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Ch4 - Developing Through the Life Span CHAPTER PREVIEW...

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Unformatted text preview: Developing Through the Life Span CHAPTER PREVIEW Developmental psychologists study the life cycle, from conception to death, examining how we develop physically, cognitively, and socially. Three issues pervade this study: (1) the relative impact of genes and experience on behavior, (2) whether development is best described as grad- ual and continuous or as a sequence of predetermined stages, and (3) whether the individual’s personality remains stable or changes over the life span. The life cycle begins when one sperm unites with a mature egg to form a zygote. Attached to the uterine wall, the developing embryo begins to form body organs and by 9 weeks. the fetus becomes recognizably human. With the aid of new methods of studying babies, researchers have discovered that newborns are surprisingly competent. Infants develop skills of sitting, standing, and walking in a predictable sequence; their actual timing is a function of individual maturation rate. Jean Piaget theorized that the mind develops by forming schemas that help us assimilate our experiences and that must occasionally be altered to accommodate new information. In this way, children progress from the simplicity of the sensorimotor stage through the increasingly com- plex preoperational and concrete operational stages to abstract formal operational thought. Infants become attached to their parents largely because they are comfortable, familiar, and responsive. Denied such care, children may become withdrawn, anxious, and eventually abu- sive. Self—concept develops gradually, but by age 10, children’s self—images are quite stable and are linked with their independence, optimism, and sociability. Children who develop a positive self-image tend to have been reared by parents who are authoritative but at the same time allow their children a sense of control over their own lives. Adolescence typically begins at puberty with the onset of rapid growth and sexual maturity. Jean Piaget theorized that adolescents develop the capacity to reason abstractly. Following Piaget’s lead, Lawrence Kohlberg contended that moral thinking likewise proceeds through stages, from a morality of self-interest to a morality of universal ethical principles. Erik Erikson theorized that a chief task of adolescence is to form one’s identity. This struggle may continue into the adult years as new relationships emerge and new roles are assumed. The time from 18 to the mid—twenties is an increasingly not-yet-settled phase of life called emerging adulthood. The barely perceptible physical declines of early adulthood begin to accelerate during mid— dle adulthood. For women, a significant change is menopause. After 65, declining perceptual acuity, strength, and stamina are evident but shortterm ailments are fewer. Fluid intelligence declines in later life, whereas crystallized intelligence does not. Research suggests that people are not as predictable as some stage theorists have argued. Life events and even chance occurrences influence adult life in unanticipated ways. Two basic 25 26 Chapter 4 Developing Through the Life Span aspects of our lives—love and work—dominate adulthood. Most people retain a sense of well— being throughout life. The normal range of reactions to a loved one’s death, or to our own impending death, is wider than most suppose. Those who face death with a sense of integrity, according to Erikson, feel that their lives have been meaningful and worthwhile. Although the major stage theories have been modified in the light of later research, they continue to alert us to differences among people of different ages. Researchers who have fol- lowed lives through time have found evidence for both stability and change. CHAPTER GUIDE > Introductory Exercise: Fact or Falsehood? > Exercises: Introducing Central Issues in Developmental Psychology; Life-Span Development; Generating Lifelines; What Is the ldeal Age? > Projects: Your Lot in Life; Newspaper Advice Column Letters as Case Studies in Developmental Psychology; Writing Letters to Parent and Child; Essay Exchange > Videos: Moving Images: Exploring Psychology Through Film, Program 5: The Natre~Nurture Issue: Sex Reassignment; Discovering Psychology, Updated Edition: The Developing Child; Transitions Throughout the Life Span (series) . State the three areas of Change that developmental psychologists study, and identify the three major issues in developmental psychology. Developmental psychologists study physical, mental, and social changes throughout the life cycle. Three issues pervade this study: (1) the relative impact of genes and experience on behavior, (2) whether development is best described as gradual and continuous or as a sequence of separate stages, and (3) whether personality traits remain stable or change over the life span. Prenatal Development and the Newborn > Lecture: Prenatal Sensory Development > PsychSim 