Life Span Development

Chapter 9 Summary

I. Studying DevelopmentA.Theoretical Issues: Ongoing Debates
  • The three most important debates going on in human development are nature vs. nurture, continuity vs. stages, and stability vs. change.
  1. Nature vs. Nurture- according to the nature position, human behavior and development are determined by automatic, genetically predetermined signals known as maturation. There is an optimal period right after birth, one of the several critical periods, when an organism is especially sensitive to certain experiences that shape future development. Nurturists are the opposite. Early philosophers suggested that at birth our minds are a tabula rasa (blank slate) and that the environment determines the development of this slate. Extreme nurturists argue that development occurs by learning though personal experiences and observations of others.
Ex. An example of a nature vs. nurture that is oft argued over is Mary Shelly’s book Frankenstein. Many disagree on whether the creation is a monster because of its environment (nurture) or it’s genetics (nature). One can argue it’s environment as the monster is ostracized and hated. On the other hand, one can argue it’s nature as the monster was created from human parts, thus he could have inherited genetic traits that could lead to a bad disposition.
  1. Continuity vs. Stages- Continuity suggests development is continuous, with new skills and ability gradually added at a somewhat uniform pace. This suggests that adult thinking and intelligence differ quantitatively from a child’s. Stage theorists believe development occurs at different rates, alternating between periods of abrupt, rapid change, and periods of little change.
  2. Stability vs. Change- Stability is understood as generally maintaining ones personal characteristics as they mature from infant to adult. Change suggests that personality changes over time, so one’s adult personality would bear little resemblance to that of their infant personality. Psychologists who emphasize stability believe personality displayed during childhood is an important prediction of adult personality.
  • Most psychologists prefer an interactionist perspective. For example, many psychologists believe development emerges from both genetic factors AND environmental factors.
  • Recently, the interactionist perspective has evolved into something known as the Biopsychosocial Model which holds that biological factors (genetics, brain functions, biochemistry, and evolution), psychological influences (learning, thinking, personality, emotion, motivation), and social forces (family, friends, school, culture, social class, politics), all affect and are affected by one another.
    • EX. An easy way to remember the Biopsychosocial Model is to think of the mnemonic device: Betsy made best friends with Polly and Sally. (B-biopsychosocial M-method B- biological F-factors P-psychological influences S-social forces. Betsy is influenced by her friends thus it alludes to all of the factors which affect development.)
B. Research Methods: Two Basic Approaches
  • To study development, two types of studies are used.
  • The Cross-Sectional Method examines individuals of various ages. For example, people at 20, 40, 60, and 80 years old.
  • The Longitudinal Method follows a single individual or group of individuals over an extended period of time, providing information about age changes.
  • Cross-sectional studies often confuse genuine age differences with cohort effects- differences that result from specific histories of the age group studied. Cohorts are different age groups. Because different age groups, or cohorts, grew up in different historical periods, the results may not make sense when applied to people growing up in different time periods.

Ex. For example, someone who grew up in the 50’s might think it both strange and inappropriate to cohabitate before marriage. Today it is commonplace.
  • Longitudinal studies also have limits. The are expensive and time consuming. Results are also constricted to generalizability. Because participants can drop out or move away, researchers can end up with a self-selected sample that differs from the general population in important ways.

