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Chapter 11

Chapter 11 -PSY100.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Human Development [Chapter 11] Genie  Was abused and locked up from the world as child  The role that social and physical abuse played on her difficulties in interacting with others and acquiring langue will never be known o But demonstrates how experience’s role in shaping both brain development and psychological development  Examines the way biological and social forces combine to shape the path of human development What shapes a child?  Our genes set the pace and order of development (we don’t talk, walk, or smile immediately, or learn to roll over, sit up, crawl (etc) in order)  Environment also influences what happens throughout development o Depends on culture in which they are raised (different patterns of infant care)  whether infants are carried around, how they sleep, etc  Parental practices influence how motor skills develop (whether they place their child on the floor regularly, whether the baby sleeps on its back etc)  Genes and experience work together to make us who we are Development starts in the Womb Physical development  Genes in combination with the environment in the womb govern mu h of the human nervous system’s prenatal development  By the 7 month, a fetus has a working nervous system  At birth, brain is complex, but development continues throughout age until death  If mother does not produce sufficient amounts of hormones this leaves the fetus with a risk for a lower IQ and diminished intellectual development; also if mother has high stress then they may be exposed to high levels of stress hormones which may interfere with normal development, results in low birth weight, negative cognitive and physical outcomes that can persist throughout life Teratogens  Are agents that can impair physical and cognitive development in the womb, include drugs, alcohol, bacteria, viruses and chemicals  The extent to which it causes damage depends on when the fetus is exposed to it and as well as the length and amount of exposure  An example is consumption of alcohol during pregnancy which can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) Brain development promotes learning  Newborns come into the world being able to see, smell, hear, taste, and respond to touch  Newborns has various basic reflexes that aid survival (such as gripping your finger or sucking on a nipple)  At birth the brain is developed to support basic reflexes, but further brain development appears necessary for cognitive development to occur Myelination and Neuronal Connections  Early brain growth is important for specific areas within the brain to mature and become functional, and regions of the brain to learn to communicate with one another through synaptic connections  Myelin is important for the brain to mature; it’s the brains way of insulating its “wires”: nerve fibres are wrapped with a fatty sheath, to increase speed with which they are able to transmit signals  The myelin axons form synapses with other neurons  Synaptic pruning: synaptic connections in the brain that are frequently used are preserved, and those that are not are lost  Occurs in different areas of brain at different times; auditory cortex, visual cortex, and prefrontal cortex  after adolescence the density of synapses remains constant in these 3 brain areas  Brain grows as determined by genetic instruction but the organ is also highly “plastic”, meaning hard wired to adapt to different environments  The increase in size of the brain is due to myelination and new synaptic connections among neurons  How the brain changes during infancy and early childhood is also very much affected by environment (not only genes) Sensitive learning periods  The key to learning is the creation of connections among certain neurons and that certain connections are made most easily during particle times in development  Critical period: biologically determined time periods for the development of specific skills/knowledge o However, Genie could still learn some aspects of language at a later age  Sensitive periods: biologically determined time periods when specific skills develop most easily (now called) Attachment promotes survival  Social development begins in infancy  Attachment: a strong emotional connection that persists over time and across circumstances o Eg. when a baby first smiles (enhances powerful feelings of love)  Attachment is adaptive; babies have an innate repertoire of attachment behaviours that motivate adult attention (crying, lifting arms up to be lifted) Attachment in other species  Attachment is important for survival in many other species  Some bird species seem to have a critical period where they become attached to a nearby adult, even if one from another species and then follow the object of their attachment happens because they can walk immediately  “imprinting”  Experiment with monkeys showed that they will form an attachment to a surrogate mother that provides warmth and comfort and only go to the other one when hunger o Establishes importance of contact comfort- allowing an infant to cling to and hold something soft- in social development o Shows how its not all about the food Attachment style  When infants begin to crawl the display separation anxiety, in which they become very stressed when they cannot see or are separated from their attachment figures  Strange situation test: involved observing through a one way mirror the child, caregiver, and friendly but unfamiliar adult in a series of 9 episodes in a playroom o Procedure is a standard sequence of separations and reunions between the child and each adult o Over the 8 episodes, the child experiences increasing stress and greater need for caregiver proximity o Identified 3 types of child attachment: secure, avoidant, anxious ambivalent  Secure attachment: attachment style for a majority of infants, who are readily comforted when their caregiver returns after a brief separation o Happy to play alone and is friendly to stranger when attachment figure is present, when the figure leaves though, the child is distressed and cries; when figure return the child is happy and quickly comforted and then returns to playing  Avoidant attachment: infants ignore their caregiver when he or she returns after a brief separation; when figure returns the child doesn’t want a reunion but rather ignores  Anxious ambivalent attachment: infants become extremely upset when their caregiver leaves but reject them