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Lecture Notes with Powerpoint References

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John Bassili

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Chapter 12 Life-Span Development January 28
Early Developmental Processes
Some processes are fundamental to development:
Maturation (genetic program for growth, child left for growth, nature)
Imitation (essential for learning, observing others doing things i.e. Washoe, the
chimp watching trainers with sign language)
Practice (essential for refinement and consolidation, circular reactions)
Habituation (promotes novel exploration, getting bored of something, getting used
to it, i.e. to test if a baby could differentiate between two items, show it and take it
away, repeat process until baby does not react to it; when new item is presented,
baby would show interest in new item)
Sensory and Perceptual Development
Touch, taste, smell and hearing are relatively well developed at birth
Vision is the least developed
Babies are very sensitive to pain
They have taste and smell preferences and communicate them through facial expressions
(taste, smell)
They can distinguish almost all sounds in language (hearing)
They could only focus at a distance of 20-30 cm (vision)
Video on Imitation, Habituation and Early Perception
Babies respond to new toys (dishabituates), and ignore toys presented already
A baby’s vision is perfect for gazing at the caregiver’s face
Infants turn to sweet smells, turn away from foul odours
Taste is well developed in infancy, sucking sugary solution on pacifier, surprised to suck
on vinegar solution
Vision is developed quickly, by the time the baby could crawl, they have developed depth
perception, and is able to avoid a cliff
Critical Periods
Maturation does not occur in a vacuum,” stimulation and nurture is a huge part of
When deprived of stimulation, bad things could occur to the parts that lack stimulation
(i.e. sight, when not getting stimulation to both eyes, between the age of 1-3, they do not
have disparity of depth; if stimulation is not there, maturation process will die off)
Language is acquired quickly by humans, maybe because of a mechanism in the human
A girl (Genie) was never spoken to for the first 13 years of her age, she was isolated, she
never acquired language even with help later on; once she missed on the maturation
period, she could never acquire language
Accents in English will occur when someone learns the language after the age of 10-11
The environment is needed for maturation to work
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