C. Cultural Psychology’s Guidelines for Developmental Research
  • Developmental psychologists used to pay little attention to sociocultural influences. In recent times, psychologists have begun to pay more attention to the following points pertaining to culture:
  1. Culture may be the most important determinant of development- Growing up in certain regions with different culture can affect how one develops. For example, a child growing up in North America or most of Western Europe where they experience an individualistic/independent culture, one can predict that the child will grow up to be independent and competitive. Whereas other children reared in a collectivist/interdependent culture will grow up to be cooperative and respectful of elders.
  2. Human development, like most areas of psychology, cannot be studies outside of its sociocultural context. People in different cultures interpret actions differently. Where a North Korean child will see strictness as a sign of love, a Canadian-Korean child will see the same behavior as rejecting. Thus researches suggest children should only be studied within their developmental niche. A developmental niche consists of three things: the physical and social contexts in which the child lives, the cultural and educational aspects around the child, and the psychological characteristics of the parents.
  3. Each culture’s ethnotheories are important determinants of behavior. In every culture, people have different beliefs and ideas that attempt to explain the world around them, otherwise known as an ethnotheory. In the area of development, this comes into effect since ethnotheories often dictate how people rear their children. Cultural clashes can arise.
  4. Culture is largely invisible to its participants. Culture is made up of ideals, values, and assumptions that are shared among a given group and that guide certain behaviors. Because these ideals and values are widely shared, they aren’t commonly discussed of examined. We are almost wholly unaware of our culture and its effects.

II. Physical Development A. Prenatal Period and Early Childhood: A Time of Rapid Change
  • The early years of development are characterized by rapid and unparalleled change. Physical development slows down with age, but change continues until the moment of death.

B. Prenatal Physical Development
  1. Prenatal development begins at conception, when the mother’s egg (or ovum) unites with the father’s sperm cell. At this time, a zygote is formed and begins a process of rapid cell division that results in a multimillion-celled infant.
  2. The changes that occur during the nine months of a full-term pregnancy are divided into three stages:
  • The Germinal Period: begins with the fertilization and ends with implantation of the rapidly dividing mass of cells (the zygote) in the wall of the uterus. The outer portion of the zygote forms part of the placenta and umbilical cord, whereas the inner portion becomes the embryo.
  • The Embryonic Period: begins after implantation and lasts through the eighth week. This is when the embryo’s major organ systems begin to develop.
  • The Fetal Period: is from the end of the second month of pregnancy until birth. Prenatal growth, as well as growth during the first few ears after birth is proximodistal (near to far), with the innermost parts of the body developing before the outermost parts. Development also proceeds cephalocaudally(head to tail), which is why a fetus’ head is so large compared to it’s body.

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C. Hazards to Prenatal Development
  1. The placenta, which unites the fetus to the mother’s uterus and serves as the link for food and excretion of wastes, screens out some, but not all, harmful substances. X-rays or toxic wastes, drugs, and diseases such as rubella (German measles) can cross the Placental Barrier and hurt the fetus. This generally occurs during the first three months, or critical period, of pregnancy.
  2. The mother plays a primary role in prenatal development because her nutrition and habits directly influence her child. Almost everything that she consumes can cross the placental barrier.
  3. The father may also be a hazard to prenatal development because he may transmit heritable diseases, and if he consumes alcohol, opiates, cocaine, gases, lead, pesticides, and industrial chemicals, his sperm may be damaged.
  4. Nicotine and alcohol are two of the most important teratogens, environmental agents that cause damage during prenatal development. Mothers who smoke tobacco have hither rates of spontaneous abortions, premature births, low-birth-weight infants, and fetal deaths. The children of women who smoked during pregnancy have shown behavioral abnormalities and cognitive problems.
  5. Alcohol also crosses the placenta, and can seriously affect prenatal development, sometimes resulting in a neurotoxic syndrome called fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes facial abnormalities, stunted growth, and neurobehavioral problems. These neurobehavioral problems can range from hyperactivity and learning disabilities to mental retardation, depression, and psychoses.

