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The Relationship Between Ethology and Paedology

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

In this article it is argued that an ethologist is not out of place in a paedological institute, granted the assumption that he or she is both interest in child studies as well as in the application of such studies to specialized diagnosis and treatment of children who are retarted or disturbed in their development. First, the concept of paedology and its history are briefly explored. Then, the relationship between ethology and paedology is discussed. Since child studies have been going on for nearly a century now, whereas ethologists started to study human children only 2 decades ago, an ethologist should be armed with humility. It is unlikely that ethology will uncover new problems. And yet, ethology may contribute by being a new approach to classic problems. One characteristic of this approach is that ethologists follow a biological tradition in attempting to start analyses from a secure base of description. And they describe not only the subject(s) they are studying, but also the environment in which these subjects are living. This is not always taken for granted in other disciplines doing research in the field of children with developmental disturbances. As an illustration, three classic problems in paedology ar described as well as the way in which ethology could contribute. These problems are: direct observations of classroom behaviour, the "other half of intelligence", and learning disorders.

Affiliations: 1: (Gemeentelijk Pedotherapeutisch Instituut, Amsterdam


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