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WEEK ONE Development I and II (module, live lecture, textbook)

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McMaster University
Joe Kim

WEEK ONE (JAN. 13) Read Ch. 1 of the textbook. IN CLASS LECTURE NATURE VS. NURTURE:  Developmental psychologists examine the link between genetics and the environment in human development  Predisposition to drinking alcohol o Runs through families so some people may have an increased chance of becoming an alcoholic o U of Cali: longitudinal study on alcoholism across families (genetic)… but what about enviro?  Test drunk participants on a series of motor coordination tasks before and after drinking alcohol  High response – less likely to become an alcoholic.  Low response – can naturally tolerate it and is more likely to become an alcoholic  Most research in developmental psychology occurs in the first three years of life because lots of growth & change occur during this time period o THE PREFERENCE METHOD: one side of the card is a stimulus, other side of the card is nothing – you observe to see what the baby prefers  Must hide researcher’s face  What do babies know about faces? Is facial expression something that is learned or is it hard-wired into our brains? o Babies as young as 3 months old show a preference for looking at human faces more than other stimuli (the face is a complex stimulus) o Researchers tested babies within minutes of birth – presented face-like stimulus to newborns & then flipped the image upside down so it no longer looked like a face  Face recognition is NOT a learned process. It is innate – the newborns did not have time to learn the importance of faces SEX & GENDER  How should we respond to a child based on its gender? o STUDY FROM 1970S: when a baby is in pink, adults are much more gentle , when a baby is in blue, there are more rough interactions  Some people choose not to have their baby’s gender revealed to avoid gender biases  You have a biological sex but you also have a gender (social role) – you can be masculine or feminine o CASE STUDY FROM 1960S: two identical twin boys were born and one boy’s penis was destroyed (Brian  Brenda) o Brenda had supplementary hormone therapy so that she looked like a normal girl o Believed only the environment mattered when it came to gender – raised Brian as Brenda o Brenda entered depression around age 12 – couldn’t figure out what was different but knew something was wrong o When parents finally told Brenda, he underwent a sex change and became David  Committed suicide at 38  FIRST THREE YEARS MOVEMENT  Program started in 1960s called Headstart – provided nutrition and education for underprivileged children  They found that this program really helped kids improve in their life success *: ・゚✧ 1 ✧゚・ :*  In late 90s, this idea got changed a bit – overstimulation of children in first three years of life to produce even better individuals o Products like Baby Einstein DVDs, etc. came about o Is there any evidence to actually support this movement? BIOLOGICAL EXUBERANCE  An infant’s brain has more synaptic connections than an adult’s brain – these are slowly pruned away  If all these extra neurons are there, let’s use them so they don’t get pruned away! THE MOZART EFFECT  All toys play classical music because of the belief that classical music will make you more intelligent o STUDY: UNDERGRADUATE University students - One group listened to classical music before IQ test, one group listened to white noise and one group listened to nothing prior to testing.  Results: Group that listened to Mozart did better on spatial intelligence category of IQ test. o Attempts to replicate this effect has failed  State of Georgia has a law that in birthing areas of hospitals, classical music is playing. Mothers are given classical music CDs when discharged. Think of the money being wasted!  Experiments show that for every hour of educational DVDs being watched, vocabulary decreases by approximately 6-7 words DEVELOPMENT I INTRODUCTION  Psych 1X03: learning, social, cognition  This course: evolution, development, neuroscience o Gene-environment interactions across an individual's lifespan o Gene-environment interactions across the evolutionary history of a species o The study of the nervous system  Are you the inevitable consequence born of the potential from the genes of your parents?  Did the events in your upbringing determine who you have become? DEVELOPMENT  Development: the changes and continuities that occur within the individual between conception and death  How you change and how you stay the same  Two processes: MATURATION AND LEARNING o MATURATION: the biologically-timed unfolding of changes within the individual according to that individual's genetic plan (influenced by specific environmental conditions that shape genetically-determined processes) o LEARNING: the acquisition of neuronal representations of new information AND relatively permanent changes in our thoughts, behaviours, and feelings as a result of our experiences  A lifetime of experiences leads to the development of enduring changes in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours *: ・゚✧ 2 ✧゚・ :*  Learning processes allow you to acquire new information and guide optimal strategies to respond to events and stimuli in the environment o i.e. not touching hot stove, looking both ways, playing piano o learned processes --> practice --> automatic processes INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE  The view that holds that MATURATION AND LEARNING INTERACT during development  𝑀𝐴𝑇𝑈𝑅𝐴𝑇𝐼𝑂𝑁 ↔ 𝐿𝐸𝐴𝑅𝑁𝐼𝑁𝐺  Maturation can affect learning: some essential systems must be in place before learning proceeds (i.e. developing muscles before learning to walk)  Learning can affect maturation: put a kid in a dark room… without input to learn from outside world, maturation will be absent or delayed MEASURING ABILITIES IN INFANTS  Changes when you're old are much more subtle  Developmental changes that take place during early years are especially important in shaping who you begin  How do you collect data from young children and infants? They can't directly respond to stimuli and can't speak! 