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PSYC 1000
Lisa Giguere

Module 14: Infancy and Childhood  Maturation: the orderly sequence of biological growth.  Severe deprivation or abuse can retard development, yet the genetic growth tendencies are inborn. Maturation (nature) sets the basic course of development; experience (nurture) adjusts it. o Brain Development: - In your mother’s womb, your brain formed nerve cells at a rate of nearly one-quarter million per minute. The developing brain cortex actually overproduces neurons. - From infancy on, brain and mind develop together. - On the day you were born, you had most of the brain cells you would ever have. - After birth, the branching neural networks that eventually enabled you to walk, talk, and remember had a wild growth spurt. - From ages 3 to 6, the most rapid growth was in your frontal lobes, which enable rational planning. - The association areas – those linked with thinking, memory, and language- are the last cortical areas to develop. As they do, mental abilities surge. - A “use it or lose it” pruning process shits down unused links and strengthens others. o Motor Development: - The developing brain enables physical coordination. As an infant’s muscles and nervous system mature, skills emerge. - 25 % of babies walk by age 11 months, 50% within a week after their first birthday, and 90% by age 15 months. - Genes guide motor development; identical twins begin walking on nearly the same day. - Maturation creates our readiness to learn walking at about age one. o Brain Maturation and Infant Memory: - Our earliest memories seldom predate our third birthday. - Other studies confirm that the average age of earliest conscious memory is 3.5 years. - As children mature, from 4 to 6 to 8 years, childhood amnesia is giving way, and they become increasingly capable of remembering experiences, even for a year or more. - The brain areas underlying memory, such as the hippocampus and frontal lobes, continue to mature into adolescence. - Although we consciously recall little from before age 4, our brain was processing and storing information during those early years. - Traces of forgotten childhood languages may persist. - What the conscious mind does not know and cannot express in words, the nervous system somehow remembers Cognitive Development.  Cognition refers to all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating.  Piaget’s studies led him to believe that a child’s mind develops through a series of stages, in an upward march from the newborn’s simple reflexes to the adult’s abstract reasoning power.  Piaget’s core idea is that the driving force behind out intellectual progression is an unceasing struggle to make sense of our experiences.  To this end, the maturing brain builds schemas, a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information.  By adulthood, we have built countless schemas.  To explain how we adjust our schemas, Piaget proposed to more concepts: first, we assimilate new experiences- we interpret our new experiences in terms of our existing schemas. We also have to accommodate our schemas by adapting our current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information. o Piaget’s 5 Stages of Development: 1. Sensorimotor Stage - The stage from birth to about 2 years of age during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities. - Very young babies seem to live in the present: out of sight, out of mind. Young infants lack object permanence. - Object permanence: the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived. - By 8 months, infants began exhibiting memory for things no longer seen. 2. Preoperational Stage - The stage from about 2 to 6 or 7 years of age, during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic. - Before age 6, children lack the concept of conservation: the principle that quantity remains the same despite changes in shape.  Egocentrism: in Piaget’s theory, the preoperational child’s difficulty taking another’s point of view.  Theory of mind: people’s ideas about their own and other’s mental states- about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behaviors these might predict. 3. Concrete Operational Stage - The stage of cognitive development from ages 6 or 7 to 11 years of age during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events. - Piaget believed that during the concrete operational stage, children become able to comprehend mathematical transformations and conservation. 4. Formal Operational Stage - The stage of cognitive development, usually around age 12, during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts. Social Development  From birth, babies in all cultures are social creatures, developing an intense bond with their caregivers.  At about 8 months, soon after object permanence emerges and children become mobile, a curious thing happens: they develop stranger anxiety.  Stranger anxiety: the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age.  