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PSYC 102
A.George Alder

Chapter 12: Development over the lifespan Developmental psych is study of process of aging Developmental Psychology: issues and methods Developmental psychology examines changes in our biological, physical, psychological and behavioral processes as we age. The 4 broad issues are:  Nature and nurture o what extent of development is product of nature (heredity) or nurture (env’t)? o how do they interact?  Critical and sensitive periods o Critical period- age range in which certain exp’s must occur for development to proceed normally or along certain path o Sensitive period- optimal age range for certain exp’s. However, if the exp’s oxcur at a diff time range, normal development may still be possible.  Continuity versus discontinuity o Development continuous and gradual (tree sap) or discontinuous and progresses through qualitatively distinct stages (caterpillar to butterfly)  Stability versus change o Do our characteristics remain consistent as we age? On a performance (y) versus age (x) graph showing developmental functions: -straight line across = no change ; ability present or before birth that remains relatively constant across lifespan (e.g ability to discriminate high from low pitched sounds) -a curve going up like the top left slice of a pie = continuous change (continuity); an ability that’s not present or immature at birth but develops gradually over months/years and then remains constant over age (e.g. certain intelligence?) -staircase going up = stages (discontinuity)= ability that progresses in stages -inverted U function =ability that emerges after birth, peaks, and then disappears with age (e.g. visual acuity) -U-shaped function = ability that’s present during early life, disappears temporarily, and re-emerges later (e.g newborns turning towards off-centred sound and stepping w/ support) Developmental psychologists describe these functions and explain their existence w/ Cross-sectional design- research design that simultaneously compares ppl of diff ages at a particular point in time  Advantage: easy and quick in collecting data  Disadvantage: each age group (cohorts) grew up in diff historical periods that may confound Longitudinal design- research that repeatedly tests same cohort as it grows older  Disadvantage: time-consuming and may lose sample participants Sequential design- combines cross-sectional design and longitudinal approaches  Repeatedly test several age cohortsat one point in time and then again as they grow older and determine whether the follow similar developmental pattern  Helps figure out whether its because of aging or developmental exps unique to particular cohort  Disadvantage: most time-consuming and costly Prenatal Development Comes in 3 stages of physical growth: 1) Germinal stage – approx. first 2 weeks of development from when sperm fertilizes female egg (ovum). The fertilized egg is termed zygote. Through repeated cell division, the zygote becomes a mass of cells that attaches to mothers uterus 10-14 days after conception 2) Embryonic stage- extends from end of 2 week through 8 week after conception o Cell mass now termed embryo o Umbilical cord and placenta develops at start of this stage o On the uterine wall, the placenta contains members that allow nutrients to pass from mothers blood to umbilical cord o Umbilical cord contains blood vessels to carry nutrients and oxygen to embryo, where waste products come back from embryo to mother o Embryonic cells divide rapidly and become specialized—bodily organs and systems begin to form, and by week 8, the heart of 2cm long embryo is beating, brain & facial features form th o Fetus- 9 week of embryo after conception  During fetal stage, fetus muscles become stronger, and other bodily systems continue to develop  Eyes open at 24 weeks, and reaches age of viability (likelihood to survive if premature) at week 28 Genetics and sex determination  Female egg cells and male sperm cells each have 23 chromosomes  At conception, egg and sperm unite to form 23 PAIRS of chromosomes, where the 23 pair determines sex rd o Female- rd pair is two X chromosomes (XX) o Male- 23 pair is one X and one Y chromosome (XY)  The 23 chromosome in an egg is always an X, but in a male sperm it could be an X or a Y (50/50 chance)  TDF (testis determining factor) gene- a specific gene contained by the Y chromosome that triggers male sexual development o Initiates development of testes at roughly 6-8 weeks after conception  The testes secrete sex hormones called androgens that continue male organ development  If TDF gene not present during prenatal critical period, no testes form  female! Env’tal Influences Teratogens- env’tal agents that cause abnormal prenatal development  Although placenta helps prevent dangerous substances, harmful chemical molecules and diseases can still pass through into embryo/fetus  STD’s can pass from mother to fetus which may cause brain dmg, etc. If have untreated syphilis, 25% of fetuses are born dead. HIV’s w/o treatment or not delivered by Cesarean section (C- Section), 25% of fetuses also infected.  