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Child and Youth Studies
John Mc Namara

Child and Youth Studies CHYS 1F90
 Dr. J. McNamara Fall/Winter 2010 Lecture Overview  Suomi’s theory  Macaque research  Brain Development  Neural Pruning Previous Research  Suomi uses Freud’s idea – What happens early affects adulthood – However, research is cloudy  Research with animals has permitted a more direct study of the relationship Rhesus Macaques  Macaques shared 90
% of our genes  Basic troop behaviour 20% of Macaque Population  Highly reactive monkeys  Prolonged HPA activation  High cortisol levels  High stress Unusually supportive moms  20
% of macaque mothers exhibit very supportive care of their infants Crossbreeding  Process of breeding with the intention to create offspring that share the traits of both parent lineages – Understanding genetics  Increases the likelihood that a highly reactive monkey will be born The Result  Highly Reactive Infant  Highly Nurturing Mom The Experiment Lessons Learned from Rhesus Monkeys  Neural sculpting  Social and physical environments shape the networks and patterns of the brain  Modification of neural pathways as a function of experience What’s happening…?  The changes are not simply behavioural  Changes in biology - neurology UUnderstanding Neural Connections Strengthening a neural connection through experience Neural Synapse  A connection of neurons  Allow the nervous system to connect to and control other systems of the body  Messages throughout the body Synaptogenesis  Starts prenatally and extends well into childhood years  Stability, strength of synapses depend on effective firing of connections Neural Development • Effectiveness determined by speed that neurons conduct nerve impulses • Speed is determined by amount of myelin • A fatty substance that wraps itself around nerve axons • Insulates axon and increases conduction velocity • Rate and extent of myelin affected by experience and nutrition BBrain Growth  Myelination occurs at different rates –
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