Class Notes (1,100,000)
CA (620,000)
McMaster (50,000)
PSYCH (6,000)
PSYCH 1XX3 (1,000)
Joe Kim (1,000)
Lecture 1


Course Code
Joe Kim

This preview shows pages 1-3. to view the full 100 pages of the document.
Fundamental Topics:
1. Development: Gene-environment interactions across an individual’s lifespan.
2. Evolution: Gene-environment interactions across the evolutionary history of a
3. Neuroscience: The study of the nervous system, and neural basis of thought and
-Will explore how these biological foundations interact with the environment to
shape your sensory systems and behaviours critical to survival.
Intro to Development
How did you become the person you are today?
-Are you the inevitable consequence born of the potential from the genes of your
parents? Or did the events in your upbringing determine who you have become?
Development: Refers to the changes that occur within the individual between
conception and death.
-Developmental Psychologists are interested in:
oUnderstanding how you change over time
oBut also, how you stay the same over the time
MATURATION: The biologically timed unfolding of changes within the individual
according to that individual’s genetic plan.
oHow it unfolds is influenced by specific environmental conditions that shape
the genetically determined processes.
LEARNING: Relatively permanent change in our thoughts, behaviours, and
feelings, as result of our experiences.
oThe acquisition of neuronal representations of new information,
oLearning processes allow you to acquire new information and guide optimal
strategies to respond to events and stimuli in the environment.
oLearned processes can be controlled but also, become so practiced that is
becomes automatic.
Avoid touching a hot stove
Looking left, then right when crossing the street. You practice over
and over again and by the time you’re an adult, it becomes
automatic. However, this strategy is not always the best behaviour.
For example, if you visit a country where cars drive on the opposite
side of the road, you will have to overcome you’re past learning to
use the best strategy at that moment.

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE: that maturation and learning interact during
development. (Most of your developmental changes reflect the interaction of
maturation and learning)
-It’s obvious how maturation affects learning – essential systems must be in place
before learning proceeds.
oYou won’t learn how to walk until you’ve developed muscle in your torso
and limbs and ability to balance.
oYou will not be able to teach a 4 month old how to walk because they are not
physically mature to learn the task.
-Learning can affect maturation as well.
-A child could be given proper nutrition but isolated in a dark room (never allowed
to interact) and by doing this, you will expect problems in developing normal
vision, speech, motor and social skills compared to other children.
-Without some level of input to learn from the ‘outside world’, maturation will be
delayed or absent.
Part 3: Studying Development
-Many who focus on development focus more on changes during infancy and
childhood compared to other times.
-For example, if you were to study someone from the ages of 40-45, their changes
would be much more subtle and less dramatic than the changes that take place in his
life from 0-5.
-Researchers believe that the developmental changes that take place during these
early years play an important role in shaping who you become.
1. Habituation procedure
-One way to study an infants basic sensory capabilities
-Determine if an infant can detect the difference between 2 presented
-Infants normally show interest in novel objects in their environment.
-The habituation process starts by showing the same stimulus (such as
tone or photo) repeatedly to a baby and measuring their physiological
responds (heart rate, breathing, etc) or behavioural oriental responses
like head or eye movements. If a novel stimulus is presented for the first
time, the baby will initially show a burse of activity.
-If the same stimulus is continually shown, the baby will become
bored/responses return to baseline levels. They have demonstrated
HABITUATION: A decrease in the responsiveness to a stimulus following
repeated presentation of the stimulus.
DISHABITUATION: An increase in responsiveness to a stimulus that is
somehow different from the habituated stimulus. (If an infant recognizes the
change in stimuli, they are said to be dishabituated)
-Example: Determined to learn if an infant can tell the colour blue from
oAt first, repeatedly show a blue square in 10-second trials. The
baby is interested and stares at it for long periods of time but over
many trials, the baby loses interested and stares at it less and less
and stops reacting.
oThen, you show them a green square instead.

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

-If the infant can tell the 2 coloured squares apart, you can expect that she
will gain new interested in it and stare at it more than the previous final
presentation blue square.
-If she cannot discriminate, then you will get no change in response from
the green square.
2. Event related potentials
-Measure of the brain electrical activity evoked by the presentation of
-To measure this, a special cap with an array of electrodes is carefully
placed on the scalp. This can detect changes in electric activity across a
population of neurons in the brain.
-The particular behaviour being measured will evoke changes in various
brain regions of interest.
-If you were showing the infant with a visual stimulus, you may expect
changes in the occipital lobe of the brain (area devoted to visual
-Presenting a auditory stimulus, you may expect changes in the temporal
lobe region (devoted to auditory responses)
-Together, Habituation and Event Related Potential (ERP) provide
complementary behavioural and neural measures to understand an
infant’s sensory interactions with environment.
3. High-amplitude Sucking method
-Takes advantage of the fact that infants can control their sucking to some
-First, measure the normal sucking rate for the infant.
-If the infant sucks harder on the pacifier at a faster rate, a switch is
activated in it that causes the stimulus to be presented.
-If the baby likes what she hears (the music notes), she can continue
increasing her sucking rate.
-But if the baby doesn’t, the sucking will stop sooner to end the stimulus
from being presented.
-Can measure what an infant likes and dislikes – allows them to control
the presentation of the stimulus to measure preference
4. Preference Method
-Infant is put in a looking chamber to look at 2 stimuli at the same time.
-Researcher can accurately measure the direction that the infant is looking
to tell which stimulus is getting more attention.
-Using this procedure, researchers have found that infants tend to prefer
looking at big patterns with lots of black and white contrasts and prefer
looking at faces.
-Observes amount of time an infant chooses to attend to different stimuli
-It is important to remember that researchers are making inferences about
complex cognitive and perceptual processes from carefully observed
-Exaggerated Example: Researcher presents ghost stimuli and calculates
the amount of fear to escape time. But if someone had a broken leg, the
slow escape time would not equal lack of fear. This study would lack
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version