Course: PSYC*1000 (DE)
Professor: Harvey Marmurek
Schedule: Summer, 2012
Textbook: Psychology – Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers
Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615
Module 14: Infancy and Childhood
During infancy and childhood, how do the brain ad motor skills develop?
• Brain Development
o Brain formed nerve cells in the womb; brain cortex overproduces neurons
o Born with most of brain cells you’ll ever have; nervous system not mature
o Neural networks had wild growth spurt
o Ages 3-6 most rapid growth in frontal lobes (enable rational planning)
o Association areas – linked with thinking, memory, and language – last cortical areas to develop
• Motor Development
o Developing brain enables physical coordination
o Genes guide motor development
o Maturation creates our readiness to learn walking
• Brain Maturation
o Earliest memories seldom predate our third birthday (infantile amnesia)
o Mobile hooked up to foot
The biological growth process, called (maturation), explains why most children begin walking by about 12 to 15
From the perspectives of Piaget, Vygotsky, and today’s researchers, how does a child’s mind develop?
• Piaget began in 1920, Paris – developing questions for children’s intelligence tests
o Child’s mind – reason differently than adults
o Piaget’s core idea is that the driving force behind our intellectual progression is an unceasing
struggle to make sense of our experiences
o Sensorimotor Stage: take in the world through looking, hearing, touching, mouthing, and grasping;
object permanence not perceived and is something that unfolds gradually
Baby physics; baby math – infants smarter than Piaget appreciated
o Egocentrism: children have difficulty perceiving things from someone else’s point of view
Curse of knowledge
o Preoperational Stage: too young to perform mental operations
o Theory of Mind: difficulty reflecting on their own mental states; going back to the place to find the
ball, not knowing it has been moved; less likely to use the word I or me
o Concrete Operational Stage: begin to grasp conservation
o Formal Operational Stage: reasoning expands from the purely concrete; systematic reasoning
• Lev Vygotsky’s Scaffolding
o (1896-1934) Russian developmental psychologist – how a child’s mind feeds on the language of
o no! = self-control tool
o Piaget emphasized how the child’s mind grows through interaction with the social environment / vs.
Vygotsky’s idea of mentoring (scaffolding)
• Reflecting on Piaget’s Theory
o Piaget identified significant cognitive milestones and stimulated worldwide interest in how the mind
develops. Today’s researchers see development as more continuous than Piaget. Detecting
beginnings of each type of thinking at earlier ages, revealing conceptual abilities Piaget missed.
Formal logic is a smaller part of cognition than Piaget thought. Object permanence, pretend play, conservation, and abstract logic are developmental milestones for which of
Piaget’s stages, respectively?
Object permanence for the sensorimotor stage, pretend play for the preoperational stage, conservation for the
concrete operational stage, and abstract logic for the formal operational stage.
1. Thinking about abstract concepts such as freedom (formal operational)
2. Intense fear of unknown people (sensorimotor)
3. Enjoying imaginary play (preoperational)
4. Ability to reason with maturity about moral values (formal operational)
5. Understanding that physical properties stay the same even when objects change form (concrete
6. Ability to reverse math operations (concrete operational)
7. Understanding that something is not gone for good when it disappears from sight as when mom
‘disappears’ behind the shower curtain (sensorimotor)
8. Difficulty taking another’s point of view (preoperational)
How do parent-infant attachment bonds form?
• The brain, mind, and social-emotional behaviour develop together
• Body Contact – Harlows’ mothers ~ more attachment when rocking, warm, feeding, patting – a secure base
• Familiarity – animals: attachments based on familiarity form during a critical period; Konrad Lorenz and
• Mere exposure to people and things fosters fondness
What distinguishes imprinting from attachment?
Attachment is the normal process by which we form emotional ties with important others. Imprinting occurs in
animals that have a critical period very early in their development during which they must form their attachments,
and they do so in an inflexible manner.
How have psychologists studied attachment differences, and what have they learned?
• Mary Ainsworth – strange situation – 60% display secure attachment; insecure attachment – anxiety,
avoidance of trusting relationships
• Is attachment style the result o