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Chapter 11

PSYC 1010 Chapter 11: Chapter 11

Course Code
PSYC 1010
Doug Mc Cann

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Chapter 11- Human Development Across the Life Span
2 major themes: transitions and continuity
Development the sequence of age-related changes that occur as a person progresses
from conception to death
Includes biological and behavioral changes
4 major periods:
o Prenatal
o Childhood
o Adolescence
o Adulthood
Prenatal Development
Conception occurs when fertilization creates a zygote one celled organism formed by
the union of an egg and sperm
In nucleus chromosomes genes
Prenatal period period from conception to birth, usually encompassing nine months of
3 phases:
o Germinal stage
o Embryonic stage
o Fetal stage
Germinal stage
The first phase of prenatal development, encompassing the first 2 weeks after conception
Zygote has cell division going on move along the mother’s fallopian tubes and stick
on the uterine wall
Takes about a week
Many zygotes are rejected
Placenta a structure that allows oxygen and nutrients to pass into the fetus from the
mother’s bloodstream and bodily wastes to pass out to mother
Blood cells do not get exchanged thin membrane that separates the two bloodstreams
Embryonic Stage
The second phase of prenatal development, lasting from 2 weeks until the end of the
second month
Vital organs and bodily systems begin to form
zygote turns into embryo
Looks like a human only 2.5 cm long
Most critical period of development can have devasting effects
Most miscarriages occur in this period
Birth defects occur due to accidents that occur in this stage
Fetal stage
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Third stage of prenatal development, lasting from 2 months to birth
Embryo turns into a fetus
Capable of physical movements
Sex organs develop in 3rd month
Brain specialization occurs
Layer of fat deposited under skin
All systems mature respiratory and digestive
22 weeks to 26 weeks fetus reaches age of viability the age at which a baby can
survive in the event of a premature birth
Environmental Factors and Prenatal Development
Mother’s eating habits, drug abuse and physical health can affect the baby
Teratogens any external agents that can harm an embryo or fetus
Maternal drug use:
o Babies can become addicts based on the drugs that the mother used
o Can increase birth complications
o Increase risk of early death
o Alcohol consumption can carry risks
o Fetal Alcohol Syndrome a collection of congenital problems associated with
excessive alcohol use during pregnancy
Small head, heart defects, delayed mental development
o Smoking increases chances of miscarriage, stillbirth, risk of death
Maternal Illness and Exposure to Toxins
o Fetus’ immune system develops later in the prenatal period defenseless against
o HIV which causes AIDS can be passed on from the mother to the child
o Babies in the womb are exposed to environmental toxins
Material Nutrition and Emotions
o Must follow nutrition guides
o Too much weight or too little weight is bad
o The babies receive nutrients from the mother too much or too little of a vitamin
is not good
o Mother’s emotions have an impact on the baby
Fetal Origins of Disease
Events during the prenatal development phase can program the brain in ways that makes
one vulnerable to illnesses in adulthood
After the baby is born, the mother’s diet is important breastfeeding upto 2 years is
After 6 months, you can introduce solid foods
Exploring the World: Motor Development
The progression of muscular coordination required for physical activities
Basic Principles:
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o Cephalocaudal trend - the head-to-foot direction of motor development
o Gain control over their upper bodies before their lower bodies (crawling to
o Proximodistal trend center-outward direction of motor development
o Gain control over their torso before their hands
o Weight grows faster than height
o Maturation development that reflects the gradual unfolding of one’s genetic
Infants are active agents rather than passive organisms their motor
development rests upon their ongoing exploration of the world and their
Development Norms
Indicate the median age at which individuals display various behaviours and abilities
Parents become alarmed when their child is lagging behind
The norms are group averages
Variation is entirely normal
Cultural Variations and Their significance
Depending on the culture, some kids learn to walk and sit up earlier than other kids
Example: Kipsigis people train their kids to stand and walk soon after birth
Easy and Difficult Babies: Difference in Temperament
Temperament characteristic mood, activity level and emotional reactivity
Longitudinal Design investigators observe one group of participants repeatedly over a
period of time
o Takes time to complete participants leave or move away
Cross-sectional design investigators compare groups of participants of differing age at
a single point in time
o Quicker, easier and cheaper
o Some of the difference may be cohort effects difference between age groups
are due to the group growing up in different time periods
3 styles of temperament:
o Easy children cheerful, happy, regular in sleeping and eating times
o Slow-to-warm-up-children less cheery, less regular in sleeping and eating
o Difficult children 10% glum, irritable, erratic in sleeping and eating
Temperament is established at 2-3 months
Experiment done by Jerome Kagan studied children through direct observation
o 15-20% of children display inhibited temperament shy, timid, wary of
unfamiliar people and objects
o 25-30% of children are uninhibited temperament less restrained, approach
items and people
o Temperament may be changeable
Early Emotional Development: Attachment
Atttachment the close, emotional bonds of affection that develop between infants and
their caregivers
Develop relationship with mother first, because she is the primary care giver
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