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PSYA02H3 (961)
Chapter 10

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Steve Joordens

10.1 Methods, Concepts and Prenatal Development  Developmental Psychology - is the study of change and stability of human physical, cognitive, social and behavioural characteristics across the life span  Measuring Developmental Trends: Methods and Patterns  Methods of Measuring Development  Cross Sectional Design - is used to measure and compare samples of people at different ages at a given point in time  ex. examining the effects of premature birth on learning and thinking abilities from infancy through adulthood, in recruiting volunteers one way would be to compare people of different age group say, group of 1-, 5-, 10- 20-years who were born prematurely  Longitudinal Design - follows the development of the same set of individuals through time  ex. you might indentify a set of 50 infants and measure their cognitive development annually over the course of 20 years  can be costly and time consuming, and participant can choose to no longer take part in experiment  Figure 10.1 pg. 347  it is more cost-efficient to compare people of different ages at once rather than to follow the same individual for say twenty years  One issues to consider in cross sectional design is the potential for cohort effects  Cohort Effects - are consequences of being born in a particular year or narrow range of years  'cohort' and 'generation' refer to similar things in this context  Differences across age cohorts can be due to numerous factors including societal nutritional medical, and many other influences on both physical and behavioural development  Longitudinal Design avoid the problems associated with cohort effects  Developmental studies yield important data, and can help research and clinicians identify what is 'normal' of a given age, such as the normal age range for the onset of language or the typical age at which memory decline might be expected  Patterns of Development: Stages and Continuity  Psychologist describe this pattern of change as a series of stages  the transition from stage to stage is very much like a growth spurt, except marked by a rapid shifts in thinking and behaving rather than size  Stages are more than increases in size, speed, or amount; they also represent a fundamental shift in the type of abilities  this understanding can be seen in developmental milestones of motor developments such as crawling, standing, and walking  Adults tend to change at a slower, steadier pace - what developmental psychologist would call continuous change  The Importance of Sensitive Periods  Sensitive Period - is a window of time during which exposure to a specific type of environmental stimulation is needed for normal development of a specific ability  Long term deficits can emerge if the needed simulation such as language input, is missing during sensitive period  Prenatal to Newborns: From one Cell to Billions  Fertilization and Gestation  development does not begin at birth; genetics and environment begin to shape an individual throughout pregnancy (also called gestation)  Germinal Stage - is the first phase of prenatal development and spans from conception to two weeks  Zygote - a cell formed by the fusion of a sperm and an ovum (egg cell).  zygote begins dividing, first into two cell, then into four, then eight, and so on.As zygote develops, we can measure its developmental progress by its gestational age - the estimated time since fertilization  at a gestational age of six days, the zygote is now called a blastocyst, contains between 50 - 150 non specialized cells  blastocyst moves along the fallopian tubes and becomes implanted in the lining of the uterus  soon after implantation, the blastocyst divides into a group of cell that continues developing into an embryo, and another group that form the placenta the structure that allows oxygen and nutrients to pass to the fetus and waste to leave the fetus  Embryonic Stage - spans weeks two through eight, during which time the embryo begins developing major physical structures such as the heart and nervous systems, as well as the beginnings of arms, legs, hands, and feet  Foetal Stage - spans week eight through birth, during which time the skeletal, organ, and nervous system become more developed and specialized.  muscles develop and fetus begins to move  sleeping and waking cycles start and the senses become fine-tuned even to the point where the fetus is responsive to external cues  Fetal Brain Development  Human brain development is an extremely lengthy process - spanning all the way to early adulthood.  beginning of human brain can be seen during the embryonic stage, between the second and third weeks of gestation  cells that are genetically programmed to create the nervous system migrate to their appropriate sites and begin to differentiate into nerve cell  first sign o the major division of the brain - forebrain, the midbrain, and the midbrain, are apparent beginning at only four weeks' gestation,  During final months of pregnancy, a fatty tissue called myelin sheath builds up around developing nerve cells, a process called myelination  Myelin insulates nerve cell, enabling them to conduct message more rapidly and efficiently  FIGURE 10.2  TABLE 10.1 PG 350  FIGURE 10.3 PG 351  What do we know about premature births  preterm infants - are born at 36 week or earlier  can be extremely underweight, and vital regions of the brain and body may be underdeveloped  preterm infant born at 25 weeks only has a slightly better than 50% chance of surviving  fetal development happens very quickly, so survival rates reach 95% at around 30 weeks of gestation which is still well short of full term delivery  Nutrition, Teratogens,And Fetal Development  Pregnant women typically require an almost 20% increase in energy intake during pregnancy, including foods high in protein and calcium  Teratogen - is a substance, such as a drug, that is capable of producing physical defects  defects typically appear at birth or shortly after  expectant mother who take certain medication such as those used to treat epilepsy, are typically advised to stop taking the medication at some point during pregnancy  FetalAlcohol Syndrome - involves abnormalities in mental functioning, growth, and facial development in the offspring of women who use alcohol during pregnancy  this condition occurs in approx one per 1000 births worldwide, but is also underreported  alcohol, like many other substances, readily passes through the placental membranes, leaving the developing fetus vulnerable to its effects  smoking can also expose the developing fetus to teratogens, by decreasing blood oxygen and raises uterine concentration of poisonous nicotine and carbon monoxide, increasing the risk of miscarriage or death during infancy  babies born to mothers who smoke are twice as likely to have low birth weights and have a 30% chance of premature birth  babies exposed to smoke are also as much as three times as likely to die from the mysterious and tragic phenomenon known as infant death syndrome  the same phenomenon is also at risk to expecting mothers exposed to second hands smoke  children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are also at greater risk for having problems