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Lecture

LEC 9-Developmental Psychology


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY100H1
Professor
Michael Inzlicht

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Developmental Psychology
z The focus of developmental psychology is on how humans develop and change
overtime
Change can occur across in life span of the PERSONAL
Cradle to grave developmental psychology
Assumes that change is inevitable
Change can be continuous or discontinuous
Core Developmental Issues
z Delineate the interacting forces of nature and nurture
Maturation: refers to biologically determined changes that follow an orderly
sequence
z Determine the importance of early experiences
The notion of critical periods
z Assess whether change is continuous or in qualitative stages
Critical Periods
z Critical period concept suggests that the brain is set to acquire a function during a
limited period of time
z If key experiences do not occur during a critical time period, the function may not
develop or may not be fully developed
The case of Genie, a girl who was isolated until 13 years of age. Although Genie
made some gains in language, her syntax never approached normal levels. The
case of Genie supports a critical period for language acquisition
Measles can cause mental retardation if contracted during certain fetal periods
Developmental Methodology
z Cross-sectional method compares groups of different ages at the same time
Useful for assessing age differences
Not useful for examining age changes
The problem is not each age group has different life experiences
z Longitudinal method compares same group at multiple time points
z Sequential studies examine different age groups at multiple time points (reduce
cohort effects)
Physical Development
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z Prenatal period has 3 phases
Germinal Period (1-2 weeks after conception)
Embryonic Period (3-8 weeks of gestation)
Fetal Period (from 9 weeks to birth)
Teratogens
z During the embryonic period, the developing fetus is susceptible to toxins
z Teratogens are environmental agents that harm the fetus (viruses, chemicals)
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: if the mother consumes alcohol during pregnancy, the
fetus is exposed to the alcohol, which can lead to abnormal physical
development and to learning disabilities
Crack Cocaine: fetal exposure to cocaine alters motor and emotional
development
Infant Reflexes
z Reflexes are innate motor responses elicited by critical stimuli
Reflexes are adaptive
z Examples of infant reflexes
Rooting reflex: a touch on the cheek induces the infant to move its mouth
toward the source of the touch (helps guide feeding)
Sucking reflex: tactile stimulation of the mouth produces rhythmic sucking
Motor Development
Emotional Development
z Temperament
z Attachment
Secure
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