Psychological Science, 3rd EditionMichael Gazzaniga Todd Heatherton Diane Halpern
Questions to Consider: What Shapes a Child? How Do Children Learn about Their Worlds? How Do Children and Adolescents Develop Their Identities? What Brings Meaning to Adulthood?
What Shapes a Child? • Development Starts in the Womb • Brain Development Promotes Learning • Attachment Promotes Survival • Critical Thinking Skill: Understanding That “Some” Does Not Mean “All”
Learning Objectives Describe how the prenatal environment can affect development. List and describe the types of attachment infants have to their caregivers.
What Shapes a Child? • One of the perennial questions in human development is how much of who we are is determined by our biology – nature – and how much is determined by our environment – nurture • Genie
A baby learns to walk without formal teaching. Learning to walk progresses along a fixed, time-ordered sequence characteristic of all humans.
Development Starts in the Womb • Genes and intrauterine environment are largely responsible for physical development prior to birth • The nervous system is functional by 7 months although the brain continues to develop after birth
Development Starts in the Womb • Teratogens: • Hormones and teratogens (environmental agents such as alcohol, thalidomide, or radiation) may damage the developing fetus • The extent and type of damage will depend on when the fetus is exposed • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
Development Starts in the Womb • Given the significant potential for negative consequences to babies born to women who use alcohol and other drugs, there is controversy over a woman’s right to use substances during her pregnancy and if women should suffer legal consequences for placing their unborn child at risk
Brain Development Promotes Learning • Although these senses are not fully developed, infants are born with the ability to see, hear, taste, and smell • Newborns also have several reflexes such as the grasping reflex and the rooting reflex
Brain Development Promotes Learning • Myelination and neuronal connections: • The brain continues to develop through the process of myelination • Neuronal axons are wrapped with a fatty sheath, increasing the speed by which impulses are transmitted • Synaptic pruning
Brain Development Promotes Learning • This development process leads to massive growth of the brain from 350 grams (approximately .75 pound) to about 1,250 grams (2.75 pounds or about 80 percent of the adult size) by age 4 • The strong role of environment in determining which synapses or connections are pruned can be illustrated by the effects of malnourishment
Neurons in the visual cortex develop more and more myelination as the infant’s brain ages.
The highest levels of density can be thought of as the times when the brain is most plastic— most able to change.
Brain Development Promotes Learning • Sensitive learning periods: • The precise timing of events is also important • Critical or sensitive periods are those times during which specific skills or behaviors are most easily acquired.
Attachment Promotes Survival • Attachment is a strong, intimate, emotional connection between people that persists over time and across circumstances • John Bowlby described infant behaviors that engage adults and adult behaviors that increase attachment
Attachment Promotes Survival • Attachment in other species: • Birds, geese, chickens, and ducks develop a similar pattern of attachment known as imprinting • Despite common beliefs that the attachment bond was a result of the primary caretaker’s provision of food, Harry Harlow, in a series of studies with baby rhesus monkeys, demonstrated that attachment required contact comfort
Attachment Promotes Survival • Attachment style: • The strange situation test • To assess caregiver-infant interactions, leading to the discovery of attachment patterns • Secure (65% of children), avoidant (20–25%), anxious-ambivalent (10–15%), or disorganized • Securely attached children are more likely to be socially competent in primary school and to develop more positive romantic relationships as young adults
Attachment Promotes Survival • Chemistry of attachment: • Oxytocin plays a role in maternal tendencies, feelings of social acceptance and bonding, sexual gratification • Higher levels of oxytocin associated with better maternal attachment
How Do Children Learn about Their Worlds? • Perception Introduces the World • Memory Improves over Childhood • Piaget Emphasized Stages of Development • Infants Have Early Knowledge about the World • Humans Learn from Interacting with Others • Language Develops in an Orderly Fashion
Learning Objectives Provide examples of techniques psychologists use to find out what infants know and can do. List and describe the stages of development proposed by Piaget. Trace the development of language in infants and in older children.
Perception Introduces the World • Infant-research techniques: • The preferential looking technique • Length of time the infant looks at an object or event • The orienting reflex • Infants will look at a novel object or event longer • This helps researchers understand what infants comprehend
Perception Introduces the World • Vision: • Infants visual acuity is limited • They respond more to bold patterns • Depth perception develops between 3 ½ and 6 months • Auditory perception: • By 6 months infants have nearly adult levels of hearing
This test determines whether the baby can use binocular disparity as a cue to depth.
