Chapter 10 L ▯ ife Span Development
Baby’s cries are characteristic of the accent of their native tongue.
Developmental Phycology – Is the study of change of human physiology, cognitive, social,
and behavioral characteristics across the life span.
▯ Methods of Measuring Development
Psychologists usually rely of a few different designs to measure how psychological traits and
abilities change over time.
1) Crosssectional Design – Is used to measure and compare people at different ages
at a given point in time.
Advantage of convenience.
2) Longitudinal Design – Follow development of the same set of individuals though
time (can last decades).
Costly and time consuming, participants may quit.
Developmental studies determine what is “normal” for a given age; the onset on language and at
what time memory will decline.
Determine whether an individual may have a problem that needs to be addresses.
Rapid changes are explained by a model that views development as a process of abrupt
transitions in physical and mental skills, followed by slower more gradual changes.
Pattern happens in a series of changes.
Adults tend to change at a slower steadier pace, called Continuous change.
Interaction between genetics and environment determine developmental processes.
▯ The Importance of Sensitive Period
Sensitive Period – Window of time during which exposure to a specific environment is needed
for normal development of a specific ability.
Longterm deficits can form, such as language inputs, if missing during sensitive period.
▯ Fertilization and Gestation
An individual’s development does not begin at birth but throughout pregnancy (gestation). Germinal Stage The first stage in prenatal development that spans from conception to 2
Begin with fertilization with the formation of a zygote.
Blastocysts move along the fallopian tubes and are implanted in the uterus.
Embryonic Stage Spans from 2 weeks to 8 weeks.
Embryo starts to develop major physical structures; heart, nervous system, arm, legs, hands, and
Fetal Stage – Spans fro 8 weeks to birth.
Skeletal, organs, and nervous system become more developed and specialized.
▯ Fetal Brain Development
The beginning of the human brain can be seen during the embryonic stage.
Preterm Infants Born 36 weeks or earlier (37 weeks normal pregnancy).
May result in some cognitive and physical problems, which can be reduced/eliminated with
▯ Nutrition, Teratogens, and Fetal Development
Nutrition is critical for normal fetal development.
Pregnant women require a 20% increase in energy intake.
Eat foods high in calcium and protein.
Teratogens Substances, such as drugs, that is capable of producing physical defects.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – Involve abnormalities is mental functioning, growth, and facial
Smoking can increase the risk of miscarriage or death during infancy.
30% chance of premature birth.
Infant Death Syndrome An unexpected and not directly explainable death of a child
younger than 1.
▯ Sensory and Motor Abilities of Newborns
Can see 1215 inches away at birth
Have 20/20 vision by 6 months. • The Rooting Reflex
Elicited by stimulation to the corner of the mouth, causing the infant to position
themselves toward stimulation and make sucking motions.
Helps infant begin feeding directly after birth.
• The Moro Reflex
Also known as the “startle” reflex occurs when infants lose support of their head, they
reach their arms outwards and inwards in a hugging motion.
May be a protective reflex.
• The Grasping Reflex
Elicited by stimulating the infants palm.
▯ Physical Change in Infancy and Childhood
Infant abilities to move occur in stages – from crawling, to standing, and finally to walking.
Structure of brain are present at birth but they develop into adulthood.
In childhood there is junctions between connecting nerve cells.
The formation of billions of synapses (space between neurons) through a process called
synaptogenesis occurs through infancy and childhood
Synaptic Pruning also occurs, which is the loss of weak nerve cell connections
accelerating brain development.
▯ Cognitive Changes: Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory
Cognitive Development – The study of changes in memory, thought, and reasoning
processes that occur throughout life.
Jean Piaget was interested in explaining how different ways of thinking and reasoning developed.
According to his knowledge accumulates by 2 processes:
1) Assimilation – Children add new information but interpret based on what they already
2) Accommodation – Children modify their belief structures based on experience.
Piaget’s observations revealed that cognitive development was not a long continuous process, but
they occurred in 4 stages.
Concrete operational stage
Formal operational stage ▯ The Sensorimotor Stage
Birth to 2 years
Period in which infants thinking and understanding is based on sensory experiences and actions
performed on objects
Only understand what they can see and feel at a given moment.
May not understand that an object continues to exist when it is removed from sight.
Object Permanence – The ability to understand that an object exists even when they cannot
see or touch it.
▯ The Preoperational Stage
2 to 7 years old
Characterized by understanding of symbols, pretend play, and masters the concept of
Conservation – The knowledge that the amount of the object is not related to the physical
arrangement and appearance.
If 14 pennies were arranged in separate rows (7 per row) the child would think that the row with
more spaces between the pennies contained more.
▯ The Concrete Operational Stage
Conservation one of the main skills marking transition to concrete optional stage.
7 to 11 years old
Children develop skills in using and manipulating numbers as well as logical thinking.
Can classify objects based on size, value, and shape.
Recognize that is X is larger that Y, and Y is larger than Z, than X must therefo