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Chapter 11

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Western University
Psychology 1000

CHAPTER 11: DEVELOPMENT OVER THE LIFESPAN > MAJOR ISSUES AND METHODS - developmental psychology: examines changes in our biological, physical, physiological, and behavioural processes as we age  four main issues: o nature and nurture: which one has a greater influence on development? o critical and sensitive periods:  critical period: an age range during which certain experiences must occur for development to proceed normally  sensitive period: an optimal age for experiences, but development is still possible if they happen at another time o continuity versus discontinuity: is development continuous or gradual, or is it discontinuous, and take place in stages? o Stability versus change: do characteristics stay the same or change? - Developmental functions change in five ways: 1. no change 2. continuous change (continuity) 3. stages (discontinuity) 4. inverted U-shaped function (comes after birth, peaks, then disappears) 5. U-shaped function (present in early life, disappears, then comes back) - cross-sectional design: a research design that simultaneously compares ppl of different ages at a particular point in time - longitudinal design: repeatedly tests the same cohort as it grows older - sequential design: combines both  repeatedly test several age cohorts as they grow older and determine whether they follow a similar developmental pattern > PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT - prenatal period: approximately 266 days which we develop from a single-cell organism into a human  three stages: o germinal stage: week 0-2  through repeated cell division the zygote becomes a mass of cells that attaches to the uterus after about 10-14 days o embryonic stage: week 2-8  cell mass is now an embryo. The placenta and umbilical cord develop (placenta has membranes that allow nutrients to pass, and the umbilical cord has blood vessels that carry these nutrients. By week 8 the heart is beating, brain forming, and facial features form o fetal stage: week 9-birth  muscles become stronger and bodily systems develop. At 24 weeks the eyes open, and at 28 weeks the fetus is at the age of viability: would probably survive if born prematurely Genetics and Sex Determination rd - 23 pair of chromosomes determines sex  women have XX, males have XY  the Y chromosome has a gene known the TDF gene which triggers male sexual development - once formed the testes secrete sex hormones called androgens that direct male sex organs Environmental Influences - maternal malnutrition is associated with premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, etc - teratogens: environmental agents that cause abnormal prenatal development - rubella: can cause blindness, deafness, mental retardation, and heart defects - STDs: passed from mother to fetus, may cause brain damage, blindness, deafness, etc - Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS): severe group of abnormalities that result from prenatal exposure to alcohol  facial abnormalities, and small malformed brains - Nicotine: a teratogen, increases risk of miscarriage and premature birth - Babies born to crack heads or heroin addicts are often born addicted > INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD Newborn Sensation and Perception - have very poor acuity, a lack of coordinated eye movements, and “tunnel vision” o acuity of about 20/800, or 40 times worse than the average adult - minutes after birth will turn to face visual, auditory, and tactile targets, as well as odours - orient to most important stimuli in their environment, usually their mother - newborns look longer at patterned than non-patterned objects - newborns have memory  visual habituation procedure: same stimuli presented until infant looking time decreases, then a new stimuli is presented. The infant will look at the new stimuli for longer than the familiar stimuli Sensory-Perceptual Development - visual field expands to almost adult size by six months of age - acuity improves in a continuous developmental function to about 20/100 by 6 months, then progresses more slowly until it reaches adult levels by about 4 years - perceive based on Gestalt principles - a U-shaped function exists for sound localization – the remarkable ability of newborns to turn toward sounds at birth disappears in second month of life, then returns at 5 months Physical, Motor, and Brain Development - maturation: the genetically programmed biological process that governs our growth - cephalcaudal principle: tendency for development to proceed in a head-to-foot direction - proximdistal principle: states that development begins along the innermost parts of the body and continues outwards (ie, from shoulders to arms to hands to fingers) - brain at birth is 25% of eventual adult weight, but by 6 months is already at 50% - between 5-10 years little brain growth occurs, but develops more synapses, association areas of the cerebral cortex mature, and the cerebral hemispheres become specialized - reflexes: automatic inborn behaviours elicited by specific stimuli - some motor skills have a U-shaped developmental pattern: o the stepping reflex: stops after 1-2 months, then returns at around 12 months when infants begin to try and walk Cognitive Development Piaget’s Stage Model - children’s thinking changes with age and results from maturation and experience - to understand their world, the brain builds schemas, which are organized patterns of thought and action - assimilation: the process where new experiences are incorporated into existing schemas - accommodation: process by which new experiences cause existing schemas to change - Piaget made 4 major stages of cognitive growth: o Sensorimotor stage: birth – 2  infants understand world through sensory experiences and motor interactions w/ objects  Around 8 months, child has object permanence: the ability to understand that an object exists even when it disappears from sight o preoperatinal stage: 2 – 7  represent the world symbolically through words and mental images, but do not yet understand basic mental operations or rules  become capability of thinking about past/future, and can “make-believe”  don’t understand conservation (stays same when appearance changes)  animism: attribute lifelike qualities to objects and natural events  egocentrism: believe everyone perceive things the same way they do o concrete operational stage: 7 – 12  children can perform basic mental operations concerning problems that involve tangible objects and situations o formal operational stage: 11 or 12 on  individuals are able to think logically and systematically abut both concrete and abstract problems, form hypotheses, and test them in a thoughtful way Vygotsky: The Social Context of Cognitive Development - emphasized children live in a social world and that cognitive development occurs in a socio-cultural context  adults and older peers stimulate growth and provide knowledge - zone of proximal development: difference between what a child can do independently, and what the child can do with assistance from adults or more advanced peers o helps us recognize functions that are in the process of maturing o emphasizes ppl can “move” a child’s development forward Theory of Mind - theory of mind: refers to a person’s beliefs about how the “mind” works, and what others are thinking about - according to Piaget, children under 6 or 7 have very limited understanding of the mind, and thus cannot infer what others are thinking o now believed that children have some understanding at about 3 or 4 Moral Development - Freud  children develop a mental conscience by identifying with parents - Skinner  we learn which behaviours are good and bad through reward/punishment - Piaget  kids pa
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