5: Conception to Birth > Videos: Module 12 of The Mind series, 2nd ed.: Teratogens and Their Efiects on the Developing Brain and Mind; Module [3 of The Mind series, 2nd ed.: Capabilities of the Newborn; Video Clips 13 and 14 of Digital Media Archive: Psychology: Testing Competency in the Newborn and Reflexes in the Newborn . Describe the union of sperm and egg at conception. A total of 200 million or more sperm deposited during intercourse approach the egg 85,000 times their own size. The few that make it to the egg release digestive enzymes that eat away the egg’s protective coating, allowing a sperm to penetrate. The egg’s surface blocks out all others and with in a half day, the egg nucleus and the sperm nucleus fuse. . Define zygote, embryo, and fetus, and explain how teratogens can afiect development. Fewer than half of fertilized eggs, called zygotes, survive. In the first week, cell division produces a zygote of some 100 cells, which are already beginning to difierentiate, to specialize in structure and function. About 10 days after conception, the zygote’s outer part attaches to the uterine wall and becomes the placenta through which nourishment passes. The inner cells become the embryo. By 9 weeks after conception, the embryo looks unmistakably human and is now a fetus. During the sixth month, internal organs such as the stomach have become sufficiently formed and func- tional to allow a prematurely born fetus a chance of survival. At each prenatal stage, genetic and Chapter 4 Developing Through the Life Span 27 environmental factors affect development. Along with nutrients, teratogens ingested by the mother can reach the developing child and place it at risk. If the mother drinks heavily, the effects may be visible as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). 4. Describe some abilities of the newborn, and explain how researchers use habituation to assess infant sensory and cognitive abilities. Newborns are surprisingly competent. They are born with sensory equipment and reflexes that facilitate their interacting with adults and securing nourishment. Touched on its cheek, a baby opens its mouth and searches for a nipple (the rootng reflex). Newborns turn their heads in the direction of human voices and gaze longer at a drawing of a facelike image than at a bull’s—eye pattern. They prefer to look at objects 8 to 12 inches away, the approximate distance between a nursing infant’s eyes and the mother’s. Within days of birth, the newborn distinguishes its moth- er’s odor, and at 3 weeks, the newborn prefers its mother’s voice. A simple form of learning called habituation, a decrease in responding with repeated stimulation, enables researchers to assess what infants see and remember. Studies using the habituation phe« nomenon indicate that infants can discriminate colors, shapes, and sounds and can understand some basic concepts of numbers and physics. Infancy and Childhood > Exercises: Identifying Developmental Landmarks; Musk Lifesavers, Lollipops. and Gloquex; Demonstrating Preoperational Thought; The Autism—Spectrum Quotient; Assessing Empathizing and Systemizing; The Water~Level Task; Dimensions of Parenting; Parental Authority Questionnaire; Parenting and Children’s Traits > Lectures: Preoperational Thought and Moral Development; Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development; Attachment Style, Compassion, and Self—Esteem > Projects: Egocentrism; Conservation, Seriation, and Class Inclusion: Roots of Self—Esteem > Exercise/Project: Measures of Attachment Type > Feature Film: Places in the Heart and Spanking > Videos: Segment 24 of the Scientific American Frontiers Series, 2nd ed.: Baby Body Sense; Module 14 of The Mind series, 2nd ed.: Infant Cognitive Development; Segments 25 and 27 of the Scientific American Frontiers Series, 2nd ed.: The Magic Years and A Change ofMina'; Video Clips 15, 16, 18, 19, 12, 17, and 20 of Digital Media Archive: Psychology: Object Permanence; Stranger Anxiety, Piaget 's Conservation Task, Body Part Counting System, Harlow 's Studies on Dependency in Monkeys, Morelli ’s StrangeSituation Test, and Erikson ’s Stages of Psychological Development—Trust vs. Mistrust; Module 15 of The Mind series, 2nd ed.: Social Development in Infancy; Module 21 of Psychology: The Human Experience: Attachment; Moving Images: Exploring Psychology Through Film, Program 8: The Rouge Test: Self—Recognition > PsychSim 5: Cognitive Development > Transparencies: 47 Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development; 48 Baby Math; 49 Testing Children’s Theory of Mind; 50 lnfants’ Distress Over Separation from Parents; 51 The Correlation between Authoritative Parenting and Social Competence in Children 5. Describe some developmental changes in a child’s brain, and explain why maturation accounts for many of our similarities. Within the brain, nerve cells form before birth. After birth, the neural networks that enable us to walk, talk, and remember have a wild growth spurt. From ages 3 to 6, growth occurs most rapidly in the frontal lobes which enable rational planning. The association areas of the cortex, which are linked to thinking, memory, and language, are the last brain areas to develop. Maturation, the bio- logical growth processes that enable orderly Changes in behavior, sets the basic course of develop- ment and experience adjusts it. Maturation accounts for commonalities, from standing before walking, to using nouns before adjectives. 