Drugs and other substances like mercury, lead, radiaction may produce birth defects Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)- group of severe abnormalities that results from prenatal exposure to alcohol (e.g facial abnormalities and malformed brains)  Includes psychological symptoms like fine and gross- motor impairments, poor adaptive functioning (communication and social skills)  Lvl of alcohol consumption that causes FAS is unknown. Drugs like nicotine, cocaine and heroin also affects fetuses.  Maternal smoking increases risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight  Regular tobacco use by fathers also increases low infant birth weight and risk of respiratory infections  Babies of heroin/cocaine using mothers often born addicted or exp withdrawal symptoms after birth. Also causes impairment in cognitive functioning (arousal and attention regulation) *Maternal malnutrition, stress, illness, drug use, and env’tal toxins can cause abnormal prenatal dev. *During trimester of pregnancy, mothers noticed body movements and increased fetal heart rate if they hear a loud sound *Fetuses also learn- they stop responding to repeated presentations of auditory stimuli (meaning they have short-term memory) but have long-term memory for sounds they hear repeatedly during fetal development.  SO, behavioral responses and learning begin during fetal stage! *Newborns prefer sounds that are familiar to them during last moths of fetal development b/c they can hear sound transmitting through womb. *Fetuses also learn about odours from their mothers diet. If mommy prefers it, baby prefers it. This shows nature and nurture interacts throughout pregnancy Infancy and Childhood Preferential looking procedure- study type used by Robert Fantz to research infants’ visual preferences  Placed infants on their back and presented 2+ stimuli at same time and recorded how long they looked at each stimulis  Finding: infants preferred from complex patterns to simple ones. INFANTS HAVE POOR VISUAL ACUITY. They resolution threshold is 20/800, or basically 40x worse than adults 20/20. And they are attracted to off-centred auditory, tactile (cheek touching), and odours. Basically they orient to significant stimuli in env’t, esp mom’s face, voice & smell to optimize access to food, warmth and social stimulation Newborns learn rapidly. They recognize mother’s face apart form stranger, and likes novel stimuli (looks longer at it than familiar stimulus) Visual habituation procedure- presenting same stimulus repeatedly until infant looking time declines (by bout 50%)  Infants habituated to white light had visual interest in wavelengths for green, yellow & red Auditory habituation procedure- type of study in which same sound stimulus is presented repeatedly until infant looking time declines  Helps study infant memory  We know that when infants stopped turning face towards sound was not b/c they’re fatigue but b/c they seem to intentionally turn away, they were readily turning to novel sounds (e.g. beagle) meaning they can discriminate between sounds, and that partial habituation lasted atleast 24hrs, suggesting long-term memory  Findings: rapidly learns to associate particular sounds to particular objects (e.g. voice to mom) *Newborns can learn through classical & operant conditioning and imitation. They imitate some adult facial expressions, suggesting innate ability to help recognize ppl and engaging in social exchange. In conclusion, babies are born w/ mechanisms to help respond to caretakers and important events in env’t. Sensory-perceptual development  Newborns sensory-perceptual abilities improve rapidly, their visual field in each eye expands to almost adult size by 6months of age. Grating acuity improves in continuous developmental function from 20/800 at birth to 20/100 by 6months, then progresses slowly until it reaches adult lvl by 4y/o.  Sound location nd in a U-shaped function where the ability of newborns to turn to sounds at birth disappears in 2 month but returns at 4-5months. Reason?- mayb lack of practice, interest captured by visual targets, temporary inhibition as cortical structures mature and take control of subcortically driven reflexes  Newborns auditory pattern perception is advanced in young infants, detecting tiny changes in adult speech differentiating from one word to another (phonemes) by 1-2months  Young infants can perceive music. 