Developmental Psychology Infancy and Childhood Key Debates in Developmental Psychology • Continuity vs. Stages. • Stability vs. Change. • Nature vs. Nurture. Nature vs. Nurture Heredity vs. Environment Nature Versus Nurture While going through this unit it should always be in the back of your head… Are you who you are because of: • The way you were born - Nature. • The way you were raised - Nurture. The Nature Argument (is sometimes compelling) This guy will never be…. This guy!!! Why does Brad Pitt look the way he does? Genes: Our Biological Units of Heredity Genes: Their Location and Composition In the nucleus of most cells we have 46 chromosomes … Except… sperm and eggs, which have 23. Prenatal Development • Conception begins with the drop of an egg and the release of about 200 million sperm. • The sperm seeks out the egg and attempts to penetrate the eggs surface. • Once the sperm penetrates the egg - we have a fertilized egg called… The Zygote The first stage of prenatal development. Lasts about 14 days and consists of rapid cell division. Zygotes • Less than half of all zygotes survive the first two weeks. • About 10 days after conception, the zygote will attach itself to the uterine wall. • Cells begin to differentiate (or specialize). This process is directed by our genes. After two weeks, the zygote develops into an… Embryo • Lasts about 6 weeks. • Heart begins to beat and the organs begin to develop. Fetus • By nine weeks we have a… • By about the 6th month, the stomach and other organs have formed enough to survive outside of mother. • At this time the baby can hear (and recognize) sounds and respond to light. Teratogens: harmful agents to the prenatal environment. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome • Physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant women’s heavy drinking. • Severe cases include facial disproportions and cognitive abnormalities. How do brain and motor skills develop? Good News • While in the womb, you produce almost ¼ million brain cells per minute. Bad News • That is basically all you are ever going to develop. The Newborn • Within an hour a newborn will turn its head to watch a picture of a human face. • They will turn their heads towards human voices. • Taste preference toward sugar and mother’s milk. Reflexes • Inborn automatic responses: • Rooting (turning head toward touch) • Sucking • Grasping • Moro • Babinski Temperament • A child’s characteristic emotional excitability is evident at a very young age. • Like shyness or being outgoing. • Tends to be stable over time. Brain Development in Newborns • Cells in the brain begin to work more efficiently - forming more complex neural networks. Maturation • Automatic, orderly, sequential process of physical and mental development. • To a certain extent we all maturate similarly, but the time can vary depending on the person. Motor Development • Sequence is the same - but once again timing varies. • First we learn to roll over, then sit up unsupported, crawl, walk etc… Walking • Walking - in US 25% learn by 11 months, 50% within a week of 1st birthday, 90% by 15 months. • Varies by culture - if the culture emphasizes walking then babies can walk at younger ages (NURTURE). • But identical twins tend to learn to walk at nearly the same time (NATURE). Toilet Training • The baby needs the physical maturation before toilet training can take place. • They can’t do it if they can’t control those muscles. More Developmental Patterns • Growth Cycles - patterns of development in which some areas develop more rapidly and some more slowly. (Girls have more orderly and stable growth cycles). • Critical Periods - specific time after birth that is the only time when a particular skill can begin to develop (ex. Languages). • Development within a species is typically orderly and specific. Developmental Psychology • Studies physical, cognitive and social changes throughout life. • Jean Piaget (famous child psychologist). • Kids think and learn differently than adults. • Cognition – mental activities associated with thinking. Schemas • Children view the world through schemas (as do adults for the most part). • Schemas (concepts or mental frameworks) are ways we interpret the world around us. • It is basically what you picture in your head when you think of anything. Right now in your head, picture a model. These 3 probably fit into your concept (schema) of a model. But does this one? If I teach a 3 year old that an animal with 4 legs and a tail is a dog…. Assimilation • Incorporating new experiences into existing schemas. What schema would you assimilate this into? Or this? What would he call this? Accommodation • Adapting current schemas to incorporate new information. If I tell someone from the mid-west to picture their schema of N.Y. they may talk about the bad areas. But if I showed them other areas of N.Y., they would be forced to accommodate (change) their schema to incorporate their new information. Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development: 1.) Sensorimotor Stage • Experience the world through our senses. • Object Permanence develops around 8 months of age. • Birth to about 2. 2.) Preoperational Stage • 2 – 6 or 7 years old. • Begin to use language to represent objects and ideas. • Ability to think in symbols. • Non-logical, “magical thinking”. • Egocentrism: the inability to take on another’s point of view (reversibility). • Do NOT understand concepts of conservation. Conservation • The idea that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the appearance of the object. 3.) Concrete Operational Stage • 6 or 7 to about 11. • CAN demonstrate concept of conservation. • Learn to think logically. 4.) Formal Operational Stage (12 and up) • What would the world look like with no light? • Picture god. • What are the best strategies for playing chess? • Abstract reasoning. • Able to form strategies about things they may not have experienced. • Hypothesis testing. Criticisms of Piaget • Some say he underestimates the abilities of children. • Many believe that children do not learn in stages but rather a gradual continuous growth pattern. Social Development • Stranger Anxiety - The fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age. Attachment • The most important social construct an infant must develop is attachment (a bond with a caregiver). • Body contact, familiarity and responsiveness all are important for attachment. Origins of Attachment • For many animals there is a critical period shortly after birth when an organism’s exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produce proper development. • Those who are deprived of touch have trouble forming attachment when they are older. Body Contact • Harry Harlow and his monkeys. • He showed that monkeys needed touch or body contact to form attachment. Familiarity • Imprinting is the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life. • Discovered by Konrad Lorenz. Responsive Parenting • Mary Ainsworth’s “Strange Situation” study. • Types of attachment: 1. Insecure (child is “clingy”). 2. Secure (child explores). Parenting Patterns • Parenting styles have been shown to have a positive effect on a child’s self-concept. Three types of parenting styles: Authoritarian Parents • Impose rules and expect obedience. •“Why, because I said so!!!!” Permissive Parents • Parents submit to their children’s desires, make few demands and use little punishment. Authoritative Parents • Parents are both demanding and responsive. • Exert control by setting rules, but explain the reasoning behind the rules. • They encourage open discussion.