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Lecture 1

PSYC 4363 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Myelin, Brain, Heritability

Course Code
PSYC 4363
Andres Viana

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Lecture 2
The Developmental Psychopathology Approach: Various Influences on Development
- Risk and Resilience
o Family factors
o Extrafamilial factors
o Look at ppt
- We can’t understand kids by just looking at the kid. Look at framework on ppt
- We need to understand normative development
- Biological Context
o Genetics
Heritability = what proportion of this disorder can be explained by shared
genes. ex: with ADHD a lot of symptoms can be explained
Shared environment = 50% of my genes are the same as my sister. We
were exposed to the same environment; same parents, home, etc.
Non-shared environment = live in the same house but different
experience. So like how dad treated behnei bad. I was spoiled more
o Neuropsychology
Brain structure
By looking at certain structures, certain outcomes are more likely
Brain function
The way certain areas get activated as well as brain chemistry can
be related to certain problems
Deficit in serotonin = anxiety and depression
Dopamine is related with pleasure and reward
Brain chemistry
Look above
o Temperament
Temperament = inborn characteristics. Tends to be a stable trait, the kid
version of personality. What is the general tendency for the child to
react; cranky, difficult, fussy across situations
Some kids go with the flow and adjust to change easily, some don’t. they
have different ways of reacting
Some kids are temperamentally inhibited: shy. Those kids tend to have
social anxiety later
Difficult temperament tend to correlate with aggression problems later
- Brain function
o Myelination: fatty white substance
Myelin sheath surrounds axon and provides insulation, increases speed
and efficiency of transmission
Without it neurons don’t communicate effectively
Alzheimer’s, MS, ALS – problems with myelin sheath

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o Pruning
Brain rids itself from unnecessary redundant, or nonfunctional cells
Babies are born with hella neuro connections that get pruned. The brain
deleted the ones that aren’t needed and the ones that are get stronger
Autism may be associated with problems in the pruning stage before
Big pruning process also occurs later in childhood and into adolescence.
“cleaning stage”. Occurs in frontal lobe
- Temperament
o Thomas and Chess
Abilities = capacities, motivation = reason, temperament = style with
which a child behaves
Temperament traits:
o sensitivity
o intensity of rxn: the energy level of a childs response (high
= screaming and crying, low = wimper, mild fussing)
o activity level: low active watches tv quietly for hours,
highly active tend to jump around and move around while
watching tv
o adaptability: childs response to changes (slow or quick)
o approach and withdrawal :
o persistence: continuing an activity until its finished
o rhythmicity: childs natural rhythm, predictability of
situations (suhana being cranky when she wakes up,
sleeping and waking at the same time)
o quality of mood: how often the child is pleasant, joyful vs
o distractibility: how easily a child is drawn away from an
ppt has more descriptions on the traits
o Three types of infant temperament
Difficult: fussy, reactive, hard to soothe, easily angered
Easy: adaptable, smile a lot, pleasant mood, adjust well to change,
respond well to authority figures, good sleep and eating schedules.
Slow to warm up: Sumera, takes her a while to warm up to us and have
fun everytime we see her. Opposite of suhana who talks to EVERYONE
o Temperament alone does not determine developmental outcomes, but
goodness of fit between childs temperament and environment is particularly
Easy going child + difficult parent means disorders can still develop. Some
parents just can’t seem to understand their kids temperament and their
personalities clash with the child (dad and sister). If both have difficult

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temperament there can also be a clash. Parent needs to adjust their own
behavior and respond to the child
Most parents want to be fair, treat all the kids the same but the kids turn
out different. Treating all their kids the same can lead to problems bc
everyone has different temperaments
o Jerome Kagan
Inhibited vs. uninhibited
Studied babies along different dimensions; how they looked and reacted
Kid connected to an EEG machine and dangle a mobile on top of the kid
and see how the child reacted. He followed these kids up to 25 years just
to see how early behaviors can predict later ones.
Found that kids that react with lots of motor movement to a simple task
tend to be associated with lots of social anxiety later on. AKA inhibited as
When the kid reacted relaxed and just looked at it, those kids tended to
do better socially later in life. AKA uninhibited
- Risk in the biological context
o Prenatal
Lots of stress when pregnant can affect the fetus
Teratogens (alcohol, lead, certain meds when pregnant)
o Perinatal
Def: right around the time of delivery
Oxygen deprivation (umbilical cord wrapped around the neck) for a
baby seconds of oxygen deprivation can hurt the brain dramatically
Breached position
Premature babies
o Postnatal
Traumatic brain injury
Exposing the kid to second hand smoke, lead
o Timing and severity is important
Being exposed once vs being exposed for months
o Recovery related to plasticity, timing, extend of injury, area, and support
- The Individual Context
o Learning and Cognition
Classical conditioning
Learning to respond a stimulus that previously did not elicit a
Pavlov and his dogs. You have an unconditioned stimulus that gets
a response. Pair with a new stimulus and eventually it will get the
same response even when the unconditional stimulus is removed.
Bell & food
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