Psychology 4070 2

Psychology 4070 2 - Psychology 4070 Physical Development...

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Psychology 4070 Physical Development Preschool (2-6 years old) - Every time you learn something or have a new experience, your brain’s cells modify, and that modification will be reflected in your behavior - Brain circuitry constantly changes due to experience - This brain plasticity is associated with memory - Brain plasticity, and therefore behavior, is influenced by prenatal and postnatal experience, drugs, hormones, maturation, aging, diet, disease, and stress - Understanding how these factors affect the brain help to understand normal and abnormal behavior and to treat psychological disorders Neurons - 1.) Soma or cell body - Controls metabolism - 2.) Dendrites - Tree-like growths - Receive messages - 3.) Axon - Carries messages to the other cells - Action Potential travels 200 meters per second along an axon - 4.) End Bulbs - At the end of the axons - Release transmitter substance after an action potential - The neuron transmits electrochemical messages when the dendrites are stimulated by other neurons - Synaptic Gap - 5-millionths of an inch - Neurotransmitters released into the gap excite or inhibit the next neuron - Most psychoactive drugs mimic neurotransmitters - Long axons are often covered in Myelin Sheaths - Myelin sheath evolved recently; higher animals show much more myelination - Myelination - Evolutionarily older brain parts myelinated before birth; waves of myelination after birth - The brain’s association areas are myelinated last (early adulthood) - We do our heaviest thinking here - Learning - Alterations in synaptic efficiency increase transmission of nerve impulses First Months/Years - Major brain growth spurts, particularly in the cortex - In particular, cortical dendrites increase (5x) in first two years – “ Transient Exuberance - At birth only some brain neurons form pathways . . . but even unused neurons need energy and oxygen - Neural pruning - Many unused neurons die-off - Even with pruning, an infant’s brain grows phenomenally Preschool Brain Development - The brain continues rapid growth - 2 year-old’s = 75% of adult weight - 5 year old’s = 90% of adult weight - Growth is not steady; most takes place before 4 to 4 and a half years old; by age 7, the child’s brain is almost 100% of its adult weight
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The Preschooler’s Body - Physical growth slows after age 2 - 4 year-olds seem to eat less food than they did as 2 year-olds - Preschooler’s body proportions change - Their “body fat” disappears; their legs lengthen - Normal growth needs healthy environment and genetic processes - Deprivation (Psychosocial) Dwarfism or failure to thrive - Neglected/abused children stop growing (seen in orphanages as well) - Skeletal Age - Measures ossification ; how much of a child’s skeletal cartilage has changed to bone - Boys are 4 weeks behind girls in skeletal age at birth - Difference increases to 2 years when adolescence starts - Girls talk, control bowels and bladder, write, and use cutlery earlier – Fine Motor Skills - Boys are better at running, jumping, and throwing –
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Psychology 4070 2 - Psychology 4070 Physical Development...

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