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PS102 Chapter 13 detailed textbook notes.docx

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Eileen Wood

Chapter 13: Development Over the Life Span Developmental psychologists: study physiological and cognitive changes across the life span and how these are affected by a person’s genetic predispositions, culture, circumstances, and experiences Socialization: the process by which children learn the behaviours, attitudes, and expectations required of tem by their society or culture From Conception Through the First Year Prenatal Development 1. Germinal stage: begins at fertilization – the fertilized single-celled egg is called a zygote, it divides and within 2 weeks, it has become a cluster of cells that attaches itself to the uterus wall – outer portion forms the placenta & umbilical cord & inner portion becomes the embryo 2. Embryotic stage [week 2-week 8]: testosterone is secreted by rudimentary testes in embryos that are genetically male 3. Fetal stage [week 8 onward]: it is now called a fetus & it further develops the organs and systems from the embryotic stage In the womb, there are many things that can affect the development of the baby: 1. German measles (rubella): can affect the fetus’ eyes, ears & heart – most common consequence is deafness 2. X-rays or other radiation/toxicities like lead: can cause fetal deformities & cognitive abnormalities, lower IQ scores, attention problems 3. Sexually transmitted diseases: can cause mental retardation, blindness, other physical disorders 4. Cigarette smoking: increases likelihood of miscarriage, premature birth, abnormal fetal heartbeat, an underweight baby, hyperactivity, asthma, antisocial behaviour 5. Regular consumption of alcohol: can kill neurons & impair the child’s later mental abilities, attention span & academic achievement  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: low birth weight, a smaller brain, facial deformities, lack of coordination, mental retardation 6. Other drugs: heroine, cocaine, acne pills, diet pills etc. The Infant’s World Physical & Perceptual Abilities  Newborns begin life with several motor reflexes necessary for survival o Suck on anything suckable o Tightly grasp a finger pressed on their palms o Turn their heads toward a touch on the cheek and search for something to suck on o Also, knee-jerk, eye-blink & sneezing  Babies can see (within 20 cm), hear, touch, smell, taste – they can discriminate their mother on the basis of smell, sight or sound immediately Culture & Maturation  Different cultures have different ways of nurturing a baby while it is growing (e.g. putting it in a crib or sleeping with it) Attachment  Emotional attachment is crucial for health and survival all through life – mother is usually the first and primary object of attachment for an infant  John Bowlby: observed devastating effects of babies raised in orphanages  physically healthy but emotionally despairing, remote & listless o Reactive Attachment Disorder: failure to form normal attachment with primary caregivers – it has profound, long-lasting emotional & cognitive consequences Contact Comfort Contact comfort: in primates, the innate pleasure derived from close physical contact; it is the basis of the infant’s first attachment – releases a flood of pleasure-producing and stress- reducing endorphins  E.g. Margaret & Harry Harlow’s study of rhesus monkeys – monkeys ran to the mother with cloth (instead of the wire mother with food) when they were scared Separation & Security Separation anxiety: the distress that most children develop, at about 6-8 months of age, when their primary caregivers temporarily leave them with strangers  In cultures where babies are raised with lots of adults & other children, it is not as intense or long-lasting  Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation (baby is in room with mom, stranger comes, mom leaves, baby reacts, mom returns, baby reacts) o Securely attached babies: cry/protest if parent leaves the room, welcome her back & play happily again (clearly attached to mom vs. stranger) o Avoidant insecurely attached babies: not caring if the mom leaves, making little effort to seek contact with her & treating the stranger about the same o Anxious/ambivalent insecurely attached babies: resisting contact with the mother at reunion but protesting if she leaves  The difference between types of attachment lies in the way the mother treats the baby in the first year – moms need to be sensitive & responsive to their baby’s needs to form a secure attachment relationship  Avoidant insecurely attached babies may just be comfortable around strangers  Good daycare does not affect the security of children’s attachments and often produces many social & intellectual benefits Factors that promote