Analysis and Application Paper Instructions
To successfully complete this assignment, you will:
Â· Analyze 3 scenarios (based on actual events) and identify developmental characteristics of a child aged 2â€“6 that are evident in the behavior of the children described.
Â· Apply knowledge from the field of developmental psychology to provide a basis for the legal systemâ€™s determination that children should not be held responsible for crimes committed.
Â· Present this information in a professional manner, implementing current APA guidelines for style and formatting.
One day at school in a small town in Michigan, two children had a disagreement on the playground. This was not an unusual occurrence as anyone who has spent time with six-year olds can attest. However, the next day a terrible tragedy resulted. While the teacher led the class through the hall to the computer lab, one of the children pulled a loaded pistol from his backpack, pointed it at his classmate shouting, â€œI donâ€™t like you,â€ and then shot her. She died soon after at the hospital.
Six-year-old Michael and Bill* lived in the hills of Kentucky. One day, Michael found some scrap metal that he hoped to sell for a few cents. When Bill (who was older) slapped Michael and took the metal for himself, Michael ran home, took his fatherâ€™s shotgun down from the wall, then went outside and shot his playmate dead. *Not their real names.
In a hot, overcrowded apartment in Kansas City, a sixteen-year old girl fell asleep while baby-sitting several young children. She did not awaken when an 18-month old boy in her charge began to cry. When a six-year old girl grew tired of listening to him, she took the younger child to the bathtub, and held him under water until he died.
Each of these stories represents a tragic and senseless loss of life. While an adult in any of these circumstances would certainly have been charged with first-degree murder, none of the children described were punished because standards within our legal system indicate that young children cannot be held responsible for crimes such as these.
For this assignment, imagine that you are a developmental psychologist asked to defend this policy. Your arguments must describe developmental characteristics found in children at this age. You will apply concepts and theories used in developmental psychology to explain why our legal system is justified in ruling that young children are not responsible for criminal actions. Use only information provided in this document and in our textbook. Do not make assumptions about home life, parenting, environment, etc.
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Comments or questions are welcome.