1. Habituation procedure : determines if an infant can detect the difference between two stimuli  Repeatedly present infant with the same stimuli (i.e. tone or picture) while measuring physiological responses (i.e. heart rate, breathing) or behavioural orienting movements (i.e. head or eye movements). o Novel stimulus presented --> burst of activity --> repeated presenting --> baseline levels (habituation)  HABITUATION: a decrease in the responsiveness to a stimulus following its repeated presentation  DISHABITUATION: an increase in the responsiveness to a stimulus that is somehow different from the habituated stimulus 2. Event related potentials : measure of the brain electrical activity evoked by the presentation of stimuli  Special cap with electrodes placed on scalp- they detect changes in electric activity across neurons in brain  Particular behaviour being measured will evoke changes in various brain regions of interest (i.e. visual stimulus --> changes in occipital lobe (visual processing), auditory stimulus --> temporal lobe (auditory processing)) 3. High-amplitude sucking method: infants can control their sucking behaviour to some extent which can be measured by a special pacifier  Measure baseline sucking rate for the infant in the absence of relevant stimuli o i.e. Infant given control over series of musical notes *: ・゚✧ 3 ✧゚・ :*  Infant sucks on pacifier faster than baseline to keep music playing (faster than baseline)  Infant stops sucking to end the music faster (slower than baseline) 4. Preference method:  Infant put into looking chamber to look at two different stimuli  Researcher measures the direction the infant is looking at to see which one it likes  Babies like big patterns with lots of contrast and faces CONCLUSIONS TO STUDYING DEVELOPMENT Inferences and Assumptions  A test that lacks validity: o Measuring evoked fear by escape time of person presented with scary ghost in scary house o If the subject had a broken leg it would obviously be a mistake to correlate lack of fear to slow escape time COMPETENCE-PERFORMANCE DISTINCTION  May fail a task not because they lack those cognitive abilities, but because they are unable to demonstrate those abilities o If a child fails to perform a certain task, this may be due to a genuine lacking in the cognitive ability…  i.e. Preverbal child is unable to respond to questions about two toys  If you don't know she can't talk, you might think that she can't tell the difference between the two toys INTRODUCTION TO DEVELOPMENTAL RESEARCH METHODS  Developmental studies are concerned with repeated measures over time (tracking changes over time)  Typical study on memory might look specifically at performance for remembering numbers at one point!  A developmental study would look at how remembering numbers changes with age LONGITUDINAL DESIGN *: ・゚✧ 4 ✧゚・ :*  A developmental research design in which the same individuals are studied repeatedly over some subset of their lifespan  Allows researchers to assess developmental change  Tracking each person over time as they develop to uncover links between early life and later in life  Find patterns common to all people  DISADVANTAGES OF LONGITUDINAL DESIGN o Time consuming o Selective Attrition: loss of participants in a study such that the sample ends up being non- responsive of the population as a whole (quit, unfit to continue, or die) i.e. at the end of a particularly long study, remaining participants only reflect truly enthusiastic ones o Practice effects: same/similar test administered over years, subjects may improve based on exposure alone rather than natural development CROSS-SECTIONAL DESIGN  A developmental research design in which individuals from different age groups are studied at the same point in time  Many age groups are tested at once without the need to be tracked over the span of many years  Allows researchers to assess developmental change  Relatively less time consuming and expensive; can uncover age differences  Can uncover age differences in memory ­­­by comparing performances across different groups of ages  (i.e. 30-year olds tend to do better than 50-year olds but neither group does as well as 25-year olds)  Allows the researcher to formulate some likely developmental trends (i.e. memory for numbers improves into early adulthood then decreases slowly as you age beyond that)  DISADVANTAGES OF CROSS-SECTIONAL DESIGN  Cannot distinguish age effects from generational effects  Cannot assess developmental change  If you find differences, you can't be sure they are reflective of true developmental changes or due to generational effects (i.e. if 25 year olds do better than 50 year olds, is this a decline in cognitive ability with time or differences in experiences between two generations?)  Can't directly track changes with age, can only make inferences on trends *: ・゚✧ 5 ✧゚・ :* DEVELOPMENT II MODULE 1: INTRODUCTION TO HEREDITARY TRANSMISSION  In the previous lecture, we were introduced to maturation: biologically timed unfolding of changes in individual according to genetic plan  In this lecture, we will investigate the fundamental ways genes and environment interact CHROMOSOMES AND GENES  When sperm penetrates ovum, ZYGOTE, new cell, is formed  One cell contains 46 chromosomes (23 from each parent)  CHROMOSOME: threadlike structure made from deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA  GENES: segments of DNA, provides chemical code for development  The zygote divides at an exponential rate until you have billions with the same 46 chromosomes CELL DIVISION  Each parent can produce 8 million+ genetic combinations  A couple could produce 64 trillion genetically distinct offspring  EXCEPTION: identical twins o Monozygotic twins  Genetically identical, come from same sperm and ovum, one zygote splits into two o Dizygotic twins  Genetically the same as
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