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Chapter 12

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Egocentrism, Stupid Shit, Generation Gap

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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Chapter 12- Development over the Lifespan
Developmental psychology examines changes in our biological, psychological and
behavioural processes as we age
Cross-sectional design: we would compare people of different ages at the same point in
o To study how intellectual abilities, change from age 10 to age 60
o We would test each person and compare who well the different age groups
o A drawback is that the cohorts grew up in different historical periods
Longitudinal design: repeatedly tests the same cohort as it grows older
o This was a way to solve the problem of cross-sectional design
o This design is time consuming as people drop out of the study or die
o And things don’t have to be consistent for every single person it can just be for
this cohort
Sequential design: combines the cross sectional and longitudinal approaches
o we can repeatedly test several age cohorts as they grow older and determine
whether they follow a specific development pattern
o most comprehensive and most time consuming and costly
Prenatal Development
Prenatal development consists of three stages of physical growth
o Germinal stage: constitutes approximately the first two weeks of development,
beginning when the sperm fertilizes the egg
The fertilized egg is called a zygote
Through cell division the zygote becomes a mass of cells that
attach to the mothers uterus about 10-14 days after conception
o Embryonic stage: extends from the end of the second week through the eight
week after conception, and the cell mass now is called an embryo
Placenta and umbilical cord develop at the start of this stage
Placenta contains membranes that allow nutrients tot pass from the
mothers blood to the umbilical cord
Umbilical cord contains blood vessels that carry these nutrients
and oxygen to the embryo and waste products back from the
embryo to the mother
By week eight the heard of the two centimeter long embryo is beating the
brain is forming and facial features can be recognized
o Fetal stage: at the ninth week after conception the embryo is called a fetus. This
stage lasts until birth
Muscles become stronger and other bodily systems continue to develop
24 weeks the eyes open and by 28 weeks the fetus attains the age of
meaning that if born premature it can survive outside the womb
Genetics and Sex Determination
o A females egg cell and males egg cell each have 23 chromosomes
That is how we get the full set of 23 pairs
o 23rd pair determines sex XX is female XY is mail
Woman gives X, man gives X or Y
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o The Y chromosome contains a specific gene, known as the TDF (testis
determining factor) gene: triggers male sexual development
6-8 weeks after conception the gene initiates the development of testes
once formed the testes secrete sex hormones called androgens that
continue to direct a male pattern of organ development
If this doesn’t happen a female pattern of organ development does
Environmental Influences
o Teratogens: environmental agents that cause abnormal prenatal development
The placentas prevents many dangerous substances from reaching the
embryo and fetus but some harmful chemical molecules can pass through
o Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD): involve a range of mild to severe
cognitive, behavioural and physical deficits caused by prenatal exposure to
o Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS): involves a cluster of severe developmental
Facial abnormalities, small malformed brains
Psychological and social impairment
Intellectual disability
Attentional and perceptual deficits
Poor social skills
o The thresholds are not known but a lot of children who are born to alcoholic
mothers have problems
No amount of prenatal alcohol is safe
o Nicotine is another teratogen
This increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and low birth
o Babies of mothers who use cocaine or heroin are often born addicted and
experience withdrawal symptoms after birth
Their cognitive functioning, motor skill development, and the ability to
regulate their arousal and attention may also be impaired
Infancy and Childhood
Infants during studies may start to fuss, cry, drool, spit, soil their diapers or simply fall
o Experiments must be designed to keep infants alert and on task
This is difficult because they can get bored easily and overwhelmed easily
o Also infants cant describe their experiences, researchers must find ways to use
their responses to draw inferences about their capabilities and preferences
The Amazing Newborn
o William James suggested that the newborns world is: buzzing, blooming,
They are passive and disorganized with an empty mind
This is wrong
o Newborn Sensation and Perception
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Infants are very near sighted their visual activity is 20/800 ( 40x worse
than normal adult 20/20)
But they can still focus on things 20-40 cm away
Preferential looking procedure: to study infants’ visual preferences
Placed infants on their backs showed them two or more stimuli at
the same time and filmed their eyes to record how long they looked
at each stimuli
o Infants preferred complex patters, such as realistic or
scrambled drawings or a human face to simple things
Newborns readily turn toward off-centered auditory and tactile targets and
They move to stimuli especially their mothers face, voice, smell which
optimizes their access to food warmth and social stimulation
o Newborn Learning
Infants can distinguish their moms face after 72 hours
Infants look longer at a novel stimulus rather than a familiar one
It has been shown that newborns know how to associate sounds with
objects, including mothers face and voice
Newborns can learn how to react to sound- like after 16 times of the same
sound they don’t look anymore or the other way or anticipate it etc
Newborns can learn through classical and operational conditioning and
Through operant conditioning they learn that they can make things
Infants are born with mechanisms that help them respond to caretakers and
important events in their environment
Sensory- Perceptual Development
o Their sensory-perceptual abilities improve rapidly
o Their visual field in each eye expands to almost adult size by 6 months of age,
while acuity improves in a continuous developmental function from 20/800 at
birth to 20/100
o By 6 months and then progresses more slowly until it reaches adult level by about
4 years old
o Depth perception appears at about 3.5 months
o U shaped function exists for sound localization
Ability to turn toward sounds at birth disappears in the second month of
life and returns again at 4-5 months
This can be because lack of practice, interest and a change in how
the behaviour is controlled as the cortical structures mature and
take control of what had been subcortically driven reflexes
Reason for this shape is not clear
o Auditory pattern of perception is relatively advanced in young infants who can
detect tiny changes in adult speech sounds that differentiate one word from
another (phonemes) by 1-2 months of age
This can be lost after 12 months- use it or lose it
o Young infants perceive music as adults do
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