The brain, the mind, and social-emotional behavior develop together. o Origins of Attachment - No social behavior is more striking than the intense and mutual infant- parent bond. - This attachment bond is a powerful survival impulse that keeps infants close to their caregivers. - Infants become attached to those who are comfortable and familiar. - Contact is one key to attachment. Another is familiarity. - In many animals, attachments based on familiarity form during a critical period – an optimal period when certain events must take place to facilitate proper development. - Imprinting: the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life. o Attachment Differences - Sensitive, responsive mothers- those who noticed what their babies were doing and responded appropriately- had infants who exhibited secure attachment. - Insensitive, unresponsive mothers often had infants who were insecurely attached. - Some babies are born difficult- irritable, intense and unpredictable. - Some babies are born easy- cheerful, relaxed, and feeding and eating on predictable schedules. - Erikson believed that securely attached children approach life with a sense of basic trust- a sense that the world is predictable and reliable. o Deprivation of Attachment - If secure attachment nurtures social competence, what happens when circumstances prevent a child from forming attachments? - Babies locked away at home under conditions of abuse or extreme neglect are often withdrawn, frightened, even speechless. - Most children growing up under adversity are resilient; they become normal adults. - So do most victims of childhood sexual abuse. - But others, especially those who experience no sharp break from their abusive past, don’t bounce back so readily. - A primate experiment confirmed the abuse-breeds-abuse phenomenon; in one study, 9 or 16 females who had been abused by their mothers became abusive parents, as did no female raised by a non-abusive mother. - In humans too, the unloved may become the unloving. Most abusive parents-and many condemned murderers- have reported being neglected or battered as children. - Although most abused children do not later become violent criminals or abusive parents, extreme early trauma may nevertheless leave footprints on the brain. o Parenting Styles - Authoritarian: parents impose rules and expect obedience. - Permissive: parents submit to their children’s desires. They make few demands and little punishment. - Authoritative: parents are both demanding and responsive. They exert control by setting rules and enforcing them, but also explain reasons for the rules. Module 15: Adolescence Physical Development  Primary sex characteristics - the reproductive organs and external genitalia  Secondary sex characteristics – the non-reproductive traits such as breasts, facial hair  If a boy develops early, are usually stronger and more athletic, more popular, self-assured, but at more risk for alcohol use, delinquency, and premature sexual activity  Girls developing early – if hormone-fed feeling out of sync with her emotional maturity, or friends’ physical dev’p she may begin associating with older adolescents or may suffer teasing  In puberty, brain stops “rewiring” new neural connections, instead it “prunes”  getting rid of unused connections  Frontal Lobe continues to develop.  Myelin, fatty tissue that forms around axons and speeds NT, enables better communication with other brain regions  bring better judgment, impulse control, and long-term planning  speeds up nerve conduction  Makes early adolescence the BEST TIME TO LEARN!!  Frontal lobe lags behind Limbic System Cognitive Development Developing Reasoning Power  Jean Piaget: Formal Operations: applying new abstract reasoning tools to the world around them  Have a greater understanding of the world and deeper meaning of things – can lead to debates with parents Developing Morality  Piaget & Kohlberg: moral reasoning guides moral actions  Much of functioning occurs not on the “high road” or deliberate, conscious thinking, but on the “low road” of unconscious automatic thinking Moral Reasoning:  Piaget: children’s moral judgments build on their cognitive development  Kohlberg: agreeing with Piaget, sought to describe the development of moral reasoning, the thinking that occurs as we consider right and wrong  Proposed moral dilemmas (steal medicine to save life), and asked children, teens, and adults whether action was right/wrong  Findings proposed 3 basic levels of moral thinking: preconventional, conventional, and postconventional  Form a moral ladder (critics noted postconventional stage is culturally limited, appearing mostly among ppl who prize individualism) Moral Intuition  Jonathan Haidt: much of our morality is rooted in moral intuitions – quick gut feelings or affectively laden intuitions  Mind makes moral judgments as it makes aesthetic judgments – quickly and automatically (feel disgust when seeing ppl do degrading acts)  Ex. 5 ppl will be killed by a trolley but you can turn a switch to make it only kill 1 – Kill 1 save 5, most ppl said yes. But when the option of pushing that one person onto the track in order to save them, they said no Social Development  Erikson contended that each stage of life had its own psychosocial task – a crisis that needs resolution  Young children: trust, autonomy (independence), then initiative  School aged: strive for competence, feeling able and productive  Adolescence: to synthesize past, present, and future possibility into a clearer sense of self  search for identity Forming an Identity  Adolescence try out different “selfs” in