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PSYA02H3 (961)
Chapter 12

Chapter 12

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYA02H3
Professor
Steve Joordens
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 12 – Lifespan Development - Cross-sectional study: individuals of different ages are simultaneously compared with respect to some test or observation - Longitudinal study: compares observations of the same individuals at different times of their lives - Phases of lifespan o Prenatal – age: conception through birth; highlights: rapid physical development of both nervous system and body o Infancy – age: birth – 2 years; highlights: motor development, attachment to primary caregiver o Childhood – age: 18 months – 12 years; highlights: increasing ability to think logically and reason abstractly, refinement of motor skills, peer influences o Adolescence – age 13 years – 20 years; highlights: thinking and reasoning become more adult-like, identity crisis, continued peer influences o Adulthood – age: 20 years – 65 years; highlights: love, committed relationship, career, stability and then decrease in physical abilities o Old age – age: 65 years – death; highlights: reflection on life’s work and accomplishments, physical health deteriorates, prepare for death, death Prenatal Development - Prenatal period: the nine months between conception and birth o Divided into 3 developmental stages: zygotic, embryonic, and fetal - Normal length of pregnancy is 266 days, or 38 weeks - Development depends on genetic contribution from egg and sperm that determines the genotype and genetic ‘instructions’ - Stages of Prenatal Development - Union of ovum and sperm (conception) is the starting point for prenatal development - Zygote stage: first stage of prenatal development, during which the zygote divides many times and the internal organs begin to form o Lasts 2 weeks o Zygote – single cell formed at conception o Consists of around 100 cells after first week and cells arrange in 2 layers, one for hair, skin, nervous system, and sensor organs, and the other for the digestive and respiratory systems and glands o Third layer appears near end of stage that develop into muscles and the circulatory and excretory system - Embryonic stage: second stage of prenatal development, beginning at about 2 weeks and ending about 8 weeks after conception, during which heart begins to beat, brain starts to function, and most of the major body structures begin to form o Zygote transforms into embryo o Fast development o Brain and spinal cord start to function o Embryo is most susceptible to external chemical influences including alcohol and other drugs, or toxins produced by diseases like rubella  Called teratogens o Teratogens: means malformation; substances, agents, and events that can cause birth defects o Beginning of sexual development occurs; 23 chromosome pair determines sex o Gonads turn into ovaries or testes  Presence/ absence of testes determines development of other sex organs o Androgens: primary class o sex hormones in males; most important androgen is testosterone o Development of female sex organs (uterus, vagina, labia) occurs naturally; doesn’t need to be stimulated by hormones - Fetal stage: third and final stage of prenatal development, lasts for about 7 months, beginning with the appearance of bone tissue and ending with birth o Fetus is about 4 cm by end of 2 month and weighs about 30 g o Development of major organs is completed and bones and muscles start to develop by end of 3 month; is now 8 cm and 90 g o May show movement (kicking) o By end of 4 month, fetus is about 15 cm and 170 g  Now sleeping and waking regularly o Movements are strong enough to be felt by mother, and heartbeat is loud enough to be heard through stethoscope; light and sound sensitivity th o During 6 month fetus is 30 cm and 700 g o During last 2 months, fetus gains around 250 g per week o On average about 50 cm and 3.5 kg - Threats to Normal Prenatal Development - Most important factor in fetus’s development is the mother’s diet – what she eats is the fetus’s only source of nutrition - If mother is malnourished, the fetus’s nervous system develops abnormally, and intellectual deficits may result - Teratogens can cause birth defects - Taking drugs is a behavior that is completely controlled by the mother - Tetracycline can cause irregularities in bones and discoloration of teeth - Cocaine produces increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and smaller head circumference o Some babies are born addicted, and show withdrawal symptoms like hyperactivity, irritability, tremors, and vomiting - Cigarette smoking reduces supply of oxygen, increases rate of miscarriages, low-birth weight babies, increased chance of premature birth, and more births by C-section o Disability with processing speech sounds and may be related to behavior problems - Alcohol use can cause pre- and postnatal birth deficits, deformations of eyes and mouth, low brain mass, other brain and central nervous system abnormalities, and heart deformation o Fetal alcohol syndrome - Some teratogens are hard to avoid – chemicals in the environment due to pollution and pesticides Physical and Perceptual Development in Infancy and Childhood - Infant and toddler refers to babies up to the age of 2 - They quickly develop skills that shape the behavior of the adults with whom they interact - Motor Development - Normal motor development is dictated by maturation of the muscles and the nervous system - Maturation: any relatively stable change in thought, behavior, or physical growth that is due to the aging process and not to experience - An infant’s most important movements at birth are reflexes o Automatic movements in response to stimuli - Most important reflexes – rooting, sucking, and swallowing - Turning head to direction of where baby was touched – rooting - Object making contact with baby’s lips should make baby open their mouth and suck on it - Swallowing when milk, or another liquid enters baby’s mouth - Development of motor skills require maturation of child’s nervous system, and practice - Perceptual Development - At the time of birth, a child’s senses are already functioning - Auditory can detect sound, bright light will elicit closing and opening of eyes and squinting, cold objects/ pinching will result in crying due to sense of touch, flailing of arms and legs shows sense of balance, sense of taste due to different facial expressions and choosing to swallow or not depending on if they like the food or not etc o Form Perception o Baby’s gaze is ‘trapped’ to the edges of a figure rather than its insides o By the age of 1 or 2 months,, babies don’t perceive complete shapes, their scanning strategy is limited to fixations on a few parts of the objects at which they are looking o By 3 months, babies show clear signs of pattern recognition o By 4 or 5 months, they can discriminate between different faces o Distance Perception o Ability to perceive 3-d space comes at an early age o Gibson and Walk placed 6 month old babies on a ‘visual cliff’  One side is a platform containing a