D. Early Childhood Physical Development
  1. There are three key areas of change in early childhood: brain, motor, and sensory/perceptual development
  2. Brain Development: The prenatal brain begins as a fluid-filled neural tube and then rapidly progresses. The brain and other parts of the nervous system grow more rapidly than any other part of the body during prenatal development and the first two years of life. At birth, a healthy newborn’s brain is ¼ it’s adult size; by age 2 it is ¾ it’s adult weight and size; and by age 5, the child’s brain is 9/10 its full adult weight. The rapid growth rate during infancy and early childhood slows down in later childhood. Further brain development and learning occur because neurons grow in size and because the number of axons and dendrites, as well as the extent of their connections, increase and become more elaborate. Synaptic Pruning, the reduction of unused synapses, aids this process. Also, Myleination, the accumulation of fatty tissue coating the axons of nerve cells, continues until early adulthood. Synaptic connections in the frontal lobes and other parts of the brain continue development throughout the entire life span.
  3. Motor Development: is easily measured since the orderly emergence of active movement skills, or motor development, is clearly visible. The newborn’s first motor abilities are reflexes, or involuntary responses to stimulation. (Example: the rooting reflex occurs when something touches a baby’s cheek and the infant turns its head, opens its mouth, and roots for a nipple.) Also, overtime the child develops control over its body parts. Helpless infants transform into crawling, walking, and climbing toddlers. Most motor development is due to natural maturation, but it can be stunted by environmental influences like disease and neglect.
  4. Sensory and Perceptual Development: newborns are able to distinguish between sweet, salty, and bitter tastes, and have a sense of smell. Breast-fed newborns are even capable of recognizing and preferring their mother’s milk over another mother’s. A newborn’s sense of touch is also very sensitive and highly developed. Although these senses are highly developed, newborns have very poor vision, usually between 20/200 to 20/600. Infants also have good hearing, and during the last few months in the womb, they can even hear sounds outside of the mother’s body. This is why newborn infants recognize their mother’s voice over that of a stranger, and show preferences for children's stories that were read to them while they were still in the womb.
  5. To measure perceptual abilities and preferences in such young babies by using Robert Fantz’ “Looking Chamber” experiment, where infants lie on their backs and look at visual stimuli. They can also use newborns’ heartbeats and innate abilities to study how their perceptual abilities develop. For example, to study smell, researches measure changes in the newborns’ heart rates when different odors are presented.

E. Adolescence and Adulthood: A Time of Both Dramatic and Gradual Change
F. Adolescence – the stage in between childhood and adulthood
  • Puberty occurs during this time period, signifying the end of childhood
  • Teenagers experience a dramatic growth spurt: increase in height, weight, and skeletal growth
  • Reproductive structures and sexual hormones begin to develop
          1. For females – menarche, the beginning of menstruation, occurs
          2. For males – spermarche, the first ejaculation, occurs
          3. Secondary sex characteristics develop

G. Middle Age
  • A woman’s menstrual cycle ends when she goes through the process known as menopause (usually occurs between the ages 45 and 55)
  • The physical changes in men are less obvious
  1. Decrease in production of both sperm and testosterone
  2. Weight gain, loss of hair, decreased sexual responsiveness, and loss of muscle strength
  3. These changes cause men to acknowledge their own aging, these changes are also called the male climacteric

H. Late Adulthood
  • Physical change now occurs in mainly the heart, arteries, and sensory receptors
  1. Cardiac output decreases and blood pressure increases
  2. Eyesight and hearing are diminished, as well as smell and taste
  • In our society today, ageism (prejudice based on age) is widespread
  • The normal aging process does not involve a significant decrease in neurons throughout the brain as previously believed
  1. This type of decline occurs in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  2. Information processing slows down
          • -Decrease in speed can cause problems with encoding and retrieval of information
  • However, a majority of our mental ability is left unaffected as we grow older
  • Two main theories to explain primary aging (the unavoidable physical and mental changes that occur as we age)

1. Programmed theory: aging is controlled genetically
  • Human cells have a built-in lifespan, once they have reached their maximum point they stop dividing, also known as the Hayflick limit
    • Damage theory: damage to cells and organs over the years eventually leads to death
          1. Humans have a maximum lifespan of about 110 to 120 years

III Cognitive Development
  • Jean Piaget believed that a child’s intellect differs from that of an adult’s
  1. Intellectual growth takes place in distinct stages that are motivated by our innate need for knowledge
  • Three major concepts:
  1. Schemas: organized ideas that grow and differentiate with experience
        • Example – During the first couple weeks after they are born, infants develop reflexes such as sucking and grasping. These are schemas that develop as motor skills. The infant learns to suck when they are given a nipple. These schemas can develop into more in depths schemas as time goes by, such as eating solid food.

