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Physical and Cognitive Development in Infancy


Physical and Cognitive Development in Infancy CHAPTER 3 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Sensorimotor Stage Tertiary circular ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Physical and Cognitive Development in Infancy

Chapter 3
  • Physical and Cognitive Development in Infancy

Physical Growth and Development in Infancy
  • Head
  • large relative to the rest of the body
  • flops around uncontrollably
  • Infant becomes capable of
  • Rolling over
  • Sitting
  • Crawling
  • standing
  • stooping
  • climbing
  • usually walking

The First Year
  • Average North American newborn -- 20 inches long
    7½ pounds
  • Most newborns lose 5 to 7 percent of their body
    weight adjusting to feeding
  • They double their birth weight by the age of 4
    months nearly triple it by their first birthday
  • Infants grow about 1 inch per month during the
    first year

From Age 1 to 2 Years
  • At 2 years of age, children weigh approximately
    26 to 32 pounds
  • gaining a quarter to half a pound per month
  • attain about one-fifth of their adult weight
  • At 2 years, the average child is 32 to 35 inches
  • nearly half of their eventual adult height

The Brain
  • Cerebral cortex covers the forebrain like a
    wrinkled cap
  • Two halves, or hemispheres, based on ridges and
    valleys in the cortex
  • Lateralization -- specialization of function in
    one hemisphere or the other
  • Example Spatial ability

  • Parts of the neuron
  • Axon carries signals away from the cell body
  • Dendrites carry signals toward it
  • Myelin sheath -- a layer of fat cells -- provides
    insulation and helps electrical signals travel
    faster down the axon
  • At the end of the axon are terminal buttons,
    which release chemicals called neurotransmitters
    into synapses
  • Synapses -- tiny gaps between neurons' fibers
  • Transient exuberance

Changes in Neurons
  • The infants brain is literally waiting for
    experiences to determine how connections are made
  • Experience enhances brain development
  • Experience-expectant brain growth
  • Examples Maturation, eating, sensory
  • Experience-dependent brain growth
  • Examples Language, siblings, parent interaction

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Changes in Regions of the Brain
  • Both heredity and environment influence synaptic
    overproduction and subsequent retraction
  • Pruning -- unused connections are replaced by
    other pathways or disappear
  • Prefrontal cortex -- the area of the brain where
    higher-level thinking and self-regulation occur

  • Considerable individual variation in how much
    infants sleep
  • typical newborn sleeps 16 to 17 hours a day
  • preferred times and patterns of sleep also vary
  • Infants spend a greater amount of time in REM
    (rapid eye movement) sleep
  • by 3 months of age, the percentage of time in REM
    sleep decreases

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) -- condition
    that occurs when infants stop breathing, usually
    during the night, and die suddenly without an
    apparent cause
  • SIDS is the highest cause of infant death in the
    United States
  • Risk of SIDS is highest at 2 to 4 months of age

Risk Factors for SIDS
  • SIDS decreases when infants sleep on their backs
  • More common in low birth weight infants
  • Infants who are passively exposed to cigarette
    smoke are at higher risk
  • More frequent in infants who sleep in soft
    bedding or use a pacifier when they go to sleep

Benefits of Breast Feeding
  • Appropriate weight gain and lowered risk of
    childhood obesity
  • Fewer allergies
  • Prevention or reduction of diarrhea, respiratory
    infections, bacterial and urinary tract
    infections, and otitis media
  • Denser bones in childhood and adulthood
  • Reduced childhood cancer and reduced incidence of
    breast cancer in mothers and their female
  • Lower incidence of SIDS
  • When should a mother not breast feed ?

Nutritional Needs
  • Nutritionists recommend that infants consume
    approximately 50 calories per day for each pound
    they weigh
  • This is more than twice an adults requirement
    per pound
  • Many U.S. parents are feeding their 4- to
    24-month-old babies too few fruits and
    vegetables, and too much junk food

  • Reflexes -- built-in reactions to stimuli
    automatic, involuntary
  • Allow infants to respond adaptively to their
  • Examples Rooting and sucking, Moro or startle
    reflex, coughing, sneezing, blinking, shivering,
    and yawning

Gross Motor Skills
  • Skills that involve large-muscle activities
  • Sitting with support -- 2 months
  • Sitting upright without support -- 6 to 7 months
    of age
  • Pull themselves up and hold on to a chair -- 8
  • Stand alone 10 to 12 months

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Gross Motor Development in the Second Year
  • Toddlers become more mobile
  • 1318 months
  • can pull a toy attached to a string
  • use their hands and legs to climb up a number of
  • 1824 months
  • toddlers can walk quickly or run stiffly
  • walk backwards without losing their balance
  • stand and kick a ball without falling and stand
    and throw a ball
  • jump in place

