Social behaviour

  • Tony Malim
  • Ann Birch


Psychoanalytic theories centre almost exclusively on children’s emotional development and the impact on development of their relationships with a few key people. The learning theory approach emphasizes the central role that reinforcement plays in children’s development and also the importance of imitating appropriate models. Cognitive-developmental theory emphasizes the importance to social and emotional behaviour of the child’s developing thought processes and the exploration of objects. Traditionally, this approach centred upon Piaget’s theory (see Chapter 20). However, other theories of cognitive development have also been considered in Chapter 20 and all may be said to have contributed to the cognitive-developmental approach.


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Further reading

  1. Archer, J. and Lloyd, B. (1985). Sex and Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. This gives a useful review of gender differences in both children and adults.Google Scholar
  2. Astington, J.W. (1994). The Child’s Discovery of the Mind. London: Fontana. This gives a good introduction to the study of ‘theory of mind’. There is an interesting chapter on whether a child with autism possesses a theory of mind.Google Scholar
  3. Durkin, K. (1995). Developmental Social Psychology: From Infancy to Old Age. Oxford: Blackwell. This book considers a range of different areas of social development, presenting theories and up-to-date research findings from North America, Europe and Australia. There are excellent chapters on social cognition, self-concept, moral and prosocial development and the development of gender.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tony Malim and Ann Birch 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Malim
  • Ann Birch

There are no affiliations available

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