different situations  Social identity often forms around their distinctiveness  not always! Erikson noticed that some forge their identity early, simply by adopting their parent’s values and expectations – or other peer groups (jocks, preps, geek, goth)  Young Americans’ self esteem falls in early-late teens, and rebounds during late teens – early 20’s  Erikson contended that the adolescent identity stage is flowed in young adulthood by developing capacity for intimacy – forming emotionally close relationships  Those who enjoy high-quality relationships with family and friends tend to enjoy high quality romantic relationships, and leads to better adulthood  Foreclosure: defying parents or peers Parent and Peer Relationships  Girls with affectionate relationships with mothers enjoy intimate friendships with girlfriends  Teens close to parents do better in school and are healthy and happy Emerging Adulthood  Today, <1/2 of 30 year old women and 1/3 of men have achieved either finishing school, leaving home, become financially independent, married, or have a child  Later independence and earlier sexual maturity have widened teenage years  Emerging adulthood: between 18 and mid 20’s Module 23 – Studying and Building Memories Memory- learning that has persisted overtime, info stored and can be retrieved  Recall- retrieving info not in your conscious awareness but that was learned at an earlier time. (fill in the blanks)  Recognition – identifying items previously learned (multiple choice)  Relearning – learning something more quickly when you learn it a second time - father, 92 suffered stroke. Could keep personality, stayed mobile, but memory was out of place. Couldn’t remember what he had for lunch, or day of week, and kept forgetting that his brother in law died. -Russian journalist, Shereshevskii, could repeat up to 70 words back. Most people can only do 7-9 digits. Measures of Retention Three measures of retention: recall, recognition, relearning. People can recall people if they see their face or names, but otherwise it is hard. Recognition memory vast and quick – “is your friend wearing a new or old outfit?” “old”. Our mind knows the answer before we even say it Relearning – German philosopher Hermann Ebbinghaus, used nonsense syllables in experiments. Randomly selected sample of syllables, practiced them, and tested himself. To get a feel, he read them over loudly 8 times and looked away to try to recall the items.  Ebbinghaus’ retention curve – the more times you learn something, the easier it is to relearn it. Memory Models Create memory models to helps us think about how our brain forms and retrieves memories. Information-processing models = analogies that compare human memory to a computer’s operations. To remember, we must:  Get information into our brain, (encoding)  Retain information (storage)  Later get information back out (retrieval) Parallel processing = processing many things simultaneously, even unconsciously Connecionism = an information processing model  views memories as products of interconnected neural networks.  Everytime you learn something new, your brain’s neural connections change, forming and strengthening pathways that allow you to interact and learn Model of Memory Formations Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin (1968) 1. Stimuli recorded by our senses and held briefly in sensory memory 2. Some info processed into short-term memory, encoded through rehearsal 3. Info moves into long-term memory to be retrieved later **others have updated this model, included newer concepts such as working memory and automatic processing Working Memory Alan Baddeley challenged Atkinson and Shiffrin’s view of short-term memory as a small, brief storage space for recent thoughts and experiences  It’s an “active desktop” where your brain processes information, making sense of new input and linking it with long term memories. Working memory: focusing on active processing that takes place in the middle stage - Baddeley suggested the central executive (focuses attention) handles this focused processing of information Dual-Track Memory: Effortful Vs Automatic Processing  Atkinson and Shiffrin focused on how we process explicit memories (facts and experiences we can consciously know and declare) – also declarative memories  Our mind works on 2 tracks – it processes explicit memories via conscious, effortful processing  Behind the scenes, other info skips our conscious encoding and goes right into storage..  automatic processing happens without awareness produces implicit memories (aka nondelarative memories) 2 track memory system reinforces an important principle of parallel processing: we split information into different components for separate and simultaneous processing. Building Memories Encoding and Automatic Processing  Procedural memory  well practiced knowledge like word meaning (riding a bike)  Conditioned associations  smell triggers memory of certain places , happens automatically - info about time, going back in time if you lost something - info about frequency, like “this is the 3 driver I’ve passed today” - info about space, picturing where things are when walking into a room Sensory Memory - immediate very brief recording of sensory info before its processed into short/long term memory  BRIEF! Sensory