6 months old looks longer to hear pitch change in tones that adults find pleasant than unpleasant. As early as 2 months, they can discriminate short melody from novel melody if repeated 15 times *Sensory-perceptual abilities (including vision) are exercised in uterus, & all operate at birth. Most improve rapidly during first yr of life but other perceptual abilities appear suddenly after months after birth while others decline temp or disappear during first yr of life. Physical, brain, and motor development Maturation- genetically programmed, biological process that governs our growth, bodies, and motor movement skills Cephalocaudal principle- tendency for development to proceed in head-to-foot direction  Explains why baby’s head so much proportionally bigger than body Proximodistal principle- development begins along innermost parts of body and continues towards outermost  E.g arms develop before fingers The most dramatic developing organ is the infant’s brain  Newborns brain is only 25% of eventual adult weight  By 6 months of age, it reaches 50% of adults weight  Neural networks for basis for cognitive/motor skills develop rapidly  First brain area to mature fully is deep within brain which regulates basic survival functions (e.g. heartbeat and breathing). Then, last areas to mature is frontal cortex (higher-level cognitive functions)  Brain development is rapid during infancy and early childhood but then slows in later childhood  At 5y/o, brain reached 90% of adult size but continues to mature w/ new synapses form, unnecessary synapses are pruned back and lost, association areas of cortex mature, cerebral hemispheres more specialized Motor development follows regular, stage-like sequence  Reflexes- automatic, ‘inborn’ behaviors elicited by specific stimuli that’s present at birth o E.g sucking, breathing o Healthy reflexes indicate normal neurological maturity o Some reflexes suggests less adaptive significance but illustrates degree to which many complex motor acts are developed in uterus (e.g crawling when placed on surface)  Some motor skills follow U-shaped developmental function o E.g newborn stepping reflex drops out after 1-2 months and resumes at 12months Although physical and motor development are guided by genetic programs, they are also influenced by experience.  Diet is important. Malnutrition stunts general growth and brain development and is major source f infant death.  Babies thrive in enriched env;t where theres opportunity to interact w/ others and to manipulate suitable toys and other objects  Physical touch can also affect growth in infancy (e.g massaging bby help w/ neuro development)  Experience also affect motor skill; training and practicing sitting/stepping early help target behavior earlier (they can walk earlier than babies who learn later) Experience plays critical role in development of sensory, perceptual, motor and physical development. Three points that apply across human development: 1) Biology sets limits on environmental influences  E.g. cant toilet train baby w/o nerve fibres controlling bladder have matured biologically 2) Environmental influences can be powerful  Nurturing env’t foster physical,sensory-motor, and psychological growth. Impoverished env’ts stunt growth 3) Biological and environmental factors interact  E.g enriched env’t enhance brain development. Brain development facilitates ability to learn and benefit from env’tal exp’s. Cognitive Development Piaget’s Stage Model  Through observational research, Piaget found that children’s thinking changes qualitatively with age, differing from ways adults think.  Believed that cognitive development results from interplay of maturation and experience  Viewed children as natural-born ‘scientists’ who actively explore and seek to understand their world  Piaget explains how infants uses schema to interact with physical objects (e.g sucking objects b/c babies know the world through SUCKING) o Schemas- organized patterns of thought and action ; an internal ‘framework’ that guides interaction w/ the world o Cognitive development occurs as we acquire new schemas making it more complex. This involves 2 processes:  Assimilation- process by which new exp’s are incorporated into existing schemas  e.g baby sees new object and goes sucks it b/c it’s trying to ‘fit’ this new exp into schema that it already has: objects are suckable  Accommodation- process by which new exp’s cause existing schemas to change  E.g finding out object is too big to suck or tastes bad, so schema that objects are ‘suckable’ changes due to imbalance/disequilibrium between existing schemas and new exp’s, forcing change.  