Pets for Children: Developmental Psychology Study


The study of the characteristics of child development is the area of ​​psychology that provides for assessing various aspects, including cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical factors. Based on specific data, it is possible to analyze certain causal relationships and establish which criteria are key in the process of acquiring particular skills. This work is a correlational study that is meant to answer the following question: does interaction with animals produce happier moods in children? The application of this research design may allow finding a positive relationship between peculiar variables and establishing the reasons for the development of specific behavior.

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Variables Overview

As an independent variable, the communication of children with animals is used, and mood influencing behavior is a dependent one. Based on the initial hypothesis, there is a positive correlation between the two parameters presented. Interconnection assessment can be made by using the theoretical rationale presented in Steinberg et al. The analysis of the proposed hypothesis will be grounded on the study of children’s cognitive peculiarities and their perception of the environment.

Evidence to Prove the Hypothesis

The influence of the environment is an essential component that determines the children’s perception of the world and the principles of interaction with it. Steinberg et al. cite a specific dynamic systems theory and argue that new experience in children’s lifestyle, for instance, communication with peers, educational work, and other aspects, “may provoke a change in the child’s social behavior” (19). When giving an example of interacting with animals, it is possible to consider this procedure as one of the elements that can diversify daily events and bring new emotions.

In particular, when a child interacts with the representatives of the fauna, he or she learns that there are other creatures that can understand, play, eat, and perform other actions that are known to children. At an early age, cognitive skills are actively developed, and new emotions appear under the influence of constant discoveries and new experiences. An instinct to make friends encourage the child to show interest in all animals, and communicating with them reveals a new spectrum of feelings and emotions.

Correlation Assessment

When evaluating the proposed correlation, it is also possible to apply the evolutionary theory given by Steinberg et al. (18). The authors remark that the human species shares a huge number of genes with the representatives of the fauna, in particular, with primates (Steinberg et al. 18). The behavior of children and young animals is often similar, and only over time, accumulated experience and cognitive development makes a person more developed. Thus, it can be noted that there is a positive correlation between children’s happy mood and interaction with animals due to similar stages of development and a tendency to interact with the representatives of the unfamiliar world.


Based on a correlational study design, it is possible to determine the positive relationship between children’s interaction with animals and their happy mood. A dynamic systems theory may be applied to explain potential changes that occur under the influence of new experiences. Also, the evolutionary perspective can explain similarities in the behavior of human babies and animal cubs, which also brings them together. The tendency to interact weakens with the development of cognitive skills, but at an early age, the desire to contact with the representatives of another world is grounded by curiosity and the desire to make new acquaintances.

Work Cited

Steinberg, Laurence, et al. Development: Infancy Through Adolescence. Cengage Learning, 2010.

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