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Infancy Physical and Cognitive Development

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Synaptogenesis is lifelong (meaning we keep learning and ... are attracted to novelty) and habituation (once a stimulus becomes familiar we lose interest. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Infancy Physical and Cognitive Development


1
Janet Belskys Experiencing the Lifespan, 1e
Chapter 3 Infancy Physical and Cognitive
Development
2
BRAIN BLOSSOMING AND BRAIN SCULPTING
  • The Expanding Brain Basic processes responsible
    for mental growth
  • Synaptogenesis making connections between
    neurons
  • Mylenation Developing a fatty cover around the
    neurons
  • Mylenation is not complete until the middle 20s.
  • Synaptogenesis is lifelong (meaning we keep
    learning and growing till the end of life!)
  • Each brain region goes through a phase of
    exuberant synaptogenesis, and then a pruning
    phase when the neurons and connections we dont
    need are lost

3
BRAIN BLOSSOMING AND BRAIN SCULPTING
4
BRAIN BLOSSOMING AND SCULPTING
  • More Facts About Brain Pruning
  • Exuberant synaptogenesis produces an incredible
    excess of connections in each brain region, and
    the timing of the pruning phase mirrors the
    growth of our abilities in real life.
  • The pruning phase sets in very early in the
    visual cortex, as by age one our vision becomes
    adult.
  • Pruning does not start until late childhood in
    the frontal lobes and it continues well into
    adolescence in this part of the brain responsible
    for higher reasoning and thought.

5
FACTS ABOUT BRAIN PLASTICITY
  • Brain Plasticity the ability of the brain to
    change and adapt to insults
  • Plasticity may be at its peak early in life
    before the pruning phase sets in-meaning some
    children can make remarkable recoveries as other
    cortical regions take over for damaged segments
    of the brain
  • Although after early childhood the brain becomes
    less plastic, we still can grow, develop,
    learn, and even (sometimes) compensate for
    problems such as a stroke well into our older
    years.
  • Plasticity (and pruning) shows that both nature
    (our genetic capacities) and nurture
    (environmental input) interact to construct our
    brain!

6
Basic Newborn States
  • Eating the basis of living
  • Reflexes are innate, instinctive, automatic
    activities programmed by the lower centers of the
    brain
  • Sucking reflex (shown on the left) and the
    rooting reflex (shown on the right) help jump
    start eating in the early months
  • Newborn reflexes such as these must be present at
    birth and then go away after about month three as
    the cortex comes on line
  • As they approach age two some children become
    picky eaterswhich may be built into evolution to
    help keep busy toddler explorers from poisoning
    themselves!

7
Basic Newborn States
  • Breast milk A section summary
  • Every public health organization recommends
    exclusive breast feeding for the first six months
    of life
  • Breast feeding is correlated with a variety of
    health benefits and advantagesincluding higher
    scores on cognitive tests
  • However these studies are correlational (so the
    good outcomes may also be due to other forces)
    and upper middle class moms are more likely to
    follow the six month recommendation.
  • Its very hard to breast feed for months, when
    you dont have the luxury of staying home with
    your baby, and have to go back to work right
    after your childs birth to a low wage job.
  • Bottom line Social support and a culture that
    supports this practice are crucial in the
    choice to breast feed a baby or not

8
Malnutrition A Serious Developing World Concern
  • Undernutrition a chronic lack of adequate food
  • Stunting serious height retardation symptomatic
    of chronic undernutrition
  • Stunting is endemic in the least developed
    regions of the world
  • Stunted children may have permanent deficits in
    their physical and intellectual capacities
  • Like infant mortality stunting rates are a
    barometer of a nations economic status
  • Because the U.S provides low income children with
    a variety of nutrition programswhile low income
    families can be food insecurestunting in our
    country and other developed nations is very rare
    (or unknown)

9
The first communication signal Crying
  • Crying is vitally important at every age
    during infancy its the only way to communicate
    our needs
  • Crying reaches its life peak in the first
    reflex-dominated months of life and then declines
    after month four as the cortex comes on line
  • As they get older infants cry much more in
    response to environmental cues (Here comes mom!)
  • Colic continual frantic crying in early infancy
  • Dont blame the mother Colic is caused by an
    immature digestive system
  • Colic typically totally goes away around month 4
  • Colic causes new parents incredible stressbut
    luckily it is temporary!

