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Chapter 11

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University of British Columbia
PSYC 100
Paul Hewitt

Chapter 11: Human Development Across The Life Span -your life is an illustration of two themes: transition and continuity -mandatory retirement at 65 is no longer a thing -development is the sequence of age-related changes that occur as a person progresses from conception to death ▯ -both biological and behavioural changes -four periods ▯ -the prenatal period ▯ -childhood ▯ -adolescence ▯ -adulthood Progress Before Birth: Prenatal Development -conception occurs with a zygote, a one-celled organism formed by the union of a sperm and an egg -the prenatal period extends from conception to birth, usually 9 months The Course of Prenatal Development -is divided into 3 phases: the germinal stage (2 weeks), embryonic stage (2 weeks to 2 months), fetal stage (2 months to birth) germinal stage -the germinal stage is the first phase of prenatal development, encompassing the first two weeks after conception -zygote multiplies into a mass of cells then slowly travels to uterine wall ▯ -takes about a week, then many zygotes are rejected ▯ -as many as 1 in 5 pregnancies end without the woman ever knowing -the placenta begins to form; is a structure that allows oxygen and nutrients to pass into the fetus from the mother’s bloodstream, and bodily wastes to pass out to the mother ▯ -happens through a thin wall that blocks the passage of blood cells embryonic stage -the embryonic stage is the second stage of prenatal development, lasting from 2 weeks until the end of the second month -most of the vital organs an bodily systems begin to form, very delicate to disturbances -embryo is about 2.5 cm long and beginning to look like a human -virtually all physiological structures are being formed, any disturbances are devastating -most miscarriages and major structural birth defects occur here fetal stage -the fetal stage is the third stage of prenatal development, lasting from two months through birth -first two months of this bring rapid bodily growth, forming muscle and bone -organs continue to grow and gradually begin to function -brain cells multiply rapidly during the final 3 months -gains layer of fat to help ready fetus for life outside the womb -between 22 and 26 weeks the fetus reaches the age of viability-the age at which a baby can survive in the event of a premature birth ▯ -probability is 10% for around 23 weeks ▯ -many of premature infants born near threshold experience developmental ▯ problems Environmental Factors and Prenatal Development -mother’s eating habits, etc affect the prenatal development -teratogens are any external agents, such as drugs or viruses, that can harm an embryo or fetus maternal drug use -most drugs consumed by a pregnant woman can pass through the membranes of the placenta -even some drugs prescribed for legitimate reasons and over-the-counter-drugs can cause problems -the impact of drugs depends on the drug, dose, and phase of prenatal development -fetal alcohol syndrome is a collection of congenital (inborn) problems associated with excessive alcohol use during pregnancy ▯ -is most common known cause of intellectual disability -even moderate drinking during pregnancy can have have enduring negative effects -smoking increases risks for miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity maternal illness and exposure to toxins -fetus’ immune system matures relatively late in the prenatal period -placenta can’t screen out all infectious agents -syphilis, cholera, smallpox, mumps, rubella, severe flue can be hazardous to fetus -genital herpes and AIDS are deadly diseases that can be transmitted to offspring -herpes is typically transferred during birth ▯ -can cause paralysis, deafness, blindness, brain damage, and can be fatal -transmission of AIDS can occur prenatally, during delivery, or through breastfeeding ▯ -20-30% of mothers in 90’s passed it to their babies, has been reduced to 2% -babies may also be exposed to environmental toxins ▯ -eg. prenatal exposure to air pollution, chemicals used in flame-retardants -these are all generally preventable, Canada ranks 16th in prevention of infant mortality maternal nutrition and emotions -too much or too little weight gain can cause birth complications -need more of certain vitamins, etc. canadian food guide has recommendations -severe malnutrition in mothers increases the risk of birth complications and neurological defects, moderate malnutrition is more difficult to gauge -anxiety and depression in pregnant women is associated with increased prevalence of behavioural problems in their offspring -prospective mothers’ emotional reactions to stressful events can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance that fosters healthy prenatal development fetal origins of disease -events during prenatal development may be able to ‘program’ the fetal brain in ways that influence one’s vulnerability to various types of illness decades later -prenatal malnutrition has been linked to vulnerability to schizophrenia -depression, obesity, diabetes, some types of cancer may also occur later on The Wondrous