2. Assimilation: absorbing new information into previously existing schemas
        • Example – An infant uses the sucking schema that they have already developed to suck on other things besides the nipple, which was what they had begun with. Instead, they begin to suck on their fingers, toys, and blankets.

3. Accommodation: adjusting old schemas or developing new schemas that better fit given new information
        • Example – When an infant first begins to eat solid food, they will try to suck on the spoon being put in their mouth; however, they will soon realize that the sucking schema does not work well with eating from a spoon. The infant will accommodate to the spoon by changing the position of their lips and tongue to better eat with.

A. Stages of Cognitive Development: Birth to Adolescence
  • Piaget believes all children go through the same four stages of cognitive development, regardless of their culture. No stages can be skipped because skills acquired at earlier stages are essential to later stages.
  1. Sensorimotor Stage- lasting from birth until “significant” language acquisition, children explore the world and their schemas primarily through the senses and motor activities, hence them term sensorimotor. Children in this stage lack object permanence, when children cannot see certain objects, they think they don’t exist. Out of sight, out of mind.
  2. Preoperation Stage- ca. the ages from 2 to 7, the preoperational stage signifies a change in the child’s congnitive process to adapt to also the symbolic (symbols to represent concepts) style of thought
    1. In this stage, Piaget labeled not yet operational because the child is not yet able to process reciprocal processes: the ability to reverse a concept
    2. Thinking is egocentric: inability to differentiate between one’s own desires and thoughts and others around him/her. Ex. A preoperational child wants a set of paints for Christmas, then tells her father that her mother would like a set of Crayola paints for her present.
    3. Children have yet to transgress beyond animism (belief that everything is personified) Ex. It rains because the sky is sad

There were thoughts that one could push past this stage, past the egocentrism and animism, but Piaget disagreed with this theory, he posited that children should grow through the cognitive stages at their own pace and relatively independently.
  1. Concrete Operational Stage- ca. ages 7-11.
    1. Important skills present during this stage such as:
      1. Operations on concrete (physical, non abstract) objects
      2. Now understand reversibility/reciprocal ideas
      3. Have become cognizant of the concept of conservation (even though container or look has changed, the amount of the substance remains the same) Ex. Child now knows that there is a same amount of one pie if it is cut into slices or just as the whole pie.
  2. Formal Operational Stage- Ca. age 11.
    1. Now can comprehend “abstract” concepts, such as distribution and higher logic with subjects such as math, or even drawing logical conclusions from hypothetical situations.
    2. Problems with Early Formal Operational Thinking
      a. Adolescents frequently present a style of egocentrism in a different flavor than a
      preoperational child, where they recognize that others have their own thoughts, they do
differentiate such thoughts from their own, known as adolescent egocentrism. It has 2 distinct characteristics:
i. Personal fable: The feeling of isolation that their difficulties and newly formed philosophies on life are unique to themselves and “no one else could understand or sympathize.”

1. Forms of risk taking seem to derive from this concept such as driving dangerously, practicing unsafe sex, trying drugs, etc. This personal fable carries with it a feeling of immortality, and chaos ensues.ii. Imaginary audience: The tendency of teens to believe that they are the crux of others thoughts, that they do not have their own issues to worry about. This theory may explain the extreme vanity or self consciousnessThese symptoms of adolescent egocentrism tend to wane during the later formal operational periods. B. Assessing Piaget’s Theory: Criticisms and Contributions
  1. Underestimated Abilities
    1. More recent research suggests that children have higher cognitive processes than Piaget originally theorized.
    2. Meltzoff and Moore’s experiment that showed infant’s abilities to imitate rudimentary facial expressions could be indicative of Piaget’s underestimation of the infant’s cognitive ability.
    3. Nonegocentric tendencies in the earlier days of life that have been recorded also may suggest that Piaget underestimated the younger ages’ abilities

