Last modified on 19 August 2009, at 13:01

Introduction to Psychology/Child and Adolescent Psychology/Infants and Toddlers

Physical DevelopmentsEdit

  • Prematurity
    • occurs before 37 weeks of gestation or about 3 weeks earlier than the normal due date
    • Low birth weight is weight less than 5 ½ pounds at birth (2 pounds lighter than average); indicates potential for health risks
    • Very low birth weight is weight less than 3 ½ pounds at birth (4 pounds lighter than average); indicates greater potential for health risks
    • Small for gestational age (SGA) is born below the tenth percentile of birth weight for gestational age; indicates serious health risks
    • Prevention includes childbirth classes, healthy lifestyles and especially good prenatal care, but sometimes there is nothing you can do
  • Infant Mortality
    • Refers to deaths that occur before the age of 1 year
  • Having a Healthy Baby
    • Prenatal care is important
  • Growth of the Body and Brain
    • Physical Growth
      • Average birth weight is 7 ½ pounds, with males bout ½ pound heavier than females
      • Baby's weight doubles in first 5 months
      • About 20 inches at birth and half of adult height by age 2
    • Feeding and Nutrition (Breastfeeding)
      • Sterile, cheap, “specially formulated”
      • Colostrums are a thick, yellowish substance in breast milk containing important antibodies (only for the first few days of breastfeeding)
      • Breastfed babies are at less risk of SIDS, asthma, and other illnesses
      • Breastfeeding helps mom lose weight faster, and lowers risk of breast and ovarian cancer
      • Infectious diseases can be spread via breast milk, so some mothers can’t (iron enriched formula)
      • Exclusively for 6 months, slowly introduce iron-rich foods from 6-12 months, judgment call after
      • More likely if mom married, higher income, and supported to breastfeed, but only ¼ by 6 mnths
  • Structure of the Brain and Nervous System
    • Spinal cord is the “information superhighway”
    • Brain stem controls automatic functions
    • Cerebellum is on the back of the brain and controls posture, body orientation, and complex muscle movements
    • Neurons are specialized cells that process information and allow communication in the nervous system (form by 7 weeks)
    • Cerebral cortex is the “gray matter” that forms the top portion of brain and is divided into the 4 lobes (10 wks)
  • Forming the Brain and Nervous System
    • Neural tube at about 4 weeks, which later develops into central nervous system
    • Synaptogenesis is one form of neuron maturation in which dendrites and axons branch out to form an enormously large number of connections with neighboring neurons (by 23 weeks)
    • Most neural connections (synapses) form AFTER birth, as a result of maturation and experiences
    • Myelination is a form of neuron maturation in which the fatty insulation (myelin sheath) grows around the axons; occurs in different parts of the brain at different times
    • Programmed cell death is a process by which many neurons die during periods of migration and heavy Synaptogenesis (we lose half before even born!)
  • Sensory Capabilities
    • Vision
      • Visual acuity is the ability to see fine detail
      • Infants prefer faces
      • Newborns vision is somewhere between 20/150 and 20/600, reaches 20/20 by bout 6 months
      • Normal color vision by 3 months
      • Prefer to look at green, yellow, or red over gray
      • Depth perception by just under two months, but afraid of cliff by time can crawl
      • Binocular disparity is the difference between the images projected on the two eyes
      • Pictorial cues are relative size and density of the pattern elements shown beneath the glass
    • Hearing
      • Hearing is functional before birth
      • Recognize own names by 5 months
    • Smell and Taste
      • Facial expressions show that newborn babies react to certain odors and tastes similar to adults
      • The fetal system is well enough developed sometime near the end of gestation to sense and store information about odors encountered before birth
  • Motor Development
    • Reflexes
      • Reflexes are involuntary movements elicited by environmental stimuli
      • Important early indicators of nervous system function
      • Primitive reflexes disappear around 4 months; help the infant to find nourishment or might have served protective functions during earlier periods of evolution
      • Postural reflexes disappear by 12 months; help infants to keep their heads upright, maintain balance, and roll their heads in the direction of their body motion
      • Locomotor reflexes disappear by 4 months; mimic locomotor movements such as crawling, stepping, and swimming
    • Voluntary Movements
      • Gross motor development is the process of coordinating movements with the large muscles in the body (first step around 1 year)
      • Fine motor development is the process of coordinating intricate movements with smaller muscles
    • Influences on Motor Development
      • Maturation of the muscles and brain
    • Opportunities for practice
      • culture differences in early experience

Cognitive DevelopmentsEdit

  • Perceptual Development
    • research techniques:
      • Preferential-looking
        • technique used to test infant visual perception. If infants consistently look longer at some patterns than at others, researchers infer that the infants can see a difference between the patterns
        • Babies prefer moving stimuli, sharp color contrasts, symmetrical patterns, curved patterns, patterns with some complexity or detail, and patterns that resemble the human face
        • Babies are already equipped at birth with an innate schema, or mental framework, of the human face
      • Habituation-dishabituation
        • technique used to test infant perception. Infants are shown a stimulus repeatedly until they respond less (habituate) to it. Then a new stimulus is presented.
        • Habituation is the tendency of infants to reduce their response to stimuli that are presented repeatedly.
        • Dishabituation= is the recovery or increase in infant’s response when a familiar stimulus is replaced by one that is novel.
        • Intermodal Perception is the process of combining or integrating ifnormatino across sensory modalities.
      • “Impossible events” (Renee Baillargeon)
      • Most recent method of assessing infant cognition is via neuroscience (wave imaging)
  • Explaining Cognitive Development: Piaget’s Constructivist View
    • Mental processes (thought, memory, solving problems, language)
      • Children’s thoughts gradually becomes more organized and complex (cognitive development)