Years of Childhood Exploring the World: Motor Development -motor development refers to the progression of muscular coordination required for physical activities basic principles -a number of principles are apparent in motor development -the cephalocaudal trend is the head-to-foot direction of motor development ▯ -children tend to gain control over the upper part of their bodies first ▯ -eg. crawling, shift from pulling with arms to pushing with legs -the proximodistal trend is the centre-outward direction of motor development ▯ -children gain control over their torso before extremities ▯ -initially reach for things by twisting their entire bodies -physical growth is somewhat uneven; infants typically grow 3 times their birth weight and height increases by about 45% in first year -maturation is the development that reflects the gradual unfolding of one’s genetic blueprint ▯ -product of genetically programmed physical changes that come with age ▯ -as opposed to experience and learning -progress in motor development is attributed to infants’ experimentation and their learning and remembering of the consequences of their actions understanding developmental norms -developmental norms indicate the median age at which individuals display various behaviours and abilities -are useful benchmarks as long as parents don’t take them to be exact -are averages, so variation from them is normal cultural variations and their significance -cross-cultural research highlights the dynamics between experience and maturation in motor development -some cultures encourage motor development, while some hinder it because of safety reasons -so, environmental factors can speed up or slow down early motor development ▯ -but similarities across cultures outweigh the differences -early motor development relies on maturation -maturation becomes less influential in later motor development, as more specialized motor skills are acquired Easy and Difficult Babies: Differences in Temperament -temperament refers to characteristic mood, activity level, and emotional reactivity -from the very beginning, some babies seem animated and others seem sluggish -infants show consistent differences in emotional tone, tempo of activity, and sensitivity to environmental stimuli very early in life -in a longitudinal design, investigators observe one group of participants repeatedly over a period of time ▯ -longitudinal designs tend to be more sensitive to developmental changes ▯ -however, composition of study may change because participants drop out -in a cross-sectional design, investigators compare groups of participants of differing age at a single point in time ▯ -cross-sectional studies can be completed more quickly, easily, and cheaply ▯ -but changes that appear to reflect development may be cohort effects -cohort effects occur when differences between age groups are due to the groups growing up in different time periods -Thomas and Chess found that temperamental individuality is well established by the time the infant is 2-3 months old -3 basic temperaments ▯ -40% of youngsters are easy children ▯ ▯ -tend to be happy, regular in sleeping/eating, adaptable ▯ -15% are slow-to-warm-up children ▯ ▯ -less cheery and regular, slower in adapting ▯ ▯ -wary of new experiences, moderate emotional reactivity ▯ -10% are difficult children ▯ ▯ -tend to be glum, erratic in sleeping/eating, resistant to change, irritable ▯ -35% remaining showed mixtures of temperaments -a child’s temperament at 3 months is a fair predictor of that at age 10 -Jerome Kagan found that 15-20% of infants display an inhibited temperament characterized by shyness, timidity, wariness of unfamiliar people and objects ▯ -appears to be a risk factor for anxiety disorders in adolescence and adulthood -also found 25-30% of infants exhibit uninhibited temperament; less restrained, approaching unfamiliar people and events with little trepidation -individual differences in temperament seem to be influenced by heredity, but it’s not unchangeable -are some modest differences in prevalence of specific temperamental styles in different cultures Early Emotional Development: Attachment -children are able to differentiate between social and non-social aspects of their world very early on -attachment refers to the close, emotional bonds of affection that develop between infants and their caregivers -the first important attachment is usually with the mother -infants’ attachment to their mothers is not instantaneous; occurs by 6-8 months of age -separation anxiety is the emotional distress seen in many infants when they are separated from people with whom they have formed an attachment ▯ -may occur with fathers and others ▯ -peaks around 14-18 months then begins to decline theories of attachment -behaviourists initially thought this special attachment between mother and infant existed because the mothers are associated with the event of being fed ▯ -but there is more to this than just being a conditioned reinforcer -eg. Harry Harlow raised monkeys with two types of artificial substitute mothers ▯ -one made of terry cloth and provided contact comfort ▯ -other type was made of wire -half were fed from a bottle attached to a wire mother, the other