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Chapter 3

PSY311H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Homologous Chromosome, Fragile X Syndrome, Turner Syndrome


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY311H5
Professor
Stuart Kamenetsky
Chapter
3

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Notes From Reading
CHAPTER 3: BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS: ROOTS IN NEURONS AND GENES (PGS. 65-96)
Biological Preparedness for Social Interaction
How Are Babies Prepared?
From Biological Rhythms to Social Rhythms
- A baby’s behaviour follows biological rhythms, which they soon learn to control and regulate. Babies
who acquire biological regulatory skills over the first 3 months of life are able to interact with their
mothers in synchronous way. When infants are born 6-10 weeks prematurely, biological rhythms, such
as the sleep-wake cycle, have not fully developed.
Visual Preparation for Social Interaction
- Infants are attracted to visual social stimuli. They stare longest at objects that have larger visible
elements, movements, clear contours, and a lot of contrast (elements that exist on the human face
hairlines, chins, dark lips, light skin).
- By 3 months, infants can identify a face as a unique whole. They look longer and show more brain
activity in response to faces than objects and in response to their mother’s face rather than a stranger’s.
Auditory Preparedness for Social Interaction
- A baby’s auditory system is well developed even before birth. Babies can even remember a story they
have heard before they were born. Fetuses can distinguish sounds and rhythms and may even be
biologically programmed to respond to the sound of human voices.
- Babies especially like a voice that is high in pitch with exaggerated pitch contours. Infant-directed
speech increases with increases in maternal oxytocin levels, which suggests that this speech is part of a
broader pattern of hormonally based caregiving behaviours designed to attract the infant’s attention.
- Infants also respond to speakers’ emotional tones, responding positively to warm and inviting utterances
and negatively to angry and prohibitory ones. Early auditory skills and preferences thus have functional
significance for social development.
Smell, Taste, and Touch
- Newborns can discriminate among different odours tastes and prefer those that adults find pleasant.
They cry less, open their eyes, and try to suck when they smell their mother’s breast, and they prefer the
odour of their mother’s milk to that of another mother.
- Infants develop preferences for the food flavours consumed by their mothers. One benefit of breast-
feeding is that it provides the opportunity for the infant to become familiar with the flavours of the
foods favoured by the mother, her family, and her culture.
- The sense of touch is one of the first senses to develop. Infants are able to discriminate among objects
using only their sense of touch. It is likely that infants come to recognize their mothers and fathers by
their skin textures and touches as well as the appearance of their facial features.
Beyond Faces and Voices: Primed to be a Social Partner
- By 2 to 3 months of age, infants are enjoying face-to-face play with their parents. They show more
positive facial expression, vocalize more, and exhibit less distress in these interactions than when they
play with toys. Parents model positive emotional expressions and encourage the infant to do the same
-Attunement: A pattern of mutual engagement between caregiver and infant by which the caregiver
maintains attention and responds warmly to the infant’s signals.
- Infants who are exposed prenatally to cocaine have difficulty managing face-to-face interactions and are
more passive and withdrawn and express more negative affect. Mothers who are depressed also have
difficulty and react negatively to infants.
Why Are Babies Prepared?
- Infants are prepared by evolution to expect certain types of environments and to process some
types of information more readily and efficiently than others
- This preparedness is adaptive and useful for ensuring the survival of the human infant and more
generally the species
- Development depends on being born into and reared in a species-typical environment that supports
adaptive behaviours such as the ability to send, receive, and understand social messages
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Notes From Reading
CHAPTER 3: BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS: ROOTS IN NEURONS AND GENES (PGS. 65-96)
The Neurological Basis of Social Development
The Brain
-Cerebrum: The two connected hemispheres of the brain. This mass of tissue is what allows us to
have the attributes that make us human, such as speech and self-awareness, and those that we share
with other vertebrate animals, such as sensory perception, motor abilities, and memories.
-Cerebral Cortex: The covering layer of the cerebrum, which contains the cells that control
specific functions such as seeing, hearing, moving, and thinking
- The limbic system, the set of brain structures that forms the inner border of the cortex, plays a
major role in the regulation of emotion and social behaviour
- The amygdala plays a major role in recognizing fear and surprise expressions
Brain Growth and Development
- Brain development has an orderly sequence during infancy with both gradual continuous changes
and periods of relatively rapid development
oFirst, the motor cortex has growth spurts. As the baby moves from mostly reflexive
behaviours to voluntary control over movements, the motor area of the brain develops
rapidly.
o2 months old: frontal motor cortex undergoes a period of rapid change, and motor reflexes
such as rooting and the startle response disappear and the ability to reach for objects
improves.
o8 months old: another brain growth spurt occurs that is associated with the infant’s abilities
to crawl and to search for hidden objects and people
o12 months: brain spurt is associated with walking
- Development and changes in the visual cortex also occurs in spurts. A growth spurt at 3 months is
associated with looking longer at facelike stimuli than nonface stimuli.
- A growth spurt in the auditory cortex allows the infant to be more sensitive to human vices and
language input from caregivers. Growth between 18-24 months is associated w/ language devel.
- In the 5-7 year period, development of the prefrontal cortex is associated with the development of
executive processes such as attention, inhibitory control, and planning
- Brain changes in adolescence are associated with social behaviour
Hemispheric Specialization
-Cerebral Hemispheres: The two halves of the brain’s cerebrum: left and right
-Corpus Callosum: The band of nerve fibres that connects the two hemispheres of the brain
-Lateralization: The process by which each half of the brain becomes specialized for certain
functions for example, the control of speech and language by the left hemisphere and visual-
spatial processing by the right
- The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and is involved in processing visual-spatial
information, face recognition, emotional expressions and nonspeech sounds (i.e., music)
oDamage to the right side of the brain results in people having trouble completing a task
requiring visual-spatial perception, their drawing skills deteriorate, they have trouble
following a map or recognizing friends, and they become spatially disoriented.
oThe right hemisphere is also involved in processing emotional information. Damage to this
side results in the difficulty interpreting facial expression. Also, damage can sometimes
make people indifferent to or even cheerful about things that would normally upset them.
- The left hemisphere controls simple movement in the right side of the body and is important for
understanding and using language. This side is activated in approach emotions such as joy, interest,
and anger.
oPeople with damage to the left side can recognize a familiar song and tell a stranger’s face
from an old friend’s, but they are likely to have trouble understanding what is being said to
them or speaking clearly.
- Lateralization begins early in life. If child experience a brain injury, they often recover functioning
because their brain is not fully developed and hemispheric specialization is not yet complete.
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