10
What quiets a young baby?
  • Pacifiers are very effective. Early on they can
    be the best strategy for soothing a young infant
  • Swaddling works too as it mirrors conditions of
    the cozy womb.
  • Infant massage helps calm babies (and adults!)
    and can help promote growth in premature babies
  • Try Kangaroo care, holding the baby close to your
    body in a baby sling.
  • Bottom line pick the baby up hold the baby
    close rock the child satisfy the need to suck
    even take long rides in the car, as motion puts
    babies to sleep!

11
The main newborn state SLEEPING
  • Newborns sleep up to 18 hours per day
  • They wake up and cry every three to four hours to
    eat !
  • By six months, caregivers can expect to get their
    first good nights sleep
  • By age one, babies are sleeping about 12 hours
  • With additional morning and afternoon naps
  • By late preschool, many children give up these
    naps
  • Huge amounts of REM sleep are characteristic of
    infancy and prior to adolescence, children do not
    have sleep cycles like adults.
  • The sleep cycle changes in interesting ways
    throughout life!

12
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13
Sleep facts continued
  • Babies (and adults) never sleep through the
    night. They learn to self-soothe or put
    themselves back to sleep.
  • Periodic sleep problems are typical in early
    childhood
  • Children with chronic sleep problems produce
    stressed out families.
  • Stressed out families can cause children problems
    with sleep (a perfect example of a bi-directional
    influence!)

14
Two controversial Issues Going In When the Baby
Cries and Co-Sleeping
  • Should parents go in when a baby cries out at
    night?
  • According to the behaviorists the answer is NO
    according to Bowlbys attachment theory (or
    Eriksons stage of basic trust) definitely!
  • In the first few monthsit is no contest, you
    need to respond
  • After that, the research suggests it may help to
    hold off a bit to get the child to learn to
    self-soothe
  • Should parents and children co-sleep?
  • Traditionally in our individualistic culture the
    answer was NO
  • But in collectivist cultures NOT co-sleeping is
    seen as a form of child abuse
  • Conclusions its a personal preference, although
    co-sleeping in early infancy may slightly
    increase the risk of SIDS

15
When Sleep is Lethal SIDS (Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome)
  • The unexpected death of a young baby while
    sleeping
  • SIDS, while very rare, is a major cause of infant
    mortality in the developed world
  • Occurs more often low birth weight and premature
    infants
  • May be related to environmental conditions such
    as being exposed to household smoke (nature and
    nurture influences are involved)
  • May be caused by a glitch in the developing
    nervous systemas its peak onset is at about 2 to
    5 months of age
  • Putting a baby to sleep on its back (and away
    from fluffy bedding) can dramatically reduce the
    risk of this tragedy

16
SENSORY AND MOTOR DEVELOPMENT
  • How do researchers get inside young babies
    heads to determine their visual (and cognitive)
    capacities?
  • Through employing the preferential looking
    paradigm (human beings are attracted to novelty)
    and habituation (once a stimulus becomes familiar
    we lose interest.
  • Put a young baby on a seat, present images, and
    track the childs facial expressions and eye
    movements

17
Basic Facts About Infant Vision
  • Babies at birth are legally blind
  • Because the visual cortex matures so quickly by
    year one, a normal infant can see like an adult.
  • Newborns understand the basics of size constancy,
    .
  • Visual capacities emerge when we need them but
    babies have fascinating capacities and interests
    very amazingly early in life

18
Some Fascinating Facts About Face Perception
  • Newborns prefer faces to other stimuli (and faces
    looking at them)
  • Newborns prefer their mothers face from the
    first week of life
  • Young babies prefer attractive faces!
  • Evolutionarily speaking, more symmetrical (better
    looking) faces may be a tip off of a healthier
    adult
  • BOTTOM LINE We are programmed to gravitate to
    the human world from birth!!