half to a cloth mother -attachment was tested by introducing a frightening stimulus, such as a strange toy -the monkeys scrambled for their cloth mothers regardless of if they were fed by them, showing that reinforcement through feeding is not the key to attachment -John Bowlby argued that there must be a biological basis for attachment ▯ -infants are biologically programmed to emit behaviour (smiling, cooing, clinging) ▯ that triggers an affectionate, protective response from adults ▯ -adults are programmed to be captivated by this behaviour and respond with love ▯ and protection -John Bowlby analyzed attachment in terms of its survival value for infants -contemporary evolutionary theorists emphasize how attachment contributes to parents’ and children’s reproductive fitness ▯ -parent-child attachments encourage the child to develop the social maturity ▯ required for successful mating patterns of attachment -Mary Ainsworth and her colleagues found that attachment emerges out of a complex interplay between infant and mother -used a method called the strange situation procedure, in which infants are exposed to a series of eight separation and reunion episodes to assess the quality of their attachment -the 3 minute episodes involve events such as a stranger entering a room where an infant is playing with a parent nearby, followed by the parent leaving, returning, leaving, and returning again, and the child’s reactions are monitored -Ainsworth found that there are 3 patterns of infant-mother attachments ▯ -most children develop a secure attachment; they play and explore when their ▯ mother is present, become upset when she leaves, and are quickly comforted on ▯ her return ▯ -some children display a pattern called anxious-ambivalent attachment; appear ▯ anxious even when mother is near, protest excessively when she leaves, are not ▯ particularly comforted when she returns ▯ -children with avoidant attachment seek little contact with their mother and are ▯ often not distressed when she leaves ▯ -researchers added a fourth category, disorganized-disoriented attachment ▯ years later; these children appear confused about whether they should approach ▯ or avoid their mother and are especially insecure -maternal behaviour tends to have considerable influence on the type of attachment formed -mothers who are sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs are more likely to promote secure attachments -infants’ behaviour also plays a role; difficult infants slow the process of attachment -based on their attachment experience, children develop internal working models of the dynamics of close relationships that influence their future interactions with people -infants with a secure attachment tend to become resilient, competent toddlers ▯ -display more persistence, curiosity, leadership in preschool years ▯ -in middle childhood, display more positive moods, fewer problems with stress ▯ -repercussions of attachment seems to even reach into adulthood culture and attachment -separation anxiety peaks around 14-18 months in cultures around the world ▯ -suggests that attachment is a universal feature of human development -small differences have been found among the percentages of children in secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent patterns in different cultures Becoming Unique: Personality Development -first major theory of personality development was put together by Freud around 1900 -Erikson later built on Freud’s ideas that your personality is relatively fixed by age 5, but added that it continues to develop over the entire life span -a stage is a developmental period during which characteristic patterns of behaviour are exhibited and certain capacities become established -stage theories assume that.. ▯ -individuals must progress through specified stages in a particular order because ▯ each stage build on the previous one ▯ -progress through these stages is strongly related to age ▯ -development is marked by major discontinuities that usher in dramatic ▯ transitions in behaviour Erikson’s stage theory (page 504) -partitioned the life span into eight stages -each brings a psychosocial crisis involving transitions in important social relationships ▯ -Erikson states personality is shaped by how individuals deal with these crises ▯ -each state involves a struggle between two opposing tendencies ▯ -this struggle is not either-or, it determines the balance between them -First four sections: -trust vs. mistrust ▯ -first year of life, where infant has to completely rely on others ▯ -if the basic needs are met, they should develop an optimistic, trusting attitude -autonomy vs. shame and doubt ▯ -second-third years of life, where parents begin toilet-training and other efforts in ▯ regulating the child’s behaviour ▯ -child must begin to take some personal responsibility ▯ -if all goes well, will acquire a sense of self-sufficiency -initiative vs. guilt ▯ -age three to six, where children experiment and take initiatives that may conflict ▯ with their parents’ rules ▯ -over-controlling parents may instill feelings of guilt ▯ -in ideal situation, children will retain their sense of initiative while learning to ▯ respect the rights and privileges