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Motor and Perceptual Development.docx

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Richard B Day

May 14 , 2013 Psych 2AA3: Child Development Motor and Perceptual Development Reflexes and Behavioural States - Sucking reflex: in utero and at birth - Stepping reflex: in utero and at birth, reflexive pushing off that prepares for walking - Blinking reflex - Grasping reflex - Adaptive reflexes: disappear during first year of life  Help survival  Sucking  Swallowing: preparing the digestive track and source of nutrients at birth  Rooting: automatic turning of head towards a touch on the cheek and tries to suck on it o Weaker reflex o Promotes feeding  Weak or absent reflexes warn of possible neuronal development problems  Important for examination purposes  Some disappear or are replaced as their purpose are no longer necessary  If the reflexes have not disappeared it could be a sign of brain damage Physical and Cognitive Abilities - Motor skills  Emerge gradually in early weeks of life  Follow two broad patterns  Cephalocaudal – development proceeds from head to toe o Able to hold up head o Sitting up; holding up the trunk o Development proceeds towards the toes and control to work towards standing and walking  Proximodistal – development proceeds from the trunk out towards the fingers o Infant learns to control the trunk then gross motor movement following fine motor movements - Sensory and perceptual skills  Newborns can  Focus both eyes on same spot at a distance of 8-10 inches o Vision can not be developed in utero as they have no visual experience o Through limited visual experience, infants acquire vision in a short period o Visual acuity is poor and gets better o First object an infant learns to recognize is their mother  Easily hear sounds – especially mom’s voice  Taste the four basic tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty) o Everyone responds to the same way to these four basic tastes  Can identify familiar body odours o Can identify the mother’s sent o Refined through the amniotic fluid - Baby’s perceptions are adapted to help with interactions with people - Many of the baby’s abilities are utilized to socialize  Activities that promote social interaction  Engaging in eye contact  Mother’s voice and sent  Promote the mother to spend more time with the infant Neural Development – Prenatal - Nervous system  Neural tube develops at week 4 (gestation) – electrical impulses  Most neurons are born between 10 and 18 weeks gestation: the neurons that will be needed the most  We overproduce neurons  Develops early on Neural Structure - Signals are received by dendrites and received by axons - Axons are wrapped by insulation, the Myelin sheet which promotes better conduction - The better the myelination the better the signals will travel Neural Development – Postnatal - Develops rapidly during the first 2 years - Midbrain and medulla are the most fully developed at birth  Regulate vital body functions  Primitive brain - The cerebral cortex is the least developed  Complex motor movement  Thinking  Perception  Continues to develop until it peaks then declines - Growth spurts: can be mapped out with cognitive advancements in the child  Intervals of growth and stability  One month intervals until 5 months  Spurts at 8, 12, and 20 months o Language and related cognitive skills  Correlated with cognitive development  Middle childhood spurts associated with improved eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills o Skills related to different areas of the brain  10-12 year olds have growth in the frontal lobes  13-15 year olds have growth in the spatial and motor areas  17-year olds have growth in the frontal lobes that are associated with logic and planning o Frontal lobes are the last part of the brain to develop o Can explain the risk taking behaviour that adolescents engage in Synaptic Development - White matter (synapses) and grey matter (neurons - Synaptogenesis  The creation of synapses  Connections between different parts of the brain  Occurs rapidly during first years after birth  Brain weight triples by age 2  Happens in spurts - Pruning  Unnecessary pathways and connections are eliminated - Both processes heavily dependent on experiences  Infants experiences’ shapes the brain  Follows “use it or lose it” dictum  Early flexibility allows children to adapt to environment better  Programmed plasticity is in its height in infancy – at a time when the child may be more vulnerable to the effects of physical and emotional neglect - Lemur study  The more often the stimuli was presented, there was a decrease in the response by the infant  Using looking time as a measure of learning  When presented with a new stimuli the infant shows interest  BBC Baby Synapse Connections  Perceptual narrowing:  Baby is born with the ability to recognize all of the lemur faces  Rapid period of synaptic pruning that corresponds to the infant loosing unnecessary skills Thinking about Perceptual Development - Sensation  The acquisition of information through the sensory organs and the transmission of that information to the brain  Input of sensory material  There is more input then we can process at any given time  We pay more attention to our auditory and visual senses - Perception  The attribution of meaning to sensations  Labeling and recognition  Attribution of meaning  How we experience the world Learning - Classical conditioning  Can be classically conditioned as early as the first week of life, but easier in 3 -4 week  Pairing of a stimulus and a response such that you can elicit a response from a stimulus that does not naturally occur - Operant conditioning  Sucking and head turning have been increased using reinforcements  Suggests neurological basis for learning is present at birth  Rewards attached to the experience  Relays on rewards, therefore is not seen until around 4 months of age  Easiest way to test in newborns is through a sucking or a head turn type of task  The more/stronger the infant sucks, the more the stimuli is presented  Infant learns that the more they suck the more they will be presented with a enjoyable stimuli - Schematic learning  Baby organizes experiences into expectancies  Organize the incoming information into schemas in order to form expectancies about what will happen - Habituation  The automatic reduction in the strength of a response to a repeated stimulus  Built in at birth  Way that the infants are building up these schemas  Starting to have expectancies about routine behaviour  Helps to learn familiar from unfamiliar experiences  Why infants are said to prefer routines so they can associate events together  Predisposition to want things that are new  More engagement when presented with something new Ways of Studying Early Perceptual Skills - Preference technique  Researchers measure how long a baby looks at 2 pictures (Fantz, 1956)  Infants presented with two images and the experimenter could determine the amount of time infants where looking at  Infants prefer new things  As long as they show a distinction, it is an indication that the infant can tell these two things are different - Habituation  Presenting the same picture over and over until the baby stops looking at it - Reinforcement  Using interesting sounds or objects to reinforce a specific behaviour such a
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