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Chapter 12

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Heredity, Visual Acuity, Romanian Orphans

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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Psychology 1
Chapter 12: Development Over the Lifespan
4 broad issues guide developmental research:
1. Nature and nurture
2. Critical and sensitive periods
3. Continuity verses discontinuity (is development continuous and gradual or discontinuous,
progressing through stages)
4. Stability vs. change
Critical periodan age range in which certain experiences must occur for development to
proceed normally or along a certain path
Sensitive periodis an optimal age range for certain experiences, but if those experiences occur
at another time, normal development will still be possible
There are 5 developmental functions that portray how different processes change with age
1. No change: ability present at or before birth that remains relatively constant across
2. Continuous change: an ability not present at birth that develops gradually
3. Stages (discontinuity): an ability that progresses in stages, with relatively rapid shifts
4. Inverted U-shaped function: an ability that emerges after birth, peaks, and disappears
5. U-shaped function: an ability that is present early in life, disappears temporarily, and
reemerges later (diapers to diapers)
Cross-sectional designresearch design that simultaneously compares people of different ages
at a particular point in time
Longitudinal designrepeatedly tests the same cohort as it grows older
Cohort: age group
Sequential designcombines the cross-sectional and longitudinal design. We can repeatedly
test several age cohorts as they grow older and determine whether they follow a similar
development pattern
Three stages:
1. Germinal stage: first 2 weekssperm fertilizes egg, produces zygote
2. Embryotic stage: up to week 8placenta and umbilical cord form. Placenta allows
nutrients to flow to cord and cord gives nutrients to baby. Cells specialize and organs

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Psychology 2
3. Fetal stage: week 9 onwardmuscles become stronger, organs develop, 24
weeks eyes open, 28 weeks reaches
age of viability
(able to survive out of
Sex determination
Egg and sperm have only 23 chromosomes, when together they form 23 PAIRS
of chromosomes (46 individual)
The Y chromosome contains TDF (testis determining factor) gene, which
triggers male sexual development. At 6-8 weeks, TDF gene forms testes, which
release androgens which form a male (without this a female forms) this is the
prenatal critical period
Environmental influences
Teratogensenvironmental agents that cause abnormal prenatal development such as
HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, smoking, alcohol use, rubella
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)a group of severe abnormalities that results from
prenatal exposure to alcohol. FAS children have facial abnormalities and small,
malformed brains
Fetal movements can be caused by loud sounds and vibroacoustic stimulation
Fetuses also learn. They stop responding to loud sounds and vibrations,
reflecting short term memory
They also have long term memory and prefer sounds that are familiar to them
(mothers voice)
They can also learn about odours from their mother and like those foods
Newborn sensation and perception
Preferential looking procedureRobert Fantz use this to study infants visual
preferences by placing them on their backs and showing them 2 images to see
which ones they focused on the longest. He found they prefer complex patterns
Infants have poor visual acuity (about 40x worse than an adult)
They turn toward off-centered auditory and tactile targets
Newborn learning
Visual habituation procedurea new visual preference can be established in
newborns by presenting the same stimulus repeatedly until they look at it for a shorter
time (infants stare at unfamiliar things longer than familiar)
Auditory habituation procedureto study infant memory. Infants will look away
from familiar sounds and toward novel sounds. They learn rapidly to associate particular
sounds with particular objects

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Psychology 3
Sensory-perceptual developmentprocesses are exercised in the uterus, and they all,
including vision, operate at some level at birth. Most improve rapidly during the 1st year of life
but some abilities appear rather suddenly several months after birth while others decline
temporality or disappear during the first year. Some U-shaped functions are sound localization,
auditory pattern perception
Physical Development
Cephalocaudal principlereflects the tendency for development to proceed in a head-
to-foot direction. The head of a fetus is disproportionately large because growth focuses
first on the head
Proximodistal principledevelopment begins along the innermost parts of the body
and continues toward the outermost parts. Arms before fingers, and shoulder moves
before fingers
Brain development
Develops most dramatically
First areas to mature fully lie deep within the brain and regulate basic survival functions
Last area to mature is frontal cortex
Shows later in childhood
Motor development
Reflexesdefined as automatic inborn behaviours elicited by specific stimulipresent
at birth. Newborns will swim and crawl, grab things and even walk. Healthy reflexes
indicate normal neurological maturity at birth
Some motor skills follow a U shaped developmental function. For example the stepping
reflex drops out and comes back around 1 year old
3 points that apply across the realm of human development
1. Biology sets limits on environmental influences
2. Environmental influences can be powerful
3. Biological and environmental factors interact
Experience is critical for normal development; without pattern vision, visual acuity stalls
at the newborn level but recovers to a large extent when vision is restored, although
permanent defects rain if he deprivation occurs during the sensitive/critical period
Cognitive development
Piaget’s stage model
Relied on observational research
Proposed children’s thinking changes qualitatively with age
Children’s brains build schemas (the world is for sucking)
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