Sociale ontwikkeling en naïviteit van proefpersonen

Willem Koops

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)


In this study arguments are given in favour of a social-scientific approach to psychology in general and especially to research and theory-building in developmental psychology. With this approach the double socialization of developmental psychology can be justified and radicalized. The approach also offers starting points for designing meta-psychological research. After a short introduction the discipline of developmental psychology is defined in chapter II, and the history of the discipline is summarized. An analysis of more recent developments leads to the conclusion that developmental psychology is characterized by a double socialization, that is an increased concentration on social factors and a growing thematical interest in social topics. This double socialization applies to the two main areas of developmental research: social as well as cognitive development. Chapter II concludes by questionning whether developmental psychology is dependent on a social orientation. Chapter III seeks an answer to this question. First of all it is stated that originally psychology was derived from the pure sciences not only with respect to methodology but also with respect to content. (For Hume consciousness was a Newtonian field of forces, for psychonomists the modern computer serves as a model). The most salient feature of this tradition is that it ignores the fact that psychological statements are about people. In the social scientific approach, on the other hand, the specific subject-object relationship, described here as a two-way communicative relationship, is seen as the very heart of psychological science. Some general problems relating to the ambiguity of the subject-experimenter relationship are discussed and the chapter concludes with an examination of the consequences of a social scientific approach for developmental psychology. In chapter IV some research concerning the empirical significance of the two-way communicative relationship is reported. The object of the research is behavior imitation, the central topic in the developmental psychology of social behavior. The principal question of the research is concerned with meta-validity, i.e. the question whether empirical psychological findings remain valid if subjects are not naive, but have some relevant psychological knowledge (meta-information). In a first meta-validity study on a verbal modeling procedure, it was found that children with relevant knowledge of social learning theory do not imitate the model anymore. The meta-in¬formation was given in a direct way, in the form of a mini-course on social learning theory, and was explicitly related to the research situation itself. In the second and third experiment the meta-information was given in a more implicit way (in both respects), but the results support those of the first study. Two control experiments demonstrated that these results cannot be ascribed to training effects or to imitation effects, which could be inhe¬rent to the experimental procedures. In the discussion the significance of these data for the social scientific approach in general and for developmen¬tal psychology in particular is commented upon. In the final chapter some comments are made to put earlier arguments into proper perspective and the most important conclusions are summarized
Original languageDutch
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • van der Werff, J.J., Supervisor, External person
Publication statusPublished - 1980

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