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14- infancy and childhood.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 1000
Benjamin Giguere

INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD Physical Development Brain Development  In the womb the developing brain cortex overproduces neurons  From infancy on-brain and mind- neural hardware and cognitive software-develop together  After birth the branching neural networks are immature and will have a growth spurt  From ages 3 to 6, the most rapid growth was in your frontal lobes, which enable ration planning. This explains why preschoolers display a rapidly developing ability to control their attention and behaviour  The association areas-those linked with thinking, memory, and language- are the last cortical areas to develop  Fiber pathways supporting language and agility proliferate into puberty  A use-it-or-lose-it pruning process shuts down unused links and strengthens others Motor Development  The developing brain enables physical coordination  As infants muscles and nervous system mature, skills emerge  The sequence of motor development is universal  Babies roll over, crawl, and then walk behaviours reflect not imitation but a maturing nervous system  There are individual differences in timing  Genes guide motor development  Maturation including the rapid development of the cerebellum at the back of the brain-creates readiness to learn walking at about age 1 Brain Maturation and Infant Memory  The brain areas underlying memory, such as the hippocampus and frontal lobes, continue to mature in adolescence  Although we consciously recall little from before age 4, our brain was processing and storing information during those early years Cognitive Development  Cognition refers to all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating  Piaget believed that a child’s mind is not a miniature model of an adult’s- today we understand children reason differently than adults  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 our intellectual progression is an unceasing struggle to make sense of our experiences  The maturing brain builds schemas, concepts or mental molds into which we pour our experiences  By adulthood we have built countless schemas  To explain how we use and adjust our schemas, Piaget proposed two more concepts  first we assimilate new experiences- we interpret them in terms of our current understandings (schemas); but as we interact with the world we also accommodate our schemas to incorporate information provided by new experiences Piaget’s theory and Current Thinking  Piaget believed that children construct their understanding of the world while interacting with it INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD  Their minds experience spurts of change, followed by greater stability as they move from one cognitive plateau to the next, each with distinctive characteristics that permit specific kinds of thinking Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development Typical Age Range Description of Stage Developmental Phenomena Birth to nearly 2 years Sensorimotor -object permanence Experiencing the world through senses, and actions -stranger anxiety (looking, hearing, touching, mouthing, and grasping) About 2 to about 6 or 7 years Preoperational -pretend play Representing things with words and images; using -egocentrism intuitive rather than logical reasoning About 7 to 11 years Concrete Operational -conservation Thinking logically about concrete events; grasping -mathematical concrete analogies and performing arithmetical transformations operations About 12 through adulthood Formal operational -abstract logic Abstract reasoning -potential for mature moral reasoning Sensorimotor Stage  Babies take in the world through their senses and actions  Live in the movement  Lack object permanence the awareness that objects continue to exist when not perceived Egocentrism  Piaget contended that preschool children are egocentric  They have difficult perceiving things from another’s point of view  Even adult may overestimate the extent to which others share our opinions and perspectives, a trait known as the curse of knowledge assume that something will be clear with others Preoperational Stage  Children are too young to perform mental operations (such as imagining an action and mentally reversing it)  Piaget did not view the stage transitions as abrupt  Before age 6 children lack the concept of conservation the principle that quantity remains the same despite changes in shape Theory of mind  Preschoolers although ethnocentric, develop the ability to infer others’ mental states when they begin forming a theory of mind  Infants as young as 7 months show some knowledge of other’s beliefs  With time the ability to develop another’s perspective develops Concrete Operational Stage  Given concrete (physical) materials, they begin to grasp conservation.  Children become able to comprehend mathematical transformations and conservation INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD Formational Operational Stage  Reasoning expands from purely concrete (involved actual experiences) to encompass abstract thinking (involving imagined realities and symbols)  Adolescents become capable of thinking like scientists  Can ponder hypothetical propositions and deduce consequences  Systematic reasoning, what Piaget called formal operational thinking is now within their grasp An Alternative Viewpoint: Lev Vygotsky’s Scaffolding  Noted by age 7, children increasingly think in words and use words to solve problems do this by internalizing their culture’s language and relying on inner speech  A child’s mind grows through interaction with the social environment, compared to Piaget who believed a child’s mind grows through interaction in physical environment  Language is an important ingredient of social mentoring, providing the building blocks for thinking Reflecting on Piaget’s Theory  Today’s researchers see development as more continuous than Piaget did  By detecting the beginning of each type of thinking at earlier ages, they have revealed conceptual abilities Piaget missed  They see formal logic as a smaller part of cognition than he did Social Development  Babies in all cultures develop an intense bond with caregivers  Infants come to prefer familiar faces and voices  At about 8 months, soon after objective permanence emerges and children become mobile, they develop stranger anxiety  Children at this age have schemas for familiar faces; when they cannot assimilate the new face into these remembered schemas, they become distressed  We see that the brain, mind, and social-environmental behaviour develop together Origins of Attachment  one year olds typically cling tightly to a parent when they are frightened or expect separation  no social behaviour 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-typically their parents-who are comfortable and familiar Body Contact  Harry and Margaret Harlow  Separated infant monkeys from mothers and raised them in sanitary individual cag
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