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Psych 1XX3 Notes - ALL NOTES EXAM 2011

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Joe Kim

Lectures 12 DevelopmentJanuary 4 2011 Introduction 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 o However a child may have indeed developed the cognitive ability of interest yet still be unable to perform the task o Ex A child who is preverbal will be unable to respond to your questions on her preferences between two different toysIf you were unaware that she was preverbal you may wrongly assume that failure to respond to your questions indicates that she is unable to discriminate between the two toysGiven a better test the child may be able to demonstrate her preference to you Introduction to Developmental Research DesignsLongitudinal design o Researchers examine the abilities and characteristics of the same individuals repeatedly over a subset of their lifespan o If you were interested in how memory for lists of numbers changes with age you might test the same group of people every year on the same type of test from 575 years old o Can uncover age differences and find patterns that are common to all people o Allows researchers to assess developmental change o DrawbacksVery expensive and time consumingProblem of selective attritionSome participants may quit become unfit to continue or even dieLeaves a fundamentally different sample at different time pointsProblem of practice effectSubjects may improve performance based on prior exposure alone rather than on natural development over time of skills being studied due to same or similar tests being administered over yearsCrosssectional design o Many different individuals from different age groups are tested at once without the need to be tracked over the span of many years o Allows researchers to assess developmental change o Relatively less time consuming and expensive o Can uncover age differences o DrawbacksCant be sure if differences between age groups are due to developmental changes or due to generational effectsIf 25 year olds perform better than 50 year olds perhaps the generation of 50 year olds have had less early training with numbers compared to the generation of 25 year oldsAre not directly tracking changes with ageEach person is only studied at a single timepoint you are not really observing what happens as a person agesInstead are making inferences on trends in group dataFinal alternative is to combine both designs o Combines the strongest and weakest features of both design types in one Introduction to Hereditary TransmissionWhen a sperm penetrates an ovum a new cell is formed called a zygoteThis single cell contains 46 chromosomes 23 chromosomes from each parentA chromosome is a threadlike structure that is made from DNASegments of DNA comprise genes which provides the chemical code for developmentResults from the Human Genome Project have estimated that our chromosomes contain between 30000 to 40000 genes
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