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Developmental Psychology - Part 2:3.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Diana Valencia

DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY ___________________ Chapter 5: TheChild'sGrowth– Brain,Body,MotorSkillsandSexualMaturation(Part2/3) The Brains Plasticity: Experience and Brain Development  envir plays a role in brain development  plasticity: the capacity of the brain, particularly in its developmental stages, to respond and adapt to input from the external envir - responsiveness of its neural structures and functions to input from envir  2 types of experience influence brain development: 1) experiences like touch, patterned visual input, sounds of lang, affectionate expressions from caregivers and nutrition - all expected in normal envir - trigger synaptic development and pruning and critical for normal brain development - interference with this normal stimulation = abilities are impaired - ex children have congenital cataracts = visual system is deprived of stimulation and fails to develop properly -> even when cataracts are removed, the adult is blind 2) experiences that are unique to individs – experiences in particular fams, communities and cultures - brains respond to diff envir by developing synaptic connections that encode specific and unique experiences - ex children in Mozambique develop aspects of motor cortex that correspond to skills associated with hunting nd fishing vs. NAchildren develop parts of brain for fine motor and eye hand coord for playing vid games  size, structure and biochem of brain can be modified by experience  based on a study on young rats: weight of the cerebral cortex was 4% heavier for rats in teh enriched envir and the weight of the occipital region was 6% heavier - enriched rats had bigger brains bc of enriched envir (this increased the complexity of neurons –measured by the number of dendrites they develop) - more dendrites = more synapses formed with other neurons = more info can be sent - chemicals in the brain increases from expose to the enriched envir - adult rats also show changes under same condition , but the effects may be greater during the earlier period  infants first year of life – become more selective, responding more to sounds in their own lang - develop auditory maps -> templates to respond to certain aud features and not others; the maps guide them in recogn their native lang  exposure to music can also enrich brain development - natural harmonies -> help the brain develop a wiring diagram for spatial temp reasoning - ex after piano lessons 3&4 year olds improved in this kind of reasoning – showed by their ability to look at a dissembled pic and know how to put it tgthr  brain can undergo structural change based on unique experiences even in adulthood - posterior hippocampi (associated with spatial representations of the envir) was larger in taxi drivers  lack of stimulation or exposure to traumatic events can damage the brain and cause it to malfunction - abused child = cortex and the limbic system (part of the brain that are involved in emo and infant parent attachment) are 20-30% smaller and have fewer synapses  PET (positron emission tomography): this shows the effects on the developing brain of early deprivation - shows that under some circumstances there is reduced connectivity between regions of the brain and reduced cortical activity involving neurons acting tgthr to solve cog task  Table 5-1 page 167 (techniques of studying human brain function and structure) Motor Development Hand Skills  prereaching: uncoordinated swipes at obj that babies notice  direct reaching: at 3 months; more complex and efficient pattern  at 5 months they succeed in reaching for an obj and can grasp it - must have muscle growth, postural control, control over the movement of arms and hands and perceptual and motor abilities to reach this point  visual perception: a component of dynamic system - if infant has nothing to look at, no incentive to reach out  motor ability to grip an obj: component of dynamic system - freq and skill with which infants employ various grips improves with age - grip depends on size and shape of obj - grip for infants = thumb and index finger for small obj and all fingers of one hand or both hands for large obj - 4 month olds rely on touch to determine their grip, 8 month olds use vision \  first year of life, they learn to.. use obj as tools, skilled reachers and graspers, learn to use gestures in social communication (ex can follow a poin
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