2. Underestimated Genetic and Cultural Influences
    1. Piaget’s theory did not assimilate into it the genetic and cultural differences between the participants in his studies and theories, understandable because they were not well known and understood at the time.
    2. Culture can have a large influence on the answers given, cultural social structures may have educated the participant to answer based on a specific information base or something of the like that affected the results, and not on the independent cognitive stages

VI. Parenting Styles: Their Effect on Development
  • Parenting styles can be reliably divided into three broad patterns, permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative.

A. Permissive

  1. Permissive parents come in two styles: permissive-indifferent and permissive-indulgent.
  2. Permissive-Indifferent parents set few limits and provide little in the way of attention, interest, and emotional support. Children of these parents have poor self-control (becoming demanding and disobedient) and poor social skills.
  3. Permissive-Indulgent parents are highly involved but place few demands or controls on the child. Children of these parents often fail to learn respect for others and tend to be impulsive, immature, and out of control.

B. Authoritarian

  1. Authoritarian parents are rigid and punitive, and demand obedience and mature responsibility from their children. They are generally aloof and detached.
  2. Children of authoritarian parents are easily upset, moody, aggressive, and generally have poor communication skills.

C. Authoritative

  1. These parents are tender, caring, and sensitive toward their children but also have firm limits that are enforced while encouraging increased responsibility.
  2. These children become self-reliant, self-controlled, and high-achieving. They are generally more content, goal oriented, friendly, and socially competent.

D. Evaluating Baumrind’s Research

  • Many children who are raised in other styles besides authoritative homes also become caring, cooperative adults. Criticisms of Baumrind’s research fall into three categories, child temperament, child expectations, and parental warmth.
  1. Child Temperament: results may reflect a child’s unique temperament and reactions to parental efforts rather than the parenting style itself. (the parents of a mature and competent child may have an authoritative parenting style because of the child’s behavior).
  2. Child Expectations: a child’s expectations of how parents should behave play a role in parenting styles. It often varies with different cultures, like in Korea, adolescents expect strong parental control and interpret it as a sign of love whereas in North America, adolescents would interpret the same behavior as a sign of parental hostility and rejection.
  3. Parental Warmth: the most important variable in parenting styles and child development might be the degree of warmth versus rejection that parents feel toward their children. The neglect and indifference shown by rejecting parents tend to be correlated with hostile, aggressive children who have a difficult time establishing and maintaining close relationships, and who are more likely to develop psychological problems.

E. Do Father’s Differ from Mothers in Their Parenting Style?

  1. More fathers have begun to take an active role in child-rearing, especially after infancy. However, the father spends less overall time with the children than the mother does.
  2. Fathers are just as responsive, nurturing, and competent as mothers when they assume childcare responsibilities.

Mnemonic Devices
To remember the 3 stages of change during pregnancy (Germinal Period, Embryonic Period, Fetal Period)
Giants Entertain Fairies
3 parenting styles: Permissive, Authoritarian, Authoritative
Pigs Argue A lot
3 Key areas of development in early childhood: Brain, motor, sensory/perceptual
Beyoncé Mocks Solar Power
3 levels of attachment: Securely attached, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent
Serpents Attack Avidly

