PSYC 2P12 Chapter 3: PSYC 2P12 Chapter 3.doc
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PSYC 2P12 Chapter 3 – Infancy: Cognitive and Physical Development
Setting the Context
Basic Principles of Brain Development:
1. Development unfolds in its own neurological time
2. Stimulation sculpts neurons
3. The brain is still under construction for as long as we live
The Basic Newborn States
The reason that newborn babies are always eating is due to powerful sucking reflexes and
rooting reflexes (when touched on the cheek the baby will turn their head to suck on that location); this
promotes survival. By month four or five their sucking is governed by operant conditioning.
Two year old food caution occurs as an adaptive mechanism to prevent getting sick from new
foods. Continual crying that cannot be soothed during the first three months of life is the result of a colic
baby caused by an immature nervous system. If this persists past four months of age it can be indicative of
Co-Sleeping Stereotypes and Relevant Research:
•Co-sleeping makes a child less independent and mature research has found that co-
sleeping actually promotes maturity and independence
•Co-sleeping disrupts a parents’ and child’s sleep co-sleeping is not detrimental to sleep;
may awaken more often but fall asleep faster (children) and have less deep sleep but more of
it in general (parents)
•Co-sleeping is dangerous because a baby can be smothered cause for concern as babies
spend more time laying face down when co-sleeping
Sudden infant deaths syndrome (SIDS) refers to the unexplained death of an infant
often during sleep within the first months of life. Many off these babies have too many or too few neurons in
the region of the brain responsible for controlling the tongue and maintaining the airway we use to inhale.
Sensory and Motor Development
To determine what a newborn can see, researchers use the preferential looking
paradigm; the principle that human beings are attracted to novelty and look selectively at new things.
During this paradigm habituation can also occur, the predictable loss of interest that coincides with
familiarity and can be used to examine an infant’s sensory and cognitive capacities. To measure depth
perception a visual cliff (a table that appears to end in a drop off at its midpoint) is used.
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