PSYC 289 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Programmed Cell Death, Prefrontal Cortex, Synaptic Pruning

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9 Feb 2017

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Developmental psych
In class notes
Infant and early childhood development
The first 6 years
Why study physical development? (in a psychology class)
- It affects how we all function in the world
- How physical development affects how children behave
- Makes new behaviors possible (
o being able to sit up or walk. Or the ability to write or draw- fine motor skills).
- Determines experiences
o Physical developments (height) can influence how well you play basketball
- Affets others’ resposes
o People who are taller are assumed to be taller (tall first grader treated like a 3rd
- Affects self-concept
o How we look at ourselves (height, weight) affect the self-concept.
Physical Development
Growth of the body
- More rapid in infancy that during any other period after birth.
- Body does not grow symmetrically
o We grow cephalocaudal which means from head to foot. Around 12 years is
when we get the normal body to leg ratio
- Development progress from the center of the body outwards- proximodistal pattern
Brain development
Neuron; nerve cell that handles information
- Passes information from one cell to another
At birth the brain has 100+ billion neurons
Brain triple in weight by age 2 (75% of adult weight)
By age 5 the brain is about 90% of adult weight
- Neurogenesis: creation of new neurons (most are formed prenatally
- Programmed cell death: makes space for connections
o Neurons that are not used die and make space for new better connections
- Proliferation (synaptogenesis)- making new better connections in the neurons
- If synapses are not being used synaptic pruning will occurring and these synapses will
eventually go away. Starts from the back of the brain to the front
Prefrontal cortex is still developing until around age 20-25
Myelination is occurring: like an insulation that speeds transmission of neural impulses
- Starts from the back and goes to the front (prefrontal cortex is the last thing to be
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