when they come back; might ling to them but then fight to be released  Disorganized attachment: infants give mixed responses when their caregiver leaves and then returns from a short absence; smiling and then showing fear or avoidance  Research found that children with behavioural problems are more likely to be insecurely attached (anxious ambivalent or avoidant)  Caregivers personality contributes to the childs attachment style Chemistry of attachment  Oxytocin hormones is related to social behaviours including infant/caregiver attachment  Plays role in maternal tendencies, feelings of social acceptance and bonding and sexual gratification  Higher levels of this hormone were predictive of better maternal attachment How do children learn about their worlds? Perception introduces the world  Infants use their senses to gain info from perception which they then try to make sense of how world works Infant research techniques  Preferential looking technique: when baby looks at two things and stares at one longer, that means infant can distinguish between the two and finds one more interesting  Orienting reflex: humans’ tendency to pay more attention to new stimuli than to stimuli to which they have become habituated or grown accustomed o The amount of time that they look declines, if shown a new picture and they take longer to look, that means they are distinguishing between the two pics, if they take the same amount of time then doesn’t notice the difference Vision  Use preferential looking technique to determine how well infant can see  Infants respond more to high contrast patterns (in experiment, looked more at stripes with high contrast than the grey images) o When look at both equally, means they cant tell the difference  To assess when depth perception emerges in infancy, infants were shown stereograms which are one view of an image is shown in one eye and another; if they cant use disparity information to perceive depth, they will see only a random collection of dots  Experiment where baby was wearing special glasses at a screen; ability to perceive depth develops between 3 and half – 6 months of age Auditory perception  By 6 months, babies have nearly adult levels of auditory function  Researchers determined that infants can recognize sounds they have heard before by measuring the rate at which the infant sucked on a rubber nipple (can determine if it is aroused to a specific sound) o Newborns learned to alter their sucking patterns to hear their mothers voices more often  Using evident related potentials that pick up neural activity from the scalp (to see if different brain regions respond to speech and non-speech in infants like adults), found that from first 3 months of life through adulthood there is a continuity in how the brain processes speech Memory improves over childhood  Very young infants have memory but it is quite rudimentary; older infants remember the mobile for longer periods (in experiments with mobile attached to infants ankle) Infantile amnesia  The inability to remember events from early childhood  After being able to create memories from personal experiences or development of language Inaccurate memory  Young children often have source amnesia; forget source of info  Earliest memories come from looking at pics of videos or hearing stories- not from actual memories of the events  Confabulation happens in young kids because of underdeveloped frontal lobes so they make things up often; when asked if they had caught their finger in mousetrap before, they said they had Piaget emphasized stages of development  Children go through 4 stages of development: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational  Each stage builds on the previous one through 2 learning processes: assimilation (process by which new experience is placed into an existing schema) and accommodation (process by which schema is changed to incorporate a new experience that does not easily fit into an existing schema) Sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years)  First stage of piagets theory of cognitive development, during which infants acquire info about the world through their senses and respond reflexively  They develop their first schemas: conceptual models consisting of mental representations of the kinds of actions that can be performed on certain kinds of objects o Eg. sucking on a nipple makes them realize they can suck on other things  Object permanence: the understanding that an object continues to exist even when it cannot be seen o Eg if the baby finds that you hide a toy under the blanket it will lift it up to find it, but if you hide the toy in front of infant under another blanket, the infant will still go to the old blanket in search of the toy  search skills have limits Preoperational stage (2-7 years)  Second stage where children can think symbolically about objects, but reason is based on appearance rather than logic  They cannot imagine the logical outcome of performing certain actions on objects o Eg. Children believe the there is more water in a taller glass just because it is higher Concrete operational stage (7-12 years)  Third stage in which children begin to think about and understand operations in ways that are reversible  Can figure out the world by thinking about how events are related  Ability to understand that an action is reversible enables kids to begin to understand concepts like conversation of quantity (turning lights on and off eg) Formal operational stage (12 years to adulthood)  Final stage where children begin to think about and understand operations in ways that are reversible  Can systematically begin to test a theory or solve a problem Challenges to piagets theory  Not everyone goes through the stages orderly  Leaves little room for differing cognitive strategies for different skills among individuals or cultures  Many children seem to move back and forth between stages  Different areas in brain are responsible for different skills so the development of different skills therefore does not have to follow strict stages Infants have early knowledge about the world  Can remember an object even when it is no longer in plain sight  Their reactions to novel stimuli indicate they have cognitive skills  Eg. When an apple was change to a carrot, infants demonstrated some understanding that an object continues to exist when it is out of sight (by staring longer at it), even though they might not reach for the object Understanding the laws of nature: physics  Infants have a primitive