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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 – Development Over Lifespan.docx

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Psychology 1000

Chapter 12 – Development Over Lifespan Developmental Psychology: Issues and Methods  Developmental psychology tries to answer 4 broad questions: o Nature vs. Nurture (Maturation vs. Learning) o Critical vs. Sensitive Period  Critical period is the age range at which experiences must occur for normal development, whereas sensitive period is the optimal age for certain experiences, and if the experience occurs at another time, normal development will still be possible o Continuity vs. Discontinuity  is development gradual like a tree or distinct like a caterpillar emerging as a butterfly? o Stability vs. Change  Do our traits remain the same or change as we age?  These questions are addressed by plotting developmental functions to portray how changes occur: o No change  present at or before birth, and remains throughout entire lifespan (Ex: Discriminating high vs. low pitch sounds) o Continuous/Continuity not present at birth, but gradually develops and remains constant over the years (Ex: Certain types of intelligences) o Stages/Discontinuity  an ability that progresses in stages with relatively rapid shifts (Ex: rolling to crawling to walking) o Inverted U-shaped function  emerges at birth, peaks and disappears with age (visual acuity) o U-shaped function  Present early in life, disappears temporarily and reemerges later (Ex: Stepping with support)  Multiple types of research methods are used to study development o Normative Theories are typical sequence of change and consistency  Ex: Cross-sectional to check for consistency b/w each groups o Individual Theories Consistency is not there; look at individuals  Ex: Longitudinal  Developmental psychologists use various methods to answer these questions: o Cross-sectional Design Comparing people of different ages at the same point in time  Gives data immediately, but the disadvantage is the age difference. Differences between a 60 year old and a 30 year old are due to environmental differences and growing up in different time periods o Longitudinal Design Testing the same cohort over again.  Ex: 10 year olds a test this month and retested over again until the age of 70  However, this is time consuming and harder to generalize o Sequential Design Combines both approaches by repeatedly testing several cohorts over a long period of time. Again, it’s time consuming. Prenatal Development  Consists of three stages: o Germinal stage which lasts about 2 weeks. Begins with the fertilized egg called the zygote o Embryonic stage extends from the end of 2 ndweek to the 8 week with the zygote turning into a cell mass called an embryo. Life structures such as placenta and umbilical cord begin to form.th o Fetal stage is the last stage and begins from the 9 week. Muscles become stronger and bodily systems start to develop 1) Genetics and Sex Determination  A male and female egg contains 23 chromosomes. Females have an XX chromosome, whereas a male has an XY chromosome  The Y chromosome contains a gene called Testis determining factor gene (TDS) determines sex determination  At 6-8 weeks, TDF initiates the development of testes, which secretes androgens sex hormones. If the TDF gene is not present, testes do not form due to insufficient androgen, and the female pattern of organ development continues 2) Environmental Influences  Teratogens are environmental agents that cause abnormal prenatal development  The placenta protects from harmful molecules and diseases, but sometimes they can pass through o Ex: Rubella, STDs  Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a group of severe abnormalities that result to prenatal exposure to alcohol o Children born with FAS have severe facial deformations and small brain development. Furthermore, they have poor IQ and fine- and gross-motor movements o It is recommended that women do not drink at all during their pregnancy  Nicotine, via from maternal smoking or second-hand smoke, can increase miscarriage and pre-mature birth  Researchers have verified that fetal movements occur Infancy and Childhood  Preferential looking procedure revealed that infants prefer looking at complex objects because of their poor visual acuity  This is also apparent in auditory stimuli; generally, infants tend to orient themselves towards more complex stimuli  Visual Habituation Procedure Infants’ interest on the stimuli declines the more it sees it. It will look at a novel stimuli for a longer time  Auditory Habituation Procedure is similar to the previous procedure as well o Infants rapidly associate particular sounds with particular objects, such as a mother’s face and voice  Newborns can learn behavior by operant and classical conditioning o Ex: Touching a newborn’s forehead with a delivery of milk to their mouth will create a learned behavior of the baby turning towards the mom for food 3-4 months Some depth-perception; binocular vision only suggesting the monocular cues are learned 4-5 months Can reach for toys 6-7 months Accurately grasp objects 9-10 months Avoid deep end of visual cliff 1) Sensory-Perceptual Development  Newborn sensory and perceptual development improves dramatically over the years  However, not all perceptual developmental functions show improvement with age during infancy  Ex: Sound localization exhibits a U-shaped function. It appears at 2 months, disappears, then returns again at 4-5 months  Most likely due to lack of practice and maturation of the brain structure  Auditory development is also dramatic in infants, such as being able to detect phonemes 2) Physical, Brain and Motor Development  Maturation the genetically programmed biological process that governs growth rapidly during infancy and childhood  Cephalocaudal principle is the tendency of development to occur in head- to-foot direction  Proximodistal principle is the tendency of development to occur from the innermost to the outermost part of the body  Brain development occurs rapidly during infancy and early childhood, but slows down later in childhood o New synapses are formed, unnecessary synapses are formed and the brain becomes more highly specialized  Motor skills develop in a stage-like sequence o Reflexes are automatic behaviors elicited by a stimuli and are present at birth, such as breathing, rooting reflex and sucking o Some motor skills follow a U shaped development pattern as well- they appear, then disappear. For example: the ability to walk follows this pattern due to the development of legs not being able to support the child as its muscles grow o Babinski toes fan out o Grasping fingers clench to hold hands. An adaptive behavior to prevent danger o Rooting head turns to object on cheek o Moro head shift, arms swing up to prevent falling  Culture and environment can influence development as well. Infants have faster development if they grow in an enriched