of other family members -industry vs. inferiority ▯ -age six through puberty, where the challenge of learning to function socially is ▯ extended to those outside the family ▯ -children able to function effectively in this less nurturant social sphere should ▯ learn to value achievement and feel competent evaluating Erikson’s theory -strengths: it accounts for both continuity and transition in personality development and continues to generate research -weaknesses: depends heavily on illustrative case studies, which are open to interpretation ▯ -also provides an ‘idealized’ description of ‘typical’ developmental patterns ▯ -in reality, there are enormous personality differences between people The Growth of Thought: Cognitive Development -cognitive development refers to transitions in youngsters’ patterns of thinking, including reasoning, remembering, and problem solving -investigation of this was dominated by Jean Piaget in the second half of the 20th century overview of Piaget’s stage theory -Jean Piaget was a scholar whose own cognitive development was exceptionally rapid -his model is also a stage theory of development -proposed that youngsters progress through four stages: ▯ -sensorimotor period (birth to age 2) ▯ -preoperational period (age 2 to 7) ▯ -concrete operational period (age 7 to 11) ▯ -formal operational period (age 11 and up) -acknowledged that the actual age may vary, but believed that all children go through these stages in the same order -asserted that interaction with the environment and maturation gradually alter the way children think; they progress through assimilation and accommodation -assimilation involves interpreting new experiences in terms of existing mental structures without changing them -accommodation involves changing mental structures to explain new experiences -these may occur interactively ▯ -eg. child calls four-legged pets ‘puppies’ (assimilation), then eventually learns ▯ that puppies and cats are different types of animals (accommodation) Sensorimotor Period -first stage in Piaget’s theory of mental development -lasts from birth to about age two -in the beginning of this stage, a child’s behaviour is dominated by innate reflexes, by the end they can use mental symbols to represent objects -object permanence develops when a child recognizes that objects continue to exist even when they are no longer visible ▯ -first signs of this appear around 4-8 months of age, when they continue to ▯ search for things that are partially covered ▯ -believes children don’t master it until they’re 18 months Preoperational Period -age 2-7, emphasizes the weaknesses in thought -conservation is Piaget’s term for the awareness that physical quantities remain constant in spite of changes in their shape or appearance ▯ -children in this stage didn’t understand this (eg. changing water beakers) -Piaget says these inabilities in thinking are caused by 3 flaws: -centration is the tendency to focus on just one feature of a problem, neglecting other important aspects ▯ -eg. children focus on the height of the water in the beaker, ignoring the width -irreversibility is the inability to envision reversing an action ▯ -eg. don’t think about pouring the water back into the beaker -egocentrism in thinking is characterized by a limited ability to share another person’s viewpoint ▯ -eg. no, my sister does not have a sister ▯ - animism is the belief that all things are living ▯ ▯ -eg. ‘why is the wind mad?’ Concrete Operational Period -age 7-11, marks the development of mental operations -is called concrete because children can only perform operations on real objects and events -children master reversibility and decentration -this leads to a decline in egocentrism and gradual mastery of conservation -preoperational children can’t handle hierarchical classification problems ▯ -eg. sort the 5 roses and 3 daisies into two piles..are there more roses or ▯ flowers? preop. will stumble and answer roses -concrete operational children will answer there are more flowers Formal operational Period -begins around age 11 -children begin to apply their operations to abstract concepts -youngsters even begin to enjoy this; contemplate love, justice, free will -children are graduating to adult modes of thinking, further developments in thinking are changed in degree rather than in the nature of thinking -adolescents become more systematic in their problem-solving efforts Evaluating Piaget’s Theory -founded the field of cognitive development -the fact that his theory has stages rather than continuous development is controversial -Piaget appears to have underestimated young children’s cognitive development -people often display patterns of thinking from several stages at once ▯ -this ‘mixing of stages’ is common with stage theories -subsequent research has found that the sequence of his stages is relatively constant globally, but the timetable that children follow varies across cultures ▯ -he seems to have underestimated the role of the environment -his theory isn’t flawless, but it lead to new directions in the study of cognitive development Neo-Piagetian Theories -scholars known as neo-Piagetians have extended some of his ideas -Pascual-Leone introduced