understanding of some of the basic laws  Eg. Infants looked longer at a rod that was split in two and moving than a single rod moving in a block; indicates that they expected the rod moving behind the block to be one continuous object rather than 2 small ones  At 3 months, Children expect a box on a platform to remain stable if person releases it and to fall if there was nothing under  Shows children have intuitive sense of the laws that govern the physical world Understanding the laws of nature: mathematics  This has to be learned; experiment done with same amount of marble but one row was spread out, and children said that row had more marbles  This concluded that their understanding of quantity was not more or less than, but with length  However people challenged his view o Did the same thing but with M&Ms, and spread out one row while adding more M&Ms to the other row (make it shower than the second row) and asked which row the kids wanted to eat, and 80% picked the one with more M&Ms o When kids properly motivated, they can understand less than and more than  Has been shown that infants have amazing numerical abilities including subtraction and addition from 9 months (when blocks were incorrectly added or subtracted, they viewed the monitor longer) Humans learn from interacting with others Theory of mind  The ability to explain and predict other peoples behaviour as a result of recognizing their mental stage  Children cannot see other peoples point of view, just their own  Other evidence shows that young kids come to understand that other people perform actions for a reason- that the actions are intentional  When a toy was given to an infant and then either taken away and unwillingly given back or unable to give it, infants showed more impatience when the adult was unwilling to give the toy than when the adult was unable (fell accidently or phone ringing)  Another study showed that kids expectations appear to depend on what they believe the other knows (whether they think the caterpillar knows where the food is hidden)  In the first year children begin to read intention and by end of second year, can become very good at reading them  False belief test: measures children’`s ability to predict actions o When a child hid a marble in a basket and someone misplaced it, kids predicted that the child will look in the basket that they hid it in since they didn’t know that someone misplaced it o This is reached around age 5 everywhere culturally universal (more biological than cultural)  Frontal lobes are important for theory of mind; become more active when people are asked to think about others mental states o People with damage to this have difficulty attributing mental states to characters in stores  Can develop independently from other brain regions: Children with developmental disorder autism cannot solve the false belief problem, children with down syndrome can solve it  suggests theory of mind is no governed by reasoning and general intelligence, since children with down syndrome are impaired in those areas Moral reasoning and moral emotions  Develops in childhood and into adulthood  Cognition and emotions are intertwined  Levels of moral reasoning o Pre-conventional: earliest level of moral development, in which self-interest determines what is moral o Conventional: middle stage in which rules and the approval of others determines what is moral o Post-conventional: highest stage where decisions about morality depend on abstract principles  Believe are influenced more by emotions than cognitive processes  Empathy involves feelings with the person, while sympathy involves feeling for the other person  Moral emotions form early but emerge later than primary emotions (happiness, anger) so they are also called secondary emotions  Not all children process through the stages of moral development at the same rate or order because it depends on the parents’ behaviours  Parents’ display of inductive reasoning promote their children’s sympathetic attitudes, appropriate feelings of guilt and awareness of others feelings Physiological basis of morality  Moral emotions are based in physiological mechanisms that help people make decisions  Somatic markets: people have a visceral response to real or imagined outcomes and that this response aids decision making (gut feeling) o Damage to prefrontal cortex fail to become emotionally involved in decision making because their somatic markers are not engaged Language develops in an orderly fashion  The early social interactions between infants and their caregivers are essential to understanding other people and being able to communicate with them through language  Ability to speak can be disrupted by social isolation and lack of exposure to language (genie) From Zero to 60 000  Language can be viewed in a hierarchal structure o Phrase—words—morphemes(suffixes and prefixes)---phonemes(basic sounds) o Syntax: the system of rules that govern how words are combined into phrases how phrases are combined to make sentences  Research has shown that newborns are well on their way to language learning o Research found babies to prefer sentences in the languages spoken by their mother during pregnancy (if the mom spoke English then the baby preferred English over Tagalog) o Was found that up to 6 months of age, a baby can discriminate all the speech sounds that occur in all natural languages; researchers used a habituation technique: baby was distracted by toy and sound was emitted from other side (ba, ba, ,ba) then changed to la, la, la---if baby turned toward the new sound than that meant the baby could tell the difference between the two  American Infants who interact with other languages (Mandarin) are much better at discriminating it compared to those who haven’t, in fact the American babies who interacted with the Mandarin speaker were almost as good at discriminating speech sounds as infants raised only hearing Chinese o Watching videos or listening to tapes did not enhance the infants ability to discriminate Mandarin speech sounds (shows importance of social interactions in language learning)  60,000 words with ease as adults  Babbling may be an infant’s way of testing the system; at first the syllables are mixed but they begin to take on sounds and rhythm with time  Utter first words around age of 1 o Performatives: consists of word-like sounds that are learned in context and that a baby may not be using to represent meaning (says hello when holding on
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