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Chapter 3

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC21H3
Professor
Carly Prusky
Semester
Fall

Description
Social Development Chapter 3 – Biological Foundations: Genes, Temperament, and more - Hormones, brain waves, DNA, physical appearance, reflexes and unconditioned responses are all aspects of biology that underlie social behaviour Biological Preparedness for Social Interaction - Baby sensory and perceptual systems are biologically prepared to be sensitive to social stimuli, e.g. human voices, faces, smells - This preparation is adaptive because it increases a caregiver‟s attention towards a child and ensures the babies‟ well-being - How are Babies Prepared? o From Biological Rhythms to Social Rhythms  Baby behaviour follows biological rhythms, that they learn to control and regulate  Acquiring biological regulatory skills over the first 3 months allows babies to interact with mothers in a synchronous way (by showing a predictable degree of responsiveness to each other‟s signals)  Under normal developmental conditions, babies develop biological rhythms that help them deal with the time-based natural of social interaction o Visual Preparation for Social Interaction  Infants are attracted to visual social stimuli, stare longest at objects that have large visible elements, movement, clear contours, and a lot of contrast (e.g. the human face)  Young infants scan faces for features they see best – eyes, mouth, hair  Infants have a preference for faces that are looking directly at them  When men given nasal spray of oxytocin (neurotransmitter passed to infants through placenta), they pay more attention to the eye areas of the face  By 3 months – infants identify a face as a unique whole  Prefer mother‟s face to a stranger‟s face  Over the first year, infants become skilled and speedy at processing faces o Auditory Preparedness for Social Interaction  Changes in fetal body movements and heart rate show that fetuses can hear complex sounds outside the mother‟s body  For the 6.5 weeks of pregnancy, moms read Cat in the Hat twice a day to their child who later preferred the Cat in the Hat rather than an unfamiliar book  Fetuses can distinguish sounds and rhythms  Babies open eyes wider and look for speaker when they hear voices  4 months – babies are able to discriminate differences among a large number of phonetic contrasts in adult languages  Babies like voices high in pitch with exaggerated pitch contours because they are able to hear higher pitches better than low pitches  Infants prefer to listen to “baby talk” – louder, slower speech, extended vowels  Babies develop a preference for the language they hear around them  9 months – babies tune out words and sounds from other languages  Infants respond to speakers‟ emotional tones o Smell, Taste, Touch  Newborns prefer odors and tastes that adults find pleasant  Prefer odor of their mother‟s breast milk to that of other mothers  Mothers recognize the scent of their babies after 1-2 days  Infants develop preference for food flavors consumed by mothers  Sense of touch is one of the first senses to develop  Infants smile and vocalize more, cry and fuss less when they are patted, stroked, and rubbed  Extra tactile contact (e.g. massage) increases develop in premature babies  Infants recognize parents by skin texture, touches, and appearance of facial features o Beyond Faces and Voices: Primed to be a Social Partner  2-3 months – infants enjoy face-to-face play with parents  Show more facial expressions, vocalize more, exhibit less stress in face-to-face play rather than play with toys  Face-to-face interactions –parents respond predictably to infant gestures and emotion displays, infants contribute by gazing, smiling, vocalizing, and reaching  Infants regulate interaction with gaze – babies turn away from overstimulation  Only 30% of face-to-face interactions between mother and infant are smooth and well-coordinated  Infants exposed to cocaine prenatally are more passive and show more negative affect in interactions  Depressed mothers result in more negative affect and self-directed regulatory behaviour by the infant  2-3 months – infants become upset at a once-responsive-mother‟s unresponsive face  Face-to-face interactions contribute to infant‟s growth of social skills and social expectations – learn turn taking, sustain attention for longer periods of time, learn to have role of both initiator and responder  Infants learn that through their behaviour and emotional expression, they can alter the course of interaction  Parents learn to adjust their behaviour to maintain baby‟s attention and interest - Why are Babies Prepared? o Preparedness is adaptive and useful for ensuring the survival of the infant and species o Infants are biological programmed to be responsive to social partners because they depend on the support and nurture of parents and caregivers o Evolutionary theorists assume that development depends on being born into and reared in a species-typical environment that supports adaptive behaviours such as the ability to send, receive, and understand social messages The Neurological Basis of Social Development - Brain – second biological foundation of social development - The Brain o Cerebrum – two connected hemispheres of the brain, related to speech and self- awareness, sensory perception, motor abilities, and memory o Cerebral cortex – covering layer of cerebrum, contains cells that control specific functions like seeing, hearing, moving, thinking, contains about 90% of brain‟s cell bodies o Frontal cortex – associated with processing of emotional information o Limbic system – major role in emotion regulation and social behaviour o Amygdala – major role in fear and surprise recognition - Brain Growth and Development o Prenatal – brain grows very rapidly o Infant brain – ¼ of the weight of an adult brain o 6 month brain – weighs ½ of an adult brain o 2 year old brain – weighs ¾ of an adult brain o Motor cortex growth spurts  2 months – frontal motor cortex undergoes rapid change, ability to reach improves  Infant is now able to initiate social interactions by reaching  8 