Biological Theory Powerpoint

Topics: Psychology, Developmental psychology, Child development Pages: 5 (278 words) Published: February 9, 2015


The Biological (Maturational Theory) of child
development was developed by a man named Arnold
Gesell. Gesell’s theory was shaped by the
expectations that development is based in biology,
children alternate between good and bad years in
development, and that body types share a connection
with personality development. The Maturational
Theory focuses on physical and mental development,
and Gesell saw these developmental patterns being
determined by a child’s heredity.

Gesell’s observations of children allowed him to
describe developmental milestones in ten major areas:
- personal hygiene
- emotional expression
- fears and dreams
- self and sex
- interpersonal relations
- play and pastimes
- school life
- ethical sense
- philosophic outlook
- motor characteristics

Gesell’s training in physiology and his focus on
developmental milestones led him to become a strong
supporter of the “maturational” perspective of child
development. That is, he believed that child development
occurs according to a predetermined, naturally unfolding
plan of growth. Gesell’s most notable achievement was his
contribution to the “normative” approach to studying children. In this approach, psychologists observed large numbers of
children of various ages and determined the typical age, or
“norms,” for which most children achieved various
developmental milestones.
( /)

Gesell’s observation included children of various ages rather than just on age which helped to determine certain
developmental milestones.
Gesell’s theory ignores a child’s emotional development
almost completely.

Gesell is criticised for not taking account education within his theory. Gesell never comments directly on education, only


Gesell's model does not bridge the gap between adolescence
and adulthood, it cannot be considered to be complete.

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