical arrangement of related categories.
Bruner's work also suggests that a learner (even
of a very young age) is capable of learning any
material so long as the instruction is organized
appropriately, in sharp contrast to the beliefs
of Piaget and other stage theorists.
Michael E. Cole and other psychologists have
argued that cognitive processing does not
accommodate the possibility that descriptions of
intelligence may differ from one culture to
another and across cultural subgroups. He has
studied the role of micro-cultures in the
cognitive and social development of children. He
has been studying interactive video conferencing
as a medium for teaching and inter-institutional
collaboration, as well as after-school
educational activities that make use of
computer-based communication technologies.
developmental systems theories
Factors inside the child (nature) and outside the
child (nurture) combine to influence
developmental patterns. Their own activities,
from sleeping and eating patterns to watching TV
and playing sports, also influence development
throughout the life cycle.
Theorists include Urie Bronfenbrenner, Arnold
Sameroff, Richard Lerner, Kurt Fischer, Esther
Thelen, Gilbert Gottlieb, and Paul Baltes.
Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005), was the
co-founder of the national Head Start program. As
a result of Bronfenbrenner's groundbreaking work
in "human ecology", environments from the family
to economic and political structures, have come
to be viewed as part of the life course from
childhood through adulthood. He spent many of his
later years warning "The hectic pace of modern
life poses a threat to our children second only
to poverty and unemployment," he said. "We are
depriving millions of children -- and thereby our
country -- of their birthright virtues, such as
honesty, responsibility, integrity and
Arnold Sameroff is examining infants with
physiologic regulatory problems, children with
depressed parents, and adolescents living in
neighborhoods with few resources to support
development. He is exploring the relation of risk
and protective factors to issues of vulnerability
and resilience. A major question is whether
single individual or environmental factors have
major consequences for developmental outcomes or
whether it is the accumulation of a variety of
risks, independent of their specific qualities,
that is the determining influence.
Richard Lerner is known for his application of
developmental science across the life span
developmental systems theory personality and
social development in adolescence developmental
methodology programs and policies for children,
youth, and families university-community
collaboration and outreach scholarship.
Kurt Fischer His work focuses on the dynamic
organization of behavior and the way it changes,
especially cognitive development, social
behavior, emotions, and brain bases. In his
approach, called dynamic skill theory, he aims to
integrate organismic and environmental factors.
His research analyzes change and variation in a
range of domains, including early reading skills
problem solving and co-construction concepts of
self in relationships emotions child abuse and
brain development.
Esther Thelen (1942-2005) She and colleagues
studied infant movement, perception and cognition
and how perceptual motor skills in infancy can
say much about how people will adapt later in
Gilbert Gottlieb (1929-2006) played the role as
an intermediator between psychology and
evolutionary biology. He proposed that altered
developmental conditions gave rise to new
behavioral phenotypes.
Paul B. Baltes (1939-2006) His substantive work
on wisdom, adaptation to agerelated change, the
elaboration of old age, the permanent
incompleteness of human architecture, and
biocultural co-constructivism of the human brain
all reflect his visionary quest to understand
human development. He recognized the
interdependence of theory and method and promoted
their joint improvement in such conceptions as
the multidimensionality and multi-directionality
of change and the simultaneous regard for gains
and losses.
An eclectic approach
No single theory can explain all aspects of child
development. An eclectic approach, one that
includes many perspectives including some nature
and some nurture is probably the most useful.
embedded figures task
Herman A. Witkin 1916-1979 He was a pioneer in
learning styles.
A learning style refers to the individual
differences in how we perceive, think, solve
problems, learn, and relate to others.
Witkin authored the concept of field-dependence
and field independence. He believed,
figuratively speaking, that when some people look
at the forest they see the whole forest.
When others look at the forest they see a single
embedded figures task
What do you see? If you see the WHOLE picture,
the forest, then you are field dependent.
The Embedded Figures Test was developed to
measure field dependence and field
independence. A test for preschoolers is called
the Preschool Embedded Figures Test or PEFT. The
Childrens Embedded Figures Test is the CEFT, and
