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Week 15 - Lifespan Development

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PSYC 100
Dr.Ada Mullett

Week 15 Notes Online Lesson Is there prenatal psychology?  Compare and contrast human development characteristics that occur across different stages of the human lifespan  Describe the stages of human development from the prenatal period through adulthood  Identify the barriers to typical development  Explain the functional significance of the nature and timing of developmental changes  Germinal Period (Zygote Stage): first 2 weeks after the sperm and egg units  Gamete: mature male or female reproductive cell  Haploid: cell containing only one set of chromosomes  Zygote: single new cell formed at conception  Diploid: cell containing both sets of chromosomes  Cleavage: division of cells in the early embryo to form blastomeres  Morula: solid mass of blastomeres resulting from a number of cleavages of a zygote  Epigenetic modification doesn’t change the actual composition of genes; only the behaviour, and which genes are active  Stem Cell: undifferentiated cell that can divide and produce any one of a variety of differentiated cells  Stem cells have not undergone any epigenetic modification, and may turn into any cell  Cells begin to differentiate when uterus fill with fluid, forming the Inner Cell Mass (mass of cells inside the Morula that eventually will form the embryo) and Troph0blast (cells that form the outer layer of a blastocyst).  The inner cell mass grows into an Embryo (cell development stage preceding the foetus) and trophoblast protects and nourishes  Blastocyst: stage a fertilized egg reaches five to six days after fertilization  Trophoblast forms into two parts; the amniotic sac and the placenta (attaches to inside of amniotic sac and umbilical cord of the embryo  Embryo splits into tree layers: Endoderm (inner; digestive, urinary tract, lungs), Mesoderm (middle; muscle, bone, circulatory system) and Ectoderm (outer; skin, hair, teeth, CNS)  A developed embryo folds in on itself, forming a small tube called the Neural Tube (embryo’s precursor to the central nervous system), which goes through Neurulation (formation of the embryonic nervous system, which will then develop into the brain and CNS  Neural Migration: process through which neurons move, grow, and connect as the basic neural tube develops into a more mature brain  Cephalocaudal: pattern of embryonic development in which development occurs most intensely at the head and proceeds downward towards the body  Proximodistal: embryo develops from the centre of the organism outward  Many cells are created during development, but many also die (webbing between fingers). This is called Apoptosis (genetically programmed process of cell death as part of normal development or the normal functioning of cells and organs  Foetal period from week 9 until birth  During 5 month, vestibular system develops, and foetus can respond to sound (can identify mother’s voice)  While in the womb, foetuses experience taste around 6 months, develop preference for what mother eats  By 7 months, it grows at a speed of 250g per week until birth  Many factors can affect pregnancy outcomes: o Stress is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight, initial anxious/aggressive behaviour, health problems o Proper nutrition helps brain development and prevents birth defects o Malnutrition causes serious developmental effects, underweight babies with small heads or malformations, remained at risk for developing disease throughout life  Teratogens are external compounds that have negative effects on regular development: o Alcohol: FAS (foetal alcohol syndrome) retardation, malformation, hyperactivity, heart disease o Tobacco products: low weight, high risk for sudden infant death syndrome, lower IQ, behavioural problems o Prescription drugs: thalidomide – missing or severely stunted limbs o Diseases: rubella – congenital hear disease, deafness, blindness, retardation, schizophrenia  It is extremely difficult to perform high-quality research on large populations, since they’ll be subject to so many different variables (including studies on the adverse effects of teratogens) How do our behaviours and mental processes change during early childhood?  Newborn babies come into the world with reflexes, like opening their mouths for feeding (even when you just put your hand near its mouth)  Up to 3 months, infants display grasping and unintentional reaching  At around 3 months, reaching reflex is replaced by intentional grasping  At 7 months, they understand reaching is goal-oriented (stick mitts speeds this up)  There are many ‘motor milestones’ from siting up at 5 months to walking around at 2 years  When used more, infant develops skills faster  Our brains become increasingly more complex, not because of more neurons, but because of Synaptogenesis (process through which new synapses are formed between neurons)  More importantly though is Synaptic Pruning (facilitates a change in neural structure by reducing the overall number of synapses, leaving ore efficient synaptic configuration  Experience-Dependent Plasticity: the ability of the nervous system to wire and rewire itself in response to lasting changes in experience  Experience-Expectant Plasticity: development that will not happen unless a particular experience occurs driving its critical period (kitten eyes) Why might a 15 year-old and a 55 year-old person want to change places? Why might they hate it if they did?  Myelination: the development of the myelin sheath around the axons of neurons. This sheath insulates neurons from each other and increases the speed at which neurons transmit information  This process doesn’t complete in the brain until early adulthood. Last in completion is Executive Functions (functions
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