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Web Module -Development.pdf

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Christopher Teeter

Development Foundational Topics Development – gene environment interactions across an individual's lifespan – scientists are interested to find out how you change over time, and how you stay the same Maturation : biologically-timed changes within the individual according to the individual's genetic plan . Example of Harlan ; grow first tooth at 5 months, walk at 12 months, enter puberty at 12 years and die at 80. Learning – permanent changes in our thoughts, behaviours and feelings due to experiences – these processes can become learned, but also practiced enough so that they are automatic – If you're put into a novel situation or a situation where things are done differently then you are used to, you need to learn to overcome your past learning experience to learn and adapt to the optimal way Interactionist perspective says that most of your developmental changes reflect the interaction between maturation and learning Maturation leads to learning, because you need to be able to do these skills before you can learn them. You can't teach a 4 month old to walk, because they are not physically mature enough to do so. Evolution – gene-environment interactions across the evolutionary history of a species Neuroscience – the study of the nervous system – Four Ways to Study an Infant'sAbilities 1. Habituation – can they tell the difference between two stimuli when the object is repeatedly presented, physiological changes are recorded such as heartbeat, eye movements, head movement. When a new stimuli is presented, there will be a burst of activity, and once it's been repeatedly shown, the levels will go back down to baseline levels Dishabituation – an increase in the responsiveness to a stimulus that is somehow different from the habituated stimulus If the baby cannot habituate the colours, then when a new colour is presented, you can expect it to not be relevant and have no change in response. 2. Event related potentials – to measure these potentials, a special cap with an array of electrodes is carefully put onto the scalp – the behaviour being measured will evoke changes in various regions of the brain – the occipital lobe of the brain is related to visual processing, and if a visual stimuli is presented to the infant, there would be changes in activity in this area of the brain – if auditory stimuli was presented, you may expect changes in the temporal lobe, which is devoted to auditory processing 3. High- amplitude sucking method – baseline is done by measuring the sucking rate in the absence of relevant stimuli – in the shaping procedure, the infant is given control over what stimuli is to be tested. For example, music notes. If the infant sucks at a faster rate than during baseline, a switch is activated in the pacifier that causes the stimulus to be presented. If the infant likes this music, they can keep the notes for longer by increasing the sucking rate – however, if the baby does not like the sounds, they can stop it by not sucking 4. Preference method – measuring what an infant likes and dislikes – infant looks simultaneously at two different stimuli and the researcher can measure the direction that the infant is looking at to decide which stimuli is getting more attention – Researchers have found that infants prefer to look at big patterns with lots of black and white contrasts and prefer to look at faces There are still limitations with these procedures. One of them is competence – performance distinction. If the child fails a task, this could because they genuinely lack the cognitive ability. Or they could have developed the cognitive ability but are still unable to perform the task. You may have to adapt your tests to be able to better determine whether the child can truly demonstrate the skill. Introduction to Developmental Research Methods Developmental studies are often concerned with repeated measures over time. In order to do this, you need experimental research designs Longitudinal design – examine the abilities and characteristics of the same individual repeatedly over a subset of their lifespan – allows you to track developmental changes Drawbacks : – expensive and time consuming – selective attrition: some participants may quit, become unfit to continue, or even die. The remaining subjects who follow through to the end may be really enthusiastic, and not truly reflect the skills of everyone, just those of an enthusiastic person – practice effect – performance may improve over time with the same test being done over and over Cross-Sectional Design – a developmental research design that individuals from different age groups are studied at the same point in time, which means they do not need to be tracked over the years – By doing this, you can find out that 60 year olds do better than 40 year olds, but that neither group does as well at a 25 year old. – Developmental trends can be formed by doing this study Disadvantages – if there are differences between the age groups, you can't be sure whether the differences are because of developmental changes or because of generational effects – if a 25 year old does better than a 50 year old, does this reflect a decline in cognitive delay as you get older, or is it the differences in experiences of these two generations – changes are not directly tracked as a person ages, but instead inferred at a single point and trends in group data are inferred. Chromosomes and Genes – a zygote is cell formed during conception (46 chromosomes – 23 chromosomes from each parent and 21 autosomes) – a chromosome is made from DNAand DNAcreates genes – our chromosomes contain between 30,000 and 40,000 genes – the zygote divides from two to four to sixteen until you end up with a billion different cells at birth Monozygotic twins – genetically identical (same sperm and ovum which was split into two) Dizygotic twins – start off as two different zygotes from the moment of conception (share 50% of the genes) – they look like any other siblings – not genetically identi
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