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Roshan Singh 012808 Mr. Joordens PSYA01H3 Chapter 12 Notes Growing older is a matter not only of aging, but also of changing personally, intellectually and socially. Lifespan developmental psychology studies the processes and the patterns of change that occur within an individual over a lifes course. Prenatal period The 9 months between conception and birth. This period is divided into 3 developmental stages: the zygotic, the embryonic and the fetal. The length of a normal pregnancy is 266 days or 38 weeks. Zygote stage The first stage of prenatal development, during which the zygote divides many times and the internal organs begin to form. The stage lasts about 2 weeks. By the end of the first week, it consists of about 100 cells. Many of them are arranged in 2 layers, one for the skin, hair, nervous system and sensory organs and the other for the digestive and respiratory systems and glands. Near the end of the stage, a third layer appears that eventually develops into muscles and the circulatory and excretory systems. Embryonic stage The second stage of prenatal development, beginning 2 weeks and ending about 8 weeks after conception, during which the heart begins to beat, the brains starts to function, and most of the major body structures begin to form. It is most susceptible to chemicals that can cause birth defects including drugs and alcohol. Teratogens Substances, agents, and events that can cause birth defects. The beginning of sexual development occurs during this stage. The presence or absence of testes determines the development of other sex organs. Androgens The primary class of sex hormones in males. The most important androgen is testosterone. Testosterones are required for development of male sexual organs whereas females occur naturally and do not require hormones to stimulate their sexual organs. Fetal stage The third and final stage of prenatal development, which lasts for about 7 months, beginning with the appearance of bone tissue and ending with birth. At the end of the 2 month, the fetus is about 4 cm long and weighs about 30g. By the end of the third month, the major organs are complete and the fetus is now 8 cm long and weighs about 90g. By the end of the 4 month, the fetus is about 15 cm long and weighs about 170g. During the 6 month, the fetus grows th to more than 30 cm long and weighs about 700g. 7 month is critical as fetus is born prematurely at this point, it has a fair chance of surviving. During the last 2 months, the fetus gains weight at the rate of about 250 g per week. On average, the fetus is about 50 cm long and weighs about 3.5 kg at the end of this period. www.notesolution.comRoshan Singh 012808 Mr. Joordens PSYA01H3 Chapter 12 Notes The main physical effects of mothers smoking are increased rate of miscarriages, low-birth weight babies, an increased chance of premature birth and more births by Caeserean section. If a pregnant woman uses cocaine, there is an increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight and a smaller than normal head circumference. Alcohol consumption results in effects pre and postnatal growth deficits, deformation of the eyes and mouth, low brain mass, other brain and central nervous system abnormalities and heart deformation. They are known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). The term infant applies to babies up to the age of 2 years. At birth, an infants most important movements are reflexes automatic movements in response to specific stimuli. Most important ones being rooting, sucking and swallowing responses. Maturation Any relatively stable change in thought, behaviour, or physical growth that is due to the aging process and not to experience. Although individual children progress at different rates, their development follows the same basic maturational pattern. Development of motor skills requires 2 ingredients: Maturation of the childs nervous system Maturation of the childs practice Physical development of the nervous system depends (to a large extent) on the babys own movements while interacting with the environment. Salapateks (1975) work suggested that at the age of 1 or 2 months, babies are probably not perceiving complete shapes; their scanning strategy is limited to fixations on a few parts of the object at which they are looking. Critical period A specific time in development during which certain experiences must occur for normal development to occur. If infants are not exposed to a stimulating environment and do not have the opportunity to interact with caregivers during the first 2 years of their lives, their cognitive development will be impaired. Banks, Aslin and Letson (1975) studied infants whose eye deficits were later corrected surgically. The critical period for them was between 1 to 3 years. So, if the surgery occurred before this period then the stereoscopic vision will develop and if it is done later then it will not. Perceptual and motor skills develop in complexity and competency as children grow. They learn to recognize people and their voices, begin to talk and respond to the speech of others, and learn how to solve problems. Infants as young as 12 months are even able to form memories of specific events. So, their cognitive capacities develop.
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