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PSYC 2450 (267)
Chapter 6


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PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 6  Height and Weight Change o Rapid growth in first 2 years of life o Growth spurt in puberty  Changes in Body Proportions o Cephalocaudal (head downword) growth o Proxomodistal (centre outward) growth which reverses during puberty  Skeletal Development o Prenatal – cartilage that will gradually ossify (harden) into bone o At birth – bones are soft, pliable, and difficult to break; skull is made of six soft spots o Ankles and feet, wrist and hands develop more bones as the child matures o Girls mature faster than boys (determined by skeletal age using x-rays)  Muscular Development o Born with all the muscle fibres we will ever have o Cephalocaudal and proxomodistal growth  See both individual and cultural differences in growth  Development of the Brain o Brain growth spurt – first 2 years o Neural Development and Plasticity  The majority of neurons are formed by the end of the second trimester)  Form in neural tube and then migrate to form different parts of the brain  Growth spurt is due to the development of glia cells (nourish and encase neurons to form myelin)  Neurons specialize in function depending on where they migrate to  Synaptogenesis (formation of synaptic connections among neurons) proceeds rapidly during the brain growth spurt  If a neuron does not make connections then it dies (happens early in life)  Those that do not get used often stand in reserve in case of injury – synaptic pruning  Experience can change how the brain develops, “use it or lose it” principle  Brain Differentiation and Growth o Myelinisation  Glia cells produce myelin that encases neurons and facilitates neural impulses  Most of brain by birth is myelinated  Cephalocaudal and proxomodistal myelinisation  Increasing motor skills after birth o Cerebral Lateralization  Specialization of brain functions in the left and the right cerebral hemispheres  Left side: controls right, speech, hearing, verbal memory, decision making, language processing, expression of positive emotions  Right side: controls left, visual-spatial info, nonlinguistic sounds, expression of negative emotions o Development of the Brain during Adolescence  Abstract thinking due to reorganization and specialization  Basic Trends in Locomotor Development o Proxomodistal o Cephalocaudal?  Early kicking in infants suggests otherwise o Maturational Viewpoint  The unfolding of a genetically programmed sequence of events where the nerves and muscles mature in a downward and outward direction o Experimental (or Practice) Hypothesis  Maturation is insufficient without the opportunity to practice o Dynamical Systems Theory  Motor skills as active reorganizations of previously mastered capabilities undertaken to find more effective ways of exploring the environment or satisfying other objectives  Fine Motor Development o Voluntary Reaching  Prereaching is a hit-or-miss proposition  Extend arms and make in-flight corrections, gradually improving accuracy  Depend on proprioceptive info – sensory info from muscles, tendons, and joints that help one locate the position of one’s body in space o Manipulatory Skills  Reflexive palmar grasp  Ulnar grasp – infant grasps objects by pressing the fingers against the palm  Pincer grasp – thumb is used in opposition to the fingers, enabling the infant to
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