Ch 4 notes - Chapter 4 Developing Through the Life Span I...

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Chapter 4: Developing Through the Life Span I. Introduction Developmental psychologists – a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span. Virtually all of us began walking around age 1, and talking by age 2. Psychology’s developmental perspective examines how people are continually developing, from infancy through old age. Much of its research centers on 3 major issues: Nature/nurture: How do genetic inheritance (our nature) and experience (the nurture we receive) influence our development? Continuity/stages: Is development a gradual, continuous process like riding an escalator, or does it proceed through a sequence of separate stages, like climbing rungs on a ladder? Stability/change: Do our early personality traits persist through life, or do we become different persons as we age? II. Prenatal Development and the Newborn Conception At conception, only one of the man’s sperm can penetrate the outer coating of the woman’s egg before the egg’s surface blocks out all others. Within about 12 hours, the nuclei of the sperm and egg fuse into a single cell. Woman was born with all the immature eggs she would ever have, although only 1 in 5000 will ever mature and be released. Man begins producing sperm cells at puberty. Prenatal Development Zygote – the fertilized egg; it enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo W/in the 1 st week = 100 cells a. Cells begin to differentiate – to specialize in structure and function. About 10 days after conception, the cells attach to the mother’s uterine wall. The zygote’s outer part attaches to the uterine wall, forming the placenta, through which nourishment passes. Embryo – the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the second month. Organs begin to form and function. Heart begins to beat.
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Fetus – the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth. Latin for “offspring” or “young one.” During the 6 th month, organs such as the stomach are sufficiently formed and functional to allow a prematurely born fetus a chance of survival. Responsive to sound. Immediately after birth, infants prefer mother’s voice to another woman’s voice or their father’s. At each prenatal stage, genetic and environmental factors affect our development. Teratogens – agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can pass through the placenta screen and reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) – physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman’s heavy drinking. In severe cases, symptoms include noticeable facial misproportions. About 4 in 10 alcoholic mothers who drink during
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Ch 4 notes - Chapter 4 Developing Through the Life Span I...

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