an adult version that can be administered to a
group is called the Group Embedded Figures Test,
or GEFT.
If you can easily separate a single tree from the
forest, and see just that tree, then you are
field independent.
embedded figures task
Here is a sample of the PEFT test The picture at
the lower right is the field. Look at the
Within the field is this triangle. Can you see
the triangle?
If you can find a simple figure within a complex
field, then you may be field independent.
embedded figures task
The Childrens Embedded Figures Test or CEFT, is
similar to the PEFT but is colored to add more
distraction. The adult test, or GEFT, asks the
subject to find a simple geometric figure within
a more complex one. The Embedded Figures test
measures intellectual development HOW you think.
It does NOT measure intelligence.
Individuals who are field dependent have
different characteristics than those who are
field independent.
embedded figures task
Field Independent people take an analytical
approach as a child they tend to prefer less
social play options such as block building,
puzzles, painting, etc. they may be described
by others as inconsiderate and manipulative, but
would describe themselves as independent. They
prefer solitary sports, such as golf, wrestling,
chess, swimming. They do well in careers that do
not involve interpersonal relationships. They are
very effective at analysis and restructuring of
elements. They make judgements based on fact.
embedded figures task
Field dependent people take a global approach
they deal with the whole. Children usually
prefer social play options such as playing house,
playing school, and group activities. They may be
described as warm and liking to be with others.
They prefer team sports such as basketball and
volleyball. They are people persons, and favor
interpersonal work relationships. They are very
effective in conflict resolution and working out
disagreements. They use intuition and
gut-feelings in making judgments.
embedded figures task
Remember the hidden picture activities you did as
a child? Were you good at finding the hidden
pictures? How about finding Waldo in the
Wheres Waldo pictures? Those activities
appealed to field independent children.
Do you see THE HIDDEN TIGER in the picture
above? Read the words THE HIDDEN TIGER in the
tigers stripes.
embedded figures task
To score the Embedded Figures Test, you need to
understand several psychological testing terms
Suppose you tested 11 children. Line up their
scores from lowest to highest, like this
4 4 6 8 12 13 16 18 18
19 20 What is the mean/average score? (add
all together and divide by the total number of
Field independence
Field dependent
Qualities of BOTH
138 11 12.54
What is the median score? ( in the middle of the
If 3 year old girls have a mean score of 10.73
with a standard deviation of 3.74 what does that
Standard deviation means plus or minus possible
error. 10.73 3.74 6.99 10.73
3.7414.47 Children who score lower than 6.99 on
the test are field dependent higher than 14.47
are field independent. Children who score
somewhere IN the range have equal qualities of
both field dependence/independence.
impulsive/reflective reasoning
Jerome Kagan was born in Newark, New Jersey in
1929, the son of Joseph and Myrtle (Liebermann)
Kagan.  Kagan graduated from Rutgers University
in New Jersey in 1950 with a B.S. degree and in
1951 he married Cele Katzman the couple have one
daughter. Kagan earned his PhD from Yale
University in 1954 and received an honorary
master's degree from Harvard University in
1964.  He also spent one year as an instructor in
psychology at Ohio State University. Following
two years as a psychologist at the U.S. Army
Hospital at West Point, Kagan joined the Fels
Research Institute in Yellow Springs, Ohio, as a
research associate. In 1959, he became chairman
of the Department of Psychology there.
impulsive/reflective reasoning
As part of his focus on temperament, Kagan
studied individuals and how each approached a
problem-solving task. Those children who are
relatively slow and highly accurate in their work
are called reflective. Those that work quickly
and make more errors are impulsive.
To measure whether a child is reflective or
impulsive Kagan developed the MATCHING BEARS
impulsive/reflective reasoning
When administering the Matching Bears Task, the
child is shown a picture of a bear.
6 more bear pictures are then revealed, and the
child is asked to circle the one bear that
matches the top bear.
Curved chair back Square feet
The child who circles the right bear AND gives
good reasons why the other bears dont match is
Tall chair back Bow on other side
Looking up
impulsive/reflective reasoning
The child who circles the wrong bear OR who
cannot give good reasons why the other bears do
not match is impulsive.
I dont know why this bear is different.
One of the most valuable applications of the
Impulsive/Reflective Reasoning Task is to a
childs ability to learn to read. A reflective
child is more likely to take their time and sound
out words. They learn to read more easily.
impulsive/reflective reasoning

