PSYC 1F90 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: 18 Months, Ageism, Moro Reflex

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4 Apr 2012
Psychology Chapter 3: Human Development
Nature and Nurture:
Developmental Psychology: study of progressive changes in behaviour and
abilities from conception to death
Heredity and environment shape and change us through out life
Heredity and environment are equally important, everything that happens is
related to both
Heredity gives us potentials and limitations which are then affected by
environmental influences, such as learning, nutrition and culture
Heredity: the transmission of physical and psychological characteristics from parents to
offspring through genes
Lots of personal features are set at conception
Even when identical twins are raised apart they are still alike in motor skills,
physical development, and appearance, although they are less alike as adults as
they are when they are children
The nucleus of every human cell contains DNA
Deoxyribonucleic Acid: a molecular structure that contains coded genetic
o Ladder like chain od chemical molecules
o Order of molecules acts as a code for genetic information
o DNA in each cell contains a record of all the instructions needed to make a
o Linked molecules make up the rungs in DNA
Chromosomes: thread-like ‘colored bodies’ in the nucleus of each cell that are
made up of DNA
o 46 in human DNA
Ova and sperm cells only contain 23 chromosomes
Genes: specific areas on a strand of DNA that carry hereditary information
A single gene can be responsible for an inherited feature
Dominant Gene: a gene whose influence will be expressed each time a gene is
Recessive Gene: a gene whose influence will be expressed only when it is paired
with a second recessive gene
Few characteristics are controlled by single genes, most are polygenic
Polygenic Characteristics: personal traits or physical properties that are
influences by many genes working in combination
Heredity determines eye colour, skin colour and susceptibility to some diseases
Genes can switch on or off a certain ages
Maturation: physical growth and development of the body and nervous system
Readiness: a condition that exists when maturation has advanced enough to allow the
rapid achievement of a particular skill
A child fails when a part tries to teach a skill to early
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Average age for completed toilet training is about 3 years
Environment: the sum of all external conditions affecting development, including
especially the effects of learning
During the first 3 years of life millions of new connections form in the brain every
day, unused connections disappear
Humans are still similar to care dwellers
Prenatal Influences:
Environmental conditions can still affect a developing child
Congenital Problems: problems or defects that originate during prenatal
development in the womb
Genetic Disorders: problems caused by defects in the genes or by inherited
Teratogen: radiation, a drug, or other substance capable of altering fetal
development in nonheritable was that can cause birth defects
If a mother is addicted to a drug the child may be born with the addiction
Heavy drinking during pregnancy cause FAS
o Low birth weight, small head, bodily defects and facial malformations
o Suffer from emotional, behavioral and mental handicaps
Smoking while pregnant reduces oxygen to the fetus
o Children score lower on tests of language and mental ability
Sensitive Periods: during development, a period of increased sensitivity to
environmental influences, also, a time during which certain events must take place for
normal development to occur
Sometimes extra care can reverse the effects of a poor start in life
Deprivation and Enrichment:
Deprivation: the loss or withholding or normal stimulation, nutrition, comfort,
love and so forth; a condition of lacking
Enrichment: deliberately making and environment more stimulating, nutritional,
comforting, loving and so forth
Children whose first years are spent in restricted environments are usually mute,
retarded, and emotionally damaged
Mild deprivation occurs in many families (families living in poverty)
Poverty can affect children in two ways
1. Poor parents aren’t able to give their children the needed resources, leading
the children to be sick more often, cognitive development lagging and they do
poorly in school
2. Stress of poverty can be hard on parents, leading to less positive parenting,
this can damage a child’s socioemotional development
People who grow up in poverty usually remain poor
1 in 7 American families are below the poverty line
Enriched environments may make some children brighter and improve abilities
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Babies should be surrounded by colours, music, people, and things to see, taste,
touch and smell
Childhood is a relatively sensitive period
Reaction Range: the limits environment places on the effects of heredity
Reciprocal Influences:
Nurture often affects the expression of hereditary tendencies through ongoing
reciprocal influences
Growing infants influence their parents’ behaviour at the same time they are
changed by it
Newborn babies differ a lot in temperament
Temperament: the physical core of personality, including emotional and
perceptual sensitivity, energy levels and typical mood
40% of newborns are easy children who are relaxed
10% are difficult children who are moody and easily angered
15% are slow-to-warm-up children and are restrained, unexpressive and shy
The rest don’t fit perfectly into a category
Therefore babies rapidly become active participants in their own development
Inherited temperaments are modified by learning
Developmental Level: current state of physical, emotional and intellectual
The Newborn:
At birth the human neonate will die if not cared for by adults
Infants have mental capacities that continue to surprise researchers
Neonates have all 5 senses
Although senses are less acute they are very responsive
The grasping reflex aids survival by helping infants avoid falling
The rooting reflex is reflexive head turning and nursing
o Helps infants find a bottle or nipple
When the nipple touches the infants mouth the sucking reflex occurs
These reflex’s are genetically programmed
The moro reflex occurs when the baby is stated by a loud noise and the baby will
make a hugging motion
Perceptual and Cognitive Development:
Infants are capable of more then just reflex’s
Babies are born mimics, leading to rapid learning
From the first day of life babies learn how the world works
3-8 week old babies understand that a persons voice and body should be
Adult vision is 30 times better
3-day old babies prefer more complex patterns
Infants are excited by circles, curves and bright lights
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