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Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Human Development

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John Mitterer

Chapter 3 Human Development NATURE OR NURTUREIT TAKES TWO TO TANGO y Developmental psychology the study of progressive changes in behaviour and abilities from conception to death womb to the tomb o Heredity and environment also affect us throughout life y The person you are today reflects a continuous interaction or interplay between the forces of nurture and natureHeredityy Heredity nature the transmission of physical and psychological characteristics from parents to offspring through genes y DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid a molecular structure that contains coded genetic information o A chain of pairs of chemical molecules which acts as a code for genetic informationIts organized into 46 chromosomes y Chromosomes threadlike coloured bodies in the nucleus of each cell that are made up of DNA y Genes specific areas on a strand of DNA that carry hereditary information eg Eye colour y Dominant gene a gene whose influence will be expressed each time the gene is present y Recessive gene a gene whose influence will be expressed only when it is paired with a second recessive gene y Polygenic characteristics personal traits or physical properties that are influenced by many genes working in combination y Maturation the physical growth and development of the body and nervous system Readiness y Readiness a condition that exists when maturation has advanced enough to allow the rapid acquisition of a particular skill o Minimal levels of maturation must occur before some skills can be learned Environment y Environment nurture the sum of all external conditions affecting development including the effects of learning o The brain of a newborn baby has fewer dendrites and synapses than an adult brain yet the newborn brain is highly plastic which allows it to be altered by experience Prenatal Influences y Environmental factors start influencing development before birth as they can still affect the child even when they are in intrauterine environments interior of the womb y Congenital problems problems or defects that originate during prenatal development in the womb y Genetic disorders problems caused by defects in the genes or by inherited characteristics y Anything capable of directly causing birth defects is called a teratogen y Teratogen radiation a drug or other substances capable of altering fetal development in nonheritable ways that cause birth defects Sensitive Periods y Sensitive period during development a period of increased sensitivity to environmental influencesAlso a time during which certain events must take place for normal development to occur eg loving bond between caregiver and child Deprivation and Enrichment y Deprivation in development the loss or withholding of normal stimulation nutrition comfort love and so forth a condition of lacking o Can cause children to be mute retarded and emotionally damaged y Enrichment in development deliberately making an environment more stimulating nutritional comforting loving and so forth Reaction Range y Reaction range the limits environment places on the effects of heredity Reciprocal Influences y Temperament the physical core of personality including emotional and perceptual sensitivity energy levels typical mood and so forth eg sensitivity irritability distractibility and typical mood y Developmental level An individuals current state of physical emotional and intellectual development o Heredity environment and your own behaviour THE NEWBORNMORE THAN MEETS THE EYE y Neonatenewborn infant y Grasping reflex rooting reflex reflexive head turning and nursing sucking reflex moro reflex if newborns position is changed abruptly or if they are startled by a loud noise they will make a hugging motion
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