Cultural Influence on the Development of Child’s Behaviour – Essay
Culture includes physical and material elements of the environment in which the child is reared, as well as the factors of influence that are present in the traditions, morals, customs, beliefs, norms, values, attitudes and social motives.
Culture influences child in various ways. Cultural factors include family, religion, school, mass-media such as press, radio, TV, movies and other organised and informal groups with which, the child associates during his developing years.
Social heritage is transmitted in some instances by specific instructions towards the stated object, in others through informal, unstructured means. Certain modes of behaviour are prescribed by the groups in which the child lives e.g. the form of conversation, attitudes towards people and religion, eating habits, etc.
The child’s education in the school largely depends on the culture of the society, e.g. his relationships with his peers and teachers are influenced by the values of his culture. This child’s daily activities are influenced by such factors as radio, TV, movie, social gatherings, newspapers and other reading materials, family prayers, religious ceremonies and so on.
As the child matures, some aspects to his culture are absorbed almost unconsciously and others are learned through formal education. Soon the child finds that conforming to the cultural norms is advantageous for him and he consciously imitates the behaviour of other people around him.
Influence on Child Rearing Practices:
Within a society, there exist many sub-cultures of each society. Thus, urban culture differences widely from the rural culture and the culture of middle class differ from those of the lower and upper classes.
The child rearing practices and the methods of discipline differ from culture to culture. Some societies prefer authoritarian methods of discipline while others prefer democratic methods. The children reared with different methods develop different traits of personality and behaviour patterns. In most modern Western society’s competition, achievement, motivation and independence, etc. are encouraged.
Influence of Attitude of Parents:
The attitudes of the parents towards their children also differ from culture to culture. This also leads to differences in their behaviour and personality. All these differences in environment due to cultural differences influence the child’s development. In fact, it is said that personality of an individual is a product of cultural factors working along with hereditary and other environmental factors.
Nature of Intelligence Tests:
Intelligence test is a test that enables us to determine the intellectual level of an individual and to distinguish between different individuals on the basis of the scores obtained by them in the test.
The first intelligence test was constructed by a French psychologist, Alfret Binet to sort out school children on the basis of the performance in the tests, in 1905. Since then, intelligence testing has become one of the major tasks of Psychologists and a very large number of elaborate intelligence tests have been constructed by them for various purposes.
Intelligence test consists of a set of large number of questions for various age groups. These questions or items are selected after considering the intelligence of an average individual of a particular group. On the basis of the scores obtained by the individual he is classified in various groups.
If an individual is able to answer satisfactorily all the questions (or problems) that are set for his age group he is supposed to have normal intelligence, if he cannot answer them satisfactorily he is below normal, and if he can answer the problems that are set for the higher age group than his own, he is supposed to posses ‘above-average’ intelligence.
Thus, if a 5 year child is able to solve all problems (in the given time) set for his age (i.e. 5 years old) he is considered to be normal or average and if he is also able to solve the problem set for say 7 years, then he is above average in intelligence. The test problems with the individual is able to solve within the specific time is called his Mental Age (M.A.).
Where M.A. stands for mental age and C.A. stands for the individuals chronological or actual age. Thus, intelligence is expressed as a ratio of mental age upon chronological age multiplied by 100 (we multiply by 100 in order to avoid fractions). To take an example, if a child of 5 years has the mental age of 6 years, then his IQ will be 6/5 x 100 = 120.
While actually applying the test the psychologist begins by first giving the tests to the lower age group and gradually gives the tests to higher age groups (e.g. at 10 years old child may be given the test of 8 years group, then to 9 years group, then to 10 years group, then to 11 years group, etc. until he is not able to solve further problems).
There are two general categories of intelligence tests: individual tests and group tests. Individual tests are given separately to particular individuals to be tested. This is not always convenient because it takes longer time. Group tests can be applied to a large number of subjects at the same time: therefore, they are more convenient and economic.
To make successful use of intelligence tests, they must be constructed (prepared) and applied very carefully. It is expected that the results of the test must give the objective assessment of the individual’s intelligence. Any good intelligence test (like any other tests) must satisfy three important requirements: (i) it must be standardised (ii) it must be reliable, and (iii) it must be valid. Standardisation of test is concerned with the construction of the test or the techniques specially used in the test.
This means that the test must be constructed on the basis of well defined, standardised group which is a large and representative sample of the individuals to be tested. The reliability of test means the degree of accuracy and consistency with which it measures intelligence: reliability can be increased by eliminating the chance of errors (i.e. the possible chances that may enter into the testing situations). Validity of test means the degree to which the test actually measures intelligence. This further means that when we are measuring intelligence, our test must measure only intelligence and not anything else.