Chapter 11: Development

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Steve Joordens

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Chapter 11 – Development - DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY => the study of continuity and change across the life span Prenatality: A womb with a View - prenatal stage of development ends w/ birth - when sperm manages to find the correct fallopian tube and get close enough to an egg to release digestive enzymes that erode the egg’s protective outer layer - as soon as one of the sperm manages to penetrate the coating, the egg quickly releases a chemical that seals the coating and keeps all the remaining sperm from entering - the one successful sperm sheds its tail and fertilizes the egg and in 12 hours the nuclei of the sperm and the egg merge Prenatal Development - ZYGOTE => a fertilized egg that contains chromosomes from both a sperm and an egg - a zygote has one thing in common w/ the person it will ultimately become: gender - each human sperm cell and each human egg cell contain 23 chromosomes that contain genes - one of the chromosomes (23 one) come in two variations : X & Y - some sperm carry a X and some carry a Y chromosome - if the egg is fertilized by a X chromosome; the zygote is female - if it’s a Y chromosome; the zygote is male - GERMINAL STAGE => 2 – week period that begins at conception - during this stage, the one-celled zygote begins to divide – into 2 cells that divide into 4 and so on - by the time of birth, the zygote has divided into trillions of cells each of which contain exactly one set of 23 chromosomes from the sperm and one set of 23 chromosomes from the egg - during the germinal stage, the zygote migrates back down the fallopian tube and implants itself in the wall of uterus - when the above happens a new stage of development begins - EMBRYONIC STAGE => a period that lasts from the second week until about the eighth week - during this stage, the zygote is known as an embryo – just an inch long but already has a heart and other body parts such as arms and legs - Embryos that one X chromosome and one Y chromosome begin to produce a hormone called testosterone, which masculinizes their reproductive organs - w/o testosterone the embryo continues developing as a female - FETAL STAGE => a period that lasts from the ninth week until birth - embryo at this stage is known as fetus – has skeleton and muscles and is capable of movement - during the last 3 months of the fetal stage, the size of the fetus increases - it develops a layer of insulating fat beneath its skin, and its digestive and respiratory systems mature rd - cells that ultimately become the brain divide very quickly around the 3 and 4 week after conception and this process is more or less complete by 6 months - during the fetal stage, these brain cells begin to generate axons and dendrites - they also begin to undergo a process known as MYELINATION => the formation of a fatty sheath around the axons of a neuron - myelin insulates a brain cell and prevents the leakage of neural signals that travel along the axon - a newborn’s human brain is only 25% of its adult size, which means 75% of the brain’s development occurs outside the womb - human brains are born with underdeveloped brains than other primates because: => the human brain has nearly tripled in size in just 2 million years of evolution and bigger brains require bigger heads so that is why if a newborn’s brain is very large, it would not pass through a mother’s birth canal => rather than in arriving in the world with a fully developed brain that may or may not meet the requirements of its environment, human beings arrive w/ brains that do much of their developing within the environments in which they will function Prenatal Environment - placenta => the organ that physically links the bloodstreams of the mother and the developing embryo or fetus and permits the exchange of materials - children who received insufficient nutrition during pregnancy have physical and psychological problems - TERATOGENS => agents that damage the process of development - they include environmental poisons such as lead in the water, paint dust in the air, mercury in fish and alcohol - FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME => a developmental disorder that stems from heavy alcohol use by the mother during pregnancy - children who have FAS have distinctive facial features, brain abnormalities and cognitive deficits - tobacco – children have lower birth weights, more likely to have perceptual and attentional problems - embryo is more vulnerable to teratogens than is the fetus - the fetus can hear its mother’s heartbeat and her voice - the developing fetus can sense stimulations and learn form it Infancy and Childhood: Becoming a Person - INFANCY => the stage of development that begins at birth and lasts b/w 18 & 24 months Perception and Motor Development - newborns mimic facial expressions in their first hour of life - MOTOR DEVELOPMENT => the emergence of the ability to execute physical actions such as reaching, grasping, crawling and walking - infants are born w/ a set of REFLEXES => specific patterns of motor response that are triggered by specific patterns of sensory stimulation routing reflex => tendency for infants to move their mouths toward any objects that touches their cheek sucking reflex => tendency to suck any object that enters their mouths - development of sophisticated behaviors tend to obey 2 general rules - CEPHALOCAUDAL RULE => “top-to-bottom” rule – describes the tendency for motor skills to emerge in sequence from the head to the feet - PROXIMODISTAL RULE => “inside-to-outside” rule – the tendency for motor skills to emerge in sequence from the center to the periphery Cognitive Development - COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT => the emergence of the ability to think and understand - b/w infancy and childhood, children must come to understand a. how the physical world works b. how their minds represent it c. how other minds represent it Discovering the World - cognitive development occurs in 4 stages: 1. SENSORIMOTOR STAGE => a stage of development that begins at birth and lasts through infancy - for eg: they use their ability to sense and their ability to move to acquire info about the world they live in - by actively exploring their environments w/ their eyes, mouths and fingers infants began to construct SCHEMAS => theories about or models of the way the world works - ASSIMILATION => occurs when infants apply their schemas in novel situations - for eg: pulling a toy will make the toy come towards them - ACCOMODATION => infants revise their schemas in light of new information - for eg: pulling a cat’s tail will do the opposite - infants do not have a theory of OBJECT PERMANENCE => the idea that objects continue to exist even when they are not visible - but infants have some understanding of object permanence by the time they