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Chapter 4

PS102 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: The Big Questions, Prenatal Development, Wireless

Course Code
Joanne Lee

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PS102B Winter 2018
Developmental Stages
Newborn: 1st month of life
Human Development
The study of changes in behaviour and mental processes
o over time
o the factors that influence the course of those constancies and changes
The Big Questions
Critical & sensitive periods
o Critical period = age where experiences must occur
Ex. If do not learn a language by age 5, will not be able to learn the
language well
o Sensitive periods = optimal age range
Ex. Language best learned at age 4
Nature & Nurture
o Is it the environment or heredity? … usually both!
Lung and skin cancer (lifestyle/environment) VS brain and bone
cancer (genetics)
Continuity VS Discontinuity
o Gradual or stages?
Stability VS Change
o Do things remain constant
Ex. Can a shy person become outgoing
Personality traits = stable, however can change slightly
Mapping Change
1. Stages
Discontinuous (qualitative) changes
Ex. Crawling -> walking -> running
2. Continuous
Gradual (quantitative) changes
Keep getting better in same skill
No distinctive changes
Ex. Walking faster, more skill, more stability
3. No Change
Remains constant

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Research Designs
o Test same cohort over time
P: Same people (reduces variability
across samples)
C: Time consuming
C: People drop out
C: Are changes generalizable to all people or just this group?
o Compare different ages at the same time
Ie. Compare 60 yr olds VS 30 yr olds
memory capacity (to see how memory
changes as we age)
P: convenient (for researcher &
P: Data from many age groups, but…
C: Different cohorts grew up in different time periods
C: Different experiences, cultural changes, environmental changes
Ex. Wireless technology now prevalent
C: assumes any changes found are a result of age
C: cannot account for cohort differences (different life experiences)
o Test several cohorts as they age
o Blend btwn longitudinal and cross-sectional
o Cohort = group born at same time
of both the longitudinal & cross-sectional
C: Very costly
Heredity & Prenatal Development
Prenatal Period: the period of development from conception to birth
Genes: basic building blocks of our biological inheritance
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA): molecules in which genetic information is coded
Chromosomes: strands of DNA; each human being has 46 chromosomes in 23
o In 1 pair: 1 from mother, 1 from father

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Allele: variation of a gene
o the two genes, one on each chromosome, that control the same trait
o Specifies traits (ie. Blue eyes VS brown eyes)
Homozygous: two of the same alleles
o Ie. Freckles: both parents must have freckles for offspring to have freckles
Heterozygous: two different alleles
Discrete Trait: a trait involving a single gene pair
Polygenic Trait: a trait involving multiple genes (ie. Height, weight, skin colour)
o Most human traits are polygenic
Genotype & Phenotype
o The sum total of all the genes that a person inherits
o Some genes are dominant, some are recessive
Homozygous: 2 dominant (AA) or 2 recessive (aa)
Heterozygous: 1 dominant, 1 recessive (Aa)
Codominance: a person w/ heterozygous alleles may express both
their parents’ genes in their phenotype
Ie. Type A mother + Type B father = Type AB child
o The way in which the genes are actually expressed, or observed
characteristics of the genes
o Physical traits
Ie. Ability to roll tongue dominant trait…father can roll tongue & mother cannot roll
tongue = child can roll tongue
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