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Lecture 3

Week 3 readings.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Haley

Week 3 readings Chapter 3: Biological foundations – Genes, temperament, and more - 4 aspects of biology that contribute to children`s social development 1. Biological preparedness: gives babies a head start in development (visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile capacities present at birth 2. Neurological 3. Genetics 4. Differences in temperament Biological preparedness for social interaction - Babies responsiveness to other human beings increases their caregivers interest and attention and ensures the infants well-being - How are babies prepared?  From biological rhythms to social rhythms  Behaviour follows biological rhythms which they learn to control and regulate biological regulatory skills over the 3 months of life are able to interact with their mother in a synchronous manner  showing a predictable degree of responsiveness  6-10 weeks premature babies have rhythms (sleep-wake cycles) that are not fully developed ; linked to poorer social interaction synchrony with the mother at 3 months  Visual preparation for social interaction  Stare longer at objects that have larger elements, movement, clear contours and a lot of contrast such as faces  Mostly interested in eyes  Prefer mothers face than face of a stranger  Auditory preparedness for social interaction  Babies can hear complex noises even before they are born --> e.g. Cat and the Hat was read twice a day for the last 6 ½ weeks of pregnancy where after births infants preferred to listen to The Cat and the Hat rather than an unfamiliar book  Like a voice that is high in pitch with exaggerated pitch contours  By 9 months they tune out words and sounds from other languages  Smell, taste and touch  Newborns can discriminate among different odours and tastes and prefer those that adults find pleasant  Preference for the food flavors consumed by their mothers  Sense of touch first sense to develop  Beyond faces and voices: Primed to be a social partner  2-3 months infants enjoy face-to-face play with their parents - Why are babies prepared?  Prepared by evolution to expect certain types of environments and to process some types of info more readily and efficiently than others  Adaptive and useful for survival – biologically programmed to be responsive to social partners and have a set of social responses that ensures that their needs are met Neurological basis of social development - The brain  Cerebrum: 2 connected hemispheres f the brain  Cerebral cortex: covering layer of the cerebrum, which contains the cells that control specific functions such as seeing, hearing, moving, and thinking  Frontal cortex = processing emotional info  Limbic system (set of brain structures that form the inner border of the cortex) = regulation of emotion and social behaviour  Amygdala (structure of limbic system) = recognition of fear and surprise expressions - Brain growth and development  Brain spurts in infancy and childhood  Motor cortex o 2 months, frontal motor cortex undergoes rapid change, motor reflexes like rooting and startle response disappear and ability to reach for objects improves o 8 months – ability to crawl and to search for hidden objects and ppl o 12 months – walking  Visual cortex o 3 months – looking longer at facelike stimuli and nonface stimuli  Auditory cortex o More sensitive to human voices and language input from caregiver o 18-24 months – rapid language development  Development of prefrontal cortex o 5-7 years – appearance of executive processes, which give children the ability to think flexibly, act appropriately, plan and organize, control impulses and allocate attention  Changes in adolescence o Puberty – abrupt changes in interior limbic and paralimbic areas associated with social and emotional processing o Gradual development of executive functioning - Hemispheric specialization  Cerebral hemispheres: 2 halves of the brains cerebrum  Corpus collosum: band of nerve fibers that connect the 2 hemispheres of the brain  Lateralization: process by which each half of the brain becomes specialized for certain functions – e.g. control of speech and language by the left hemisphere and visual-spatial by the right hemisphere  Begins early in life  Children experience brain injury, recover functioning because their brain plasticity - Nerves and synapses  At birth baby has most of its neurons  Neuron proliferation: rapid formation of neurons in the developing organism’s brain  Glial cells: supports, protects and repairs neurons; some responsible for myelination (occurs mostly in first 2 years)  Neural migration: movement of neurons within the brain that ensures that all brain areas have a sufficient number of neural connections  Synapses: intercellular communication exchanges info between nerve cells usually chemically  Synaptogenesis: forming of synapse  Brain is programmed to make more neurons than it needs  2 processes reduce the number of neurons and connections:  Programmed neuronal death: naturally occurring death of immature nerve cells during early development of the nervous system  Synaptic pruning: brains disposal of the axons and dendrites of a neuron that is not often stimulated - Brain development and experience  2 processes influences brain development: 1. Experience-expectant processes: universal depend on experiences that are expected in ppls normal environments such as touch, patterned visual input, sounds of language etc 2. Experience-dependent processes: unique to the individual and responsive to particular cultural, community and family experiences - Mirror neurons and the social brain  Mirror neurons: nerve cell that fires both when a person acts and when a person observes the same action performed by someone else, as if the observer himself were acting  Important for learning new skills through imitation and for understanding other ppls actions and intentions  Linked to language acquisition, development of theory of mind skills and feelings of empathy  Problems with mirror neuron system may underlie cognitive disorders and that ppl in autism have deficiency in social skills, imitation, empathy and theory of mind  Mirror neuron system found in the social brain – network of brain regions involved in understanding other ppl  Part of the brain has increased in size in recent evolution  Involved in social functions that range from recognizing faces and bodily gestures to evaluating what other ppl are thinking or feeling, predicting what they are about to do next and communicating with them  Medial prefrontal cortex important in understanding our own and others communicative intentions  Amygdala and superior temporal sulcus are regions of the social brain involved in processing emotional facial expressions  Frontal insula (FI) active when ppl experience emotions Genetics and social development - Genes contribute to shared characteristics of the human species and to differences among ppl - Human behaviour genetics: study of the relative influences of heredity and environment on individual differences in traits and abilities - Heritability factors: a statistical estimate of the contribution heredity makes to a particular trait or ability - Methods of studying genetic contributions to development  Studying family members is mostly used  Behaviour genetics: Adoption and twin studies  Limitations: a twin in itself has an effect on social development, so results from twin studies may not be applicable to nontwin pops; identical twins are more likely than fraternal twins to experience birth defects which can also contribute to differences between them  Variation is to study children whose mothers are identical twins  Shared and nonshared environments  Identical twins have more shared environments than fraternal twins  However fraternal twins also have shared environments which include poor or well off, living in good or bad neighbourhoods etc  have more nonshared environments in the different activities that they choose, temperament etc  Molecular genetics: the human genome project  Primary aim to locate and describe all the genes in the human genome - Models of genetic influence  Transmission of traits: a basic model  2 components of this model: 1. More than one form of a gene  alternate forms called alleles 2. If alleles from both parents are the same, the person is homozygous for that p
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