What was the "preformationist" view of human development? What implications did this view of human development have for children and education? What historical evidence supported this view? Contradicting evidence?
1. What was the "preformationist" view of human development? What implications did this view of human development have for children and education? What historical evidence supported this view? Contradicting evidence?
- Preformationism is most evident in early theories of embryology (from at least the 5th century B.C. through the last half of the 18th century). Scientists believed that a tiny, fully formed human, or homunculus, is implanted in the sperm or the egg at conception. In social thought preformationism declined earlier (16th century)
- Reflects the belief that the human is "preformed" at the instant of creation and grows only in size and bulk until birth.
- Believed that children come into the world as ready-made miniature adults.
- Predominant during the Middle Ages (Aries, 1960).
- Children distinguished only by size (Aries, 1960).
- Child's body and personality believed to have been formed into the adult pattern from birth.
Why did people hold preformationist views?
- Aries (1960, p. 40) speculated that people of this era were reluctant to pay attention to children's distinctive features because of high rates of childhood mortality.
- Ausubel (1958) speculated that adults nay have had a natural adult egocentrism assuming ...
This solution explains an early theory of development referred to as Preformationism (5th to the 18th century), including a description, historical evidence, and implications for children and education.