The effects of teacher-presented cues upon the learning of delinquents and nondelinquents
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The purpose of this study is to conduct an investigation into the intellectual functioning of delinquent children. An attempt is made to develop some notions from psychoanalytic theory which may, in part, explain the deficiency in academic achievement that is typical of this group. The psychoanalytic theory of delinquent character formation contains no suggestion that the factors which lead to delinquent character also produce an impairment in learning ability. A basic premise in this theory, however, is that the ego of the delinquent has suffered a defect in object relationships, or, the ability to form relationships with other persons. It is felt that this factor may interfere in the learning of delinquents in the typical school situation. Psychoanalysis views delinquency as normal, but relatively infantile human behavior. Activity which in older children and adults is considered to be asocial is normal in the behavior of young children. In this sense, delinquency is understood to be an expression of relatively primitive instinctual impulses. In the development of the child, these impulses are subjected to increasing modification. This is mediated by persons in the environment of the child through whom the child learns that certain behavior is unacceptable, and other behavior which can be substituted is more appropriate. As the result of this process, defense mechanisms are developed within the psychic structure of the child which rechannel instinctual energy in a variety of ways. Delinquency is conceived to occur under two kinds of conditions: (1) in cases where these defenses are inadequately developed, and (2) where once adequate defenses have failed. In the former case, there is conceived to be an early disturbance in the ego development of the child which occurs because of grossly inconsistent maternal care from a mother who alternately over-indulges and then leaves her child's needs unfulfilled for lengthy periods. As the result of this experience, the child's object relationships remain subordinate to his demands for gratification of instincts; he remains bound by the "pleasure principle." Such children are considered to be character-disorder delinquents. Their delinquencies begin early since only limited modification of impulses has occurred. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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