Chapter 3 (Santrock) - Chapter 3 The Brain and Cognitive...

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Chapter 3: The Brain and Cognitive Development I. THE BRAIN A. Adolescent Brain § Different from the child’s brain § Still developing B. Neurons § Nerve cells, which are the nervous system's basic units § 3 Parts of a neuron o The cell body o Dendrites The receiving part of the neuron o Axon Carries information away from the cell body to other cells § Myelination o the axon becomes covered and insulated with a layer of fat cells o increased speed and efficiency of information processing in the nervous system o Myelin sheath increases the speed and efficiency of information processing in the nervous system. § Synaptogenesis o The dramatic increase in connections between neurons o synapses Gaps between neurons connections between the axon and dendrites o used synaptic connections bloom and prune the visual, auditory, prefrontal cortex the extent of connectivity: synaptic density § Neurotransmitters o Chemicals that carry information across the synaptic gap between one neuron and the next o Dopamine Increase during adolescence More risk taking and drug use C. Brain Structure, Cognition, and Emotion § Neurons are connected in precise ways § Neurons form various structures in the brain § corpus collosum o A large bundle of axon fibers o Connect the brain's left and right hemispheres. § prefrontal cortex o The highest level of the brain's frontal lobes o involved in reasoning, decision making, and self-control
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o “judgment” region o Finishes developing at age 20 § amygdala o A portion of the brain's limbic system o The seat of emotions such as anger. o Develops before other regions that help to control it D. Experience and Plasticity § New brain cells are generated throughout the life span. § Exercise and enriched experiences can produce new brain cells § The brain can repair itself and recover from injury. § The earlier a brain injury occurs, the more likelihood of a successful recovery. ii. THE COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENTAL VIEW A. Piaget's Theory § Cognitive Processes o schema § A mental concept or framework that is useful in organizing and interpreting information. o assimilation § The incorporation of new information into existing knowledge. o accommodation § an adjustment of a schema to new information o equilibration § how individuals shift from one state of thought to the next § cognitive conflict or disequilibrium § Resolve the conflict and reaches a balance of thought. § Stages of Cognitive Development o Sensorimotor Stage § from birth to about 2 years of age § infants construct an understanding of the world § by coordinating sensory experiences with physical, motor actions o Preoperational Stage § from 2 to 7 years of age § children begin to represent their world with words, images, and drawings o Concrete Operational Thought § from 7 to 11 years of age § children can perform operations § conservation
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