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The Only Child

This research will examine the phenomenon of the only child. The developmental-psychology context of the child reared without siblings has emerged as an issue in recent years but evidence shows that only children do not appear to be at a significant disadvantage in regard to personality or other aspects of development and functioning.

Human development, which Shweder terms cultural psychology, can be identified as much by what it is not--anthropology, psychology, and sociology in their classical formulation--as by what it is (Shweder, 1990, p. 1). In general terms, Shweder describes it as "the study of the way cultural traditions and social practices regulate, express, transform, and permute the human psyche, resulting less in psychic unity for humankind than in ethnic divergences in mind, self, and emotion" (p. 1). What marks human development from other canonical disciplines in the social sciences is its focus on the context in which developmental psychology takes place, centered on the human psyche and social and personal relationships as the starting point of analysis. The traditional assumption is that human psychology has universality by reason of "central processing mechanism" and that there is "a fundamental division" between that mechanism and the "context," or external environment in which the psyche is made to function (Shweder, 1990, p. 5). Human development has as its starting point of analysis not the individual central processing mechanism but rather context. As Goodnow, Miller, and Kessel put it (1995, p. 2), the discipline "offers a unified view of development and culture as intertwined processes"; Shweder's formulation is that human cognition, learning, and selfhood interpenetrate one another and the culture in which they emerge: "you can't take the stuff out of the psyche and you can't take the psyche out of the stuff" (Shweder, 1990, p. 22).

Few areas of developmental psychology have been captured so strongly ...

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The Only Child. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:12, April 21, 2019, from