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Psych 2040-Chapter 6: Physical Development.docx

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Psychology 2040A/B
Michael G Mac Donald

General Growth Trends  height and weight  rapid but uneven growth in first 2 years  birth weight doubles by 6 months and triples by a year  sometimes weight falls after birth but increases  growth slows until spurt in puberty  changes in body proportions  cephalocaudal trend: head grows before feet  brain must develop first  integration and interconnection between different parts of brain during development, although all parts of brain exist at birth  proximodistal trend: development starting from the inside and goes outward  organs and CNS must develop first Skeletal Development  soft cartilage ossifies into bony material  skeletal age: measure of physical maturation based on skeletal development o children mature faster than boys  skull and hands mature first, leg bones develop until late teens Muscular Development  born with all the muscle fibres you will ever have  muscle mass increases more for boys than girls Development of the Brain  brain growth spurt: brain weight increases dramatically prenatal month 7 to age 2 o how does brain growth rate relate to changes in behavior?  neurons: basic units of the brain  most formed by end of second trimester  glia develop and produce myelin  transmit info via synapses  synaptogenesis (connections) speeds rapidly  brain plasticity— the brain is shaped by experience  synaptic pruning  myelination: process of coating neurons with myelin sheath  occurs different rates  sensory pathways to brain myelinated at birth  proceeds rapidly over first years of life  frontal cortex not fully myelinated until adolescence or early adulthood  cerebral lateralization: specialization of brain functions in left and right cerebral hemispheres  most babies lay with right ear facing outward in the womb Motor Development Age (months) when 90% of Skill infants have mastered Lifts head while on stomach 3.2 Rolls over 4.7 Sits without support 7.8 Crawls 9.0 Stands well alone 13.9 Walks well 14.3  views on sequencing motor development o maturational viewpoint: nerves and muscles mature downward and outward  ie. cephalocaudal and proximodistal trends  evidence from cross-cultural findings  experiential hypothesis: practice strongly influences development of motor skills  opportunities to practice are important  evidence from early orphanage experience  dynamic systems theory: new skills are constructed via active reorganization of existing skills  reorganization occurs as new, more effective ways of exploring are sought  environment provides motivation (crawling to get to a toy), maturation provides foundation  fine motor development  voluntary reaching  emerges at 3 months  different from initial pre-reaching  driven by proprioceptive information: knowing location of body in space  manipulatory skills  Ulnar grasp: grasp objects by pressing fingers against palm  emerges 4-5 months  Pincer grasp: thumb is used with fingers— greater dexterity  emerges 6-12 months  implications of early motor development  cognitive and social consequences: mobile infants more willing to explore, better able to find hidden objects  optical flow: relative movement making objects appear to move while background stays still  helps to orient
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