this term, and found that the complexity that children could deal with varied across age -he re-interpreted Piaget’s developmental stages -suggests that an increase in information-processing capacity forms the basis of cognitive development ▯ -children can only progress if they possess the required mental power -created the concept of M-capacity, the maximum number of mental concepts that an individual can keep in mind at one time -Robbie Case is known for his staircase model of development ▯ -considers whether development can be conceptualized in terms of the ▯ development of one general intellectual factor, or a set of more discrete aspects -Case states that there are four major stages of cognitive development -says there is a distinct set of cognitive skills that show uneven development; children may show higher levels of development in some domains -acknowledges the role played by culture Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory -Lev Vygotsky’s theory dates back to the 1920’s -he had to work to make his theories compatible with Russia’s marxism at the time, and although his work was just published in english in 1986 it’s becoming influential -Vygotsky places emphasis on how children’s cognitive development is fueled by social interactions with parents, teachers, and older children who provide guidance ▯ -in Piaget’s theory, cognitive development is fueled by children’s active ▯ exploration of the world around them -Vygotsky asserted that culture exerts great influence over how cognitive growth unfolds (eg. skills acquired in literate cultures vs. tribal cultures) ▯ -Piaget viewed cognitive development as a universal process that should unfold ▯ the same way across cultures -Vygotsky argued that language acquisition plays a crucial, central role in fostering cognitive development ▯ -Piaget viewed children’s gradual master of language as another aspect of ▯ cognitive development -Vygotsky saw cognitive development as an ‘apprenticeship’ than a journey of individual discovery -the zone of proximal development (ZPD) is the gap between what a learner can accomplish alone and what (s)he can achieve with guidance from more skilled partners ▯ -eg. children may give up on something hard, but with guidance will move further -the ZPD for a task is the the area in which new cognitive growth is likely -scaffolding occurs when the assistance provided to a child is adjusted as learning progresses ▯ -less help is typically provided as a child moves forward -Vygotsky viewed private speech, preschoolers talking to themselves, as important -children use private speech to plan strategies, regulate actions, accomplish goals▯ -as people get older they internalize this, proving that language serves as the foundation for youngsters’ cognitive processes Are Some Cognitive Abilities Innate? -the findings that Piaget underestimated infants’ cognitive ability led to research suggesting that infants have a surprising grasp of many complex concepts -habituation is a gradual reduction in the strength of a response when a stimulus event is presented repeatedly -dishabituation occurs if a new stimulus elicits an increase in the strength of a habituated response -patterns of these can give insights to what events violate their expectations -infants seem to understand basic properties of objects ▯ -eg. at 3-4 months know that things roll down not up, can’t pass through each ▯ other, can’t fit in smaller hole, etc -also understand that liquids are different from objects -if five-month old infants are shown a sequence of events in which one object is added to another behind a screen, they expect to see two objects when the screen is removed -this, along with similar experiments, seem to show that infants understand 1+1=2, 3-1=3, etc -these finding have led some theorists to believe that certain basic cognitive abilities are biologically built into humans’ neural architecture -nativists assert that humans are prewired to understand certain concepts -evolutionary theorists agree, but are also interested in why humans are prewired like this; maintain that it’s a product of natural selection Critical Periods in Development -some psychologists argue that there are critical or sensitive periods for the development of some of our abilities and characteristics -a critical period is a limited time span int he development of an organism when it is optimal for certain capacities to emerge because the organism is especially responsive to certain experiences ▯ -is traditionally used to suggest that if the ability or knowledge is not acquired at ▯ that point, it will not be possible to acquire later -sensitive period suggests an optimal period for acquisition, but it doesn’t absolutely need to happen at that time -Jana Kreppner followed up a group of adopted Romanian and British children, including children that had been subject to early deprivation, neglect, or abuse up to the age of 43 months -results of assessments at age 6 and 11 revealed the importance of a six-month threshold ▯ -if the deprivation of the Romanian children lasted less that six months, there was ▯ a little impairment compared to the British child
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