Psychology 1000 Study Guide - Metacognition, Restrictiveness, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

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16 Jan 2013
- Developmental psychology examines changes in out biological, physical,
psychological and behavioural processes as we age
- 4 broad issues guide much of the research
1.) Nature and Nurture:
- What extent is our development the product of heredity (nature) or the product of
environment (nurture), how do they interact
2.) Critical and Sensitive Periods:
- Are some experiences especially important at particular ages?
- A critical period: an age range in which certain experiences must occur for development
to proceed normally or along a certain path
- A sensitive period: is an optimal age range for certain experiences, but if those
experiences occur at another time, normal development will still be possible
3.) Continuity vs. Discontinuity:
- Is development continuous and gradual, or discontinuous, progressing through
qualitatively distinct stages
4.) Stability vs. Change:
- Do our characteristics remain consistent as we age?
- Developmental psychologists address these issues by plotting (describing)
developmental functions that portray how different processes change with age
- 5 Developmental functions
(A) No changean ability present at or before birth that remains relatively constant
across the lifespan (e/g. the ability to discriminate high from low pitched sounds, or to
see objects as distinct from their background
(B) Continuous change (continuity)an ability not present, or very immature at birth
that develops gradually over months or years and then remains constant over age (e.g.
certain types of intelligence)
(C) Stages (discontinuity)an ability that progresses in stages, with relatively rapid
shifts from a lower level to a higher level of performance (e.g. motor development, the
shift from crawling to standing to walking, in cognitive development, the shift from non-
verbal thought to symbolic thinking involving words
(D) Inverted U-Shaped Functionan ability that emerges after birth, peaks and
disappears with age (e.g. separation anxiety, visual acuity across the lifespan)
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(E) U-Shaped Functionan ability that is present early in life, disappears temporarily
and re-emerges later (e.g. newborns turning towards off-centered sound and stepping
with support
- Developmental psychologists use special research designs
- Cross-Sectional Design: compare ppl of different ages at the same point in time
- Test each person once and compare how well the different age groups perform
- Widely used because data from many age groups can be collected quickly
- Key drawback is that the different age groups, called cohorts, grew up different
historical periods
- Longitudinal Design: repeatedly tests the same cohort as it grows older
- Everyone exposed to same historical frame
- Time consuming, and as years pass our sample may shrink substantially as ppl
move, drop out of the study or die
- Sequential Design: combines the two approaches
- Can repeatedly test several age cohorts as they grow older and determine whether
they follow a similar developmental patternmost comprehensive, but most
costly and time consuming
- Consists of 3 stages of physical growth
- The germinal stage: first 2 weeks of development, beginning when the sperm
fertilizes the egg fertilized egg is call a zygote
- Through repeated cell division the zygote becomes a mass of cells that attaches to
the mother‘s uterus about 10-14 days after conception
- The embryonic stage extends from the end of the second week through the 8th
week after conception, and the cell mass is now called an embryo
- Two life support structures, the placenta and the umbilical cord, develop at the
start of this stage
- Located on the uterine wall, the placenta contains membranes that allow nutrients
to pass from the mother‘s blood to the umbilical cord
- In turn the umbilical cord contains blood vessels that carry these nutrients and
oxygen to the embryo, and waste products back from the embryo to the mother
- Supplied with nutrients, embryonic cells divide rapidly and become specialized
- Bodily organs and systems begin to form, and by week 8 the heart of the two-cm
long embryo is beating, brain forming, and facial features such as eyes can be
- At the 9th week after conception the embryo is called a fetus
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- During is fetal stage, which lasts until birth, muscles become stronger and other
bodily systems continue to develop
- At about 24 weeks the eyes open, and by 28 weeks the fetus attains the age of
viability, meaning it is likely to survive outside the womb in case of premature
- Father‘s genetic contribution determines the sex of the baby
- 23rd pair of chromosomes determines the baby‘s sex ,
- Women carry only X men carry XY, thus the 23rd chromosome in the sperm is in
about X in have the cases and Y in the others
- The y chromosome contains a specific gene known as the TDF gene, that triggers
male sexual development
- The union of an egg with a sperm cell having a y chromosome results in and XY
combination and therefore a boy
- A perm containing an X chromosome proceeds and XX combination and a baby
- If a Y chromosome is present, its TDF gene initiates the development of testes at
roughly 6-8 weeks after conception
- Testis-determining factor
- Once from testes secrete hormones called androgens that continue to direct a male
pattern of organ development
- If the TDF gene is not present as happens with an XX pair on the 23rd
chromosome, testes do not from and the absence of sufficient androgen activity
during this prenatal critical periodinherent female pattern of organ development
- Genetic blueprint sets forth a path of prenatal development, but nature and nurture
become intertwined to influence physical and behavioural development even
before birth
- Embryo and fetus receive their nutrients from the mother, severe maternal
malnutrition is associated with a greater risk of miscarriage, premature birth,
stillbirth, smaller birth size, and impaired prenatal development
- Teratogens (malformed) are environmental agents that cause abnormal prenatal
- Placenta prevents many dangerous substances from reaching the embryo and fetus
but some harmful chemical molecules and diseases do pass through and can result
in brain damage, blindness, deafness, infections and even fetal death in some
children depending on the virus
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