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Title: Cognition and the development of fear
Authors: Grixti, Joe
Keywords: Fear in children
Fear -- Psychological aspects
Cognition in children
Issue Date: 1983
Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Education
Citation: Grixti, J. (1983). Cognition and the development of fear. Education, 1(3), 2-6.
Abstract: It is significant that most sources of childhood and later fears identified by various investigators can be broadly categorized in terms of a general tendency to fear the very strange, especially when it is closely associated with the familiar, and that a key factor influencing whether or not an object or situation will arouse fear is the amount of control which is felt in its relation. The prospect of pain, for instance, which according to G. Stanley Hall' "puts to life the question of its very survival or extinction, complete or partial", was reported by C.W. Valentine to have produced surprisingly little fear in the children he tested as long as if was roused in circumstances under the child's own control, in an expected form, and in a familiar situation. It is, of course, the type of control supplied by our knowledge and expectations about our surroundings (Sartre's "hodological map" or the mental construction of reality created in the course of an individual's numerous experiences with his milieu which is at the base of Piaget's assimilation- accommodation model of the cognitive system) which is challenged or removed when we are faced with the very strange or the uncanny. For the human infant, as with many animals, strangeness elicits alarm: sudden noise, loss of support, jerky movements, quick changes of luminescence, and objects that rapidly expand or advance will cause an infant to show signs of distress. But what constitutes "strangeness" and the methods of coping with it will also change with the child's developing awareness and understanding of its environment.
Appears in Collections:Education, vol. 1, no. 3
Education, vol. 1, no. 3

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