Chapter 9 Vocabulary
  1. Placenta- the vascular organ that unites the fetus to the mother’s uterus, serves as the link for food and excretion of waste. It also screens out some, but not all, harmful substances.
  2. Teratogen- environmental agent that causes damage during prenatal development; the term comes from the Greek word teras, meaning “maCharacterized by rapid increases in height, weight, and skeletal growth, as well as significant changes in reproductive structures and characteristics.lformation.”
  3. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)- a combination of birth defects, including organ deformities and mental, motor, and/or growth retardation, that results from maternal alcohol abuse.
  4. Motor Development- compared to the hidden, internal changes in brain development, the orderly emergence of active movement skills are known as motor development. The newborn’s first motor abilities are limited to reflexes, or involuntary responses to stimulation.
  5. Puberty- the period of adolescence when a person becomes capable or reproduction. Biological changes during adolescence that lead to an adult-sized body and sexual maturity.
  6. Adolescence- the loosely defined psychological period of development between childhood and adulthood.
  7. Growth Spurt- the clearest and most dramatic sign of puberty is the growth spurt. Characterized yb rapid increases in height, weight, and skeletal growth, as well as significant changes in reproductive structures and characteristics.
  8. Menopause- the cessation of the menstrual cycle, which occurs somewhere between the ages of 45-55. The decreased production of estrogen produces certain physical changes. However, it is not supported by current research that it causes serious mood swings, loss of sexual interest, and depression.
  9. Ageism- Prejudice or discrimination based on physical age.
  10. Object Permanence– Piagetian term for an infant’s understanding that objects (or people) continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched directly
  11. Egocentrism– the inability to consider another’s point of view, which Piaget considered a hallmark of the preoperational stage
  12. Conservation– understanding that certain physical characteristics (such as volume) remain unchanged, even when their outward appearance changes
  13. Personal Fable– adolescents may conclude that they alone are having certain insights or difficulties, and that no one else could understand or sympathize
  14. Imaginary Audience – occurs in early adolescence; people tend to believe that they are the center of others’ thoughts and attentions, instead of considering that everyone is equally wrapped up in his or her own concerns and plans
  15. Information Processing Model – compares the workings of the mind to a computer and studies how information is received, encoded, stored, organized, retrieved, and used by people of different ages
  16. Primary aging - gradual, inevitable, age-related changes in physical and mental processes
  17. Encoding - translating information into neural codes
  18. Retrieval - recovering information from memory storage
  19. Programmed Theory - aging is genetically controlled
  20. Damage Theory - proposes that an accumulation of damage to cells and organs over the years ultimately causes death
  21. Schema - cognitive structures or patterns consisting of a number of organized ideas that grow and differentiate with experience
  22. Assimilation - in Piaget’s theory, absorbing new information into existing schemas
  23. Accomodation - adjusting old schemas or developing new ones to better fit with new information developed through sensory and motor activities
  24. Attachment- A strong affectional bond with special others that endures over time
  25. Imprinting- An innate form of learning within a critical period that involves attachment to the first large moving object seen
  26. Contact Comfort- the pleasurable tactile sensations provided by a soft and cuddly “parent” is a powerful contributor to attachment
  27. Securely Attached- when exposed to a stranger, the infant seeks closeness and contact with the mother, and uses the mother as a safe base from which to explore. The infant shows moderate distress on separation, and is happy when the mother returns
  28. Avoidant- The infant does not seek closeness or contact with the mother, treats the mother much like a stranger, and rarely cries when the mother leaves the room
