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Chapter 4

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY210H5
Professor
Elizabeth Johnson
Semester
Winter

Description
[LECTURE 3] CHAPTER 4:  SENSANTION,  PERCEPTION, AND  LEARNING THE NEWBORN I. Neonate: a new born baby A NEW BABY’S REFLEXES I. Newborns have well developed reflexes and sensory responses II. Can respond and adapt to the environment from the first moments after birth III. First behavs to appear are reflexes (involuntary responses to external stimuli) a. Some are permanent (blinking) and others disappear or are replaced by voluntary behavs (ex. rooting and sucking reflexes) b. Many reflexes help ensure baby’s survival i. Ex. blinking helps shield eyes from strong light IV. Abnormalities in reflexes a. Can be useful indicators for identifying visual and hearing problems b. Can be a sign of neurological problems INFANT STATES I. Infant state: a recurring pattern of arousal in the newborn ranging from alert, vigorous, wakeful activity, to quiet, regular sleep II. Indicate that human behav is organized and predictable, and that human beings are not passive creatures that merely react to the environment III. Arousal patterns begin to form before birth IV. 2 basic infant states a. Waking and sleeping b. Each state includes variations SLEEP I. Newborn sleeps 70% of the time on average in a series of long and short naps II. By 4 weeks – fewer but longer periods of sleep III. 8 weeks – sleeping more during the night and less during the day IV. End of first year – sleep through the night V. Differences in sleep patterns across cultures a. Sleeping arrangements i. some cultures – infants with sleep with parents ii. cribs placed by parents’ bed iii. co-sleeping arrangements may have benefits 1. sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) a. sudden and unexpected death of an otherwise apparently healthy infant under 1 year of age; death remains unexplained after all known and possible causes of death have been ruled out VI. REM and non-REM sleep a. Rapid eye movement i. Characterized by rapid, jerky movements of the eyes and, in adults, often associated with dreaming ii. Fluctuating heart rate and blood pressure iii. Functional value – if people are awakened repeatedly as they begin REM sleep and thus prevented from obtaining sleep of this type, they tend to be irritable and disorganized later iv. Newborns get a lot of REM sleep (50%) v. As children age, REM sleep declines to about 20% when they reach adulthood vi. Autostimulation theory: theory that during REM sleep the infant’s brain stimulates itself and that this, in turn, stimulates early development of the central nervous system 1. As infant becomes more alert and capable of processing external stimulation, this built-in stimulation is no longer necessary 2. Speed with which the infants reduce their percentage of REM sleep should depend on how much external stimulation they receive C RYING I. Earliest means of communicating needs to caregiver II. Pattern characteristics: a. Basic i. Linked to hunger ii. Starts arrhythmically and at low intensity iii. Gradually becomes louder and more rhythmic iv. Sequence: cry-rest-inhale-rest b. Angry i. Removal of pacifier or toy ii. Same as above but segments of crying, resting, and inhaling vary at length iii. Crying segments are longer c. Pain i. Discomfort from soiled diaper, a pin prick, stomach pain ii. Sudden in onset iii. Loud from the start iv. Made up of a long cry followed by a long silence that includes holding of the breath, then followed by a series of short, gasping inhalations III. Most mothers can distinguish types of cries but only of their own baby IV. People used to think responding to cries would spoil the baby and encourage them to cry a. 70s research shows the opposite b. Delaying response to unimportant cries makes baby more self sufficient V. Crying patterns can also be a helpful diagnostic tool that alerts pediatricians to possible abnormalities a. Colic i. Prolonged period of unexplained crying in an infant ii. Usually harmless but could indicate an illness like a hernia HOW TO SOOTHE AN INFANT INFANTS ’ A BILITIES TO  S OOTHE  T HEMSELVES I. Sucking a. Even in utero b. Sucking on thumb and hand c. May have soothing effect b/c when baby sucks its overall body movements are lessened H OW  PARENTS  SOOTHE  THEIR  B ABIES I. Infants pay more attention to events in a calm but alert state II. Sucking can soothe infants, pacifiers may be used with young infants III. Other techniques: soothing, rocking, swaddling, massaging EVALUATING THE NEWBORN’S HEALTH AND CAPABILITIES I. Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale a. A scale used to measure an infant’s sensory and perceptual capabilities, motor development, range of states, and ability to regulate these states b. Indicates whether the brain and the central nervous system are properly regulating autonomic responsivity c. Used to identify infants at risk for developmental problems and can aid in diagnosing neurological impairment d. Useful for predicting later development e. Cross-cultural research i. Baby’s behaviour during the Brazelton assessment may predict later parent-infant interaction ii. Carrying children in a sling = superior motor performance in babies (Gusii community of West Africa) THE INFANT’S SENSORY AND PERCEPTUAL  CAPACITIES I. Sensation: the detection of stimuli by the sensory receptors II. Perception: the interpretation of sensations in order to make them meaningful III. Researchers have discovered that babies’ sensory and perceptual capabilities are quite well developed even at birth allowing infants to begin adapting immediately to environment IV. Sensory and perceptual systems may be biologically