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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 - The Child's Growth.docx

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Chapter 5 The Childs Growth: Brain, Body, Motor Skills, and Sexual Maturation Brain Development Cerebrum two connected hemispheres of the brain that embodies attributes such as speech, self-awareness, sensory perception, motor abilities, and memory Cerebral Cortex highly convoluted covering of cerebrum containing ~90% of brains cell bodies that control specific functions such as seeing, hearing, moving, feeling emotions, thinking, and speaking Cortex divided into frontal, temporal, occipital and parietal Left hemisphere processing of language, o Damage in left have trouble understanding what is being said to them or in speaking clearly o In deaf persons who use sign language to communicate, right side of brain takes over language functions Right hemisphere visual and spatial processing, non-speech sounds like music, and perception of faces, drawing skills, following maps, spatial orientation, emotion information (facial expressions) o Damage in right have trouble processing auditory and musical pitches Neurons At birth, infant has most of its neurons (100-200 billion); brain increases in size after birth because neurons grow and connections proliferate Infants brain weighs ~1/4 of adult brain Neuron proliferation during embryonic period, neurons multiply very rapidly Adult brain has capacity to regenerate nerve cells Synaptogenesis forming of synapses, begins early in prenatal life The brain is programmed to create more nerve cells and more connections between cells than are needed With development, neuronal death (programmed cell death) and synaptic pruning (brain disposes of a neurons axons and dendrites if that particular neuron is not often stimulated) reduce the number of neurons and connecting fibres o This frees up space for new synaptic connections and increase the speed, efficiency and complexity of transmissions between neurons Hemisphere Specialization Corpus callosum nerve fibres that connect the left and right hemisphere When one side of brain suffers damage, the other half is often able to compensate and take over some functions brain capable of adapting to external change Left hemisphere of motor cortex controls simple movement in right side of body; right hemisphere controls bodys left side Lateralization specialization of each hemisphere in specific perceptual and cognitive tasks Marc Pell investigated ability of individuals who have damage to either right or left brain hemispheres to understand emotional prosody and content of speech o Individuals with both right-brain and left-brain damage have trouble interpreting emotional meaning of utterances o Right-brain damaged subjects have difficulties producing emotional tone in their utterances and understanding emotional attitudes of speaker based on speech o Suggest left-hemisphere activated in expression of emotions associated with approach to the external environment (e.g. joy, interest, anger) o Right region is activated in emotional expressions that cause the person to turn away/withdraw from that environment (e.g. distress, disgust, fear) Consequences of Brain Lateralization Infants whose left hemisphere differentiates among speech sounds and whose right hemisphere differentiates among non-speech sounds exhibit better language skills at age three than infants who do not show strong lateralization Dyslexia may be caused by faulty lateralization patterns; that they process spatial information on both sides of the brain, overwhelming their left hemispheres Handedness evidence suggests that fetuses prefer to suck on their right thumbs which suggests that handedness develops in the womb o Recently left-handed gene identified o Ambidextrous left-handedness suggests that their brains may be less clearly lateralized than the brains of right-handed people The Brains Plasticity: Experience and Brain Development Plasticity capacity of the brain to respond and adapt to input from the external environment 1. One type of experience such as touch, patterned visual input, sounds of language, affectionate expressions from caregivers, and nutrition, trigger synaptic development and pruning and are critical to brain development o E.g. children with congenital cataracts, their visual system is deprived of stimulation and fails to develop properly, so that even when cataracts are removed, adult is blind 2. Unique experiences to individuals experiences encountered in particular families, communities, and cultures brain responds to different environments by developing synaptic connections that encode specific and unique experiences Animal research shows that size, structure and biochemistry of the brain can be modified by experience o E.g. Rat study rats placed in enriched environments vs. impoverished environments o Reason for larger brains of enriched rats may be that the enriched environment tend to increase the complexity of neurons as measured by the number of dendrites they develop more dendrites mean more synapses, more information transfer o Activity of key chemicals increases significantly Infants become more selective, responding to sounds in their own language Motor Development Hand Skills Pre-reaching newborns Directed reaching 3 months of age Reaching 5 month olds can reach for an object and successfully grasp it 1. Visual perception visual stimulation can advance abilities to attend to objects 2. Motor ability frequency and skill improves with age o 4 month olds rely on touch to determine grip o 8 month olds use vision as a guide so they preshape their hand as they reach for an object o Over first year of life infants begin to use objects as tools Locomotion Three stages of locomotion: 1. When hold baby upright slightly above ground, the baby responds by reflexively moving his legs in a rhythmic stepping motion that resembles walking this reflex disappears at approximately 2 months 2. Reappearance of stepping movements in the second half of the first year 3. Infants begin to walk without support at about 1 year Maturation theory believe walking development depends on development of motor cortex Cognition theory response to cognitive plans or representations that are the consequence of watching other people walk Thelens dynamic system theory walking skills determined by interplay of a variety of emotional, perceptual, attentional, motivational, postural, and anatomical factors o Newborn stepping response disappears for 10 month interval because of anatomical features babys size and weight become too much of a load on the emerging motor system, masking the childs stepping capability o Infants between 2-12 months should be able to step as long as they are given the stability and postural support necessary to stretch each leg in walking movements How Loco
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