are 4 months old Discovering the Mind - CHILDHOOD => the stage of development that begins at about 18 to 24 months and lasts until adolescence, which begins b/w 11 and 14 years - childhood consists of 2 stages: 1. PREOPERATIONAL STAGE => the stage of development that begins at about 2 years and ends at about 6 years during which the child learns about physical or “concrete” objects 1.CONCRETE OPERATIONAL STAGE => the stage of development that begins at about 6 years and ends at about 11 years during which the child learns how various actions or “operation” can affect or transform those objects - example of these stages: in Prof. Joordens lecture he showed us a video where a child was shown two equal size glasses which was filled with the same amount of liquid and child was able to correctly state that neither glass has more liquid, but when the liquid was poured into a taller glass; the child said that the taller glass had more amount of liquid – this mistake is made by children who are in the preoperational stage, but concrete operational children DO NOT make this mistake - they understand that QUANTITY is a property of a set of concrete objects that does not change when an operation alters the appearance - this child’s insight is called CONSERVATION => the notion that the quantitative properties of an object are invariant despite changes in the object’s appearance - Piaget suggested that preoperational children couldn’t grasp the notion of conservation because of CENTRATION => which is the tendency to focus on just one property of an object to the exclusion of all others - he also suggested that children fail to think about reversibility - but the main reason is: they do not fully grasp the fact that they have minds and that these minds contain mental representations of the world - they think that the way the world appears is the way the world really is - for eg: for adults a wagon can be red but can look gray at dusk; but for these children if the wagon looks red, then it is red - as children develop into the concrete operational stage, the begin to realize that the way the world appears is not necessarily the way the world really is - they are in a better position to solve a variety of problems that require them to ignore an object’s subjective appearance while attempting to understand its objective properties - once children can make a distinction b/w objects and their mental representation of objects, b/w an object’s properties and an object’s appearance, they can begin to understand that some operations change what an object LOOKS like w/o changing what the object IS like - FORMAL OPERATIONAL STAGE => the stage of development that begins around the age of 11 and lasts through adulthood - at this stage they can solve non-physical problems - they are able to reason systematically about abstract concepts such as liberty and love and etc Discovering Other Minds - EGOCENTRISM => the failure to understand that the world appears differently to different observers Perceptions and Beliefs - children think that others see only what they see - false belief test – read example under this sub – topic - only when the child understands the concept of mental representation can she understand that different people have different beliefs Desires and Emotions - very young children who cannot understand that others have different perceptions or beliefs seem to understand that other people have different desires - for eg: when 18-month toddlers see an adult express disgust while eating a food that the toddles enjoy, they hand the adult a different food, as if they understand that different people have different tastes - in contrast children take a long time to understand that other people may have emotional reactions unlike their own - it is only at about 6 years of age that children come to understand that because they and others have different knowledge, they and others may also experience different emotions in the same situation Theory of Mind - THEORY OF MIND => the idea that human behavior is guided by mental representations - 2 groups of children lag far behind their peers in acquiring this understanding - Autism is a rare disorder – children with autism have difficulty communicating w/ other people and making friends - Psychologists believe that this is because autistic children fail to acquire a theory of mind -they do not seem to understand that other people can have false beliefs, belief – based emotions, or self – conscious emotions such as embarrassment and shame - the second group of children who lag behind their peers in acquiring a theory of mind are deaf children whose parents do not know sign language - these children are slow to communicate becuz they do not have ready access to any form of conventional language, and this restriction seems to slow the development of their understanding of other minds - the age at which children acquire a theory of mind appears to be influenced by a variety of factors, such as the number of siblings the child has, the frequency w/ which the child engages in pretend play, whether the child has an imaginary friend and the socioeconomic status of the child’s family - but of all the factors, language seems to be the most important - children whose caregivers frequently talk about thoughts and feelings tend to be good at understanding beliefs and belief – based emotions - its clear that language and especially language about thoughts and feelings is an important tool for helping children make sense of their own and other’s minds Piaget Remixed - cognitive development from the sensorimotor stage to formal operations is a complex journey - Psychologists have discovered 2 important ways in which Piaget’s claims must be qualified - first Piaget thought that children graduated from one stage to another. He believed that the child is never in both stages and there is a particular moment of transition to which everyone can point - modern psychologists see development as a more continuous and less step-like progression than Piaget believed - a second qualification of Piaget’s claims is that children acquire many of the abilities that Piaget described much earlier than he realized. When researchers use experimental procedures that allow infants display a sense of object permanence, even 4 moths old children could do it. Discovering Our Cultures - Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky believed that cognitive development was the result of the child’s interaction w/ members of his or her own culture rather than his or her interaction w/ concrete objects - human beings are prepared to learn fro others and their ability to learn from others depends on 3 fundamental skills that they acquire early on 1. the ability to focus on what other person is focused on is known as joint attention 2. the ability to use another person’s reactions as info about the world is known as social
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