The changes in findings in recent decades


     Paper from week # one of my early childhood development class:

        I  found it very interesting to listen to Gopnik (2010) discuss the changes in research findings over the past few decades. Gopnik discusses the fact that young children and even babies know a lot more than early theorists thought. The theorists did not believe that babies were able to rationalize or relate to others. Piaget believed that children were not able to learn the perspectives of others until age 7 or 8. But in the 1970’s we started to learn differently about the abilities of very small children (Gopnik, 2010).

      Gopnik (2010) suggests that one of the reasons that it took so long for us to understand the cognitive abilities of babies is that until then women were the caretakers, and men were the researchers. In the 1970’s, women started to become researchers as well. I thought that this was an interesting point that was when women began to be accepted into the research fields. Gopnik (2010) also makes the point that technological changes began and rather than subjective beliefs, objective findings were possible with videotaping.

      Saey (2008) discusses the findings in recent decades in the importance in the biological influence of the father onto the child. Scientists have discovered that substances affect the sperm and increase the possibility of contributing to genetic abnormalities. Research shows that the offspring of male mice that were given cocaine had difficulty learning and remembering, even when the mothers had not been given it. Saey also cites research that it is indicated that males can have an effect for several generations. I think it is interesting that these types of findings, which are most likely due to technological advancements, counter earlier beliefs. Women have long been cautioned about their influence on the health of their unborn babies, but fathers typically have not (Saey, 2008).  

      Berger (2012, p. 20) discusses the findings in recent decades of mirror neurons. Scientists found that when one monkey watched another monkey reach for something, both monkeys’ brains reacted as if they had each completed the task. The monkey that observed the action had the same response by watching the other monkey. These findings may suggest that humans can learn in similar ways and research is being done because of this finding (Berger, 2012).

      I think it is interesting and exciting that although children have been around forever, that research and understanding still is new and fresh. More and more continues to be discovered about children’s development and learning. I am enthusiastic to learn that I am not just expected to memorize old facts and names, but am being introduced to a vibrant field where there are professionals working globally in multidisciplinary fields to unlock more discoveries about early childhood.


Berger, K. S. (2012). The developing person through childhood (6th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers

 Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Learning about Children [Course video]. Retrieved from


 Saey, T. H. (2008). Dad’s hidden influence. Science News, 173(13). 200-201.

 Sloan, N. L., Rojas, E. P., Stern, C., Camacho, L. W., & Maternidad Isidro Ayora Study Team. (1994). Kangaroo mother method: randomised controlled trial of an alternative method of care for stabilised low-birthweight infants. The Lancet, 344(8925), 782-785. Retrieved from mother care&id=doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)63569-6&title=Lancet (London, England)&volume=350&issue=9093&date=1997&spage=1721&issn=0140-6736

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