Everytime a schema is modified, it helps create better balance/equilibrium between env’t and child’s understanding of it Piaget’s 4 major stages of cognitive growth: 1) Sensorimotor stage –  understanding world primarily through sensory exp’s and physical (motor) interactions w/ objects  to young infants, “out of sight” means “out of mind” o hiding toy means it no longer exists (at 6months) o at 8 months, they will realize you hid it and attempt to find it  at 8months, they grasp Object permanence- understanding object continues to exist even when it no longer can be seen  Infants begin to acquire language after age 1. At age 2, they grow into thinkers who plan, form simple concepts and communicate thoughts to others 2) Preoperational Stage  Representing world symbolically through words and mental images, but not understanding basic mental operations or rules  Symbolically thinking enables ‘make-belief’ and pretend play (important), and rapid language development helps children label objects and represent simple concepts  They lack Conservation- principle that basic properties of bojects (volume, mass,quantity) stay same o Children displays irreversibility (difficult for them to reverse action mentally)  They exhibit centration- they focus on only one aspect of situation o E.g. having 2 equal cup of orange juice. We pour one into a taller cup. Child will think that taller cup has more bc they focus on height  Their thinking reflects egocentrism- difficulty in viewing world from someone else’s perspective (where they think other ppl think they perceive world same as them) 3) Concrete operational stage  7-12y/o in this stage can perform basic mental operations concerning problems that involve tangible objects and situations o They grasp concept of reversibility, displayed less centration and easily solved conversation problems, serial ordering, and arranging set of objects along various dimensions o They also formed mental representations of series of action (e.g drawing map)  However, they have problems with hypothetical problems or problems requiring abstract reasoning (they show rigid ways of thinking) 4) Formal Operational stage (begins around 11-12yr & increases throughout adolescence)  Individuals think logically about both concrete and abstract problems, form hypotheses, and systematically test them Assessment of Piaget’s Theory (rebuts against his theory) Piaget’s universality principle  Research and findings support piaget’s theory with the four stages. However, culture also influences cognitive development.  Many cultures consider cognitive development to be more relational, involving thinking skills and processes to engage in successful interpersonal contexts Early understanding of the physical world  Infants/children acquired concepts earlier than age that Piaget proposed Developmental psychologists used violation-of-expectation experiment to examine infants’ understanding of basic concepts  E.g testing visual attention, experimenter sets up expectancy for a physical event(action) where theres possible (flipping screen & blocked by box) and impossible events (flipping screen and goes ‘through’box ,which obv has been removed secretly) . When baby stares at impossible event longer, it means they understood concept b/c the ‘longer stare’ shows that event violated understanding (expectations) of world. Only applicable if child has object permanence. Complexity of stages  Cognitive development is more complex and variable than piaget proposed  However, with further studies, young children seemed to have made fewer conservation errors and show less egocentric thinking when tested on tasks that’s familiar or depend less on language than tasks invented by piaget  Cognitive development in each stage seemed inconsistent. Child performed preoperationally on some tasks, yet others at concrete operational lvl. So is this a continuity or discontinuity thing? If development proceeds in qualitatively distinct stages, then child at given stage should NOT show inconsistencies when solving similar tasks.. Vygotsky: The Social Context of Cognitive Development  Piaget focused on children’s independent exploration of physical world. Lev Vygotsky notes that sociocultural context interacts w/ brain’s biological maturation  Zone of proximal development- difference between what a child can do independently and what a child can do w / assistance from adults or more advanced peers o helps recognize what children may soon be able to do by themselves o emphasizes that ppl can help ‘move’ a child’s cognitive development forward within limits dictated by child’s biological maturation o basically, if child had assistance but still cant find solution = they diff cognitive level Information-processing Approaches Many researchers view cognitive development as continuous, gradual process in which same set of information-processing abilities become more efficient over time (opposite to Piaget’s stage approach) Information-search strategies  older children are better able to search systematically for relevant info  e.g looking at two houses where older children can tell diff but younger says identical Processing speed, attention, and response inhibition  