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Chapter 2

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Western University
Psychology 2320A/B
Jeff St.Pierre

Lecture 2: Jan 15 , 2013 Chapter 2- Theories and Causes: Theoretical Foundations: - Defining child abnormality is complex and involves: o Context of children’s ongoing adaptation and development o Sorting out the most probably cause of identified problems - Study of abnormal child behaviour requires an understanding of developmental process and of individual and situational events that can influence the course and direction of a particular child’s life - Studying normal development informs our theories of abnormal development and vice versa. To understand maladaptive behaviour, one must view it in relation to what is considered normative. - (Refer to Case study!) - Theory: a language of science that allows us to assemble and communicate exisiting knowledge effectively o Allows us to make educated guesses and predictions about behaviour based on samples of knowledge - Etiology: the study of causes of childhood disorders o Considers how bio, psychological and environmental processes interact to produce outcomes ovserved over time - Multiple, interactive causes- rather than one d models, help in understanding the complexity of the disorders Underlying Assumptions - Abnormal development is multiply determined o Must look beyond current sumptoms and consider development pathways and interacting events that, over time, contribute to the expression of a disorder - Children and enironments are interdepent o TransactionCONTD…………… - Abnormal development involves continuities and discontinuities o Continuitu: developmental changes are gradual and quantitative; predictive of future behaviour patterns  Well supported for early onset and persistent conduct disorders o Discontinuity: developmental changes are abrupt and qualitative; not predictive of future behaviour patterns  More common in eating disorders and autism - Changes: typical and atypical o Guidelines for the typical sequence of development are helpful, but age in years is an arbitrary way to segment continuous sequences of development *No evidence for vaccinations causing autism Piaget’s Children: - Organization: o Arranging info into structures he called schemes - Adaptation; o In adjusting to our environment we can:  Assimilate (fit into scheme) or  Accommodate (alter scheme) - Refer to Piagets stages of cog. Development o Sensorimotor stage age 0-2: child begins to interact with the environment o Preoperational stage age 2-6 or 7: child begins to represent the world symbolically o Concrete operational stage age 7-11 or 12: the child learns rules such as conservation o Formal operational stage age 12- adulthood: the adolescent can transcend concrete situations and think about the future. Think abstractly, beyond the concrete An integrative approach: - No single theoretical orientation can explain various behaviours or disorders o Models that consider more than one primary cause are still limited by the boundaries of their disimolince - CONTDD.. Develppmental Consideratons: - Adaptational failure is the failure to master or progress in accomplishing developmental milestones o Children with psychological disorders differ from children their own age on some aspect of normal development o Failures or deviatiosn typically result from an ongion interaction between invidual development and CONTD Organization of Development - Early patterns of adaptation evolve with structure over time and transform into higher- order functions o Prior patters are incorporated into successive reorganizations at subsequent periods of development - Implies an active, dynamic process of continual change and transformation - Sensitive periods are windows of times during which environment influences on development are enhanced - Developmental is a process of inc. differentiation and integration and proceeds in an organized, hierarchical manner o Current abilities or limitations are influenced by prior accomplishments o Each change influences further developmental success or failure. Biological Perspectives: - Neurobiological perspective: sees brain and nervous system functions as underlying causes of psychological disorders - The fetal brain develops from all-purpose cells into a complex organ made up of specialized, interconnected neurons - Embryonic development generates an initial overabundance of neurons that are initially largely undifferentiated o As they reach their destinations, they become specialized and carry electrical signals to other parts of the brain o Synapses (axonal connections) form the brain’s circuits and lay foundation for further growth and differentiation - By the 5 month of prenatal development, most axons have reached their general destination, but there are far more axons than the target cells can accommodate - During early childhood, selective pruning reduces the number of connections that shape and differentiate important brain functions - Throughout life, we undergo cycles that narrow the gap between structure and function o The microanatomy of the brain is constantly redefined to meet the demands and requirements of an adult world - Scientists now believe that brain functions undergo continual changes as they adapt to environment demands - Interacting with others/things critical to development as a child - Brain has to change to adapt to our environment Neural plasticity and the role of experiences - The brain shows neural plasticity (ie. Malleability or use dependent anatomical differentiation) throughout the course of devilment - Experience plays a critical role in brain development with transaction occurring between ongoing brain development and environmental experiences o Prenatal environment o Childhood illness and diet o Early caregiving including maltreatment, inadequate stimulation and attachment - Maturation of the brain is an organized, hierarchical process with brain structures restructuring and growing throughout the life span o Primitive areas, which govern basic sensory and motor skills, mature during the first 3 years of life o Perceptual and instinctive centers (eg. Limbic system) are strongly affected by early childhood experiences o Prefrontal cortex and cerebellum are not rewired until a person is 5 or 7 years old o Major restructuring occurs between ages 9 and 11 due to pubertal development and again in adolescences o Process of myelination (not in text)= white matter = faster processing  Sheath of myelin over axon, when small that sheath isn’t finished developing, but around university age, the sheath has developed into a protective coating  More coating= faster processing - As the brain is shaped by early experiences, consequences of traumatic experience may be difficult to change o Problems or disruptions occurring at a younger age are typically associated with more severe organic disorders and central nervous system complications o Safeguards such as proper prenatal care, proper nutrition and avoidance of tobacco or alcohol during pregnancy are important in reducing the risk of complications and lifelong disabilities  Schizophrenia example: part of brain causing hallucinations developing more/faster…  First episode psychosis: first time hallucinations are assessed and are treated with proper meds. And alter or slow further damage Genetic Contributions - Each person’s unique genome (approx. 20, 000 to 25,000 genes) is established at conceptions - Genes contain genetic info from each parent distributed on 22 matched pairs of chromes and a singles pair of sex chromosomes (xy=male, xx= female) - Some genetic influences are expressed early in development, while others show up years later - Expression of genetic influences is malleable and responsive to social environment - Rarely is one gene the single cause of a disorder - The nature of genes: o A gene is a stretch of DNA, which produces a protein o Proteins produce tendencies to respond to the environment in certain ways o Genes influence how we respond to the environment in certain ways  Gene-environment interaction (GxE) - Behavioural genetics investigates possible connections between genetic predisposition and observed behaviour taking into account environmental and genetic influences o Twin studies can provide a powerful research strategy for examining the role of genetic influences in disorders - refer to link about anxiety o rat example:  nurturance activates GR genes - molecular genetics methods directly assess the association between variations in DNA sequences and variations in a particular trait or traits o used to identifying specific genes for a childhood disorders, including autism, ADHD and learning disability o long term goal is to determine how genetic mutations alter how genes function in development of the brain and behaviour for different psychopathologies o CONTTDDDD *refer to brain diagram - occipital lobe= vision - temporal lobe= language - prefrontal cortex= BOSS - parieteial lobe= higher processing - limbic system= memory - left hemisphere more lang based and right more special based to some extent… Neurobioloigical contributions:
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