  29. Anxious/Ambivalent- The infant becomes very upset when the mother leaves the room. When she returns, the infant seeks close contact and then squirms angrily away.
  30. Permissive- parents that are either permissive-indifferent, providing few limits, attention, and emotional support; or permissive-indulgent, being highly involved but having little controls or demands on the child.
  31. Authoritarian- parents are rigid and punitive and demand obedience and maturity from their children while remaining aloof and detached
  32. Authoritative- Parents who are tender, caring, and sensitive toward their children but have firm limits that they enforce while still encouraging increased responsibility.
  33. Developmental Psychology- study of age-related changes in behavior and mental processes from conception to death.
  34. Maturation- development governed by automatic, genetically predetermined signals
  35. Critical Period- a period of special sensitivity to specific types of learning that shapes the capacity for future development
  36. Cross-Sectional Method- measures individuals of various ages at one point in time and gives information about age differences.
  37. Longitudinal Method- measures a single individual or group of individuals over an extended period and gives information about age changes.
  38. Cohorts- different age groups, can skew results of cross-sectional research
  39. Germinal Period- first stage of prenatal development, which begins with conception and ends with implantation in the uterus. (first two weeks)
  40. Fetal Period- the third, and final, stage of prenatal development (8 weeks to birth), characterized by rapid weight gain in the fetus and the fine detailing of the body organs and systems.
  41. Embryonic Period- second stage of prenatal development, which begins with uterine implantation and last through the eight week.
  42. SensorimotorStage- Piaget’s first stage (age birth to 2) in which schemas are developed through sensory and motor activities
  43. Preoperational Stage– Piaget’s second stage (ages 2 to 7) characterized by the ability to employ significant language and to think symbolically, but the child lacks operations (reversible mental processes) and thinking is egocentric and animistic
  44. Concrete Operational Stage– Piaget’s third stage (ages 7 to 11); the child can perform mental operations on concrete objects and understand reversibility and conservation, but abstract thinking is not yet present
  45. Formal Operational Stage– Piaget’s fourth stage, (ages 11 and beyond) characterized by abstract and hypothetical thinking
  46. Nature v. Nurture - the nature position holds the belief that human behavior and development are governed by automatic genetically predetermined signals in the process of maturation, while the nurture position holds the belief that the environment determines our behaviors
  47. Tabula Rasa - blank slate
  48. Continuity v. Stages - continuity states that development is continuous with new abilities, skills, and knowledge being gradually added at a uniform pace, while stages states that development occurs at different rates, alternating between periods of little change and periods of abrupt, rapid change
  49. Stability v. Change - (Stability) generally maintaing personality characteristics as you mature from infant to adult vs. (change) current personality bears little resemblance to the personality you displayed during infancy
  50. Zygote- the cell that results from the egg uniting with the sperm.
  51. Conception- when prenatal development begins, the union of the egg and the sperm
  52. Proximodistal- developing from the center of the body outward
  53. Cephalocaudally- growth from head to tail
  54. Myelination-the accumulation of fatty tissue coating the axons of nerve cells, continues until early adulthood
  55. Reflexes- innate, automatic responses to a stimulus, such as a knee-jerk reflex
  56. Menarche- the onset of menstration, part of puberty for adolescent women
  57. Spermarche-the first ejactulation, part of puberty for adolescent men
  58. Hayflick Limit: The number of times a cell population can divide before it stops, cells seem to have a built-in life limit, about 50 doublings of cells. Explanation of aging.
  59. Animism: Belief that all things are living
  60. Adolescent Egocentrism: state similar to the egocentrism of the preoperational child, but adolescents to recognize that others have unique thoughts, simply fail to differentiate between those and their own

