PSYCH 1200 - CH 11.docx

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31 Mar 2012
PSYCH 1200 Ch 11
- some children exposed to extreme adversity are highly resilient & thrive later in life
Developmental psychology changes in biological, physical, psychological, & behavioural processes
4 broad issues of developmental research:
o Nature vs. nurture
o Critical (age range in which certain experiences must occur) & Sensitive periods (optimal age
range for certain experiences)
o Continuity vs. discontinuity
o Stability vs. change
5 developmental psychologists:
A. No change
B. Continuous change (continuity)
C. Stages (discontinuity)
D. Inverted U-shaped function
E. U-shaped function
Cross-sectional design e.g. compare ppl of different age @ same point in time (intellectual abilities)
o Quick data collection
o Drawback: cohorts (different age groups) grew up in different historical periods
Longitudinal design repeatedly tests same cohort as it grows older
o Drawback: time consuming, sample may shrink
Sequential design combines cross-sectional & longitudinal approaches can repeatedly test several
age cohorts as they grow older & determine patterns; comprehensive but time consuming & costly
Germinal stage first 2 wks from when one sperm fertilizes a female egg (ovum) zygote
o Repeated cell division zygote becomes mass of cells attaches to mother’s uterus (10-14
days after conception)
Embryonic stage wk 2-8; embryo (cell mass) cells divide rapidly, bodily organs & systems begin to
form, & by wk 8 it’s 2 cm long, heart is beating, brain forming, & facial features can be recognized
o Placenta & umbilical cord (life-support structures) develop
Placenta located on uterine wall; contains membranes that allow nutrients to pass from
mother’s blood to umbilical cord; protects from danger
Umbilical cord contains blood vessel that carry the nutrients & oxygen to the embryo, & waste
products back from the embryo to the mother
Fetal stage wk 9-birth; fetus muscles become stronger & other bodily systems continue to develop
o Wk 24 eyes open
o Behavioural responses & learning begin
Age of viability wk 28; it is likely to survive outside the womb in case of premature birth
TDF (testis-determining factor) gene Y chromosome’s specific gene; triggers male sexual development
o Initiates development of testes at approx. 6-8 wks
- Egg + sperm cell having a Y chromosome XY combo boy
o Sperm having X chromosome XX combo girl
Teratogens environmental agents that cause abnormal prenatal development
- Stress hormones can increase risk of premature birth, infant irritability, & attention deficits
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) group of abnormalities resulting from prenatal exposure to maternal
alcohol consumption (facial abnormalities, small malformed brains, & small stature)
o IQ, fine & gross motor impairments, poor adaptive functioning (communication), & ADHD
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Preferential looking procedure (Fantz) placed infants on back, showed them 2+ stimulus, & discovered
they have visual preferences
Visual habituation procedure same stimulus presented repeatedly until infant looking time declines
(usually by 50%)
Maturation genetically programmed biological process that governs our growth
Cephalocaudal principle reflects tendency for development to proceed in a head-to-foot direction
o head is disproportionately large because physical growth concentrates on the head & proceeds
toward lower part of body
Proximodistal principle states that development begins along innermost parts of body & continue
toward outermost
o arms develop before hands & fingers; control over shoulders before arms/hand muscles
Reflexes automatic, “inborn” behaviours elicited by specific stimuli (present at birth)
- 5 yr olds brains reach almost 90% of adult size & closer to adult weight than any other part of body
o Size of brain increases little between the ages of 5 10 yrs but maturation continues
Frontal cortex last areas to mature; vital to our highest-level cognitive functions (thinking & language)
- Biology sets limits on environmental influences Environment influences can be powerful
Motor development tends to follow a U-shaped developmental function/regular stage like sequence
Piaget proposed that children’s thinking changes qualitatively w/age
Cognitive development (Piaget) results from interplay of maturation & experience
o Children are natural born scientists; actively explore & seek to understand their world
o Influenced by culture
Schema organized pattern of thought about some aspect of the world (class of people, events,
situations, objects)
Disequilibrium between existing schemas & new experiences forces schemas to change
Equilibrium/balance between environment & child’s understanding of it gained
through modification in a schema
2 key processes involved in acquiring new schemas:
Assimilation new experiences incorporated into existing schemas (e.g. young infant encounters a new
object, tries to suck it, tries to fit the new experience into a schema that she already has objects are
Accommodation new experiences causes existing schemas to change (e.g. infant tries to suck different
objects eventually encounter one too big to go into her mouth or tastes bad)
Sensory motor stage (0-2 yrs)
o Infants understand their world through sensory experiences & physical interactions w/objects
o out of sight = out of mind
Object permanence (8 mnths) ability to understand an object continues to exist even when it
disappears from sight
Pre-operational stage (2-6)
o represent world symbolically through words & mental images but do not yet understand basic
mental operations or rules engage in make believe (pretend play)
o become capable of thinking about past & future
o better at anticipating consequences of their actions
Conservation - do not understand concept; principle that basic properties of objects (volume mass
or quantity) stay the same even though their outward appearance may change
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