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Infancy Notes

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University of Pittsburgh
PSY 0310

2/13 Infancy Appearance • Large head • Bulging abdomen • Splotchy skin • Misshapen head • Divergent eye movement (adults have convergent, meaning they move together) What do they do? • 16 hours of sleep (in segments) o Wake up every 2 hours to replenish energy • Different stages of being awake o Alert: calm, interactive o Active: moving and fidgeting o Drowsing: nodding off • Why we Care o Important indicator for central nervous system development and maturation (related to SIDS) o Significant impact on parent and child interaction  Preemies are harder to comfort Reflexes • Innate, built-in response • Rooting: when you brush their face, they will turn towards that side • Grasping: grabbing and holding their weight • Sucking 2/13 • Babinski: spread toes • Moro: bring baby down, he/she will widen arms • Stepping: will takes steps if guided • Swimming: hold breath, swim • Why? o Occur due to the more primitive parts of the brain (thalamus, reticular formation, medulla) o Development of the cerebral cortex causes these to stop by sending chemical messengers that repress the reflexes o Some of these are evolutionary because they may have helped our ancestors survive o Humans have a longer period of dependency, but our ancestors weren’t so they had to have all of this innate responses Sensory Abilities • To learn, you need to have senses • How well can babies sense? • How can this be studied? o Vision is primarily important Vision • Robert Fantz: 1960’s o Discovered that babies make decisions about what to look at o Visual Reference Procedure  Put two things in front of them and see what they decide to look at  Used a box contraption that allowed researchers to look at the reflection in their eyes  Found that babies like to look at faces and black and white things; preferences change with age 2/13 o How does this relate to development?  Can test visual acuity  Show babies a screen with stripes and solids  They are more interested in the side with more stripes  Their ability to see the stripes when they get thinner and thinner (and appear to be almost solid) tells us how well they can see o Event Related Potential  Picks up brain activity  We can see how the brain is respondi
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