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PSYCH 211 (210)
Lecture 3

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University of Waterloo
Mattieu Lecorre

Sensory & Motor Development Part 1: Sensory Development What is the perceptual world like in first six months of life? - Newborn baby - 4 week old (1 month) baby o Little interaction - 6 month old baby o Still unable to speak, likes making sounds o Likes to put things into his/her mouth o Likes to pick up and hit objects o Is engaged with his/her world - These babies do very little. Barely reach for objects at 6 months. How can we tell what their perceptual world is like? o Chemical senses: smell and taste o “Cognitive” senses: Hearing & Vision Smell - Response to chemical composition of gases - Adults can discriminate up to 10,000 different chemical substances! o Perceptions may change to distinguish more differences if one becomes associated with an object more frequently eg. Wine taster can taste the difference between each wine Taste - Adult taste organized around 4 dimensions o Bitter (at the back of tongue) o Sour (at the back sides) o Salty (front sides) o Sweet (at the tip) *There is a special relationship between smell and taste Eg. a smell can bring back a taste from 15 years ago Taste in newborns - Facial reactions to sweet, sour, and bitter tastes in 2 hour olds o Reaction to sweet sample  Someone put something in my mouth  Annoying…  Aaah but its sweet…nice! o Reaction to sour sample  Lemon juice! Sour!  O shaped mouth o Reaction to bitter sample  N shaped mouth o No distinct facial expression for salty taste Smell Discrimination in newborns - When exposed to sweet smells (honey or chocolate), newborns look relaxed and content (btw, newbornds don’t really smile…) - When exposed to foul or strong smells (rotten eggs or ammonia), newborns frown or turn away Smell memory in newborns! - Fetuses form memory for smell of amniotic fluid! o Experiment was done to moisten one of mother’s breasts with amniotic fluid o 23/30 newborns spontaneously choose breast with amniotic fluid  Babies have a preference for what the mothers ate while she was pregnant Taste & Smell in newborns - Taste: almost all in place at birth o By 2 hours of life, 3 or 4 basic tastes are discriminated - Smell: already memorable o Some discrimination of smells o Smell memories can be formed in the fetus! Hearing - In adult, auditory system turns oscillating waves of air into sounds - Some combinations of sounds are special: music o Pattern in the air are sensitive to our ears - What do infants hear when we play music to them? Consonant vs. dissonant music - Mozart - Difference between two pieces = relations between notes o We like some sequences of notes (consonant) better than others (dissonant) - Why do we have a preference? - Is it because it’s what we’re used to hearing? - Or is our auditory system built to prefer o Consonant music is the music we know of today, that we listen to Musical appreciation in 2 to 6 month olds - How to make a baby control music o Seat baby in front of a plexiglass box with bull’s eye picture in it o Observers in separate room look at when baby looks at box o When baby looks at box, observers press button to turn on lights in box to attract baby’s
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