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PSYCH 1XX3 (1,041)
Joe Kim (960)


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McMaster University
Joe Kim

Development I Foundational Topics: 1. Development a. Gene-environment interactions across an individual’s lifespan 2. Evolution a. Gene-environment interactions across the evolutionary history of a species 3. Neuroscience a. Study of the nervous system and the neural basis of thought and behaviour Development: Refers to the continuities and changes that occur within the individual between conception and death. Two processes lead to developmental change: - [1] Maturation: The biologically-timed unfolding of changes within the individual according to that individual’s genetic plan. - Influenced by specific environmental conditions - Ex. Fergus grows his first baby tooth at 5 months, starts walking at 12 months, enters puberty at 12 years, and dies at 100 years. - [2] Learning: Refers to the relatively permanent change in our thoughts, behaviours, and feelings as a result of our experiences. - Allows one to acquire new info and respond to events/stimuli in the environment - Ex. Fergus learns to avoid touching a hot stove - Learned processes can be controlled and automatic (after lots of practice) - May not always be the optimal behaviour depending on the environment - Ex. Crossing the street in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road Interactionist Perspective:The view that holds that maturation and learning interact during development. How Maturation Affects Learning - Certain things cannot be learned until a certain age - May not be physically mature to learn the task - Ex. Trying to teach a 4 month old to walk or talk will not work How Learning Affects Maturation - Without some minimal level of input to learn from the outside world, maturation will be absent/delayed - Ex. Fergus was given proper nutrition but isolated in a dark room causing him to have problems in developing normal vision, speech, motor, and social skills to another child exposed to normal environmental stimulation Four Ways To Measure Abilities In Infants - Changes that take place between the ages of 40 and 45 are more subtle than the changes taking place between the ages of 1 and 5 - Developmental changes taking place during early years are believed to play an important role in shaping who you become - [1] Habituation Procedure - Determines if an infant can detect the difference between two stimuli - Repeatedly presenting the infant with the same stimulus (ex. Picture) and measuring changes in physiological responses (ex. Heart rate, breathing) - Habituation:A decrease in the responsiveness to a stimulus following repeated presentation of the stimulus. o Novel stimulus Æ Infant shows a burst of activity Æ Repeated presentation Æ Infant’s response returns to baseline levels - Dishabituation:An increase in the responsiveness to a stimulus that is somehow different from the habituated stimulus. o Novel stimulus Æ Infant shows a burst of activity Æ Repeated presentation Æ Infant’s response returns to baseline levels Æ Novel stimulusÆ Infant recognizes new stimulus - [2] Event-related Potentials - Measures the brain electrical activity evoked by the presentation of stimuli - Ex. Infant presented with visual stimulus may show changes in activity in the occipital lobe of the brain, an area devoted to visual processing - [3] High-amplitude Sucking - A specific pacifier can accurately measure an infant’s sucking behaviour to determine their likes/dislikes - First measure the baseline sucking rate for an infant in the absence of relevant stimuli - Present a stimulus (ex. Music) - Sucking rate determines the presence of the stimulus - Likes stimulus Æ Increase sucking rate Æ Stimulus stays - Dislikes stimulus Æ Decrease sucking rate Æ Stimulus leaves - [4] Preference - Infant is put in a looking chamber to simultaneously look at two different stimuli - Accurately measures the direction the infant is looking to determine where attention is directed Competence-Performance Distinction: An individual may fail a task not because they lack those cognitive abilities, but because they are unable to demonstrate those abilities. Developmental Research Designs - [1] Longitudinal Design:Same individuals are studied repeatedly over some subset of their lifespan. - Pros: o Allows researchers to assess developmental change and track common patterns among people o Ex. Test the same group of people every yearon the same type of test to track each person over time as they develop - Cons: o Expensive o Time-consuming o Selective Attrition:Loss of participants in a study such that the sample ends up being non-responsive of the population as a whole. ƒ Participants may quit, become unfit, and/or die o Practice Effect: Changes in participants’ responses due to repeated testing. - [2] Cross-sectional Design: Individuals from different age groups are studied at the same point in time. - Pros: o Allows researchers to assess developmental change o Relatively less time-consuming and expensive - Cons: o Cannot distinguish age effects from generational effects ƒ Ex. 25-year olds perform better than 50-year olds at a number memory test could represent a decline in cognitive ability or a difference in experiences ƒ Generation of 50-year olds had less training with numbers in their early ages o Cannot directly assess individual developmental change ƒ Each person is only studied at a single point in time ƒ Not observing what happens as the person ages Development II Hereditary Transmission - Conception: When a sperm penetrates an ovum. - Zygote: A new cell formed by conception. o Contains 46 chromosomes, 23 chromosomes from each parent o Divides at exponential rate Æ 2 cells Æ 4 cells Æ 8 cells o Each cell has the same 46 chromosomes inherited at conception - Chromosome: Threadlike structure that’s made from DNA. - DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid. - Genes: Composed of segments of DNA, which provide the chemical code for development. - Human Genome Project have estimated that our chromosomes contain between 30k to 40k genes Cell Division - Monozygotic Twins:Identical twins; genetically ide
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