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Chapter 11

PSYA02 - Chapter 11

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Steve Joordens

PSYA02 – Chapter 11 – Development - Development Psychology: The study of continuity and change across the life span Prenatality: A Womb with a View - Prenatal stage of development ends with birth - About twelve hours after the sperm reaches the egg, the nuclei of the sperm and egg merge & the prenatal development of a unique human being begins Prenatal Development - Zygote: A fertilized egg that contains chromosomes from both a sperm and an egg o Has one thing in common with the person – gender  Human sperm cells contain 23 chromosomes, egg contains 23 chromosomes; total of 46 chromosomes  These chromosomes contains genes that provide the blueprint for all biological development  If the egg fertilized by a sperm that carries a “Y” chromosome – Male, “X” chromosome – Female - Germinal Stage: The 2-week period of prenatal development that begins at conception o During this stage the one-celled zygote begins to divide o The zygote migrates back down the fallopian tube and implants itself in the wall of the uterus  About half of all zygotes don’t complete this journey (Defective or implantation in a bad place); male zygotes are especially unlikely to complete this journey, however no one knows why - Embryonic Stage: A period that lasts form second week until about the eighth week o Just an inch long, already has a beating heart and other body parts (arms and legs)  Embryos with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome begin to produce a hormone called testosterone (masculinises their reproductive organs) and embryos with two X chromosomes do not - Fetal Stage: A period that lasts from the ninth week until birth o Has skeleton an muscles that make it capable of movement o During last 3 months of fetal stage, size of fetus increases rapidly; developing a layer of insulating fat beneath its skin, digestive and respiratory systems mature o Cells that become the brain divide quickly around third and fourth week after conception; more or less complete by 6 month o Myelination: The formation of a fatty sheath around the axons of a neuron; insulates brain cells and prevents the leakage of neural signals that travel along the axon o Newborn human’s brain size is only 25% of its adult size, 75% of development occurs outside the womb  Human brain size has tripled in size in just 2 million years of evolution Prenatal Environment - Womb is an environment that influences development in a multitude of ways o Placenta: The organ that physically links the bloodstreams of the mother and the developing embryo or fetus and permits the exchange of material - Children of mothers who received insufficient nutrition during pregnancy tend to have both physical and psychological problems o Increased risk of schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder - Teratogens: Agents that damage the process of development o Includes environmental poisons (lead in water, paint dust, mercury in fish, alcohol, smoking) - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Developmental disorder that stems from heavy alcohol use by the mother during pregnancy o Children with FAS have a variety of distinctive facial features, brain abnormalities and cognitive deficits - Babies whose mothers are smokers have lower birth weights o More likely to have perceptual and attentional problems in childhood o 2 hand smoke can lead to reduced birth weight and deficits in attention and learning - The embryo is more vulnerable to teratogens than is the fetus o Structures such as “central nervous system” remain vulnerable throughout the entire prenatal period - A human baby’s brain is operating even as it is being built, a developing fetus can sense stimulation and learn from it o Fetus can hear its mother’s heartbeat, gastrointestinal sounds associated with digestion and her voice Infancy and Childhood: Becoming a Person - Infancy: The stage of development that begins at birth and lasts between 18 and 24 months Perceptual and Motor Developments - Newborns have been shown to mimic facial expressions in their very first hour of life - Motor Development: Emergence of the ability to execute physical actions such as reading, grasping, crawling and walking - Reflexes: Specific patterns of motor response that are triggered by specific patterns of sensory stimulation o Rooting Reflex—The tendency for infants to move their mouths toward any object that touches their cheek o Sucking Reflex – The tendency to suck any object that enters their mouth - Development of more sophisticated behaviours ten to obey two general rules o 1. Cephalocaudal Rule (The top-to-bottom rule): The tendency for motor skills to emerge in sequence from the head to the feet  Infants gain control over their heads first, arms and trunks, and then legs last o 2. Proximodistal Rule (The inside-to-outside rule): The tendency for motor skills to emerge in sequence from the center to the periphery  Babies learn to control their trunks before elbows and knees, elbows and knees before their hands and feet - Motor skills emerge in a sequences but not on a strict timetable o Timing of these skills is influenced by many factors: baby’s incentive for reaching, body weight, muscular development, general level of activity - While all infants learn skills such as reaching, different infants accomplish this goal in different ways Cognitive Development th - 20 century, Jean Piaget interested in knowing if babies could think o Noticed children of precisely the same age made the same mistakes, but also stopped making the same mistakes around the same time - Cognitive Development: Emergence of the ability to