PSYC 325 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Winnowing, Amyloid, Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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18 Jun 2015
Chapter 12: Development and Aging
Memory Development: Fetal Learning
ability to learn is intact event before birth
by 25 weeks of gestation, brain and sense organs have developed
by 34-36 weeks, auditory habituation:
a speaker is placed on the mother's abdomen
sounds initially cause fetal movement
repeated sounds decreases response
prenatal learned preferences persist after birth
operant conditioning experiment
mothers read specific books out loud 2X a day for the last 6 weeks of gestation
2 days after birth, babies given an opportunity to work to hear the familiar story or a novel story
S(artificial nipple) → R (long pause in sucking) → O (familiar story)
S (artificial nipple) → R (short pause in sucking) → O (novel story)
in half the babies, the opposite contingency is given
babies adapted sucking rates to gain exposure to the familiar story
the familiar story is more reinforcing to the baby
Memory Development: Infancy to Childhood
immediately after birth, human infants demonstrate incredible learning abilities:
Language. motor control, social skills
some babies will share, and can be shown early in life
some limitations are evident due to immature sensory and motor systems
ability for learning and memory
classical conditioning, operant conditioning, episodic and semantic memory
infant operant conditioning
S (flower pattern crib liner) → R (kick leg) → O (Move mobile)
quickly leads to vigorous leg kicking
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discriminant stimuli:
trained in crib with flower pattern liner
kicking in flower cribs
no kicking in plain cribs
learned to discriminate the flower liners from the plain liners
memory maintained for days (no reminders) to weeks (with reminders)
infant classical conditioning
delay eye-blink conditioning
trace eye-blink conditioning
no possible until age 4
yet still a bit slower than adults
delay between the presentation of the CS and the US: has to maintain memory of CS until US is
basics intact from birth, some aspects mature with time:
eye-blink conditioning slower in infants than adults
at 4-5 months of age, able to learn delay but not trace
infants have poor semantic memory, which develops further over time
difficult to test pre-verbal children
elicited imitation paradigm (can be used to look at semantic memory in young children):
10-month-old children shown how to operate a toy puppet or the just given the puppet along with no
four months later, presented with the same puppet
children who had seen the puppet demonstrated were later more interested in it and were better able to
use it
shows intact recognition for puppet and how to operate it
episodic memory develops more slowly than semantic memory
children learned question-answer pairs and were later tested for factual recall and source memory
factual recall increased with age
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young children has poor factual and source memory and made extra-experimental errors
older children has good factual memory and rarely made extra-experimental errors
older children have good semantic memory and at least some episodic memory
semantic memory increased with age
Adolescence: childhood and Adulthood
adolescence: the transitional stage between the onset of puberty and full adulthood
who: 10 to 19 years old
culturally influenced
strong development of working memory and central executive function
digit span increases through early teens
more complex executive function develops later and throughout early adulthood
sex differences also emerge during this time
women perform slightly better (on average) on:
verbal memory (recalling a list/story)
spatial learning of landmark and object locations
slightly better on episodic memory
eye-blink conditioning
men perform slightly better (on average) on:
spatial navigation (learning of routes)
Mental Rotation
contextual fear conditioning memory
similar sex differences evident In many mammals
differences are not purely cultural
similar differences can be shown in rats and rodents
some neurobiological sex differences relevant for learning and memory:
neurobiological sex differences in brain regions implicated in learning and memory
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