Memory Improves over Childhood • Research has demonstrated that newborns are capable of remembering but that memory improves over time • Freud referred to the lack of memories before the age of 3–4 years as infantile amnesia • Young children also appear to demonstrate source amnesia (forgetting where they learned something) and tend to confabulate (make things up)
Piaget Emphasized Stages of Development • Jean Piaget developed a stage theory of development based on how children thought about the world • His four stages: • Sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational
Piaget Emphasized Stages of Development • Some of his most influential concepts included: • Schemas • Way of thinking • Assimilation • A new experience is incorporated into an existing schema • Accommodation • Schema is adapted or expanded to include the new experience
Piaget Emphasized Stages of Development • Sensorimotor stage • Development of object permanence • Preoperational stage • Begins to think symbolically • Concrete operational stage • Develop the ability to reason but only about concrete items • Formal operational stage • Reasoning about abstract ideas
Piaget Emphasized Stages of Development • Challenges to Piaget’s theory: • Modern developmental psychologists have argued whether a strict stage theory is accurate, suggesting that not everyone proceeds through the stages in the order specified by Piaget and that some individuals may go back and forth between two stages
Infants Have Early Knowledge about the World • Recent research has demonstrated that children’s knowledge of the world seems to contradict Piaget • Children are capable of object permanence at a much earlier age than Piaget theorized
Understanding the relation between movement and physical properties requires cognitive skills. Infants appear to use movement to infer that objects moving together are continuous.
Infants Have Early Knowledge about the World • Very young infants appear to have an intuitive understanding of the laws of physics and mathematics that Piaget’s theory would predict would only occur at a much later date
Infants seem to intuitively sense that a box placed in midair must fall.
Children who might not have succeeded on Piaget’s marble test were able to choose the row that contained more items when those items were M&Ms and the test question was Which row wouldyou like to eat?
Humans Learn from Interacting with Others • Early social interactions between infant and caregiver are essential for understanding other people and being able to communicate with them through language
Humans Learn from Interacting with Others • Theory of mind • The awareness that others think, feel, and perceive the world differently than we do • Young children (13–15 months) are able to understand the intentions behind the actions of others thus allowing them to predict and understand other people’s actions • False-belief test • Children diagnosed with autism frequently cannot solve the false-belief test, suggesting an abnormality in this area of the brain
When a child acquires theory of mind, he or she is able to understand that different individuals have both different perspectives and knowledge based on their individual experiences.
Humans Learn from Interacting with Others • Moral reasoning and moral emotions: • Moral development can be divided into moral reasoning, which is dependent on cognitive processes and moral emotions • One of the most studied theories of moral development was proposed by Kohlberg, who identified three stages: • Preconventional, conventional, and postconventional
Humans Learn from Interacting with Others • Many theories focus on moral reasoning rather than emotions perhaps decreasing the predictive value of such theories • Moral emotions such as empathy, sympathy, and embarrassment are thought to form early in life • Viewed as secondary emotions to the primary emotions of fear, anger, and happiness, and are influenced by parenting styles
Humans Learn from Interacting with Others • Physiological basis of morality: • Research has also shown a physiological basis for moral emotions • Evidence suggests that those with frontal lobe damage do not show these emotions
Language Develops in an Orderly Fashion • The sequence of language development is fairly universal • Delays can be caused by socialization deficits • Language can be broken down into: • Sentences • Words • Morphemes (smallest units of meaning) • Phonemes (basic sounds)
Language Develops in an Orderly Fashion • Syntax is the system of rules that govern how words are combined into phrases and how phrases are combined to make sentences • Research using the habituation techniques convincingly demonstrates that infants as young as 4 days can distinguish their own language from other languages
Language Develops in an Orderly Fashion • The development of speech in infants follows a specific pattern: • sounds (crying, grunting) • cooing and laughing • babbling in consonants • babbling in syllables • performatives • true words • telegraphic speech
Language Develops in an Orderly Fashion • Acquiring language with the hands: • Sign language appears to be acquired in the same pattern as spoken language
Language Develops in an Orderly Fashion • Universal grammar: • Noam Chomsky argued for the existence of an innate language acquisition device containing universal grammar • Explains how we automatically and unconsciously transform surface structure (the sound and order of words) to deep structure (the meaning being conveyed)