Chapter Eight: Continued

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Psychology & Brain Sciences
Lori Astheimer Best

Developmental Psychology Chapter Eight: Continued Spatial relationships: Infants rely on the positions of their own bodies in space to locate objects. They seek to have some way of representing how far apart objects are from each other, or how far apart an object is from a boundary in terms of metric length.  geometric cues, such as the shape of a room, can also help young children to orient themselves in space.  overall, babies have several ways to locate objects in space, referencing their own bodies, using landmarks, and employing distance and geometric cues. These skills improve when the infant begins to crawl and move about the environment. Attention: Allows the individual to focused on a selected aspect of the environment, often in preparation for learning or problem solving.  first step in cognitive processing and is viewed as a critical phase Attention span: As the child ages, their attention span increases. This is because of the maturation of the central nervous system, also increasing complexity of the child's interest. Controlling attention: Children increasingly deploy their attention effectively, such as when they are comparing two stimuli.  brain scans show that areas of the prefrontal cortex that are involved in arousal and attention show rapid improvements in organization and efficiency between four and seven months of age. ADHD - pattern of impulsively, high levels of motor activity, and attention problems. Results in,  poor school achievement.  behavior management problems.  poor peer relationships.  negative moods.  low self-esteem. Think that children with ADHD have problems with high order executive control processes, especially those that help children to inhibit their tendencies to respond. Biologically, those with ADHD show abnormal brain wave activity, slower blood flow and lower glucose metabolism in the prefrontal regions of the brain that are associated with regulating attention and motor activity. Also, the prefrontal region may be smaller in these children. Memory: Recognition memory, requires participants to indicate somehow that they have experienced a picture, word, or other stimulus before.  "Have you encountered this item on previous trials of this experiment?" Vs. Recall memory, participants must reproduce previously presented stimuli.  "Can you show me how we fed the fish before?" Episodic memory, memory for events that occurred at a specific time and place in the past.  "What did you do on your first day of school?" Vs. Semantic memory, consists of general concepts or facts that are stored without reference to a specific previous event.  "How many inches are in a foot?" Explicit memory, refers to the recollection of a past event or experience. This is a conscious process.  Hearing a story being read or viewing a picture of a female face in a laboratory experiment. Vs. Implicit memory, refers to non conscious recollections of how to do something behaviorally. The child may have little awareness of all of the small improvements that have taken place in these skills over time.  learning to use a spoon to eat cereal or among other children, learning to ride a bike. Studying memory in infants: Two techniques are used; habituation and operant conditioning.  habituation was used by Fagan and demonstrated that children are capable of recognizing faces and remembering them when compared to new stimuli.  operant conditioning was utilized by Rovee-Collier, when a ribbon is tied to a mobile in the child's crib the infant figures out that he can kick the ribbon to move it. To prove that infants have memory, the mobile is removed from the crib and two weeks later put back in. Over this period, once the mobile is put back in the crib the infant remembers that they are able to move the ribbon by kicking, proving their memory. Elicited imitation, involves older infants and preschoolers repeating a sequence of actions demonstrated by experimenters. Infant memory capabilities: Newborns can retain information for a twenty-four hour period. However, early memories are easily disrupted by contextual aspects. Memory in older children: Memory span, the number of stimulus items that can be recalled after a brief interval of time. Children's tendency to employ memory strategies, activities to enhance the encoding and retrieval
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