Round tables

RT1 E. Menesini: Translating developmental psychology into practice: challenges in prevention and clinical interventions

Round table organized by Ersilia Menesini (Italy), with the participation of Christina Salmivalli (Finland), Maria José Rodrigo (Spain) , Christiane Spiel (Austria), Tina Malti (Canada) and Ayala Borghini (Switzerland)

In developmental psychology as well as in governmental and educational agencies  there has been an increasing interest in the area of translational research. This is a new paradigm that complements, rather than opposing, basic research and applied research, bringing both towards a shared goal of improving the condition of children and adolescents in the course of development.
Several studies are now recognizing  different levels and processes of translation ranging from the classical translational chain (from basic research to intervention evaluation),   to the  attention to the bidirectional influence between research and practice,  to testing  promising interventions in the community,  and to how to best communicate scientific evidence to the public (Guerra, Graham and Tolan, 2011).  The translational approach is strongly intertwined with the methodology of “evidence-based interventions and projects”, an approach for the evaluation of the efficacy and efficiency of projects with references to international standards.
Moving from different areas of interventions (from school to family , from prevention to clinics) participants will address several issues such as: 1) challenges in designing and evaluating the interventions, 2) issues related to define and to follow the samples  ; 3) translation of a trial carried out under experimental conditions in a large scale evidence-based trial;  4) identifying  the “core components” of evidence-based intervention programs, and how to validate them  in replication trials; 5) translation  and adaptation of specific projects in different cultures,  6) providing advocacy guidelines based on evidence based studies.
The round table discussion will address these relevant issues in an emerging area of research in developmental psychology.  Participants are: Ersilia Menesini  (University of Florence, Italy) (chair), Christina Salmivalli (University of Turku, Finland), Maria José Rodrigo (University of Laguna- Spain) , Christiane Spiel (University of Vienna, Austria), Tina Malti (University of Toronto, Canada) and Ayala Borghini (University of Lausanne, Switzerland).

RT2 W. Koops: History and developmental psychology

Round table organized by Willem Koops (The Netherlands), with the participation of Anne Borge (Norway), Blaise Pierrehumbert (Switzerland) and Christiane Spiel (Austria).

Developmental psychology  runs the danger to dismiss historical context. There are least three levels on which we should increase historical awareness and research: 1) The historical context should play a role in the empirical research of child development. Clear examples of these kinds of research are to be found in particular in the well known works of Glen H. Elder (Jr.). ; 2) There is the study of the history of the developmental discipline itself. But it should be said; there is not a rich whole of historical books and/or journals on the history of developmental psychology; 3) There is the historical study of the History of Childhood. And of course the history of childhood has links with the history of the study of Child Development. Nice examples are to be found in the work of Peter Stearns and others,  and in the book on the cultural history of childhood and developmental psychology by the cultural historian Mike Zuckerman and Willem Koops.

In this discussion Willem Koops will open with a short introduction, followed by professors Anne Borge, Blaise Pierrehumbert and Christiane Spiel, who will present statements and examples, to be discussed with the audience.

RT3 Marc J. Ratcliff: Only three subjects, but 6000 observations. The infant observation journals by Jean and Valentine Piaget, 1925-1932

Round table organized by Marc J. Ratcliff, Archives Jean Piaget, FPSE – University of Geneva (Switzerland).

Between 1925 and 1932 Jean Piaget and his wife Valentine used notebooks to systematically record, in writing, observations made on their three children about their cognitive and affective development. This huge set of observations and experiments served as the main source of information for the writing of Piaget’s three books on infants and early childhood (1936, 1937, 1945). All the notebooks have been recovered thus allowing me to display their main features and what we can learn through them.
First I will present these notebooks as a major source of data for infants’ research. They indeed contain more than six thousand observations and experiments dispatched throughout a huge variety of developmental domains, notions and early competencies. Some of the observations are followed up during four to five years in longitudinal studies.
I will then raise several epistemological issues to which the writings bring some answers. Some of those issues are: Was Piaget’s developmental model conceived in a top-down manner, or built from bottom to up? Up to what extent were the observations theory-laden? What was Valentine’s role, and how can we understand Piaget’s collaboration with his wife?
Eventually, I will put into context this undertaking to compare it with contemporary infant studies in order to try to understand whether there is agreement on several issues, namely: is Piaget’s notion of subject comparable to the contemporary one? Would such a collective undertaking be possible today? Are the qualitative and quantitative approaches complementary or are they unrelated?


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