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Chapter 7

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Carleton University
PSYC 2800
Amanda Helleman

Chapter 7 How Does the Nervous System Develop and Adapt Sudden infant death syndromeSIDS unexplained death of a seemingly healthy infant less than 1 year old while asleep Three Perspectives on Brain Development brain and behavior development are closely linked together events that alter behavioral development should similarly alter the brains structural development and vice versathe relationship between brain and behavioral development can be studied from three different perspectives o 1 Structural development can be studied and correlated with the emergence of behavior o 2 Behavioral development can be analyzed and predictions made about what underlying circuitry must be emerging o 3 Factors that influence both brain structure and behavioral development such as language or injury can be studied Predicting Behavior from Brain Structure we can look at the structural development of the nervous system and correlate it with the emergence of specific behaviors neural structures that develop quicklythe visual system for instance exhibit their functions sooner than do structures that develop more slowly such as those for speech because the human brain continues to develop well past adolescence it is not surprising that some abilities emerge or mature rather later some cognitive abilities controlled by the frontal lobe are among the last to developone such behavior is the ability to plan efficiently a skill important to many complexities of life the frontal lobes have long been associated with such abilities The Tower of Hanoi test shows how planning skills can be measured in the lab the task is to mentally plan how to move colored discs one by one in the minimum number of moves from one configuration to another it is not until about ages 1517 that more difficult versions of this tak can be performed efficientlyadults with acquired injuries to the frontal lobes also fail to perfom well on the Tower of Hanoi test such evidence reinforces the idea that children are not miniature adults who simply need to learn the rules of adult behavior the brain of a child is very different from that of an adultCorrelating Brain Structure and Behavior As language emerges in the young child we expect to find corresponding changes in neural structures that control language at birthchildren do not speak the neural structures that control speech are not yet mature enough as language emerges we can conclude that the speech related structures in the brain are undergoing the necessary maturation the same reasoning can be applied to frontal lobe development
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