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Chapter 8 Human Development

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Nature & Nurture


Biological inheritance (especially genes)


Environmental and social experiences


Genetic heritage Observable characteristics Contributions of both nature and nurture (interaction)
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Prenatal Development

Egg Cell


Sperm Cell

Size: smaller than sperm (may be visible through naked eye) Housing Lifetime production Survivability: 24/48hrs Change over lifetime: hit menopause (decrease in estrogen)

Size: need microscope Housing Lifetime production Survivability: can live in the vaginal tract for up to five days Can produce a child for up to 80 years of age

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Prenatal Development




Germinal Period (Weeks 1 & 2)

Cell divisions Attachment to uterine wall

Embryonic Period (Weeks 3 through 8)

Intensified cell differentiation Development of support systems Appearance of organs (sexual differentiation visibility- week 8)

Fetal Period (Months 2 through 9)

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Fetal Period

Development includes movement, organ functioning, weight gain

Threats to fetus


Agent that causes birth defect Chemical substances: nicotine, heroin, alcohol Certain illnesses: Rubella, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV

Preterm birth

Risk for developmental difficulties

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Physical Development


Genetically wired Sucking, swallowing, coughing, blinking, yawning, Babinski, stepping, grasping, Moro (startle)

Motor and Perceptual Skills

Motor skills as a convergence of nature and nurture Motor and perceptual skills coupled and interdependent

Studying Infant Perception

Preferential Looking Technique Habituation

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Physical Development

Preferential-Looking Technique- Robert Frantz (1961)

A method for studying visual attention that involves showing two patterns or two objects at a time to see if the infants have a preference of one over the other


The decrease in responding to a novel stimuli after repeated presentations The restoration of responding to an old stimuli that is now seen as new (discrimination)
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Recovery from habituation (dishabituation):

Brain Development


Branching of dendrites Myelination

Childhood (facebook profile analogy)

Increase in synaptic connections Pruning (get rid of) of unused neural connections Rapid growth in frontal lobe areas
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Physical Development

Pubertal Change

Period of rapid skeletal and sexual maturation Hormonal changes

Testosterone in boys Estradiol in girls

The Brain

Earlier development of amygdala (emotion) Later development of prefrontal cortex (reasoning)

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Physical Development

Early Adulthood

Decline of physical skills, hearing, vision

Middle Adulthood

Changes in appearance, vision Menopause, and hot flashes, in women

Late Adulthood

Increase in life expectancy over time

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Cognitive Development

Change in thought, intelligence, language process

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Children actively construct their cognitive world.

(children create environments they want to explore- let the child lead the way)


Mental concept framework to organize/interpret information Incorporating new information into existing knowledge Adjusting schemas to new information
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Piagets Stages

Sensorimotor Stage (birth to age 2)

Coordinating sensory experiences with motor actions Development of object performance, as objects are no longer out of sight, out of mind


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Piagets Stages

Preoperational Stage (ages 2 to 7)

Beginning of symbolic thinking. Inability to perform operations, or reversible mental representations. Egocentric and intuitive thinking


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Piagets Stages

Concrete Operational Stage (ages 7 to 11)

Successful conservation task, ability to reverse Ability to classify things into different sets


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Piagets Stages

Formal Operational Stage (ages 11 to 15)

Thinking about things that are not concrete Making Predictions Using logic to come up with hypotheses about future Hypothetical-Deductive Reasoning

Developing hypotheses about ways to solve a problem


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Evaluating Piagets Theory

Underestimation of infants Overestimation of adolescent and adults Lack of belief in roles of culture and education in cognitive development


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The Sociocultural Perspective

Cognitive Development through social situations: (Vygotskys Theory)
Sociocultural theory Approaches that emphasize the contribution to childrens development of other people and the surrounding culture (i.e., guided participation)

Cognitive development is socially mediated and produced through collaboration Based on an apprenticeship model rejected Piagets metaphor of child as a scientist


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The Sociocultural Perspective

Vygotskys Theory - 3 Key Concepts

1. Zone of Proximal Development disparity between what a

child can do with the assistance of others and what he or she can do alone


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The Sociocultural Perspective

Vygotskys Theory - 3 Key Concepts

2. Scaffolding
Temporary aid provided by one person to support the learning of another person Ex: Video presentations Modeling activities


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The Sociocultural Perspective

Vygotskys Theory - 3 Key Concepts

3. Relationship Between Thought and Language

Language is a cultural tool -- used to assist in cognition Private speech- is a language directed towards oneself to assist in cognitive activity: children will tell themselves what to do Most prevalent between 4 and 6 years of age. Most private speech when a task is first being performed, tapers off as skill is mastered. Guided participation - tendency for adults to provide scaffolding to children so they can engage in mature activities.
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Neuronal Development

Synaptogenesis Synaptic Pruning


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Behavioral style, characteristic way of responding

Easy Child

Positive mood, regular routines, easily adapts Reacts negatively, irregular routines, slow to adapt Low activity/intensity, somewhat negative, inflexible

Difficult Child

Slow-to-Warm-Up Child

Also, self-regulation, inhibition, negative affectivity

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Close emotional bond between infant and caregiver

Harlows Monkeys & Contact Comfort

Warm contact as crucial to attachment

Ainsworths Strange Situation & Secure Attachment

Caregiver as base from which to explore May not adequately account for cultural variations
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Eriksons Theory

Theory of life-span development

Four stages in childhood Four stages in adolescence and adulthood

Stages represent developmental tasks to master

Two possible outcomes for each task

Greater personal competence Greater weakness and vulnerability

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Eriksons Childhood Stages

Trust vs. Mistrust (first 18 months)

Getting needs met

Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt (1 to 3 years)

Developing sense of independence

Initiative vs. Guilt (3 to 5 years)

Assuming more responsibility for self Mastering knowledge and intellectual skills
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Industry vs. Inferiority (6 years to puberty)


Eriksons Adult Stages

Intimacy vs. Isolation (early adulthood)

Forming healthy and intimate relationships

Generativity vs. Stagnation (middle adulthood)

Helping younger generation develop useful lives

Ego Integrity vs. Despair (late adulthood)

Looking back and evaluating ones life


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