prepared to process and respond to social stimuli V. Interdependence among various sensory and perceptual systems (vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch) a. Advances in one may trigger changes in another UNLOCKING THE SECRETS OF BABIES’ SENSORY CAPABILITIES I. To study an infant’s sensory capabilities, researchers have relied on information from the autonomic nervous system (controls involuntary bodily functions like heart rate and breathing) II. Used infants’ well developed sucking pattern to measure sensory abilities a. Sucking patterns can change in intensity or duration in response to input from the environment b. Violation-of-expectation method i. Introduces an unusual or impossible sight (ex. object floating in space) ii. If baby responds by altering behaviour (ex. slowing down or stopping rate of sucking), it suggests that the baby knows something about how objects work and that this expectation has been violated iii. Can determine that the baby has discriminated or detected a difference among the different stimuli presented III. Visual preference method a. A method of studying infants’ abilities to distinguish one stimulus from another by measuring the length of time they spend attending to different stimuli b. Pioneered by Robert Fantz c. Present infant w/ two stimuli and measure amount of time that she spends looking at each d. If looks at one longer, can assume that she can distinguish between the two stimuli and that she finds one more interesting or complex IV. Assessment of baby’s abilities depends on infants’ tendency to habituate to a stimulus when it’s presented repeatedly a. Habituation: process by which an individual reacts with less and less intensity to a repeatedly presented stimulus, eventually responding only faintly or not at all HEARING I. Newborn’s hearing is extremely well developed a. Auditory system develops before birth b. Even before birth, infant can hear complex sounds presented outside the mother’s body c. Sounds are carried through the amniotic fluid to the fetus as a series of vibrations d. Infants may learn and remember what was read to them before they were born e. Less sensitive to low pitched sounds II. Auditory localization a. The ability to determine from where in space a sound is originating b. Babies turn their head toward the sound of a rattle III. Perceive many different aspects of musical structure a. infants sensitive to changes in melodies that alter the overall pattern of rises and falls in pitch b. can categorize melodies based on their underlying metric structure c. can distinguish melodies based on both Western and Javanese scales (adults do better with Western) i. suggests that culture specific experience enhances ability to process one type of scale over the other d. human auditory system may be programmed for special sensitivity to the sound of human voices i. prefer sound of human voice over other sounds ii. infants show increased arousal in response to hearing their mothers’ singing iii. babies can distinguish their mothers’ voices from those of other females 1. facilitates bond b/w mother and child VISION I. newborns can detect changes in brightness, distinguish movement in the visual field, and follow or track a moving object w/ eyes T HE  CLARITY  OF  NFANTS ’ VISION I. visual acuity: sharpness of vision; clarity with which fine details can be discerned a. can test by seeing how sensitive a baby is to visual details such as the width or density of a set of stripes b. achieve adult levels by year 5 H OW  BABIES  PERCEIVE  C OLORS I. limited color vision but can perceive some aspects of colour early in life II. newborn infants of one day can only discriminate coloured or chromatic stimuli from non coloured or achromatic ones III. 3 first months of life – distinguish among reds, blues, greens a. Show spontaneous color preference (pref for stimuli that are blue, purple, and red IV. 4 months of life – color vision similar to adults H OW  BABIES  PERCEIVE  PATTERNS I. Nativist/biological position a. Pattern perception is innate b. Visual world of an infant is organized into patterns II. Empiricist/environmental position a. A baby sees merely unrelated lines, angles, and edges b. Gradually learns through experience to perceive larger patterns III. Most research findings a. Both learning and experience are required to see patterns in an adult manner IV. Study – infrared camera used to determine where on a triangle newborns directed their eyes a. Newborn’s gaze not distributed over the whole triangle as an adult’s b. Attention centered on one of the angles c. Cannot conclude that babies perceive whole forms d. 2 months – visually trace both the edges of a pattern and internal areas e. 3 months – almost as good as adults at picking unified patterns out of general movement A P REFERENCE  FOR  FACES I. Faces are complex patterns a. Each face is different and can be viewed from many different angles b. Infants’ ability to develop faces develops rapidly in the first year i. Aided by innate preference for human faces II. Early and rapid changes in face perception are evident in how babies scan faces a. 1 month old – tend to scan the outer contours of the face like any other visual pattern b. 2 month old – concentrate on internal features III. Faces may have an abundance of perceptual qualities like contour, contrast, and movement that are intrinsically appealing to the infant IV. Pattern of information in faces could be preferred by newborns a. Ex. the number of high contrast areas b. Suggests that rather than being born with sensitivity to human faces, babies may be biased toward particular types of patterns that happen to coincide with the
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