PSY 1102 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Puberty, Menarche, Habituation

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18 Oct 2014

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Psychology Chapter 5- Developing Through the Life Span:
Developmental Psychology’s Major Issues:
- Developmental Psychology: A bran of psychology that studies physical, cognitive,
and social change throughout the lifespan
- Focuses on three major issues:
oNature and Nurture
oContinuity and Stages
oStability and change
Prenatal Development and the Newborn:
- Fewer than half of the fertilized zygotes survive beyond the first two weeks
- Zygotes: The fertilized egg; enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and
develops into an embryo
- The zygote attaches to the uterine wall and it’s inner cells become an embryo
- Embryo: The developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization
through the second month
oOrgans begin to form/function
oHeart starts beating
- If there are two heartbeats it reveals that the egg has split and it will produce
identical twins
- At 9 weeks after conception the embryo looks human
- Fetus: The developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth
- In the 6th month, organs have developed and the give fetus a chance to survive in
the case of a premature birth
- Genetic and environmental factors affect development in the prenatal stage
- Learning of language begins in the womb
- Fetus’ demonstrate learning the in last two months before birth
- The placenta screens out harmful substances, transfers nutrients and oxygen
- Teratogens: Agents, such as chemicals and viruses that can reach the embryo or
fetus during prenatal development and cause harm
- Drinking while pregnant produces severe birth defects
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): Physical and cognitive abnormalities in children
caused by a pregnant womans heavy drinking
oIn severe cases, symptoms include noticeable facial misproportions
- Alcohol has an epigenetic effect- it leaves chemical marks on DNA that
abnormally switch genes on/off
- Newborns are equipped with automatic reflexes suited for survival
- Automatic reflexes of newborns include: rooting (searching for a nipple to suck
on), sucking, swallowing, breathing, crying, tonguing
- Habituation: Decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation as infants gain
familiarity with repeated exposure to a visual stimulus, their interest wanes and
they look away sooner
- Babies pay attention to something when it is first presented but eventually the
response weakens
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- Newborns prefer sights and sounds facilitating social responsiveness (human
- Week-old babies can easily recognize and prefer the smell of their mothers and
the smell preference lasts
Infancy and Childhood:
- Maturation: Biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior,
relatively uninfluenced by experience
- Maturation sets the basic course of development and experience adjusts it
- In the womb, the brain overproduces neurons and then peaks at 28 weeks and is
stable at birth
- After birth, neural networks grow rapidly
- Rapid frontal lobe growth occurs between ages 3-6 which enables rational
- Association areas are the last areas the develop
- Pruning Process shuts down unused links and strengthens others
- The brain’s development enables physical coordination
- Genes guide motor development
- Maturation creates readiness to learn walking around age 1
- Infantile Amnesia: Difficulty remembering anything before the third year of life
- The nervous system remembers certain things that we are not consciously able to
- Cognition: All the mental Activities associated with thinking, knowing,
remembering, and communicating
- Jean Piaget was interested in learning how and when we became conscious and
how we learn to reason etc.
- Children reason differently than adults
- A child’s mind develops through a series of stages in an upward march
- Schemas: A concept or framework that organizes and interprets information
- The maturing brain builds schemas that we pour our experiences in
- Assimilation: Interpreting new experiences in terms of our existing schemas
oWe assimilate new experiences
- Accommodation: Adapting our current understandings (schemas) to incorporate
new information
Piaget’s Theory and Thoughts:
Sensorimotor Stage: The stage from birth to 2 years of age when infants know the world
mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities
- Object Permanence: The awareness that things continue to exist even when not
oLacking in young infants
oBelief that object permanence unfolds gradually
Egocentrism: In Piagets theory, the preoperational child’s difficulty taking another’s
point of view
- Haven’t developed the ability to another’s viewpoint
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Preoperational Stage: In Piagets theory, the stage from age 2 to age 6/7 when a child
learns to use language but doesn’t comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic
- Children are too young to perform mental operations
- Conservation: The principle that properties such as mass, volume, and number
remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects
oBefore age 6 children lack this concept
Theory of Mind: People’s ideas about their own and others mental states- about their
feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behaviors these might predict
- 7 month old infants show knowledge of others beliefs
- Children with autism have difficulty believing that someones state of mind
differs from their own
Concrete Operational Stage: The stage of cognitive development from about 6/7-11 years
old when children gain mental operations that enable them to think logically about
concrete events
- Children be able to understand mathematical transformations and conservation
Formal Operational Stage: The stage of cognitive development during which people
begin to think logically about abstract concepts
- Children begin to think more like scientists as they approach adolescence
Social Development:
- Babies form an intense bond with their caregivers
- Stranger Anxiety: The fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning
by about 8 months of age
- Around 8 months children have schemas for familiar faces and they become
distressed when they can’t match a new face to a schema
- 1 year olds usually cling to their parents when they are frightened
- Attachment: An emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by
their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation
- Infants are attached to people who are comfortable and familiar
- Researchers used to believe that infants were attached to those who satisfied their
need for nourishment
- Familiarity is another key to attachment
- Critical Period: An optimal period early in the life of an organism when exposure
to certain stimuli or experiences produces normal development
- Attachments based on familiarity form during a critical period which facilitates
their development
- Imprinting: The process by which certain animals form attachments during a
critical period very early in life
oBaby birds usually imprint on their own species but may also imprint to a
variety of moving objects
- Children don’t imprint but they do become attached to something they know
- Exposure to people and things foster childrens fondness
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