28 10. Chapter 4 Developing Through the Life Span Outline four events in the motor development sequence from birth to toddlerhood, and evaluate the eflects of maturation and experience on that sequence. As the infant’s muscles and nervous system mature, ever more complicated skills emerge. The sequence is universal; the timing varies. Babies roll over before they sit unsupported, and they usually creep before they walk. Genes play a major role. Identical twins typically begin sitting up and walking on nearly the same day. Experience has a limited effect for other physical skills as well, including those that enable bowel and bladder control. Explain why we have few memories of experiences during our first three years of life. The average age of earliest conscious memory is 3.5 years. Memories of our preschool years are few because we organize our memories differently after age 3 or 4. As the brain cortex matures, toddlers gain a sense of self and their long-telm storage increases. In addition, infants’ preverbal memories do not easily translate into their later language. Experiments do, however, show that infants can retain learning over time. State Piaget’s understanding of how the mind develops, and discuss the importance of assimilation and accommodation in this process. Jean Piaget maintained that the mind of the child is not a miniature model of the adult’s. He theo- rized that the mind tries to make sense of experience by forming schemas, concepts or frame— works that organize and interpret information. We assimilate new experiences, that is, interpret them in terms of our current understandings. But we also sometimes adjust, or accommodate, our current understanding to incorporate new information. Outline Piaget’s four main stages of cognitive development, and comment on how children ’s think- ing changes during these four stages. Cognition refers to all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating. During the sensorimotor stage (birth to age 2) of cognitive development, children experience the world through their senses and actions. By about 8 months, an infant exhibits object permanence, an awareness that things still exist even when they are out of sight. Piaget maintained that up to about age 6 or 7, children are in a preoperational stage—too young to perform mental operations. They are egocentric, that is, they cannot perceive things from anoth— er’s point of view, and lack a theory of mind. (Autism is also marked by impaired ability to infer others’ mental states.) Piaget thought that at about age 6 or 7, children become capable of per forming concrete operations, for example, those required to comprehend the principle of conser- vation. They think logically about concrete events, grasp concrete analogies, and perform arith— metical operations. By age 12, reasoning expands from the purely concrete to encompass abstract thinking which Piaget called formal operational thinking. Discuss psychologists ’ current views on Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Recent research shows that young children are more capable and their development more continu- ous than Piaget believed. The cognitive abilities that emerge at each stage have begun developing at earlier ages. Today’s researchers also see formal logic as a smaller part of cognition than Piaget did. Nonetheless, studies support his idea that human cognition unfolds basically in the sequence he proposed. . Define stranger anxiety. Stranger anxiety is the fear of unfamiliar faces that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age (soon after object permanence emerges). They greet strangers by crying and reaching for their familiar caregivers. At this age children have schemas for familiar faces and become distressed when they cannot assimilate new faces into these remembered schemas. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Chapter 4 Developing Through the Life Span 29 Discuss the effects of nourishment, body contact, and familiarity on infant social attachment. The attachment bond is a survival impulse that keeps infants close to their caregivers. Infants become attached to their parents or primary caregivers not simply because they gratify biological needs (nourishment) but because they provide body contact that is soft and warm. Familiarity pro- vides another key to attachment. In animals, attachments based on familiarity often form during a critical period shortly after birth. This rigid attachment process is called imprinting. Although humans do not imprint, they do become attached to what they have known. Clearly, familiarity provides a safety signal. Contrast secure and insecure