Journal of Social Sciences

The Role of Developmental Psychology to Understanding History, Culture and Social Change

Georg W. Oesterdiekhoff

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2014.185.195

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 10, Issue 4

Pages 185-195

Abstract

Developmental psychology of the past generations has evidenced that the whole pre-modern humankind stood on pre-operational or concrete-operational stages. Only the modern humankind has also developed the fourth stage of human development, the adolescent stage of formal operations. Lew Vygotski was 1933 one of the first to earmark convincingly the connection of socialisation (school education) and cognitive development as a precondition to reach the “higher psychological processes”, as the Russian school designated what the school of Geneva called “formal operations”. The essay documents that developmental psychology is necessary to reconstruct the history of magic, religion, sciences, philosophy, law, morals, politics, economy, population, arts, customs and mentality. It is impossible to understand human’s history on earth and social change from Pleistocene up to modern times without developmental psychology. Moreover, the emergence of the formal operations during the early modern times caused the rise of modern, industrial society, including its main parts “industrialism”, “sciences”, “Enlightenment”, “humanism” and “democracy”. These five main phenomena of modernity manifest higher stages of psyche and cognition, having arisen in the same region and in the same era. Developmental psychology is able to explain their nature and their internal coherence, while traditional social sciences have no means available to deal with these phenomena, considering their common origination as an accidental phenomenon or misinterpreting it.

Copyright

© 2014 Georg W. Oesterdiekhoff. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.