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Marc Johnson

PSY312 – lec2 May 8, 2013 Cognitive Development *Development refers to – development from fetal stage through to early adulthood *Cognitive = refers to thinking, thought processes; cognitive development = development of thought processes from birth to ~age 23 (typically neurological development is typically ceased by age 23) – there is much more plasticity from infancy to age 23 We’ll talk about: -What are the changes? -How do they occur? -What are the neurological mechanisms? *cognitive changes reflect neurological changes - there’s philosophical dichotomy – the mind vs. brain dilemma – are they the same thing or are they different - currently – mind and brain are same thing; who u are is reflection of organization of your brain - Gestault argument – are you more than just cells communicating with each other in brain, or is there something else to you? - what do we characterize as the “self”? - we say it’s the “soul” or “spirit” which is not the sum of all the parts (the brain) – mind and brain are separate & they interact with each other The major camps of theory Three major theoretical camps of how development progresses (change): 1. Piaget - Study of cognition began with Freud th - Study of cognition in early childhood – mid part of 20 century th - Study of cognition – thinking + feeling – in beginning of 20 century, but only in adults; study in children started ~50 yrs later - Piaget was so influential b/c – he collected qualitative info AND quantitative info! - He theoristd that there were stages of development, which were progressive – u start in 1 stage, and go up by each stage o So development is PROGRESSIVE 2. Information Processing - Suggested that development was MODULAR – that there were modules of development o Basic modules of development are in terms of learning – input (sensory information) + output (behavior, or answer to a question) o Input is at the bottom, output is at the top o Cognitive development involves the development of stages from input to output 3. Vygotsky = social cognitive development - 1910s +1920s – he proposed that development occurs though social interaction; that it was social interaction that was important in development o Wild child Victor – if there’s no social interaction there is no cognitive development - Said person is product of environment (all about the nurture) - It’s very important u become part of social society - Vygotsky himself was a product of social interaction – b/c he was Russian & at this time there was the Russian revolution going on - If u don’t get experience with language – u won’t learn it! o Victor never had social exposure, including language – he did not develop & never developed properly o Concept of critical periods – there does seem to be a biological period (critical period) in which u have to be socially exposed to something in order to develop it – and language is good example * u can still learn a 2 language after critical period – but it is accented Neurological Development *brain growth – what does it mean? -brain development in utero: - there needs to be a development in brain in order for there to be development in cognition - in utero brain develops, more significantly in 2 trimester (between 3 and 6 rd th month of pregnancy) – see a very signifacnt of growth in central nervous system - means u see 1000s of neurons dividing, developing every second - by the time ur born, u have all the neurons u are going to use – have approximately 200 billion of them Proliferation - There is a division of cells (in 2 nd trimester specifically) – mitotic cell division - U are making a lot of new cells = proliferation nd - So in 2 trimester seeing proliferation of cells of nervous system - Even in fetal stage – proliferation of cells Migration nd - Cells are moving to different locations in the growing organism (especially in 2 trimester) – as they are growing they move to areas that will be the organs/nervous system Specialization - As the cells move to locations – they gain specialized function - Ex. neuron is human cell specialized for nervous system How is brain changing and growing in early adulthood - Through synaptogenesis – make more synapses between neurons for more communication btw neurons - In fact – u have more neurons at birth than at early adulthood/adulthood – the neurons that don’t make synaptic connection will wither and die - Also – seeing increased myelinization – protects and enhances electrical signal – it’s a glial cell (see development of glial cells into early adulthood) o The neurons glial cells are facilitating are the ones that are being used; glial cells are particularly interested in supporting neurons that are ACTIVE o If there are neurons that ur not using – they will wither + die; but those that u are using, the glial cells will enhance them! (*use it or lose it*) o When u lose it – u usually don’t gain it back – the older u get the less likely it is ull gain it back Cross-section of the Brain *saggital mid-cross section of the brain 3 dimensions: -sagittal -horizontal -coronal *ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny = development of brain ontologically looks the same as the evolutionary development of the brain *phylogeny = difference between species - Hindbrain develops first – involved in some of the most basic behaviors (such as breathing) = motivations, sleep, awareness, breathing, heartbeat Brain is subdivided into 3 major areas: 1. Forebrain: *most evolutionary developed part of the brain – is developing last (end of 2 nd trimester the cortex is developing most significantly) Cerebral cortex - has very significant layers in function - in 2 trimester cannot have exposure to teratogens; anything that interferes with development of cortex has significant impairments in development - 2 most significant teratogens = alcohol + cigarettes (first-hand smoking by mother during birth can lead to ADHD and conduct disorder in child) Thalamus = sensory switchboard - all senses go through the thalamus, except for SMELL (olfaction) – may be a reflection of phylogeny; smell seems to be the 1 sense that developed evolutionary, doesn’t go through thalamus Hypothalamus 2. Midbrain - The reward system (liking and disliking) – pushing us towards and away from things - Some reflexive automatic behaviors 3. Hindbrain Cerebellum Pons Medulla (medulla oblongata) Source of all behavior = central nervous system = spinal cord (involved in reflexive involuntary behaviors) + brain *startle reflex = from spinal cord; the reflexive reactions need to work very quickly - at infancy these reactions are not completely developed, but are in place Studied by: - Neurologist = interested in studying the gross structure + function of the brain (are physicians, M.D.); trained to clinically treat somebody (more invasive treatments such as surgery) - Psychiatrist = physicians; specialized in treating clinically - Anatomist = interested in structure (Ph.D.), a researcher - Neuropsychologist = studies structure + function of brain (Ph.D.) Hindbrain -medulla = controls breathing, heart rate, blood pressure - is essential to life functioning – if destroy it u die; develops very quickly -pons = regulation of sleep/wake cycle -
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