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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER 11: DEVELOPMENT OVER THE LIFESPAN Major Issues and Methods- Developmental psychology: examines changes in our biological, physical, psychological and behavioural processes as we age- 4 issues guide much developmental research o Nature and nurture To what extent is our development due to heredity or the environment o Critical and sensitive periods Critical period: an age range in which certain experiences must occur Sensitive period: an optimal age range for certain experiences o Continuity vs. discontinuity Is development continuous and gradual or does it occur in stages? o Stability vs. change Do our characteristics remain consistent as we age?- The following 5 developmental functions differ in graph shape o No change an ability present at or before birth that remains relatively constant across the lifespan o Continuous change an ability not present (or very immature) at birth that develops gradually o Stages an ability that progresses in stages, with relatively rapid shifts for a lower to higher level of performance o Inverted U shape function an ability that emerges at birth, peaks, and disappears with age o U shaped function an ability that is present early in life, disappears temporarily, and re-emerges later- Cross-sectional design: compare people at different ages at the same point in time o Problem is that the different age groups, cohorts, grew up in different time periods- Longitudinal design: repeatedly tests the same cohort as it grows older- Sequential design: combines the cross-sectional and the longitudinal design o Repeatedly test several age cohorts as they grow older and determine whether they follow a similar developmental pattern Prenatal Development- Prenatal development consists of 3 stages of physical growth o Germinal stage: first 2 weeks When one sperm fertilizes a female egg and formed a zygote o Embryonic stage: week 2 to week 8 Cell mass is now called an embryo Placenta forms and allows nutrients to pass into the umbilical cord Umbilical cord contains blood vessels that carry these nutrients and oxygen to the embryo and waste products back from the embryo to the mother o Fetal stage: 9 th week after conception Muscles strengthen 28 weeks in, the fetus attains the age of viability Genetics and Sex Determination- The fathers contribution determines the sex of the baby- Y chromosome contains the TDF gene, which triggers male development o TDF: testes determining factor Environmental Influences- Teratogens: environmental agents that cause abnormal prenatal development- The placenta prevents many dangerous substances from reaching the fetus but some get through- Stress hormones can cross the placenta- Alcohol is a teratogen o Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a group of abnormalities resulting from prenatal exposure to maternal alcohol consumption which include facial abnormalities, small malformed brains and small stature Major cause of mental retardation...
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