Article ID: CBB000671019

The Evolution of Beasts and Babies: Recapitulation, Instinct, and the Early Discourse on Child Development (2005)


The field of child study emerged at the end of the nineteenth century with the purpose of disclosing children's nature for the benefit of parents, educators, psychologists, and other interested groups. Borrowed from the biological sciences, narratives of biological recapitulation were common in the discourses about child development during this period. Such theories often measured children against savages, but they also suggested that the study of childhood offered clues into the evolutionary relationships between humans and animals. By emphasizing the relevance of children's instincts, observers of child development explained child behavior as the tissue that linked humans and animals.

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Authors & Contributors
Babini, Valeria Paola
Armitage, Kevin Connor
Shuttleworth, Sally A.
Rose, Anne C.
Ottavi, Dominique
Dewsbury, Donald A.
History of Psychology
History of Education
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Journal of the Guilded Age and Progressive Era
Journal of the History of Ideas
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Indiana University
University of Chicago
University of Oklahoma
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Child development
Primary and secondary education
Developmental psychology; pediatrics and psychology
Darwin, Charles Robert
Lombroso, Paola
Piaget, Jean
Fernberger, Samuel Weiller
Trotter, Wilfred
Gesell, Arnold Lucius
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
United States
Great Britain
North America
Soviet Union

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