attachment, and discuss the roles of parents and infants in the devel» 0pment of attachment and an infant’s feelings of basic trust. When placed in a strange situation such as a laboratory playroom, about 60 percent of children display secure attachment; they play comfortably in their mother’s presence, are distressed when she leaves, and seek contact when she returns. Other infants, who are insecurely attached, are less likely to explore their surroundings, and when their mother leaves, cry loudly and remain upset, or seem indifferent to her going and returning. Sensitive, responsive parents tend to have securely attached children. Insensitive, unresponsive parents have infants who often become insecurely attached. Although genetically influenced temperament may elicit responsive parenting, parental sensitivity has been taught and does increase secure attachment to some extent. Erik Erikson attributed the child’s development of basic trust—a sense that the world is predictable and reli- able—to sensitive, loving caregivers. Adult relationships tend to reflect the attachment styles of early childhood. Assess the impact of parental neglect, family disruption, and day care on attachment patterns and development. Infants who experience abuse or extreme neglect often become withdrawn, frightened, even speechless. Severe and prolonged abuse places children at increased risk for health problems, psychological disorders, substance abuse, and criminality. Both monkeys and infants who are temporarily deprived of attachment may become upset, and before long, withdrawn and even despairing. However, if placed in a more positive and stable environment, infants generally recover from the distress of separation. Children who are prevented from forming attachments by age 2 may be at risk for attachment problems. Early research uncovered no negative impact of maternal employment on the child’s development. More recent research has investigated the effects of differing quality of day care on different types and ages of children. Children who have spent the most time in day care seem to have slightly advanced thinking and language skills but also have an increased rate of aggressiveness and defi- ance. But the child’s temperament, the mother’s sensitivity, and the family’s economic and educa~ tional level matter more than time spent in day care. Trace the onset and development of children ’s self—concept. Self-concept, a sense of one’s identity and personal worth, develops gradually. At about 15 to 18 months, infants will recognize themselves in a mirror. By school age, children start to describe themselves in terms of their gender, group memberships, and psychological traits. They also com- pare themselves with other children. By age 8 or 10, children’s self—images are quite stable. Describe three parenting styles, and offer three potential explanations for the link between author— itative parenting and social competence. Authoritarian parents impose rules and expect obedience. Permissive parents submit to their chil~ dren’s desires, make few demands, and use little punishment. Authoritative parents are both demanding and responsive. Children with the highest self-esteem, self-reliance, and social compe- tence generally have warm, concerned, and authoritative parents. However, correlation is not cau- 30 Chapter 4 Developing Through the Life Span sation. Socially mature and agreeable children may evoke authoritative parenting, or competent parents and their competent children may share genes that predispose social competence. Adolescence 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. > Exercises: Formal Operational Thought; Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development; Erikson's Stages; Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status; Who Am 1?; The Life Cycle; Gender Differences in Smiling > Lectures: Is 16 Too Young to Drive a Car?; Adolescents’ Friendships; A Generation Gap?; Emerging Adulthood > Projects: Interviewing Adolescents; Writing About Puberty > PsychSim 5: Who Am I? > Transparencies: 52 Height Differences; 53 Body Changes at Puberty; 54 Kohlberg’s Moral Ladder; 55 Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development; 56 The Changing Parent-Child Relationship; 57 Adolescence Is Being Stretched from Both Ends > Videos: Module 22 of Psychology: The Human Experience: Adolescence: Independence from Parents and Identity Formation; Moving Images: Exploring Psychology Through Film, Program 6: Do Parents Matter? Peer Influence Define adolescence. Adolescence, the transition period from childhood to adulthood. Identify the major physical changes during adolescence. Adolescence typically begins at puberty with the onset of rapid grth and developing sexual maturity. A surge of hormones triggers a two-year period of growth that begins in girls at about age 1] and in boys at about age 13. During the growth spurt, the reproductive organs, or primary sex characteristics, develop dramatically. So do the seconda...
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