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Chapter 11

PSY100 Psychological Science (3rd Ed.) Textbook Notes Chapter 11

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Alison Luby

CHAPTER 11 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Child Development -human physical development has consistent pattern (e.g. baby learns to walk w/o teaching); suggests genes set the pace and order of development -environment affects development: children in diff cultures reach developmental milestones at different paces Healthy children in Uganda walk by 10 months; French children walk by 15 months; infants who sleep on their backs crawl much later than those who sleep on stomach Physical Development -conception zygote (first cell of new life) embryo (at two weeks) fetus (at two months) -basic brain areas form by week 4 in prenatal development; by 7 month, fetus has working nervous system -Teratogens: environmental agents ttht harm the embryo/fetus; e.g. drugs, alcohol, bacteria, chemicals Exposure to teratogen at 4 week can interfere w/ basic brain structures Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS): consumption of alcohol during pregnancy leads to behavioral, physical, cognitive impairments in baby Brain Development -newborns possess sensory stimuli; infant prefer sweet tastes, have acute sense of smell (can distinguish mothers milk vs. strangers milk); startled by loud sounds and turn heads towards source; visual acuity of 20-30cm -exhibit grasping reflex and rooting reflex (turning and sucking that infants engage in when nipple/similar object touches area near their mouths) -brain circuits mature through myelination, which begins on spinal cord during 1 trimester then on brains neurons in 2 nd trimester (increases speed at which signals are transmitted) -myelinated axons form synapses w/ other neurons; then adopts use it or lose it policy: -Synaptic Pruning: process whereby the synaptic connections in the brain that are frequently used are preserved and those that are not are lost Synaptic density highest in visual cortex at age 1&2, in auditory cortex at age 3, prefrontal cortex at age 6; after adolescence, density remains approx. constant in the three brain areas Highest levels of density thought of as the times when brain is most plastic (able to change) -human brain grows due to myelination and to new synaptic connections among neurons (80% of adult brain size by age 4); malnourished children have less myelination, undermining brain development -Critical Periods: biologically determined time periods for the development of certain skills -Sensitive Periods: biologically determined time periods when specific skills develop most easily Attachment -at 4-6 weeks, infants display first social smile; enhances feelings of love b/w caregiver and child; leads to attachment -Attachment: strong emotional connection that persists over time and across circumstances; motivates infants and caregivers to stay in close contact; attachment is adaptive (higher chance of survival through adult protection) Attachment in Other Species -within 18 hours of hatching, birds will attachment themselves to adult and follow them: known as imprinting -Freudians believed mother as source of libidinal pleasures (life, emotional, sexual); behaviorists saw mother was result of secondary reinforcement, provider of food -Study of Harlows Monkeys and Mothers: infant rhesus monkeys were put into cage w/ one mother than resembled a monkey and another that was made of wire but gave milk; monkeys clung to cloth mother for comfort in times of threat Established the importance of contact comfort in social development Attachment Style -infants display separation anxiety (distressed when they are separated from attachment figures) when they start to crawl at 8-12 months -Strange-Situation Test: procedure involves eight structures episodes in laboratory playroom with sequence of separations and reunions b/w child and caregiver with unfamiliar adult in the room; gives three types of attachment Secure Attachment: majority of children; readily comforted when caregiver returns after brief separation Avoidant Attachment: infant ignore their caregiver when he/she returns after brief separation Anxious-Ambivalent Attachment: infants become extremely upset when caregiver leaves but reject caregiver when he/she returns Disorganized Attachment: infants give mixed responses when caregiver leaves and returns; show inconsistent/contradictory behaviors (e.g. smiling at caregiver but then displaying fear/avoidance) -children w/ behavioral problems are more likely to be anxious-ambivalent/avoidant attached; caregivers personality contributes to childs attachment style -hormone oxytocin related to caregiver/infant attachment; infant sucking triggers release of oxytocin in mother, moves milk in the milk ducts so the mother can nurse How Children Perceive Their Worlds Infant-Research Techniques -Preferential-Looking Technique: infant tend to look longer at stimuli that interest them; if infant looks longer at one of the things shown to them, it shows that infant can distinguish b/w the things and finds one interesting -Orienting Reflex: humans tend to pay more attention to new stimuli than familiar/habituated stimuli; show infant a stimulus until he is habituated then measure if infant reacts to change in stimulus based on how long they look at it Vision -infants visual acuity for distant objects is poor when first born but reach adult levels in one year; ability to perceive depth develops b/w 3 6 months of age (using experiment for depth perception using binocular disparity) Auditory
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