  • Reflection increases with age
  • Impulsiveness or reflectiveness is fairly stable
    for the first 20 years, regardless of attempts to
    change it
  • Impulsiveness or reflectiveness shows up in the
    performance of many tasks
  • Impulsiveness or reflectiveness appears to be
    linked to personality.

impulsive/reflective reasoning
Schools tend to reward the reflective
individuals. In the workplace, these individuals
tend to be leaders.
They fall back on reflective skills, mastering
detail, analyzing, discussing, weighing
alternatives, and thinking critically.
Graphic representation
Jean Piaget 1896-1980 Jean Piaget was a Swiss
psychologist, best known for his pioneering work
on the development of intelligence in children.
His studies have had a major impact on the fields
of psychology and education.
Piaget was born August 9, 1896. He received his
doctorate in biology at age 22. Piaget became
interested in psychology he studied and carried
out research first in Zurich, Switzerland, and
then at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he began his
studies on the development of cognitive
Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget wrote the Theory of Graphic
Draw a picture of a house with a tree behind it.
  • Jean Piaget developed the House-Tree Task.

Graphic representation
The house-tree task measures intellectual or
cognitive development, but NOT intelligence. It
is an appropriate test for children in the
pre-operational stage of development usually
between the ages of 2 and 7 years. It measures
the childs ability to visualize in a realistic
The child must be given the exact direction
Draw a picture of a house with a tree behind
it. Analyze the results
  • Stage 1 Scribbling
  • Random lines and forms that are not identifiable
    often drawn by a child about 2-3 years old

Graphic representation
Draw a picture of a house with a tree behind it.
  • Stage 2 Fortuitous Realism
  • You cannot accurately identify where the tree is
    or where the house is it would be a guess this
    is often the drawing of a 3-4 year old

Graphic representation
Stage 3 Failed Realism
Draw a picture of a house with a tree behind it.
-The tree is NOT behind the house it may be
beside the house, juxtaposed on top of the house,
or tucked halfway behind the house often drawn
by a 4-5 year old
Graphic representation
Draw a picture of a house with a tree behind it.
Stage 4 Intellectual Realism This
will be a very clever, but incorrect attempt. The
child, usually 5-6 years old, appears to be very
smart, but in fact, cannot visualize this
The child may draw a transparency where the tree
shows through the house, or may put the house on
top of a hill way in the distance. They may draw
a 3-dimensional house and put the tree on the
Graphic representation
Stage 5 Visual Realism
tree is behind the house. You can see very
little or none of the tree trunk. You can verify
the position of the tree by asking the child
Where are the roots of your tree?
This child can correctly picture this scene in
their head, and is often 6-7 years old.
The colors (or lack of colors) a child selects
does not have any impact on visual realization.
Draw a picture of a house with a tree behind it.
Graphic representation
Never ask the child What is this? It is an
insult to their drawing ability. If you asked
them to draw a picture of a house with a tree
behind it then it IS a picture of a house with a
tree behind it! If you want more information
about the picture, simply say Tell me about your
Like all other areas of development, boys
normally lag behind girls.
The child should not be able to
observe other childrens

drawings while taking this test. Any
conversation you have with
the child during testing
influence what they draw. Be
careful what you say.
Draw a picture of a house with a tree behind it.
Graphic representation
A child that has not reached the stage of visual
realism does not have a full understanding of
spatial concepts next to, beside,
on, over, under, inside, outside, behind, in
front of, in a row, etc.
The teacher or parent who expects this child to
line up behind other children or put the toy
on top of the box may be asking an impossibility.
Erik Eriksons block-building task
In addition to his more famous 8-stage theory of
psycho-social development, Erik Erikson also
theorized about social emotional development.
He believed that males develop a different
pattern of thinking than females, partly due to
genetics and partly due to environmental
influences. Erikson developed a block-building
task to demonstrate his theory.
Erik Eriksons block-building task
Give the teen-adult subject the command Build a
dramatic scene. For younger child, you can use
the wording Build an exciting scene.
The subject should build in isolation, without
interference, and be given an unlimited time
limit. If the subject asks questions or
indicates that they do not understand the
directions, do NOT make any suggestion. Instead,
simply reassure them that this is not a test,
there are no right or wrong answers, and they
should just do the best they can. (adults are
more hesitant than children) Instruct the subject
that when they are finished they can explain
their scene to you.
Erikson concluded these tendencies
Erik Eriksons block-building task
When the subject is done building, the observer
should say tell me about your scene or explain
to me what is happening in your scene. The
observer may need to ask questions pertinent to
the scene, to discern whether or not the subject
is following the norm. Erikson suggested that
variations from the norm MAY provide some clues
to the qualified therapist as to the social or
emotional development of the subject.
Example the average female would NOT build a
scene and have an intruder be a girl or woman.
If they do, is it because there is an aggressive
or threatening female in their life?
The end