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Chapter 1

PSYC*1130 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Motor Skill, Major Minor Records, Motor System

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Chapter 2 - Pathology of Brain Aging
Human development is rich, varied and enormously complex
We should not expect that any single theory of development will do justice to this complexity,
and indeed no theory attempt to do this
Each theory attempts to account for only a limited range of development and it is often the case
that within each area of development there are competing theoretical views, each attempting to
account for the same aspects of development
Theory of development - a scheme of ideas that is based on evidence and attempts to explain,
describe, and predict behaviour and development
In every area of development there are at least two kinds to theory which we can call the minor
and the major
Minor theories are those which deal only with very specific, narrow areas of development
Major theories are those which attempt to explain large areas of development
To make theories more orderly and understandable, they are divided into six broad groups:
-Motor development
-Cognitive development
-Social-cognitive development
-Evolution and ethology
-Psychoanalytic theories
-Humanistic theory
Motor Development
Obvious signs of development in infancy is the baby achieving the various motor milestones
The development motor skills has very important implications for other aspects of
The ability to act on the world affects all other aspects of development, and each new
accomplishment brings with it an increasing degree of independence
These changes affect emotional and social development, communication, appreciation of
heights and an understanding of distance and space
Motor milestones - the basic motor skills acquired in infancy and early childhood, such as
sitting unaided, standing, crawling, walking
Motor skills are skills that are vital for survival
(1) is that the different motor milestones emerge in a regular
(2) is that there is a considerable age range in which individual infants achieve each skill
Two aspects - maturational theories and dynamic systems theory
Maturational Theories
Cephalocaudal trend - development that proceeds from head to foot along the length of the
Proximodistal trend - the development of motor control infancy which is from the centre of the
body outwards to more peripheral segments
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These two invariant sequences of development, together with the regular sequence with which
the motor milestones are achieved
Development is controlled by maturational timetable linked particularly to the central nervous
system and also to muscular development
Dynamic systems theory - a theoretical approach applied to many areas of development which
views the individual as interacting dynamically in a complex system in which all parts interact
Dynamic Systems Theory
What has become apparent is that infants develop skills in different ways
Those infants who do crawl will acquire it int heir own individual ways
From these studies it becomes clear that infants’ acquisition of a new motor skill is much the
same as that of adults learning a new motor skill
According to the dynamic system theory all new motor development is a result of a dynamic
and continual interaction of three major factors: (1) nervous system development; (2) the
capabilities and biomechanics of the body; (3) environmental constraints and support
Infant Kicking
By kicking the leg the babied could make the mobile dance around and they quickly learned to
make this exciting event happen
The other leg moved independently or was attached to the leg
This study shows that infants were able to change their pattern of interline coordination to
solve a novel
Infant reaching
Aim was to look at the interrelationship between different motor system
They found was that infants acquired stable control over the head several weeks before the
onset of reaching, then there was a reorganization of muscle patters os that infants could
stabilize the head and shoulder
These developments gave the infants a stable base from which to reach, and successful
reaching followed
Indication that infants need a stable posture before they can attain the goal of reaching
successfully, and is a clear demonstration that new motor skills are learned through a process
of modifying and developing their already existing abilities
Infant Walking
Big head and weak legs
Their body weight is gradually redistributed and their centre mass gradually moves downwards
until it finished slightly above the navel
Infants and children grow they need constantly to adjust and adapt their motor activities to
accommodate the naturally occurring changed to their body dimensions
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Cognitive Development
Piaget’s theory of development
Stages of development
Contribution to our understanding of children’s development
Developmental psychology before Piaget
Before Piaget revolutionized our understanding of. Children’s development psychology was
dominated by the influence of two opposed theoretical views of. Behaviourism snd
Psychoanalysis - the theoretical view, first developed by Sigmund Freud, that much of our
behaviour is determined by unconscious factors
They shore one essential feature, which is that the child is seen as the passive recipient of their
upbringing - development results from such things as the severity of toilet training, and of
rewards and punishments
Fundamental aspects of human development, according to Piaget
Children who are active agents in shaping their own development, they are not simply blank
slates who passively and unthinkingly respond to whatever the environment offers them
Children’s behaviour and development is motivated largely intrinsically (internally) rather than
For Piaget, children learn to adapt to their environments and as a result of their cognitive
adaptions they become better able to understand their world
Adaption is something that all living organisms have evolved to do and as children adapt they
gradually construct more advanced understandings of their worlds
Cognitive adaptions - children’s developing cognitive awareness of the world. As a result of
cognitive adaptions they become better able to understand their world
Piaget’s theory is therefore the best example of the organismic world view that we discussed in
Chapter 1, which portrays children as inherently active, continually interacting with the
environment, in such a way as to shape their own development
Piaget’s theory is referred to as a constructivist theory
Adaption: Assimilation and accommodation
Assimilation - the process through which children incorporate new experiences into their
preexisting schemes - that is, they assimilate the new to their already-existing schemes of
-occurs from the earliest days - the infant is offered a new toy and puts it in their mouth to use
the familiar activity of sucking; the child meets a new teacher and treats them in the same way
they treat teachers
Accommodation - the cognitive process through which children adapt to new experiences by
modifying their preexisting schemes. An important process in Piaget’s theory
- assimilation and accommodation always occur together
Schemes - mental structures in the child’s thinking that provide representations and plans for
enacting behaviours
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