months – spurt associated with abilities to crawl and search for hidden things  12 months – spurt associated with walking, which changes infants‟ relationships with others drastically  Walking babies explore environments more and initiate contact more easily o Visual cortex spurts  3 months – able to look longer at facelike stimuli o Auditory system spurt allows infants to be more sensitive to human voices and language input from caregivers  18-24 months – rapid changes in language development o Cortex growth spurt – 5-7 years – development of prefrontal cortex, associated with appearance of executive function o Ability to regulate attention is linked to higher levels of social skills with peers o Adolescent brain changes – changes in interior limbic, paralimbic, amygdala, and medial prefrontal cortex are associated with social and emotional processing o Socioemotional processing improves suddenly in adolescence, but impulse control develops more gradually, which may account for adolescent‟s emotional liability and risk taking o Lateral prefrontal region maturation in early adulthood = better balance between socioemotional processing and impulse control - Hemispheric Specialization o Corpus callosum – band of nerve fibers that connect the two brain hemispheres o Two hemispheres are different and control different functions, but there is much cross- wiring between them o When one side of the brain is damaged, the other half may take over some of its roles o Lateralization – process where each half of the brain becomes specialized for certain functions, has a genetic component o Right hemisphere controls left side of the body, processes visual-spatial information, nonspeech sounds, perception of faces, emotional information o Left hemisphere controls right side of the body, involved in “approach” emotions (joy, anger, interest), language processing o Parents and children usually have similar levels of language lateralization o Early brain injury – function can often be recovered because the brain is not fully developed and lateralization is not yet complete - Neurons and Synapses o At birth, a baby has most of its neurons – 100-200 billion, most are present by the seventh month after conception o Neuron proliferation – rapid formation of neurons in developing organism‟s brain during the embryonic period o Glial cells – cells that support, protect and repair neurons, and regulate their nutrients o Myelination – process where glial cells encase neurons in layers of a fatty, membranous wrapping called myelin, which makes neurons more efficient in transmitting information o Neural migration – movement of neurons within the brain that ensures that all brain areas have a sufficient number of neural connections o Synapses – specialized site of intercellular communication that exchanges information between nerve cells, usually by a neurotransmitter o Synaptogenesis – forming of synapses that begins early in prenatal life o At birth – 2500 synapses for every neuron o 2 years – 15000 synapses for every neuron o The brain is programmed to create more neurons and connections than it needs o Programmed neuronal death – natural elimination of immature neurons during early development of the nervous system o Synaptic pruning – disposal of understimulated axons and dendrites of neurons o These processes free space for new synaptic connections and have the goal of increasing the speed, efficiency, and complexity of transmissions between neurons o There are approximately 1 quadrillion synapses in the adult human brain - Brain Development and Experience o Experience-expectant processes – brain processes that are universal, experienced by all human beings across evolution, trigger synaptic development and pruning and are critical for normal brain development o Experience-dependent processes – brain processes that are unique to the individual and responsive to particular cultural, community and family experiences o Lack of stimulation or exposure to traumatic events can damage the brain and cause it to malfunction o Children in unstimulating orphanages have reduced brain activity and less connectivity between brain regions - Mirror Neurons and The Social Brain o Specific neurons (mirror neurons) and regions of the brain transform what we see into what we would do or feel in the same situation o Human mirror neuron system has clear links to social behaviour o Mirror neurons are important for learning new skills by imitation and are important for understanding other people‟s actions and intentions o Mirror neuron system linked to language acquisition, development of theory-of-mind states, feelings of empathy o Social brain = network of brain regions involved in understanding other people where the human mirror neuron system is found o Medial prefrontal cortex – special role in understanding our own and others‟ communicative intentions, enables us to monitor our behaviour and predict the behaviour of others o Amygdala and superior temporal sulcus – involves in processing emotional facial expressions o Frontal insula – plays a role in generating social emotions o All regions in the adult social brain show partial responses in infancy o 3 months – prefrontal regions are activated when babies process faces o 1 year – discriminate between upright and upside down human faces, but not upright and upside down monkey faces o With development, corticol tissues supporting social processing become increasingly specialized o Relative roles of different areas change with age Genetics and Social Development - Genetic transmission starts with the threadlike structures (chromosomes) located in each cell nucleus - Gene – a portion of DNA located at a particular sire on a chromosome and coding for the production of a specific type of protein - When a gene is activated, a copy travels from the cell nucleus to the body of the cell where it serves as a temple for building a protein molecule - Genetic variability is the result of the huge number of chromosome combinations that are possible during formation of sperm and egg cells, the union of ovum and sperm, and crossing over, which
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