Psych 1XX3 FULL NOTES.pdf

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McMaster University
Health, Aging and Society
Joe Kim

Lectures 12 DevelopmentJanuary 4 2011Introduction To DevelopmentDevelopment refers to the changes and continuities that occur within the individual between conception and deathDevelopmental psychologists are interested in understanding how you change over time and also how you stay the sameMaturation o The biologicallytimed unfolding of changes within the individual according to that individuals genetic planHow that plan unfolds is influenced by specific environmental conditionsLearning o The acquisition of neuronal representations of new information o Relatively permanent changes in our thoughts behaviours and feelings as a result of our experiences o Through learning processes we avoid touching a hot stove and look both ways before crossing the road o Learned processes can be controlled but can also become so practised as to become automatic o Ex As a child learning to cross the road we learned to first look left and then right and cross when all is clear o As an adult we do so automatically o However this left then right strategy is not always the optimal behaviour o Many North American tourists are a little thrown off when they cross the road for the first time in a country where cars drive on the opposite side of the road o In this case you have to overcome your past learning to use the optimal strategy to first look right and then left before crossing the roadInteractionist Perspective o Emphasizes that most of your developmental changes reflect the interaction of maturation and learning o Maturation affects learningSome essential systems must be in place before learning proceedsEx You wont learn to walk until youve developed muscles in your torso and limbs and the ability to balance o Learning affects maturationEx Imagine a child who was given proper nutrition but isolated in a dark room never being allowed to play or interact with anyoneYou would expect problems in developing normal vision speech motor and social skills compared to any other child exposed to normal environmental stimulationWithout some minimal level of input to learn from the outside world maturation will be absent or delayed Studying DevelopmentChanges that occur earlier in life are much more dramatic than those occurring later in lifeMany researchers believe that the developmental changes that take place during these early years play an especially important role in shaping who you becomeFour ways to measure abilities in infants o Habituation procedureTo determine if an infant can detect the difference between two stimuliInfants normally tend to show interest in novel objects in the environmentThe habituation process begins by repeatedly presenting the infant with the same stimulus such as a tone or a picture while measuring changes in physiological responses like heart rate and breathing or behavioural orienting responses like head and eye movementsWhen a novel stimulus is presented an infant will initially show a burst of activityAs the same stimulus is repeatedly presented the infants responses will return to baseline levelsAt this point the infant has demonstrated habituation to the stimulusAt some level the infant still recognizes the stimulus as the same it is just no longer importantThe stimulus can be changed and if the infant recognizes the change by distinguishing the new stimulus from the old one she is said to dishabituateand shows another burst in physiological responseHabituationA decrease in responsiveness to a stimulus following its repeated presentationDishabituationAn increase in responsiveness to a stimulus that is somehow different from the habituated stimulus o Eventrelated potentialsAn measure of the brain electrical activity evoked by the presentation of stimuliTo measure ERP a special cap with an array of electrodes is carefully placed on the scalpThese electrodes can detect changes in electric activity across a population of neurons in the brainThe particular behaviour being measured will evoke changes in various brain regions of interestIf you were presenting the infant with a visual stimulus you may expect changes in activity in the occipital lobe of the brain an area devoted to visual processingIf you were presenting an auditory stimulus you may expect changes in activity in the temporal lobe region an area devoted to auditory processeso Together habituation and ERP provide complementary behavioural and neural measures to understand an infants sensory interactions with the environment o Highamplitude sucking methodHow do you ask an infant what she likes or dislikesOne method takes advantage of the fact that infants can control their sucking behaviour to some extent which can be accurately measured by a special pacifier in HAS methodYou first measure the baseline sucking rate for the infant in the absence of relevant stimuliDuring the shaping procedure the infant is given control over the presentation of a stimulus to be tested such as a series of musical notesIf the infant sucks on the pacifier at a faster rate than the baseline a switch is activated in the pacifier that causes the stimulus to be presentedIf the infant can detect the musical notes and likes what she hears she can keep the musical notes playing for longer by increasing her sucking rateIf the infant doesnt like the sounds she can stop sucking sooner to end the presentation o Preference methodInfant is put in a looking chamber to simultaneously look at two different stimuliThe researcher can accurately measure the direction that the infant is looking to tell if more attention is being directed to one stimulus over the otherResearchers have found that infants tend to prefer looking at big patterns with lots of black and white contrasts and prefer looking at facesInferences and Assumptions of Procedures o Suppose you were measuring evoked fear by measuring the escape time of a person presented with a stimulus of a ghost in a haunted house o If the subject had a broken leg it would obviously be a mistake to infer a lack of fear from a slow escape time o Such a test would lack validity of the intended measureCompetencePerformance Distinction o Researchers testing infants and children must be particularly aware of the competenceperformance distinction o If a child fails to perform a certain task this may reflect a genuine lacking in competence in the cognitive ability of interest
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