PSYA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Plantar Reflex, Moro Reflex, Startle Response

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25 Jul 2016
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LECTURE 4: DEVELOPMENT – THE EARLY YEARS
Developmental Psychology
The scientific study of biological, cognitive, social and personality development
throughout the life span
A major issue in developmental psychology is the nature-versus-nurture question
Do our traits and behaviors result from heredity (nature) or the environment (nurture)?
Some Methods
Methods: Cross-Sectional vs Longitudinal Approaches
Cross-sectional Study: Different groups compares at one time; Group A (20 years old),
Group B (50 year olds), Group C (80 years old) = all compared
Longitudinal Study: Same group compared at different times: Group A at age 20 ->
Group A at 50 -> Group A at 80
Prof: Cross-sectional= looking at groups at the same time but different age (determine
sweet spot of memory) PRO: quick, short CON: cohort effects
Prof: Longitudinal Study = same group at different time PRO: slow, better results CON:
takes a long time, results longer, people drop out
Seven Stages of Development
Prenatal  conception to birth
Infancy  birth to 2 years
Childhood  2 -12 years
Adolescence  12-18 years
Young Adults  18-40 years
Middle Adults  40 -65 years
Late Adults  65 years and over
Prenatal Development
Human conception being when a sperm penetrates the membrane of the ovum
When the two combine, a complete set of genetic instruction is formed, half from the
father and half from the mother
The fertilized egg that is formed from the union of the sperm and egg is called a zygote
Brain development is also happening
Stages of Prenatal Development
Germinal  begins with the formation of the zygote and ends after about 2 weeks, when
the outer portion of the zygotes developing cluster of cells has attached itself to the
uterine wall
Embryonic  from 2 weeks to about 2 months, the major structures and organs of the
body begin to develop, and the embryo starts to resemble a human being
Fetal  from about 2 months to birth, the developing organism is called a fetus, and
through very rapid growth, the body structures and organs complete their growth
Influence
Prenatal development is mainly a function of the zygote’s genetic code (nature), but the
environment (nurture) also plays a role
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Teratogens are environmental agents (such as drugs or viruses), diseases (such as
German Measles) and physical conditions (such as malnutrition) that impair prenatal
development and lead to birth defects or even death
Teratogens
Development can be impaired by environment
Important Times in Development
In general, a child’s reaction to their environment depends on their age (and amount of
knowledge)
Critical Periods:
1. Times in development when certain events have an enormous impact
2. The same events have less impact if they occur earlier or later
3. If they happen too late, certain milestones will not be reached and a certain path of
development is set
PROF: Language is very important at a crucial age
Sensitive Periods
Similar to the idea of critical periods, but with less rigid boundaries
During this time, the baby is particularly sensitive to a particular influence (Example:
attachment to parents is more easily formed at an early age)
How we Develop during Infancy
Motor Development
Sensory- Perceptual Development
Motor Development
A reflex is an unlearned response to a specific stimulus
The Babinski reflex occurs when an infant fans her toes upward when her feet are
touched
The grasping reflex occurs when an infant grasps any object that touches their palms
The sucking reflex leads an infant to suck anything that touches its lips
The rooting reflex leads an infant to turn its mouth toward anything that touches its
cheeks and search for something to suck
The Moro reflex aka startle reflex
PROF: babies are born with reflex
Motor Development (LOOK AT SLIDE)
Infancy- Motor Development
No genetic frame
Culture expectations (walking early by force from parents)
Sensory-Perceptual Development
Preferential-looking technique is used to study vision
Two visual stimuli are displayed side by side, and the researcher records how long the
infant looks at each stimulus
If the infant looks at one stimulus longer, it is inferred he can tell the difference
between the two stimuli and has a preference
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