processing speed improves continuously and relatively rapid rate of change btween ages 8-12 , then slows during adolescence  children’s attention span and ability to inhibit impulsive responses to distracting stimuli improve with age o older children better at focusing attention on relevant details and ignore irrelevant info Working memory and long-term memory  children’s working memory improves with age  older children also can retain and manipulate visuospatial info in working memory more effectively than younger children  older children more likely to use strategies to improve memory *Information-processing capacities improve w/ age. Older children search for info more systematically, process it more quickly, and display better memory. Continuity versus discontinuity  debate between gradual development versus emergence of distinct stages  Robbie Case propose cognitive development involves both processes. He says working memory is continuous growth, computational facility, and task-specific knowledge to both major shifts in reasoning ability  Case outlined how network of ‘central conceptual structures “ (mental blueprints-similar to schemas) that process the relationships between events and objects become more abstract, complex, and flexible with age Theory of Mind : Children’s Understanding of Mental States  Theory of mind- refers to person’s beliefs about the mind and ability to understand other people’s mental states  Adults understand and predict others behavior by assuming the ‘mind’ consists of various mental states (e.g knowledge, feelings, desires and intentions) which are related to a person’s actions  Believed that children younger than 6-7 have trouble recognize what other ppl are thinking Lying and deception  Evidence indicates that those who have false belief understanding are more likely to lie (starting as early as 3y/o)  There’s misconception that young children cannot tell elaborate lies. They can, and convincingly. Perspective taking and early word-learning  Infants begin to make inferences about an adult’s perspective, knowledge, and intentions early in life  According to Valerie corkum and chris moore, infants show joint visual attention for objects that are out of sight by 9 months of age, and begin to follow adult eye-gaze direction alone beginning around 12 months o E.g mother breaks eye contact to look at another object, baby looks too!  Infants use joint visual attention skill to understand adults’ referential intent when they look at and label objects o Dare Baldwin discovered that by 1 ½ and 2 y/o, infants attach novel word to novel object only if adult looks in direction of object while labeling it (even if object is hidden, but adult is showing clear where theyre looking at)  These findings all were well before than what Piaget proposed *Children begin to develop theory of mind (beliefs bout another person’s knowledge, feelings, intentions) around 3-4 y/o. Social-emotional and personality development Children grow physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. They form attachments & personality (distinctive yet somewhat consistent pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving) Early emotions and Emotion Regulation  Emotional responses communicates our inner states to others and influence how others respond to us  Infants express emotions through facial expressions, vocalizations and other behaviors  Infants begin to express joy & interest at 6 months. They develop a sense of self at 18 months  They begin to display pride and shame at age 2 after learning about performance standards and rules that they’re supposed to follow  Emotion regulation- process by which we evaluate and modify our emotional reactions o Comes with age. E.g. toddlers express through actions (crying, tantrums), once language is acquired, they express through talking to themselves and other ppl  As children age, emotional expressiveness and ability to regulate emotions become part of overall emotional competence (influences social behavior and how well their peers & other ppl like them) o E.g those who cant control anger + more sad = less popular kids o Emotional competence is important for well-being through child development  Socialization influences children’s emotional development (from peers, teachers, parents who are models and reinforce certain emotional responses) Temperament  Temperament- biologically based general style of reacting emotionally and behaviorally to env’t  Some researchers found that temperament is only weakly to moderately stable during infancy, where they maintain consistent temperament during first 2yrs of life, whereas others change  Shyness forms a temperament style called behavioral inhibition o Inhibited infants = quiet, timid, cry & withdraw a=away from unfamiliar ppl, places, objects & sounds o Opposite is uninhibited infants = social, verbal, spontaneous  Research showed that infants who were mild to moderately inhibited or uninhibited at 1-2 y/o didn’t predict same temperament as children. Those who are HIGHLY inhibited or unhibited showed exact same temperament type as older children. (also found in adulthood)  Researcher Louis Schmidt did molecular genetic analysis on 4y/o cheek cells & revealed that aggressive aggression had specific different genetic profile for dopamine receptor gene (DRD4). This gene marker was first related to attention deficits, but now aggression too! Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory Erik Erikson (1968) believed personality develops through psychosocial stages- each of which involves a diff “crisis”/conflict over how we view ourselves in relation to other ppl and the world. Each crisis is present throughout life, and has special importance in each age period. The way we resolve each stage influences ability to meet challenges of next stage. Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages Age (years) Major Psychosocial Crisis First Year Basic Trust vs. basic mistrust 1-2 Autonomy vs. shame and doubt 3-5 Initiative vs. guilt 6-12 Industry vs. inferiority 12-20 Identity vs. role confusion 20-40 Intimacy vs. isolation 40-64 Generativity vs. stagnation 65+ Integrity vs. despair Four crises occur in infancy and childhood: Basic trust versus basic mistrust  Depends on how adequate our needs are met and love & attention received during 1 yr of life Autonomy versus shame and doubt  During next 2 yrs, children are ready to exercise individuality. If parents restrict children/make harsh demands doing a task, they develop shame and doubt about their abilities and later lack courage to be independent. Initiative versus guilt  From 3-5, children display great curiosity about world. Sense of initiative is developed if given freedom to explore and receive answers to questions. If held back/punished, they develop guilt about desires and suppress curiosity Industry versus inferiority  6-12, child’s life expands into school and peer activities. Children who exp pride and encouragement in mastering tasks develop INDUSTRY (striving to achieve). Repeated failure and lack of praise for trying leads to INFERIORITY Attachment Imprinting- sudden, biologically primed form of attachment  Involves critical period. o E.g some species of birds require offspring to be exposed to parent within hours after birth in order to be attached Attachment- strong emotional bond that develops between children and their primary caregivers  For infants, first few yrs of life is sensitive period to most easily form secure bond w/ caregivers that enhances adjustment later in life (still possible to form attachment in later childhood tho)  Ppl first assumed infant-caregiver bonding resulted from mother’s role in satisfying infant’s need for nourishment, later research revealed that contact comfort (body comfort w/ a comforting object) is important in fostering attachment  3 phases of development of attachment during infancy: o Indiscriminate attachment- newborns cry, vocalize, smile, and emit behaviors toward everyone. In turn, these behaviors evoke caregiving from adults o Discriminate attachment- around 3month old, infants direct attachment behaviors more toward familiar caregivers than strangers o Specific attachment behavior- by 7-8 month old, infants develop first meaningful attachment to specific caregivers. These caregivers become ‘secure base’ where infant can crawl about and explore env’t (in their presence)  2 types of anxiety occur during attachment focus o Stranger anxiety- distress over contact w/ unfamiliar ppl, emerges around 6-7 month old and ends by 18 months (e.g crying when touched by stranger) o Separation anxiety- distress over being separated from primary caregiver, around 12-16 month old, disappears 2-3 y/o (inverted U-shaped age function) *These responses may be adaptive reactions over revolution (prevents being in unfamiliar situations) *According to Bowlby, at 3-4y/o as cognitive/verbal skills grow, a stage of goal-corrected partnership emerges where children & caregiver can describe feelings to each other and maintain relationship whether apart/together. *Daycare itself does not disrupt attachment. Types of attachment  Strange Situation Test (SST)- standardized procedure for examining infant attachment  Securely attached- in mother’s presence, child eplore playroom and react positively to strangers o Gets distressed when mother leaves and happily greet her when returns  Insecurely attached o Anxious-resistant- fearful when mother is present, demands attention, highly distressed when she leaves  Not soothed when returns and may angrily resist her attempts at contact o Anxious-avoidant- shows few signs of attac
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