memory consists of 3-4 seconds echos, or 1/20 of a second image **you can retrieve the last 8 words from echoic memory Iconic Memory: a fleeting sensory memory of visual stimuli (Sperling experiment) Capacity of Short-Term and Working Memory - George Miller proposed that short-term memory can retain 7 information bits - Lloyd and Margaret Peterson experiment (1959) - Working memory uses focus, analysis, thinking and linking – greater capacity than short term Effortful Processing Strategies: Chunking: grouping words/letters together to remember easier **peg word system – a technique of visually associating new words with an existing list already memorized along with numbers Hierarchies: developing expertise in an area- seeing what’s more/less important than the rest Distributed Practice  Massed practice  (cramming) info all at once in a short period of time  Spacing Effect – spacing out info overtime (Noted by Ebbinghaus late 1800’s) Distributed Practise produces better long-term recall - Harry Bahrick experiments found that the longer the space between practice sessions, the better their retention up to 5 years later Testing effect – repeated self testing Levels of Processing We process verbal information at different levels, and depth affects our long-term retention. Shallow processing – encodes on a very basic level, Deep processing – encodes semantically based on the meaning of the words - Self- reference effect  relating material to ourselves/ our lives aids encoding and retention Module 24: Retaining Information in the Brain  We do not store information like libraries store books, rather many parts of the brain interact as we encode, store, and retrieve information that forms memories  When emotions get involved, another part of brain can mark/flag them for quicker retrieval Explicit-Memory System: Frontal Lobes and Hippocampus Explicit memories: includes frontal lobes and hippocampus  When you summon up a mental encore of past experience, many brain regions send input to frontal lobes for working memory  Left and right f. lobes process different memories: eg. Recalling a password=left, calling up party scene=right Hippocampus acts as “save” button for explicit memories (names, images, and events)  Left hippocampus damage – trouble remembering verbal info, no trouble recalling visual designs/locations  Right hippocampus damage – opposite  Subregions of hippocampus also serve different functions: faces, spatial mnemonics, rear area = spatial memory Hippocampus switches short term to long term memory (48 hours after) much done during sleep Implicit-Memory System: Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia  Woman with brain damage had to get introduced to doctor everyday, but when he shook hands with a thumbtack, she refused to the next day because of classical conditioning – she didn’t know why!  Cerebellum forms and stores conditioned responses  Without it, ppl cannot develop certain conditioned responses – implicit memories needs cerebellum! **can store responses without even knowing why  Basal Ganglia – controls and forms procedural memory and movement *we can ride bike even if we don’t remember learning Infantile Amnesia  Implicit memory, like skills and conditioned responses, can be retained from infancy  Explicit memory only goes back to about 3 years old  3 year blank = infantile amnesia **encoding: memories not stored well because hippocampus is one of the last brain areas to develop  also, mind thinks in verbal narrative and has trouble recalling preverbal memories Flashbulb memory: emotionally intense event remembered, eg 911 Amygdala: helps “tag” important memories if they are of emotional importance  Emotional arousal sears certain events into the brain while disrupting memory for neutral events around the same time Synaptic Changes  James Schwartz, Eric Kandel observed synaptic changes during learning in the sending neurons of the California sea slug  Sea slug classically conditioned via electric shock  With increased synaptic activity, long-term potentiation occurs (signals sent more efficiently)  After LTP has occurred, passing an electric current through brain wont disrupt old memories, but will wipe out recent ones Eg, boxers getting knocked out don’t remember moments before – working memory didn’t have enough time to consolidate info into long-term  Results in reduction of prompting need to send a signal and increase in the # of NT receptor sites Summery: Module 27: Thinking Concepts: mental groupings of similar objects, events, ideas, and people.  Concepts provide mental shorthand, economizing cognitive efforts We form concepts by developing prototypes  mental image or best example of a category – the most typical instance Eg. Robin is more of a bird than penguin because a robin is closer matched to the bird prototype – the closer something matches, the easier we recognize it  Prototypes fail us when examples stretch our definitions as in considering if a stool is a chair  Prototypes fail us when the boundary between concepts is fuzzy, as in judging blue-green colors or computer blended faces  Prototypes fail us when examples contradict our prototypes, such as considering if a whale is a mammal or if a penguin is a bird Exemplars – individual
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