environment, have physical touch and are exposed to situations that can help development their motor skills (such as walking). Cognitive Development 1) Piaget’s Stage Model  Developmental psychologist Jean Piaget created models to explain the cognitive development of children, and how they arrived to their conclusions o He proposed that children’s thinking changed quantitatively with age  The brain builds schemas that are used as a reference to the world. o Ex: Infants are born with a sucking reflex that provides a schema for interacting with physical objects o Ex: When a child says “doggie” to describe a family pet, this word reflects an underlying schema that the child is using to understand this particular experience  Assimilation is the process whereby new experiences are incorporated into existing schemas o Ex: Infants will suck on any objects it can, or it will call any 4-legged animal a dog  Accommodation is the process whereby a new experience changes an existing schema o Ex: The child may suck something that tastes bad or realize that not all 4-legged animals bark or play fetch o Ultimately, accommodation helps build new schemas  Sensorimotor Stage the stages in which the infants understand their world primarily from sensory and physical interactions with objects o Infants learn object permanence, in which even if objects are not within their sight, they can still look for it knowing it still exists somewhere  Preoperational Stage The stage in which kids present the world symbolically through words and mental images, but do not understand basic mental operations and rules o Children can think about the present/past/future, and same/difference o However, children do not understand the concept of conservation in which the basic properties such as volume and mass stay the same although their appearance is different (ie. Pouring a short glass into a tall glass, a child will think there is more in the tall glass) o Conservation also results in irreversibility, in which kids cannot reverse their mental thinking o Egocentrism also occurs at this stage. Kids have a hard time seeing things from other people’s perspectives  Concrete Operational Stage Child can perform basic mental operations regarding problems with tangible objects and situations, such as shortest to tallest o However, at this stage, children have difficulty performing hypothetical and abstract problems  Formal Operational Stage the final stage of the model in which the child can think both abstractly and concretely. This stage usually occurs around the age of 11-12 years old 2) Assessment of Piaget’s Theory  Many thought that Piaget’s theory of stages was the same in most cultures, but some say that culture influences cognitive development o Piaget’s theory was mostly scientific-logical thinking, but some cultures value social intelligence  Unlike what Piaget proposed, most infants are able to acquire knowledge at an earlier age, but are just unable to propose it  Cognitive development is more complex than Piaget proposed as well, as test performances can affect various variables o Ex: Children perform less mistakes in familiar situations  Furthermore, stages within each stage can also occur non-chronologically as Piaget proposed. So, a child may not be able to perform any tasks on the preoperational stage, but may be able to do so at the operational stage 3) Vygotsky: The Social Context of Cognitive Development  Piaget focused on the independent aspect of cognitive development, whereas Vygotsky focused on the social aspect of it  Zone Proximal Development is the difference between what the child can do independently, and what a child can do with the aid of another o Ex: 2 kids can’t solve a problem, but with a help of an adult, one can but the other can’t o This development helps us identify what a child can do immediately by themselves, and emphasizes how cognitive development and understanding can be aided by adults  Younger children are unable to search for information as effectively as older people  Processing information gets better at age as older children are more able to sort out relevant and irrelevant information. On the other hand, younger children are not able to do so and do not have the same cognitive flexibility as the older children  Memory improves with age and older children are also more likely to use memory-aids  Theory of mind refers to a person’s beliefs about the mind and the ability to understand other people’s mental state. Piaget believed that children are unable of recognizing what other people are thinking o This theory is also applicable to lying. Younger children are better liars since they are unable to elaborate on their lies, so the lie itself is harder to detect  Infants begin to make interferences about an adult’s perspective, knowledge and intentions early on in life  Joint visual attention occurs in which an infant is able to associate what an adult is looking at, and is able to name it (just so long as the adult names the object itself) Social Emotional and Personality Development  Although infants can’t verbally communicate, they communicate by vocalizations and expressions  Emotional regulation the process which we evaluate and modify our emotional reactions  As children age, their emotional expressiveness and ability to regulate their emotions become part of their overall emotional competence, which in turn influence social behavior and how well they behave and socialize with others o Socialization influences children’s emotional development 1) Temperament  Temperament is the style of reacting emotionally and behaviorally to the environment. Some infants are calm, whereas some are fussy and reactive  A longitudinal study by Thomas and Chess (1977) revealed that infants can be classified into 3 types of behaviours: o Easy Infants were playful and ate and slept on schedule o Difficult Infants were irritable and fussy eaters and sleepers o Slow-to-Warm Up Infants were the least active and had mild negative responses to new situations, but slowly adapted over time o Some infants did not maintain the same temperament  Another research was conducted to see if an infant’s temperament can predict their temperament as an adult. Newman et al. (1997) conducted a research in which infants were assessed for 90 minutes, the reassessed again at the age of 21 o Adults who were classified as “undercontrolled” (irritable and impulsive)/highly inhibited at 3 y/o were more antisocial o Inhibited 3 y/o had fewer adult relationships o “Well-adjusted”/uninhibited 3/yo had more adult relationships  Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages explained how personalities develop over 8 major stages, with each one involving a crisis on how we view ourselves in relation to other people and the world o Basic trust vs. basic mistrust (1 y/o) the amount of love and attention we receive during our first year of life influences how we instill trust in the future o Autonomy vs. shame and
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