Chapter 5 Review Class 3.docx
SchoolUniversity of Ottawa
Course CodePSY 1102
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CHAPTER 5 REVIEW: Developing Through the Life Span
Prenatal Development and the Newborn
1: How does life develop before birth?
- Developmental psychologists study physical, mental, and social changes throughout the
life span. The life cycle begins at conception, when one sperm cell unites with an egg to
form a zygote. Attached to the uterine wall, the developing embryo‘s body organs begin
to form and function. By 9 weeks, the fetus is recognizably human. Teratogens are
potentially harmful agents that can pass through the placental screen and harm the
developing embryo or fetus, as happens with fetal alcohol syndrome.
2: What are some newborn abilities, and how do researchers explore infants’ mental
- Newborns are born with sensory equipment and reflexes that facilitate their survival and
their social interactions with adults. For example, they quickly learn to discriminate their
mother‘s smell and sound. Researchers use techniques that test habituation, such as the
novelty-preference procedure, to explore infants‘ abilities.
Infancy and Childhood
3: During infancy and childhood, how do the brain and motor skills develop?
- The brain‘s nerve cells are sculpted by heredity and experience; their interconnections
multiply rapidly after birth. Our complex motor skills—sitting, standing, and walking—
develop in a predictable sequence whose timing is a function of individual maturation
and culture. We lose conscious memories of experiences from before about age 31⁄2, in
part because major areas of the brain have not yet matured.
4: From the perspective of Piaget and of today’s researchers, how does a child’s mind
- Piaget proposed that through assimilation and accommodation, children actively
construct and modify their understanding of the world. They form schemas that help them
organize their experiences. Progressing from the simplicity of the sensorimotor stage of
the first two years, in which they develop object permanence, children move to more
complex ways of thinking. In the preoperational stage they develop a theory of mind
(absent in children with autism), but they are egocentric and unable to perform simple
logical operations. At about age 6 or 7, they enter the concrete operational stage and can
perform concrete operations, such as those required to comprehend the principle of
conservation. By about age 12, children enter the formal operational stage and can reason
systematically. Research supports the sequence Piaget proposed for the unfolding of
human cognition, but it also shows that young children are more capable, and their
development more continuous, than he believed.
5: How do parent-infant attachment bonds form?
- At about 8 months, infants separated from their caregivers display stranger anxiety.
Infants form attachments not simply because parents gratify biological needs but, more
important, because they are comfortable, familiar, and responsive. Ducks and other
animals have a more rigid attachment process, called imprinting, that occurs during a
critical period. Neglect or abuse can disrupt the attachment process. Infants‘ differing
attachment styles reflect both their individual temperament and the responsiveness of
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their parents and child-care providers.
6: How have psychologists studied attachment differences, and what have they learned?
- Attachment has been studied in strange situation experiments, which show that some
children are securely attached and others are insecurely attached. Sensitive, responsive
parents tend to have securely attached children. Adult relationships seem to reflect the
attachment styles of early childhood, lending support to Erikson‘s idea that basic trust is
formed in infancy by our experiences with responsive caregivers.
7: Do parental neglect, family disruption, or day care affect children’s attachments?
- Children are very resilient. But those who are moved repeatedly, severely neglected by
their parents, or otherwise prevented from forming attachments by age 2 may be at risk
for attachment problems. Quality day care, with responsive adults interacting with
children in a safe and stimulating environment, does not appear to harm children‘s
thinking and language skills. Some studies have linked extensive time in day care with
increased aggressiveness and defiance, but other factors—the child‘s temperament, the
parents‘ sensitivity, and the family‘s economic and educational levels and culture—also
8: How do children’s self-concepts develop, and how are children’s traits related to
- Self-concept, a sense of one‘s identity and personal worth, emerges gradually. At 15 to
18 months, children recognize themselves in a mirror. By school age, they can describe
many of their own traits, and by age 8 to 10 their self-image is stable. Parenting styles—
authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative—reflect varying degrees of control. Children
with high self-esteem tend to have authoritative parents and to be self-reliant and socially
competent, but the direction of cause and effect in this relationship is not clear.
9: What physical changes mark adolescence?
- Adolescence is the transition period between puberty and social independence. During
these years, both primary and secondary sex characteristics develop dramatically. Boys
seem to benefit from ―early‖ maturation, girls from ―late‖ maturation. The brain‘s frontal
lobes mature during adolescence and the early twenties, enabling improved judgment,
impulse control, and long-term planning.
10: How did Piaget, Kohlberg, and later researchers describe adolescent cognitive and
- Piaget theorized that adolescents develop a capacity for formal operations and that this
development is the foundation for moral judgment. Kohlberg proposed a stage theory of
moral reasoning, from a pre-conventional morality of self-interest, to a conventional
morality concerned with upholding laws and social rules, to (in some people) a post-
conventional morality of universal ethical principles. Kohlberg‘s critics note that morality
lies in actions and emotions as well as thinking, and that his post-conventional level
represents morality from the perspective of individualist, middle-class males.
11: What are the social tasks and challenges of adolescence?
- Erikson theorized that a chief task of adolescence is solidifying one‘s sense of self—
one‘s identity. This often means ―trying on‖ a number of different roles. During
adolescence, parental influence diminishes and peer influence increases.
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