Chapter 3

January 23, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Science, Health Science, Neurology
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Chapter 3: Infancy: Physical and Cognitive Development

Meredyth Fellows, West Chester University of PA

The Expanding Brain 0 Cerebral Cortex 0 Outer furrowed mantle of brain 0 Site of every conscious perception, action, thought 0 Influences behavior a few months after birth 0 Brain volume quadruples during first 4 years

The Expanding Brain 0 Neurons formed during fetal period 0 After birth, synaptogenesis occurs 0 Proliferation of connections at the

synapses (often referred to as exuberant synaptogenesis) 0 Pruning follows 0 Myelination: formation of fatty layer encasing axons 0 Visual cortex myelinated by 1 year 0 Frontal lobes, age 20 or beyond

Neural Pruning and Plasticity 0 Plasticity: The brain is “plastic”

(malleable) during early childhood before pruning is complete. 0 Plasticity allows other brain regions to compensate following injury. 0 Brain is less plastic following childhood.

Basic Newborn States: Reflexes 0 Reflexes: Sucking, Rooting,


0 Automatic responses or actions

programmed by noncortical brain centers 0 Present at birth; promote survival

Nutrition: Breast Milk • Recommended for first 6 months ▫ Protects from diseases ▫ Correlational studies show that breast-fed babies:

 are more alert during first 2 weeks  experience fewer gastrointestinal problems and middle ear

infections  are more resistant to colds and flu  appear to be superior in later measures of intelligence in elementary school

Crying: First Communication Signal 0 Crying: 0 peak at about 5 weeks 0 Reflex dominated before the cortex is “on-line” at 4

months 0 Vital to survival (responsive parenting is a must!)

Sleeping: Main Newborn State 0 Newborns, sleep 18 hours a

day 0 90% of time in sleep or drowsy state 0 Unlike adult sleep cycle,

newborns drop immediately into REM sleep.

0 Wake every 3-4 hours

Sleep Cycles

Brain-wave patterns and lifespan changes in sleep and wakefulness

Intervention: Self-Soothing 0 Bidirectional influences: Sleep deprivation contributes to

irritability in both parents and the infant. 0 By 6 months, upon waking, infants can self-sooth. 0 What do experts suggest?

0 Erikson & Bowlby: sensitively respond to crying infant during

first year 0 Behaviorists disagree: Do not respond! 0 Ultimately the decision is yours!

Sensory and Motor Development 0 Hearing 0 In the womb, fetuses can discriminate different tones 0 Smell 0 Within the 1st week, infants prefer smell of breast

milk 0 Taste: 0 Infants stop sucking and wrinkle face in response to bitter, sour, or salty tastes 0 Avidly suck on sweet solutions 0 Pain management technique - have infant suck on sweet


Focusing on Faces 0 Prefer faces to other stimuli,

especially mother’s face 0 Prefer attractive-looking people 0 Infants mimic facial expressions

Newborns looked most at the face-like drawing. Are we biologically programmed to selectively look at faces?

Depth Perception: the Visual Cliff Experiment 0 When 8 month-old babies

begin to crawl, they perceive differences in depth and fear heights.

0 Notice survival response!

Visual Cliff

Expanding Body Size and Motor Milestones 0 Growth is most pronounced in

infancy, slows down during childhood, increases during preadolescence 0 Motor Milestones 0 Cephalocaudal: lift head, pivot upper

body, sit up, stand 0 Proximodistal: control of shoulders before control of arms and fingers 0 Mass-to-Specific: gross motor skills before fine motor skills 0 Importance of myelination

Cognitive Development: Piaget 0 Stage Approach 0 Studied his own

children 0 Schemas 0 Assimilation 0 Accommodation 0 Adaptation

Circular Reactions: Sensorimotor Stage 0 Repetitive action-oriented schemas (habits) 0 Through circular reactions, the infant explores and incorporates new information into existing schemas. 0 Primary Circular Reactions 0 The infant’s first habits (body-centered)

0 Secondary (about 4 months to 1 year) 0 Infant explores environment 0 Tertiary (begin about 1 year) 0 “Little scientist” activities (baby explores the properties of objects)

When Infants Begin to Think: Sensorimotor Stage 0 Evidenced by 0 Deferred imitation:

0 When infant repeats an action observed at an earlier time

0 Means−end behavior: 0 Occurs about 1 year, when infant performs a different or separate action to reach a goal 0 Limitation in Thinking: A-not-B error: 0 Approaching year 1, even though a baby sees an object hidden in a second hiding place, he/she returns to the originally viewed hiding place to find it!

Object-Permanence: Sensorimotor Stage 0 Understanding that objects

exist even when out of sight 0 Around 5-6 months, infants begin to look for hidden objects. 0 At about 8 months infant develops object permanence (“little-scientist stage”).

Critiquing Piaget and a New Perspective 0 Understanding of physical reality emerges gradually, not in unitary, qualitatively different stages as Piaget believed. 0 New perspective: information-processing 0 A perspective on understanding cognition that divides

thinking into specific steps and component processes, much like a computer

Emerging Infant Social Cognition 0 Social Cognition: any skill related to understanding feelings

and negotiating interpersonal interactions.

0 We make inferences about people’s inner feelings and goals,

based on their actions. 0 Research suggests this begins as early as 5 months.

0 Joint Attention 0 This is the first sign of “getting human intentions” when a baby looks at an object to which an adult points or the infant follows a person’s gaze.

Language: Basic Principles 0 Noam Chomsky’s nature-oriented concept: LAD,

Language Acquisition Device

0 Hypothetical brain structure that enables our species to

learn and produce language 0 Unique to our human species 0 Chomsky’s concept is in opposition to Skinner’s nurtureoriented perspective. 0 We learn language by being reinforced for producing

specific words.

Language: Basic Principles 0 The specific language learned is dependent on nurture—the

place where you were reared. 0 Presently, the social-interactionist view:

0 Interactions between baby and caregivers—each wants to

communicate, one encourages the other 0 Emphasis on the social function of language

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