with some aspects of emotional developmental and impulse control  Sensory and Motor Abilities of Newborns  for babies, sensory experiences, and learning occurs before birth  by month four of prenatal development, the brain starts receiving signals from the eye and ears  by seven to eight months of gestation, no only can infants hear, but they also seem to be actively listening  psychologist have determined that infants can see object up to only 12 -15 inches away at birth, and receive 20/20 capacity at around 6 - 12 months  can discriminate different colour by at least two months  by 8 months infants can usually perceive basic shapes and objects as well as adults do  by five months of gestation, the fetus begins to have control of voluntary motor movements  in the last months of gestation and the first months of life, the muscles and nervous system become developed enough to demonstrate basic reflexes  Reflexes - involuntary muscular reaction to specific types of stimulation  provide infants with a basic set of responses for feeding and interacting with their caregivers 10.2 Infancy and Childhood  Physical Changes in Infancy  Infant abilities to move proceeds in stages over the course of the first 12 to 18 months  the development of motor skills seems to rely more on practice and deliberate effort. Cross- cultural studies show that children raised in different environments mature at slightly different rates  in some cases these variations may be attributed to the expectation that parents hold about when young people should be capable of certain tasks  The major structures of the brain are all present at birth, but their development is ongoing through early adulthood  during childhood, the cerebral cortex thickens, first in the sensory and motor areas, and then in regions involved in perception and eventually higher-order thinking and planning  these change in brain development directly corresponds with the development of cognitive abilities through late childhood  changes at the level of individual cell include myelination which begins prenatally, accelerates through infancy and childhood, and then continues gradually for several decades  in addition two event are occurring at the level of synapses  in the junctions between connecting nerve cells • the formation of billions of new synapses, a process called synaptogenesis, occurs at blinding speeds throughout the lifespan • Along with synaptogenesis, the process of Synaptic pruning  Synaptic Pruning - the loss of weak nerve cell connections, accelerates during brain development through infancy and childhood  both synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning serve to increase brain functionality by strengthening need connection between nerve cells and weeding out necessary ones  Cognitive Changes: Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory  Cognitive Development - the study of changes in memory, thought and reasoning processes that occur throughout the lifespan  Jean Piaget credited with initiating the modern science of C.D.  According to Piaget, knowledge accumulates and is modified by two processes - assimilation and accommodation  in the case of assimilation, children add new information, but interpret it based on what they already know • a young child who is familiar with only the family's pets Chihuahua might develop a concept that all dogs are furry creature that stand less than a foot tall. Because this is not true, the child's concept of dogs will eventually be modified through a different process....  Accommodation occurs when children modify their belief structures based on experience • when this child encounters a Great Dance, she might first refer to it as a horse, but will eventually correctly accommodate the Great Dane into her concept of what a dog is  Both processes continue throughout the progressive steps of cognitive development  Piaget's observation revealed that cognitive development was not one long continuous process of learning more and more information, but rather that cognition develops in four distinct stages from birth through early adolescence  TABLE 10.3 PG 360  The Sensorimotor Stage: Objects and The Physical World  Imagination is a type of abstract - what is in your mind is a representation of the objects and people in your physical environments  four month old infants do not appear to have the ability to form, abstract mental representation  therefore infants' thinking and exploration of the world are based on immediate sensory (eg. seeing, touching) and motor (eg. grasping, mouthing) experiences  Sensorimotor Stage - (spanning birth to two years), referring to the period in which infants' thinking and understanding about the world is based on sensory experiences and physical action they perform on objects  Object Permanence - is the ability to understand that objects exist even when they cannot be seen or touched  The Preoperational Stage: QuantityAnd Numbers  Preoperational Stage - which spans ages two through seven years, is characterized by understanding of symbols, pretend play, and mastery of the concept of conservation  during this stage, children can look at and think about physical object, although they have not quite attained abstract thinking abilities  Conservation - the knowledge that the quantity or amount of an object is not related to the physical arrangements and appearance of that objects  Figure 10.6 page 361  Figure 10.7 - children are demonstrating scale error, in that sense that they appear to interact with a doll-sized slide and a toy car as if they were the really thing rather than miniatures  by 2 to 2 and a half years, scale error decline as children begin to understand properties of objects and how they are related  At around 3 children begin to understand symbolic relationships • ex. they understand that a scale model of a room can symbolize an actual room  The Concrete Operational Stage  conservation is one of the main skills marking the transition from the preoperational stage to what Piaget called the concrete operational stage  Concrete Operational Stage- (roughly spanning ages 7 to 11 years), when children develop skills in using and manipulating numbers as well as logical thinking.  children in the C.O stage are able to classify objects according to properties such as size, value, shape, or some other physical characteristics. Thinking becomes increasingly logical and organized • for ex. a child in the concrete operational stage recognizes that if X is more than Y, and Y is more than Z, then X is more than Z (property called transitivity)  The Formal Operational Stage:Abstract and Hypothetical Thought  Formal Operational Stage (spanning from approximately 11 years of age an into adulthood) involves the development of advanced cognitive processes such as abstract reasoning and hypothetical thinking  scientific thinking, such as gathering evidence and systematically testing possibilities is characteristics of this stage  What do we know about cognitive abilities of infants  Core Knowledge Hypothesis - is a view on developmental proposing that infants have understanding some key aspects of their environments  a bold claim to say that babies know something about the world before they have even experienced it, so we should closely e
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