Chapter 9 Developmental Psychology: Interesting Facts

1. The contributions Jean Piaget made to Developmental Psychology have been compared by some to Shakespeare’s contributions to English; crucial and eye-opening. To get a better understanding of Piaget’s works and findings, watch this youtube video that provides an overview of Piaget’s theories: __

2. Jean Piaget is best known for his studies with children in developmental psychology; however, before Piaget began his professional experimentation of cognitive development, he studied the behavior of his own three children. From this research, Piaget came to write three books that included his observations: The Origins of Intelligence, The Construction of Reality, and Play, Dreams, and Imitation. His first two books go into detail about how “basic forms of intentionality and of the categories of object, space, causality, and time evolve between the newborn’s reflex activities and the emergence of language at about eighteenth months.” His third book focuses on development of visual and mental representation in children. Piaget was criticized for these observations because many claimed that his conclusions were too general and his sample size was not only too small but, because he used his own children, also somewhat bias.

Jean Piaget., 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2011.

3. To test yourself while learning some fun facts about Developmental Psychology, take this online quiz. Click the link “Play HTML: Link” then, when you’re done with the quiz, click “submit my answers” and the correct answers along with with explanations will be provided.

4. For a good overview of Diana Baumrind’s Styles of Parenting, watch this helpful video that explains each style: __

5. To review Harlow’s theories on attachment, watch this video: __

Important Figures in Developmental Psychology, Ch. 9
Jean Piaget- The major name associated with developmental psychology, Piaget demonstrated that a child’s intellect is fundamentally different from that of an adult. An infant begins at a cognitively “primitive” level and that intellectual growth happens in distinct stages, motivated by a natural need to know. There are three major concepts in his theory: schemas, assimilation, and accomodation. Research shows that Piaget may have underestimated young children’s cognitive development. Research on infant’s facial expressions raise questions about early infant abilities. Meltzoff & Moore found that newborns can imitate many facial expressions and even remember them the day after. Piaget also underestimated genetic and cultural influences. Formal education and specific cultural experiences can significantly affect cognitive development. Otherwise, Piaget’s contributions have made an enormous impact on psychology, almost impossible to assess.

Harry Harlow and Robert Zimmeran- These two psychologists were interested in what variables would affect attachment. They developed an experiment with monkeys; they created two “mother” monkeys, one of just a wire frame structure and one covered in soft terry cloth, and then nursed infant monkeys from both. They discovered that the infants preferred to be “reared” by the terry cloth mother and they also developed a higher level of both emotional security and curiosity when near the soft mother. These monkeys even showed a stronger attachment to the cloth mother when the wire mother provided all of the food. Later Harlow researched further into this experiment and began adding forms of rejection, such as metal spikes that would force the baby away or air jets that would blow on it; nonetheless, the baby monkey would still return to its cloth mother after the rejection was over. Harlow believed that the pleasing factor of the soft terry cloth “parent,” also known as contact comfort, helped the monkeys to form a strong sense of attachment.

Konrad Lorenz- His study of imprinting demonstrated how baby geese attach to, and then follow, the first large moving object they see during a certain critical period in their development. This work supported the biological theory of attachment as portrayed by John Bowlby’s studies. Lorenz’s study supports the nature side of the nature versus nurture debate, because it is an innate ability to imprint on another.

Mary Ainsworth- a developmental psychologist who discovered significant differences in the typical level of attachment between infants and their mothers. By using a method called the strange situation procedure, in which a researcher observes infants in the presence or absence of their mother and a stranger, Ainsworth found that children could be divided into three groups: securely attached, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent. Ainsworth discovered that the levels of attachment developed early in life have long term effects on behavior.

Diana Baumrind- Baumrind is a developmental psychologist who divided parenting styles into three widely accepted categories: permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. Permissive, a style by which parents provide little structure or boundaries, and authoritarian, a style by which parents demand unquestioned obedience, are opposite extreme while authoritarian is a moderate between the two, whereby parents place structures and limits yet value a child’s input and opinions. Baumrind’s categories are criticized because they do not consider a child’s temperament and individual preferences, a child’s expectations for what a defines a loving parent which can be culturally influenced, and the importance of warm, loving parenting.

Robert Fantz- Experimental psychologist that developed unique experiments to measure the perceptual skills of newborns and infants. He designed a “looking chamber,” measuring how long each visual stimuli was observed. The chamber and ensuing experiments were important because they discovered that infants preferred complexity to simplicity, and faces to “nonfaces.”

John Bowlby- Psychologist in the 20th century who was a groundbreaking figure in the theories of attachment and the importance of bonding in early childhood. Bowlby advocated the nature side in the classic debate, siding with the biological position. He posited that verbal and nonverbal behaviors are innate and behaviors that follow the caregiver, (“following” behaviors) to invoke nurturing responses from the caregiver. Often cited alongside Lorenz’s studies on imprinting.