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Module 14 &15: Physical Development Detailed textbook notes covering physical development of adolescence.

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University of Waterloo
Richard Ennis

Module 14 PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT During infancy and childhood, how do the brain and motor skills develop? Brain  In womb, the developing brain formed nerve cells at an explosive rate  The cortex overproduces neurons  On the day you were born, you had most of the brain cells you would ever have  Age 3-6,most rapid growth was the frontal lobes which enabled rational planning eg. Preschoolers able to develop the ability to control their behaviour and attention  Last cortical area to develop—the association areas ( thinking, memory, language)  Fiber pathways supporting language and agility proliferate into puberty. After which a pruning process shuts down excess connections and strengthens others  Severe deprivation or abuse can retard development, ample parental experiences of talking and reading will help sculpt neural connections  Genetic growth=inborn; experience can influence the development of the individual Motor  Brain enables physical coordination  Physical (motor) development is universal  However individual differences in timing  Genes play a major role and motor development identical twins typically begin sitting up and walking on nearly the same day  Maturation including rapid developments of the cerebellum at the back of the brain creates our readiness to learn walking about at the age of one or other physical skills such as bladder control Maturation and infant the and memory  What the conscious mind does not know and cannot express the words, the nervous system somehow remembers.  Earliest memories seldom predate our 3 b-day Cognitive Development From the perspective of Piaget and of today’s researchers, how does a child’s mind develop? Cognition  Refers to all mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating Role of Jean Piaget  Believe child’s mind develops through a series of states, in an upward march from the new born\s simple reflexes to the adult’s abstract of reasoning power  Idea was that the driving force behind our intellectual progression is an unceasing struggle to make sense of our experiences  Maturing brain builds schemas (concept of framework that organizes and interprets information) concepts or mental molds into which poor into our experiences—by adulthood we have built countless schemas, ranging from cats and dogs to our concept of  Believed that has children construct the understandings while interacting with the world they experience spirits of change, followed by greater stability as they move from one cognitive plateau to the next How do we use an adjust our schemas? 1. Piaget say that we assimilate new experiences—we interpret them in terms of our current understanding (schemas) eg. Schema of cow—toddler may call all 4 legged animals as cows 2. As we interact with the world, we adjust or accommodate (adapting to our current understanding to incorporate new information)—our schemas to incorporate information provided by a new experiences eg. Child soon learns that the original cow schema is too broad and accommodates by refining the category What are the 4 stages of cognitive development according to Piaget? 1. Sensorimotor Stage  Birth to age 2  Experiencing the world though senses and actions (looking, hearing, touching, mouthing and grasping)  Lack object permanence (younger than 6 months seldom understand things continue to exist when they are out of sight  Stranger anxiety 2. Preoperational Stage  2-7 age  Too young to perfrom mental operations  Lacks conservation—the principle that quantity remains the same despite changes in shape eg. Child with a tall , narrow glass of milk and a short, wide glass of milk  Representing things with words and images  Using intuitive rather than logical reasoning  Ego-centrism  Pretend play Ego- Centrism  Have difficulty perceiving things from another point  Happens in adults as well—we can assume that people will “hear” our “just kidding” message in an email Theory of Mind  people’s ideas about their own and others’ mental states—about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behaviours these might predict  Preschoolers gradually begin to understand that other people have mental capacities, intentions, motivations, feelings, et.  Children with autism, deafness have trouble understanding other’s state of mind 3. Concrete Operational Stage  7-11 years  Able to think logically about concrete events  Grasping concrete analogies and performing math operations 4. Formal Operational Stage  12 to adulthood  Reasoning expands from purely concrete (involving actual experience) to encompass abstract thinking (involving imagined realities and symbols)  As children approach adolescence they know “if this, then that”  Abstract logic  Potential for mature moral reasoning Children are not passive receptacles waiting to be filled with knowledge. Better to build on what they already know, engaging them in concrete demonstrations and stimulating them to think for themselves. Accept children’s cognitive immaturity as adaptive. Better to build on what they [children] already know, engaging them in concretedemonstrations and stimulating them to think for themselves. Preschool and elementary school children think differently from adults. In order for them to become independent thinkers(think for themselves), Piaget recommends that they be given specific, tangible examples (concrete demonstrations) that utilize (build on) their existing knowledge. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT How do parent-infant attachment bonds form?  Infants prefer familiar faces and voices  Approximately 8 months old—stranger anxiety—the fear of strangers that infants commonly display  When they cannot assimilate new faces, they become distressed  The brain, mind and social-emotional behaviour develop together  Attachment: an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation  form attachments not because of biological needs because they are more confortable, familiar and responsive  neglect/abuse can disrupt the attachment process What are the two types of attachments? Body Contact  infants become attached to their parents who are soft and warm and who rock, feed, and pat. w  Much of the emotional communication occurs via touch which can be either smoothing or arousing.  Also consists of one person providing another with a safe have when distressed and a secure base from which to explore—as we grow up, the safe haven shifts from parents to peers to partners Familiarity  Critical period: An optimal period shortly after birth when an organism’s exposure to a certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development  Konrad Lorenz—imprinting –the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life (eg. Du
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