The social dimension is very important in Vygotsky’s theory in studying developmental processes. Basically, Vygotsky’s (1962) believed that the process of developmental includes internalising social interactions and it occurs within the child. The interaction can then begin to extend its topics to include joint action, and joint attention, directed to things other than the interaction itself. Vygotsky pointed out that society was essential to human cognitive development, beginning with interaction between the child and another person.Vygotsky’s theory stresses the importance of including the social dimension in understanding child development.
He argued that all thought arises first in actions between people and only then becomes internalised. On the other hand, behaviourists focus on observable behaviour rather than internal processes. For example, Skinner argued that history of reinforcements determines behaviour and by understanding this and using reinforcements one can shape behaviour.It has been found that the mother’s ratings of infant difficulties are more associated with negative mood that inadaptability/fear (Bates, 1987). Bates found that observed parent-child interactions could predict behaviour problems. There are several studies that confirm the direct link between mother’s reports of temperament in the early development and later behaviour problems. Furthermore, Whiting ; Edwards (1992) emphasize the effect of the community’s values on the way children are treated (e.g.
phenomenon of electing power children). Their argument is quite similar to many ideas and observations of Vygotsky’s theory.Some societies encourage a great deal of adult child interaction with parents and elders while others discourage it.
For example, in some societies with large extended families, children are usually discouraged from imitating interaction with adults, ‘respect and obedience to orders are valued’ Whiting ; Edwards (1992). Miller (1987) suggests that such attitudes are common to many cultures and continue to exist today. Whiting ; Edwards noted that adults caretakers, usually mothers, all over the world have similar goals-‘caring for, socialising and transmitting culture to their children’ (Whiting ; Edwards, 1988, p.
87, quoted from BK1, OU).Moreover, Schieffelin and Ochs suggests that the ‘developmental story’ of mother-infant interaction does seem universal is based on an assumption that sees the infant as a social being and the mother’s role as being to take the perspective of the infant. As I approach the conclusion of the present study, it is appropriate to explain and try to answer the following question: How a parent’s behaviour can be affected by their image of their children?. The discussion by Prajna Das Gupta on audio cassette AC1: Image of childhood, pointed out that the views of baby as a positive reactor to how mother behaves is clearly inadequate, since the baby has to be active in rudimentary behaving and expressing feeling in order to be able to frame and give sense to these feeling and behaviours.
To sum-up, to understand more fully the development of beliefs about children it would seem to be necessary to take account of cultural processes that affect both child and parents behaviour. Therefore, a simple cause-and-effect model cannot fully describe the complex transactional links between parents and children behaviour: each person plays a part in determining how the other behaves within the cultural patterns that extend and have consequences beyond the specific interactions between parents and their children. According the transactional model (Sameroff ; Chandler, 1975), the effect of child’s temperament on parents is two-ways, on one hand, by its own selection of activities and on the other hand, especially for young child, by the influence its behaviour has upon caretakers (e.g., the effects of crying babies on caretakers; Dunn et al.
, 1979).Attribution theorists propose that causal attributions play a central role in predicting behaviour as individuals use them to understand, control and master their environment. When parents perceive behaviour to be more intentional, they are more upset by it and more likely to endorse power-assertive discipline techniques. Hence, children’s perception of their own behaviour will be co-determined by such parental attributions.
To some extent, children’s representations of themselves will be moulded by parent’s expectations and ideals and these are transmitted through mimicry and actions that reveal to the child how the parents have interpreted his intentions. Through this process the child learns how to intend’ (Dunn, 1982).Kaye and Brazelton (1971) found that mothers ‘deliver’ their behaviour during feeding in packages that fit in with a natural rhythm of the baby’s, and further adjust their pacing so that the interaction becomes very conversation-like. Adults tend to use a special form of speech when interacting with babies. They also found that the mothers interact with their babies during ‘face-to-face play’ shows some of the key elements of turn-taking.The television programme ‘simple beginnings?’ provides an illustration of the way adults behave towards babies, especially how they speak to them, suggests that learning does play a significant role. In the same TV programme, Annette Karmiloff-Smith discusses how ‘baby talk’ seems to accentuate the very features of speech to which infants seem most attuned, an example of the matching of social environment to an infant’s developmental state. In general, cross-cultural comparisons suggest that the type of parent-infant relationships are common across all cultures (for example ‘baby-talk’, Snow and Ferguson, 1977).
5.0 Final Remark and conclusion: Any account of development is necessarily culturally based, since the processes of raising children are essentially one of enculturation. To understand the development of early relationships between mothers and infants it would be seem to view the psychological processes of adapting and communicating with infants as cultural processes that serve the ends of producing particular sorts of individuals, Psychologists studying children need to take into account both similarities and differences between children of different cultures.Reference:1.
Bowlby, J. (1969) Attachment and loss. vol.1 Attachment.
London: Hogarth.2. Bruner, J. S.
(1975). From communication to language: a psychological perspective. Cognition, 3, pp.255-87.
3. Cleason, J. (1973). Code-switching in children’s language, in Moore, T.
E.(ed) Cognitive Developmental and Acquisition of language, New York, Academic Press.