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Lecture 4

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University of Waterloo
BIOL 239
Heidi Engelhardt

DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY “We are all in the process of becoming”- David Morrell (Rambo books) -Polish people went into streets protesting Soviet wearing Rambo costume (he can be ‘credited’ with fall of soviets) Developmental Psychology -branch of psychology that studies physical, cognition and social change throughout the life span -adults and children Themes: 1) Nature and nurture a. Importance of genetic inheritance and experience in determining behaviour 2) Continuity and Discrete Stages a. Whether developmental changes are gradual or abrupt 3) Stability and Change a. Consistence of personality; is development characterize by stability over time or by change i. Consistency of personality in most people tends to increase over life span Prenatal Development  Conception o Women’s ovary releases mature egg o Sperm that reach egg release digestive enzyme that eat away its protective coating o Once one sperm reaches egg, the eggs surface blocks out the others  Zygote (conception to 2 weeks) o Fertilized egg o Rapid cell division occurring (100 identical cells in first week) o 10 days after conception, zygote attaches to uterine wall o Inner cells become embryo, outer sells become placenta  Embryo (2 weeks to 8 weeks) o Developing organism o Placenta transfers nutrients and oxygen and possible teratogens  Fetus (9 weeks to birth)  Teratogens o Any agent that produces a birth defects (drugs, pollutants, stress, diseases) o Most likely during embryonic period o Cancer treatment is a carcinogen- radiation will most likely result in defects, but some chemotherapy drugs do not affect baby o Fetal Alcohol Syndrome  Leading cause of mental retardation  Facial deformation, defective limbs and hearts  Below average intelligence Newborn  Reflexes o will disappear after a few months- in adults with brain damage to frontal lobe- sometimes these reflexes will return o Rooting Reflex  Stroke the cheek of an infant  Will move head towards hand- looking for something to suck o Moro Reflex  Startle response to a loud noise, sudden movement  Arches back, throws back head, flings out arms and legs o Grasping Reflex  In first three months, if something touches the palms, the infant will grasp it tightly  What Newborns Sense and Know o William James  American psychologist who believed newborns experience “blooming, buzzing confusion”  This belief in now known to be incorrect o Habituation: decrease in responding with repeated stimulation  Developmental measure used to determine what an organism that cannot speak sense or thinks by measuring decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation  Visual preference procedure: o Newborns become bored with a repeated stimulus, but renew attention to a slightly different stimulus  Looks at a simple stimulus for over 30 sec on 1 display, but not more th than a few seconds after 8 display  Test with same stimulus and rotated stimulus (how big does change have to be)  Loot at new rotation 3x as much as original (must be able to remember) o Social Preferences  Look to faces  Prefer face-like displays  Prefer displays at 8-12 inches (distance to mothers face) o Able to recognize mother’s smell at 7 days, voice and face at 21 days o Preferential Looking  Developmental measure used to determine what an organism that cannot speak senses or thinks by measuring where they look  Infants will look longer at paddles with face-like stimuli Infancy and Childhood  Maturation: biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behaviour  Physical Development o The Brain  At birth, all the neurons we will ever have are present  Active synapse remain strong o Ones where signal always passes through remain strong  Inactive synapses can disappear o If stimulus isn’t sent through some synapse, they weaken  Critical Period (CP)- imprinting  Certain experiences are necessary for proper development  Visual CP: must be exposed all types of visual information or visual neurons will be ‘pruned’  Importance of exposure to different kinds of stimuli in infants o If an infant has a hearing problem, their auditory system will not develop properly o Cover kitten’s right eye  Even when eye is released, the kittens could not see out of eye  Areas of brain that were responsible for the vision of the left eye had taken over the areas responsible for the vision in the right eye  Between 3 and 6, the brain develops rapidly in the frontal lobes (rational planning)  Last areas to develop are the association areas (thinking, memory, language) o Motor Systems  Sequence of motor development is universal (timing varies)  Biological Maturation  Children develop abilities biologically in certain time frames  Until the point of maturation, that behaviour is impossible (walking, toilet training) o Infantile amnesia o Can’t remember before the age of 3 o However, brain was still processing information (the nervous system will still remember, even if the conscious mind cannot)  Cognitive abilities o Thinking, reasoning, making decisions o Jean Piaget  Swiss developmental psychologist  Interested in epistemology (study of the nature of knowledge)  Become interested in children’s errors  Children are not “little adults”, and reason quite differently  Stages of development in reasoning, trying to make sense of their experience in new ways  Schema o A flexible concept or framework to make sense of information by organizing and interpreting it  ‘What’s that’ ‘a dog.’ ‘look, a dog’ ‘no that is a cat’ o Modifying Schemas  Assimilation  Interpreting new experiences in terms of existing schemas (dog has four legs- cat with four legs in a dog)  Accommodation  Adaption current schemas to incorporate new information (learn that cat is not a dog) Piaget’s Theory Age Stage Phenomena 0-2 sensorimotor (experience world via sense and action) object permanence; stranger anxiety 2-6 preoperational (represent via words and images, no logic) pretend play; egocentrism; language devt 7-11 Concrete operational (logical concrete thinking; arithmetic) conversion; mathematical transformation 12-adult Formal Operational (abstract reasoning) abstract logic, moral reasoning Sensorimotor (0 to 2)  World taken in through sensations  Object permanence o Awareness that objects continue to exist when out of sight (peek-a-boo) o Piaget: not developed until after 6 months -more recent work suggests that children do have:  An understanding of physical objects o Look longer at unexpected scene that has physical impossibilities (you took away one mickey mouse, but there are still 2 there)  An understanding of numbers o Look longer at unexpected numbers or music (amazed at change in mass, not number) Preoperational (2 to 6)  Can use language, but not logic  Conservation: the principle that quantity remains the same despite changing shape (child makes sure two same glasses have same volume. Pour glass A into tall one. Pour glass B into fat glass. Do they have the same amount of liquid?) o Why do they have problems with principle of conservation?- length, mass, volume , area  Centration  Irreversibility (pour back- same again)  Egocentrism: inability to take the perspective of another person (adults can have- curse of knowledge)  Theory of Mind  Ability to infer the mental states of others o What does Sally think that Anne thinks? – Sally will look for ball where she left it, not where Anne moved it Concrete Operational Stage (7 to 11)  Can solve conservation problems (when elements are concrete, can do logic)  (6-2) (4+2) Formal Operational Stage  Concrete to abstract thinking  Logic problems, create hypotheses and deduce consequences (more like scientists)  Some evidence now suggests that this is possible at age 7 Lev Vygotsky’s Scaffolding  Ru
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