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Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Preterm Birth, Visual Acuity, Umbilical Cord

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Shelley Cross- Mellor

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Psychology Chapter 12 January 31, 2012
Chapter 12: Development Over the Lifespan
Developmental Psychology
o Studies physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes across the lifespan
o Two methods of conducting research
Longitudinal Research
Study the same participants over a long period of time
Problems: expensive and possible drop outs
Cross Sectional Research
Groups of participants, of different ages (cohort), studied at same time
Problem: cohort peculiarities (60 year olds don’t have the same
education as 10 year olds have now)
Major Issues and Methods
o Issues
Nature and Nurture
Is it the environment or heredity that effects our development?
Critical and Sensitive Periods
Critical Period = age where experiences must occur
Sensitive Periods = optimal age range where experiences may occur
Continuity Versus Discontinuity
Is it development gradual and continuous or distinct stages?
o Do cognitive abilities gradually increase or occur in stages
Stability Versus Change
Do things remain constant across the lifespan?
Developmental Functions How Processes Change
o No change
Remains constant (example: figure-ground perception, discriminate high vs. low
o Continuous
Gradual changes (example: certain types of intelligence)
o Stages
Discontinuous changes (example: motor development rolling to crawling to
standing to walking)
o Inverted U-Shape
Emerges early peaks diminishes with age (example: separation anxiety,
o U-Shape Function
Emerges early disappears re-emerges (example: stepping reflex, when a
baby is born if you put it on a flat surface they will make stepping movements,
all of a sudden that will stop, then they learn to walk)
Prenatal Development (3 Stages)
o Germinal
First 2 weeks
Zygote attaches to uterine wall
o Embryonic
2nd to 8th week
Placenta and umbilical cord develop

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o Fetal
Begins at 9th week
28 weeks = age of viability
Prenatal Development
o Genetics and Sex Determination
23rd chromosome = X or Y
Females = XX
Males = XY
o Y chromosome contains TDF (testes determining factor)
Initiates development of testes
Testes secrete androgens
o Critical Period = 6-8 Weeks
Insufficient androgen activity = female
o Environmental influences
o Teratogens noxious substance or factors that can disrupt prenatal development
X-Rays: disrupt development of brain cells
Drugs: abnormal physical and psychological development
Alcohol: FAS; mental retardation, facial disfiguration, ADHD
o Maternal Malnutrition
Miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, impaired brain development
o Maternal Stress (Stress Hormones)
Premature birth, infant irritability, attention deficits
o Fetal Behaviour
Changes in heart rate and movements during 3rd trimester to loud sounds
o Fetal Learning
Habituate to repeated presentations of stimuli
Newborns prefer sounds that were familiar during fetal development
Measured with vigour of sucking rate
Amazing Newborn
o Tactile, auditory, and chemical perceptual senses operating at birth
o Orient to significant stimuli
Sound, tactile, odours
o Visual system is poorly developed at birth
Limited acuity at birth
About 20/800
Prefer patterned stimuli
Prefer mother’s face
Sensation and Perception: Vision
o What can newborns see, how do we know?
o Preferential Looking Procedure
Measure how long infant looks at a stimulus
Idea = newborns look longer at stimuli they find interesting
Determine when ‘detail’ becomes interesting
Sensory-Perceptual Development
o Vision
20/800 at birth 20/100 at 6 months
Develops in continuous fashion

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3-4 months = organized according to Gestalt principles (subjective contours,
closure etc)
Discriminate internal features of face
Develops in stage-like fashion
Newborn Learning?
o Habituation
o 2 days old show head-turning toward off-centered speech
o Can acquire classically conditioned responses
Touch forehead (CS) with delivery of milk to mouth (UCS) newborns show CR
(puckering) to CS
o 3 day old learn to suck plastic nipple in certain pattern to trigger tape recording of
mom’s voice
o Can do simple observational learning
Sensory-Perceptual Development
o Audition
Sound Localization
U-Shaped function, present at birth, disappears at 4 months, reappears
at 6 months
Phoneme Discrimination
Exceeds that of an adult (pre-wired for any language?)
1-2 months detect changes in bah vs. dah, even in sounds not used in
native language, disappears by 1 year of age
Physical Development
o Maturation
Biologically programmed
o Cephalocaudal Principle
Development proceeds from head to foot
Head is large growth proceeds towards lower body
o Proximodistal Principle
Development proceeds from innermost to outer
Arms before finger
Brain Development
o At birth = 25% of adult weight
o 6 months = 50%
o Cells become larger, neural networks form
o First areas to develop = brainstem (heart rate and breathing)
o Last areas to develop = frontal cortex (cognitive)
o Growth Rate
Slows in later childhood
5 years = 90% of adult size (closer to adult weight than any other body part)
Continued maturation and new synapses, more specialized
Motor Development
o Reflexes
Innate behaviours
Example: breathing, sucking, rooting
o Most Skills Follow Stage-Like Sequences
Age of acquiring skill varies
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