Developmental Psychology: The study of changes in physiology, cognition, and social
behavior over the lifespan.
Our genes set the pace and order of development. Environment influences as well.
Developing human known as embryo.
After two months, the growing human called a fetus
Basic brain areas begin to form by week 4, cells forming the cortex visible by week 7,
thalamus and hypothalamus by week 10, left and right hemispheres by week 12.
Hormones that circulate in the womb influence the developing fetus. Mother’s emotional
states also affect the development of the fetus.
Teratogens: agents that can impair physical and cognitive development in the womb,
include drugs, alcohol, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals.
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS): The symptoms of which consist of low birth weight, face
and head abnormalities, slight mental retardation, and behavioural and cognitive
An infant’s sense of hearing and sense of smell relatively acute, but vision only 2030
Grasping reflex: believed to be a survival mechanism that has persisted from our primate
Rooting reflex: turning and sucking that infants automatically engage in when a nipple
Early brain growth has two important aspects: specific areas within the brain mature and
Brain learn to communicate with one another through synaptic connections.
Brain circuits mature is through myelination>neurons in the visual cortex develop more
and more myelination as infant’s brain ages
Synaptic pruning: Process where by the synaptic connections in brain are frequently used
are preserved and those that are not are lost.
Critical periods: biologically determined time periods for the development of specific
If skills not acquired during critical periods, then unable to acquire skills. Sensitive periods: Biologically determined time periods when specific skills develop
Starting from infants, people have highly interactive social relationships
Attachment: Strong emotional connection that persists over time and across
Increase to heightened feelings of safety and security, also motivates in fants and
caregivers to stay in close contact.
Infants who exhibit attachment behaviours have a higher chance of survival through adult
Babies attend to highpitched voices
Other animals show signs of attachment as well
Imprinting: follow the first adult they see
Separation anxiety: which the infants become distressed when they cannot see or are
separated from their attachment figures
The strangesituation Test:
1. Secure: Attachment style for a majority of infants, readily
comforted when caregiver returns after brief separation (65%)
2. Avoidant: Attachment style in which infants ignore caregiver when
he or she returns after a brief separation (2025%)
3. Anxiousambivalent: Attachment style in which infants become
extremely upset when their caregiver leaves but rejects the
caregiver when he/she returns (1015%)
Disorganized attachment: attachment style in which infants give mixed responses
wen their caregiver leaves and then returns from short absence.
Caregivers’ personality contributes to the child’s attachment style
Oxytocin: related to social behaviours, including infant/caregiver attachment, maternal
tendencies, feelings of social acceptance and bonding, and sexual gratification.
Preferentiallooking technique: Researchers show infant two things. If infant looks longer
at one thing, researcher know which one infant finds 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. Visual aquity: how well an infant can see.
Infants respond more to objects with highcontrast patterns
Stereograms: one view of an image is shown to one eye and another view to the other,
this information is then converted in to depth perception.
Disparity information: (The differences in images seen by their eyes) to perceive depth.
Eventrelated potentials (EEG): pick up neural activity from the scalp
Older infants remembered longer
Infantile Amnesia: the inability to remember events from early childhood.
Children begin to retain memories after developing the ability to create
autobiographical memory based on person experience.
Memory develops with language acquisition because the ability to use words and
concepts aids in memory retention.
Source amnesia: difficulty knowing where they learned something
Children go through four stages of development: (Piaget)
1. Sensorimotor: first stage in which infants acquire information about the
world through their senses and respond reflexively; acquire information
only through their senses
2. Preoperational: children can think about objects not in their immediate
view and have developed various conceptual models of how the world
3. Concrete operational: remain in this stage until adolescence; children
begin to think about and understand operations in ways that are reversible
4. Formal operational: involves the ability to think abstractly and to
formulate and test hypothes