19
Seeing Depth and Fearing Heights
  • The visual cliff experiment an innovative
    technique for determining depth perception
  • Conclusions Babies see differences in depth
    early on but only fear heights around the time
    they begin to crawl and so need this fear to
    survive

20
Facts About Growth and Motor development
  • From infancy to adulthood, our bodies expand to
    21 times our newborn size.
  • Growth is most pronounced in infancy and early
    childhood and follows the cephalocaudal sequence
    from head to tail
  • Ditto for motor milestones ( first babies lift
    their heads, then turn over, then sit, then
    stand).
  • Mass to specific also characterizes motor
    development throughout childhood big
    uncoordinated movements get more steady, detailed
    and refined
  • Some motor milestones can be accelerated by
    practice
  • Dont get crazy if a baby is somewhat late in
    their timetable (or too excited if theyre
    early) The pace of physical development has no
    relation to later I.Q.!
  • There is nothing like the joy of seeing each
    milestone emerge!

21
Travel Has Its Downside
  • It changes the caregiver child relationship
  • Parents see the baby as a person with a mind of
    its own and the need to discipline begins
  • It requires baby-proofing the house
  • Look at life from the perspective of the baby and
    take steps to get rid of what could be dangerous
  • Anticipate problems and stay one step ahead of
    the developing child !
  • Brainstorm about how to satisfy the babys
    essential passion to explore, and at the same
    time keep the child safe
  • Bottom line Fit the environment to the child!

22
Cognition
  • Piagets Sensorimotor Stage
  • Lasts from Birth to age 2 (ends with language)
  • Infants are growing mentally by manipulating
    objects and physically exploring
  • Exploration (and getting into everything) is
    vital to learning about the world!
  • Circular Reactions Habits that pin down reality
  • Babies must repeat and repeat the same thing in
    order to understand the physical properties of
    this new planet
  • primary circular reactions (body centered habits)
  • Secondary circular reactions (habits centered on
    exploring the outside world)
  • tertiary circular reactions (little scientist
    behaviors) The toddler flexibly experiments
    with objects to see how they behave (eg gets into
    everything!)

23
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24
Two Basic Sensory Motor Milestones/Achievements
  • Means-end behavior understanding you need to
    do something different to get to a specific goal
    ( example, taking off a wrapper, to get to the
    candy pushing the buttons on the TV to get the
    DVD to emerge pulling the lever to get the
    toilet to flush)
  • Object Permanence Understanding that objects
    exist when you dont see them
  • At the beginning of life life is a series of
    disappearing pictures. If you dont see it, it
    doesnt exist
  • Around month five or six, infants begin to look
    for hidden objects
  • As the object concept is developing (at around 8
    months to a year) peekaboo becomes an all-time
    favorite game
  • Infants this age make the A not B error (Hide an
    object in one place several times, then in
    another while the baby is watching and she will
    look in the original place!)
  • MEANS-END BEHAVIOR AND OBJECT PERMANENCE MAKE
    SENSE OF THE MYSTERIOUS PASSIONS TODDERS HAVE!!

25
Critiques of Piaget (And Another Perspective)
  • Babies may understand the basic properties of
    objects far younger than Piaget believed
  • By using techniques such as preferential looking
    and setting up physically impossible situations
    even very young babies look surprised (showing
    they get the idea this cannot occur!)
  • The understanding of physical reality emerges
    gradually, not as Piaget believed, in unitary,
    qualitatively different stages.
  • Using the model of a computer, information
    processing theorists track the more gradual,
    linear way we really learn
  • BOTTOM LINE PIAGET WAS A GENIUS AT MAKING SENSE
    OF INFANT LIFE, BUT SOME OF HIS BASIC CONCEPTS
    WERE NOT QUITE RIGHT!

26
LANGUAGE BASIC PRINCIPLES
  • The ability to make sense of an infinite number
    of sentences is what makes us different from
    other species
  • This biologically programmed ability to
    understand different sentences and automatically
    develop the rules of language (grammar) is
    called the LAD (or language Acquisition Device)
  • The specific language we learn is dependent on
    nurture-the place where we grow up
  • Babies (and adults) have a passion to
    communicatewhich defines the social
    interactionist perspective on this uniquely
    human skill!

27
MILESTONES IN DEVELOPING LANGUAGE
  • This is the progression to speaking, but babies
    can understand what adults are communicating far
    earlier than they can articulate words

28
CONNECTING VIA INFANT DIRECTED SPEECH
  • In every culture adults and older children speak
    to babies in a characteristic baby talk-like
    way
  • This simplified exaggerated way of talking
    (called infant directed speech) may seem babyish,
    but it actually is adaptivehelping babies
    distinguish sounds and the breaks between words.
  • Infants selectively attend to and pay attention
    to infant directed speech from a very young age
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