checkerboard pattern that adjoins a glass shelf mounted 3 or 4 feet over a floor covered by the pattern  Babies were scared they were going to fall o Perception of depth occurs when two images are fused through visual processing  Stereopsis/ ‘sold vision’ o Critical and Sensitive Periods in Perceptual Development o Critical period: specific time in development during which certain experiences must occur for normal development to occur o Sensitive period: period of time during which certain experience have more of n effect on development than they would have if they occurred at another time  i.e. acquisition of a second language Cognitive Development in Infancy and Childhood - Nervous systems mature and they undergo new experiences - Perceptual and motor skills develop in complexity and competency - Children learn to recognize people and their voices, and learn how to solve problems - The Importance of a Responsive Environment - Cognitive development is the process by which infants get to know things about themselves and their world - First step is for baby to learn that events in the environment can be dependent on its own behavior - Watson and Ramsey – presented 3 groups of infants with a mobile 10 minutes per day for 14 days and placed a pillow containing a pressure-sensitive switch under their heads o Group 1 – mobile automatically rotated whenever the infant moved its head and activated the switch o Group 2 – mobile remained stationary o Group 3 – mobile intermittently moved on its own (but not in response to movement o baby’s head) - Group 1 believed they controlled the mobile - J.F. was an orphan adopted and was diagnosed with autism, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, attachment disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome - The Work of Piaget - Swiss researcher who viewed cognitive development as a maturational process - Considered himself a philosopher concerned with the development of knowledge rather than a developmental psychologist - Made observations of his own children - Completion of one period is the prerequisite to the next period - Operation: logical or mathematical rule that transforms an object or concept into something else o Invertible – can be reversed - Schema is a mental framework that organizes and synthesizes information about a person, place, or thing - Infants acquire schema by interacting with their environment - 2 processes help a child adapt to their environment: assimilation and accommodation - Assimilation: process by which new information about the world s incorporated into existing schema - Accommodation: process by which existing schemata are modified or changed by new experiences - Piaget’s Four Period of Cognitive Development - Equilibration: process within Piaget’s theory that reorganizes schemata - Sensorimotor period: first stage in Piaget’s theory; lasts from birth to 2 years and is marked by an orderly progression of increasingly complex cognitive development: reflexes, permanence, a rough approximation of causality, imitation and symbolic thinking o Cognition is closely tied to external stimulation, including that produced by physical objects and people o Development of object permanence  Object permanence: idea that objects do not disappear when they are out of sight o Thinking is inseparable from action or behavior – thinking is doing o Children start developing more complex concepts during last half of first year  Investigate properties of objects; realize that an object can change its visual shape and still be the same object; contain rule of object permanence - Preoperational period: second stage in Piaget’s theory; represents a 4-5 year transitional period between first being able to think symbolically and then being able to think logically; children become increasingly capable of speaking meaningful sentences o Ages 2-7 o Rapid development of language ability and ability to represent things symbolically o Learns to count and manipulate numbers o Words are symbols – signs o Egocentrism: self-centredness; preoperational children can see the world only from their own perspective o Schemas do not permit invertible operations o Conservation: understanding that specific properties of objects (height, weight, volume, length) remain the same despite apparent changes in the shape or arrangement of those objects - Concrete operations period: third period in Piaget’s theory; children come to understand the conservation principle and other concepts, such as categorization o Ages 7-11 o Characterized by emergence of ability to perform logical analysis, by an increased ability to empathize with the feelings and attitudes of others, and by an understanding of more complex cause-and-effect relations o Child becomes more skilled at use of symbolic thought - Formal operations period: fourth period of Piaget’s theory; individuals first become capable of more formal kinds of abstract thinking and hypothetical reasoning o Age 11 and up o Understand that their behavior can have different consequences o Not everyone reaches this stage - Evaluation of Piaget’s Contributions - He did not always define his terms operationally o Difficult for others to interpret the significance of his generalizations - Many of his studies lack proper controls o Much of his work was not experimental; cause-and-effect relations among variables cannot be identified with certainty - Child’s ability to understand conservation of various physical attributes occurs earlier than Piaget supposed has been suggested - Underestimated young children’s ability to understand another person’s point of view - Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development - Experience with the physical world is an important factor - The culture in which a child lives also plays a significant role in the child’s cognitive development - Cultural context matters (what they hear about what others say about the world and how it works) - Use of speech influences their cognitive development o Language is the basis for cognitive development, including the ability to remember, solve problems, make decisions, and formulate plans - Inner speech represents the internalization of words and the mental manipulation of them as symbols for objects in the environment - 2 themes of Vygotsky’s theory: interconnection between thought and language, and the importance of society and culture - Actual developmental level: stage of cognitive development reached by a child, as demonstrated by the child’s ability to solve problems on his or her own - Zone of proximal development: the increased potential for problem solving and conceptual ability that exists for a child f expert mentoring and guidance are available - Applying Information Processing Models to Cognitive Development - Memory - Piaget – infants younger than 6 months do not encode objects, therefore they can’t remember them - Rovee-Collier – used a similar experiment to the mobile and attached a ribbon to the infants leg and mobile o If infant started kicking after being shown the mobile later on without the ribbon, it
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