insecure attachment:  Abandonment & deprivation in the 1-2 years of life: institutionalized babies are more likely to have later problems with attachment  Parenting that is abusive, neglectful, or erratic b/c parent is chronically irresponsible or clinically depressed: can be too intrusive or too remote & insensitive with babies  The child’s own genetically influenced temperament: some babies are fearful and prone to crying from birth  Stressful circumstances in child’s family: e.g. when going through divorce, a child may show more insecure behaviour Cognitive Development Language  Acquisition of language begins in the first few months  By 4-6 months, babies can often recognize their own names & other words that are regularly spoken  Between 6 months & 1 year, infants are able to distinguish words from the flow of speech – they start to babble, endlessly repeating sounds & syllables  At 7 months, they begin to remember words they have heard, but can’t always recognize the same word spoken by different people  By 10 months, they start naming things  At the end of year 1, they develop a repertoire of symbolic gestures to refer to things (e.g. smacking of lips for food, opening of palms for “I don’t know”)  Children of parents who encourage the use of gestures have a larger vocabulary – gestures are deeply related to development  Babies who are given “brain stimulation” videos are slower at acquiring words than babies who do not  Between 18 months & 2 years, toddlers begin to produce words in 2 to 3-word combinations o Telegraphic speech: a child’s first word combinations, which omit unnecessary words  Between 2 and 6 years, children rapidly acquire new words, inferring their meaning from the grammatical and social contexts in which they hear them Thinking  For most of the first year of life, if something is out of sight, it doesn’t exist Piaget’s "flower-blooming" Theory of Cognitive Stages:  As children develop, their minds constantly adapt to new situations & experiences  sometimes they assimilate new info into their existing mental categories; sometimes they must change their mental categories to accommodate their new experiences (e.g. new category for cats) 1. Birth to age 2 – SENSORIMONITOR STAGE o Infants learn through concrete actions (looking, touching, putting things in their mouth) o “Thinking” = coordinating sensory information with bodily movements – these movements become more purposeful as the child explores the environment o Object permanence: the understanding that an object exists even wen you cannot see it or touch it (happens in this stage)  represents the beginning of the child’s capacity to use mental imagery and symbols 2. Age 2-7 – PREOPERATIONAL STAGE o Still lack the cognitive abilities necessary for understanding abstract principles & mental operations (train of thought that can move backward & forward like 2 x 6 = 12 and 12/6 = 2) o Piaget said their view is egocentric: they see the world only from their own frame of reference and cannot imagine that others see things differently (WRONG) o Cannot grasp the concept of conservation: the understanding that the physical properties of objects can remain the same even when their form or appearance changes 3. Age 7-12 – CONCRETE OPERATIONS STAGE o Children’s mental abilities are tied to information that is concrete – actual experiences that have happened or concepts with tangible meaning o Come to understand principles of conservation, reversibility, and cause & effect & are able to categorize things 4. Age 12/13 – adulthood – FORMAL OPERATIONS STAGE o Become capable of abstract reasoning; capable of thinking about situations that have not experienced firsthand & can think about future possibilities, draw logical conclusions Vygostky’s Theory of Sociocultural Influences  Believed that child develops mental representations of the world through culture & language & adults play a major role by guiding & teaching them  Once children acquire language & internalize the rules of their culture, they start using private speech: talking to themselves to direct their own behaviour  Did not agree with Piaget’s “stages”, said that once they have language, their cognitive development may proceed in any direction depending on what adults teach them, what their culture makes possible for them & the environment they live in Current Views of Cognitive Development 1. Cognitive abilities develop in continuous, overlapping waves rather than concrete steps or stages – new abilities do not just pop up when they reach a certain age 2. Preschoolers are not as egocentric as Piaget though – most 3-4 year olds can take another person’s perspective o They start developing a theory of mind: a system of beliefs about the way one’s own mind and the minds of
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