"The Child is the Father of the Man"
From the Womb to the Tomb
Prenatal (conception to birth)
Infancy (birth to 18 months)
Early Childhood (18 months-6 years)
Young Adulthood (20-45 years)
Middle Adulthood (45- 60 years)
Later Adulthood (60 years- death)
There has been an extension of adolescence in both directions (tweens and emerging
Emerging adulthood as a new phase of life
Pattern of change
Several interwoven processes: biological, cognitive, and socioemotional.
Sperm appear to be attracted by a chemical odour secreted by ova.
Sperm release enzymes to break down protective wall.
Implantation during germination stage at 12 days
Sometimes there are 2 ova fertilized which creates DZ twins (fraternal)
Division of one ovum into 2 after fertilization results in MZ (identical)
Semi-identical twins when 1 ovum and 2 sperm.
Multiple births are on the rise due to fertility drugs.
From Zygote to Embryo
Fewer than 1/2 of all fertilized eggs (zygotes) survive beyond the 1st two weeks (the
Implantation and differentiation marks the end of the zygotic period. How identical cells
differentiate is still a puzzle.
Teratogens are what cause deformities in babies; for example smoking may cause ectopic
pregnancies (implantation in the tube).
Effects of teratogens not straightforward
Illustrates nature-nurture interactions before we are born
Early after Conception
o 3-4 Weeks- primitive brain and spinal cord appear, the heart is beating, and the
umbilical cord grows.
o 5-8 Weeks- external body structures develop; still only an inch long. Fetal Period
o 9 Weeks- the fetus looks human
o 12 Weeks- sex is evident
o 16 Weeks- movement felt (7 inches long)
o After 6 months, fetus response to sound
o Increasing awareness of external stimuli
o Cat in the Hat (DeCasper and Spence, 1986); mothers were told to read the story 2
times daily for the last two weeks of pregnancy. Once born, the babies were shown
to prefer the story. They were presented with a bottle that would play a recording of
their mother reading the story if they sucked fast and a different story if they sucked
slowly. Babies sucked faster to hear the familiar story.
Initiation of Childbirth
Increases in adrenal activity in the fetus results in production of oxytocin by the
o Three stage of labour:
1. Dilation and effacement of the cervix
3. Birth of the placenta
Laws of Development direction include cephalocaudal (head and down) and proximodistal
Physical Growth and Maturation
Disproportionate early head growth
o Brain attains 75% of adult weight by age 3 and 90% by age 5.
o Head represents 50% of body length at 2 months after conception.
Neural plate folds in to form a tube where neurons are made; this becomes the brain.
o It begins to swell in 3 parts:
At seven months old approximately 700 million neurons are present; 1 billion present at
Prenatal Brain Development
Neuroblasts begin in the centre of the neural tube and migrate outwards
Cell proliferations and migration complete by 7 months…. (COMPLETE FROM SLIDES)
Synaptogenesis- dendritic branching (of neurons creating connections)
o Has lead to idea that first years last forever (baby Mozart and baby Einstein based
on one study that couldn't be replicated).
John T Buer actually believed that baby Mozart and Einstein may actually be too over
stimulating Neural Darwinism-brain is programmed to create more nerve cells and more connections
between these cells than are needed
Synaptic pruning to achieve the best network of neurons
Disney no longer markets baby Einstein videos as educational
Jean Piaget asked "How does knowledge grow?"
Children think in fundamentally different ways than adults
Piaget worked as a research assistant for Binet while he was creating the IQ test; Piaget
noticed that children make similar age-related errors
Innate Cognitive Processes
We move through an orderly and predictable series of stages
The mind is an active biological system which explains why a child will crave novelty
Children are active thinkers- hands on
o Knowledge by interaction
o Schemes- mental structure interpret the world- building block of cognitive
o Organization becomes increasingly abstract
1. Organization- infant's initial schemes sensory motor intelligence
First dependent on physical presence of object; non-mental representations. This explains
why peek-a-boo is so entertaining for children.
Later, increasingly incorporate symbolic representations of reality
Language (internal mental representations)
2. Adaptation-adjusting our schemas
Assimilation keeps and adds to what exists; connects present with past
Accommodation results from new problems; connects present to future
Assimilation is conservative while accommodation is progressive.
Both processes allow for cognitive adaptation and equilibrium
Stages of Development
1. Sensory motor Stage (0-2)
Infants understand their wants through their sensory and motor ___ with objects
Infants ___ think
Object permanence appears by 8-12 months. Out of sight= out of mind
9 Months- actively searching for toys
2. Preoperational Stage
Can now better represent objects not in sight
Make use of symbols but still ____
Egocentrism- world about one's self; can't understand other perspectives o Children in Mountains Test- There was a bear on the other side of model mountains;
children were asked to identify the perspective of the bear based on pictures. They
were able to get their own right, but they failed to identify other's properly
Limitations to Preoperational Thought
Concentration is perception bound (ex. 18 year old taller than grandma therefore they're
Lauers Conception….. (GET FROM SLIDES)