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Abriendo Puertas: Opening Doors to Opportunity, A National Evaulation of Second-Generation Training
Creating a Classroom of Inquiry at the University of California at Berkeley: The Harold E. Jones Child Study Center
The impact of timing and frequency of parental criminal behaviour and risk factors on offspring offending
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HISTORY OF IHD
Exploring Human Development - Contexts and Individual Potentials
Since 1927, the Institute of Human Development (IHD) has sparked pioneering studies of individual development from newborns to adolescents to the elderly. Institute members and students explore the biological, psychological, social and cultural forces that shape human growth. We are united by our commitment to understanding the individual's developmental capacities and how diverse contexts shape the vitality of children and adults. As one of the University's first research centers, IHD hosts an interdisciplinary community of scientists, including young scholars and students who shape path-breaking research, innovative programs, and policy options.
A Distinguished History
The Institute of Human Development, originally called the Institute of Child Welfare, was established in 1927 through support from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Foundation. It was one of five such research institutes established throughout the United States to study the factors that effect human development from the earliest stages of life. Child development researcher Harold E. Jones became the institute's first Director of Research. In 1928, Prof. Jones launched the first of three landmark longitudinal studies of human development: the Berkeley Growth Study. Nancy Bayley was invited to come to the institute to direct this study which chronicled the mental and motor growth of children during their earliest years, with follow-up into adulthood. The following year, Jean Walker Macfarlane, who in 1922 earned the second Ph.D. awarded by Berkeley in the young field of psychology, joined the institute and with Prof. Jones initiated the Institute of Child Welfare Guidance Study, a longitudinal study of 250 infants born in the Berkeley area. Shortly thereafter, Prof. Jones launched a parallel study with adolescents that became known as the Oakland Growth Study. These longitudinal studies allowed Prof. Jones and his IHD colleagues to study human learning and maturation at various stages of development, often tracking growth in physical, cognitive, and social-emotional domains.
This early work established IHD as a bold intellectual center - hosting empirical work on questions around genetics and in-born human capacities, to the consequential effects of contexts and institutions on the development of children, adolescents, and adults. Studies of inherited traits blossomed, including a painstaking study of how twins display similar eye-movements. Prof. Jones tracked five separate samples of young children enrolled in the Institute's nursery school during the 1930s, along with a matched control group. He failed to detect positive developmental effects, while recognizing that many children enrolled came from well educated families (what became known as selection bias).
Psychologists Jack and Jeanne Block would also draw on these original family samples, asking how the period of adolescence comes to shape individuals as they enter middle-age. Prof. Block and other IHD scholars pressed on the assumption that one's personality is set, and can be measured, at a young age and then remains constant throughout life. He tested the counter assertion that individuals adapt to widely varying social environments which change over time, leading to shifting identities and core relationships.
Dr. Diana Baumrind would draw from these unprecedented data to distinguish types of parenting, which resulted in differing behavior and motivational patterns in children and adolescents. Her typology of authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive child rearing continues to shape how parents and practitioners think about socialization in the home.
In one well-known analysis, Children of the Great Depression, sociologist Glenn Elder delved into the severe vulnerabilities experienced by adolescents, stung by their family uncertainties and watching their fathers go off to war.
Each of these pioneers emphasized the importance of longitudinal data in understanding how the child's or adult's environs change over time, prompting new adaptations and learning which are constrained or enhanced by their developmental capacities. They also discovered how the attributes that children bring to an organized intervention such as child care or preschool must be taken into account when evaluating developmental effects of a program. IHD scholars pushed forward on these methodological issues and devised new ways to assess children's multifaceted skills and capacities. Notably, Nancy Bayley designed novel ways of assessing the early cognitive growth of infants and toddlers, yielding measures that are still widely used.
The research innovations and contributions of IHD continued to expand. In 1960, the Harold E. Jones Child Study Center was opened as a working nursery school, serving as a site to observe young children at work and play, and to field test new early childhood programs. In the mid-1960s, the research focus at IHD moved beyond normative psychology when Prof. George De Vos joined the Institute to study juvenile delinquency from a cross-cultural perspective.
Today, IHD hosts a colorful array of scholars conducting work on development across the age span and digging into questions from various theoretical and philosophical traditions, including cultural studies, psychology, public health, sociology, and neuroscience.
Silvia Bunge is studying how children's brains develop when exposed to high-quality after school programs. Allison Gopnik details how young children use social and physical information to learn about the causal structure of the world-how some things make other things happen. Steve Hinshaw is advancing knowledge of the behavioral and neurological results of ADHD, suffered by children of all ages. Elliot Turiel is illuminating the moral reasoning capacity of adolescents and adults around the globe.
Joe Campos continues to delve into the development of infants, including what he calls the "psychological revolution" that unfolds with the onset of crawling and the child's earliest understanding of human movement that they can control. Fei Xu focuses on how infants and young children use frequency and statistical information about physical and social phenomena to learn about the world around them.
IHD is dedicated to applying new scientific discoveries to the problems facing America's children and families. Phil and Carolyn Cowan, for instance, are running randomized clinical trials in diverse urban communities to evaluate how counseling groups for fathers and couples strengthen low-income families. The groups, led by trained mental health professionals, are boosting fathers' daily involvement with their children and enriching parents' relationships, significantly lowering the behavior and emotional problems emerging with their children.
Recent books by members of IHD inform a variety of questions being debated in civil society, from how to build early childhood programs that respond to the nation's diverse families, to the painful problems facing teenage girls, to how educators might enrich the moral reasoning of children and youths. IHD hosts an innovative effort to distill and communicate new findings on Latino children and schools to journalists and policy makers.
The Harold E. Jones Center, the experimental nursery school begun a half-century ago, has inspired additional childcare centers across the Berkeley campus. Currently, seven centers, including the Jones Child Study Center preschool, offer quality care for infants, toddlers, and preschool children as well as research sites for university faculty and students.
Visit our full listing of current research projects, bimonthly activities at IHD, and information on how institute members and students are engaging civic debate on human development across the lifespan.