think and understand o How the physical world works o How their minds represent it o How other minds represent it Discovering the World - Piagest suggested cognitive development occurs in four stages o Sensorimotor stage o Preoperational stage o Concrete operational stage o Formal operational stage - Sensorimotor stage: A stage of development that beings at birth and last through infancy o Infants use their ability of sense and ability to move to acquire information about the world they live o Using their eyes, mouths and fingers, infants begin to construct schemas: theories about or models of the way the world works - Assimilation: When infants apply their schemas in novel situations o Ex. Tugging on a stuffed animal causes the toy to come closer - Accommodation: When infants revise their schemas in light of new information - Infants do not have the idea of “object permanence” (the idea that objects continue to exist even when they are not visible o However, infants clearly do not think of the world only in terms for its visible parts, at some level they “know” that objects continue to exist even when they are out of sight Discovering the Mind - Childhood: The stage of development that begins at about 18 to 24 months and lasts until adolescence, which begins between 11 to 14 years - According to Piaget, childhood consists of two stages o 1. Preoperational stage: The stage of development that begins at about 2 years and ends at about 6 years  Learns about physical or “concrete” objects o 2. Concrete Operational Stage: Stage of development that begins at about 6 years and ends at about 11 years  Learns how various actions or “operations” can affect or transform those objects - Conservation: Notion that the quantitative properties are invariant despite changes in the objects appearance - Why don’t preoperational children seem to grasp the notion of conservation? o Children have several tendencies to explain their mistakes  1. Centration: The tendency to focus on just one property of an object to the exclusion of all others  2. Reversibility  3. They do not fully grasp the fact that they have minds and that these minds contain mental representations of the world  Ex. A wagon can be red, but may look gray at duck. Children may only think that it’s either red or gray. - Formal Operational Stage: Stage of development that begins around the age of 11 and lasts through adulthood o People who move onto this stage are able to reason systematically about abstract concepts such as liberty and love & events that will happy, might happen and never happen. o Ability to generate, consider, reason about, or otherwise operate on abstract objects is the hallmark of formal operations Discovering Other Minds - Egocentrism: The failure to understand that the world appears differently to different observers Perceptions and Beliefs - Egocentrism colours children’s understanding of others, and also colorus their understanding of themselves - Research suggest that even adults have trouble believing that others see the world differently than they do Desires and Emotions - Even very young children seen to understand that other people have different desires o Ex. A 2 year old who likes dogs can understand that other children don’t - Children take a long time to understand that other people have emotional reactions unlike their own - It is only about 6 years of age that children understand that because they and others have different knowledge, they and others may also experience different emotions in the same situation Theory of Mind - Theory of Mind: The idea that human behaviour is guided by mental representations - Two groups of children lag far behind their peers in acquiring this understanding o 1. Autism  Affect 1 in 2 500 children  Typically have difficulty communicating with other people and making friends  They have difficulty understanding the inner life of people; do not seem to understand that other people can have false beliefs, belief-based emotions, or self-conscious emotions (embarrassment, shame)  Until children acquire a theory of mind, they are not generally susceptible to the phenomenon of “contagious yawning”; people with autism are especially unlikely to “catch” other people’s yawn o 2. Deaf children whose parents do not know sign language  Slow to learn to communicate because they do not have ready access to any form of conventional language, this restriction slows the development of their understanding of the minds  They display difficulties in understanding false beliefs even at age 5 or 6 - The age that children acquire theory of mind is influenced by a variety of factors: number of siblings, frequency with the child engages in pretend play, whether the child has an imaginary companion, socioeconomic status of the child’s family, language skills (most important) o Children’s language skills are an excellent predictor on how well they perform on false belief tests, along with the way parents talk to their children o Some psychologists believe children benefit from hearing “want, think, know, sad” others suggest children benefit from grammatically complex sentences, some believe caregivers who use psychological words are also more effective in getting children to reflect mental states Piaget Remixed - Modern psychologists see development as a more continuous and less step-like progression - Children who are transitioning between stages may perform more mature behaviours one day and less mature behaviours the next - New experimental procedures have detected some evidence of object permanence understanding in 13 month old infants Discovering Our Cultures - Lev Vygotsky (Russian psychologist), believed that cognitive development was l
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