Fine Motor Skills
  • Finely tuned movements
  • anything that requires finger dexterity
  • At birth, infants have very little control over
    fine motor skills
  • During the first two years of life, infants
    refine how they reach and grasp
  • Perceptual-motor coupling is necessary for the
    infant to coordinate grasping
  • Experience plays a role in reaching and grasping

Sensory and Perceptual Development
  • Sensation occurs when information interacts with
    sensory receptors -- the eyes, ears, tongue,
    nostrils, and skin
  • Example Everything
  • Perception is the interpretation of what is
  • Example Mommy, foods, HOT!

Studying the Infants Perception
  • Visual Preference Method -- Infants look at
    different things for different lengths of time
  • Orienting response -- to determine if an infant
    can see or hear a stimulus
  • Habituation -- decreased responsiveness to a
    stimulus after repeated presentations of the
  • Examples Pacifier, holding hands, football game?
  • Dishabituation -- is the recovery of a habituated
    response after a change in stimulation
  • Example sleeping in the car

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Visual Acuity and Color   
  • Newborns vision is estimated to be 20/600 on the
    well-known Snellan eye examination chart
  • By 6 months of age -- vision is 20/40 or better
  • By about the first birthday, the infants vision
    approximates that of an adult
  • By 8 weeks, possibly even by 4 weeks, infants can
    discriminate among some colors
  • (Banks Salapatek, 1983 Aslin Lathrop, 2008)

Perception of Pattern and Depth
  • Infants prefer to look at a normal human face
    rather than one with scrambled features
  • Can babies detect attractiveness?
  • They prefer to look at a bulls-eye target or
    black-and-white stripes rather than a plain
  • Depth perception -- visual cliff
  • Infants develop the ability to use binocular
    (two-eyed) cues to depth by about 3 to 4 months
    of age
  • (Gibson Walk, 1960)

Hearing, Touch, and Pain
  • Prenatally at 7 months, infants can hear sounds
    such as mothers voice and music
  • Immediately after birth, infants cannot hear soft
    sounds or pitch as well as adults do
  • Newborns respond to touch and feel pain
  • Infants also display amazing resiliency
  • Within several minutes after the circumcision
    surgery (which is performed without anesthesia),
    they can nurse and interact in a normal manner
    with their mothers

Smell and Taste
  • Newborns can differentiate among odors
  • Example Mom vs. Dad
  • Sensitivity to taste might be present even before
  • At only 2 hours of age, babies made different
    facial expressions when they tasted sweet, sour,
    and bitter solutions
  • At about 4 months of age, infants begin to prefer
    salty tastes, which as newborns they had found to
    be aversive
  • (Windle, 1940 Rosenstein Oster, 1988 Harris,
    Thomas, Booth, 1990)

Piagets Theory of Cognitive Development
  • Piaget thought we build mental structures that
    help us to adapt to the world
  • Adaptation involves adjusting to new
    environmental demands

Processes of Development
  • Developing brain creates schemes, which are
    actions or mental representations that organize
  • Assimilation -- children use their existing
    schemes to deal with new information or
  • Examples Banging, chewing, dropping, hot dirt,
  • Accommodation -- children adjust their schemes to
    take new information and experiences into account
  • Examples no cats!, get splashed
  • Examples Juice, in the hoop, Bye, Bye
  • (Lamb, Bornstein, Teti, 2002)

Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
  • Cognitive conflict -- disequilibrium
  • the child is constantly faced with
    inconsistencies and counterexamples to existing
  • An internal search for equilibrium creates
    motivation for change
  • the child assimilates and accommodates, develops
    new schemes, and organizes and reorganizes old
    and new schemes

Sensorimotor Stage
  • Sensorimotor intelligence From birth to 2 years
    infants construct an understanding of the world
    by coordinating sensory experiences (such as
    seeing and hearing) with physical actions

Cognitive Development
  • Sensorimotor stage
  • Primary circular reactions
  • Stage 1 Stage of reflexes
  • Examples Sucking, arms up!
  • Stage 2 First acquired adaptation
  • Examples Bottle vs. pacifier, crying

Sensorimotor Stage
  • Secondary circular reactions
  • Stage 3 Make interesting events last
  • Examples Rattle on table, bouncing, Peek-a-boo,
    ripping paper
  • Stage 4 New adaptation and anticipation or The
    means to the end
  • Examples The drop game, books, Exersaucer,
    feeding Mommy, size
  • Object permanence
  • Examples Mommy, keys, which hand?

Object Permanence
  • One of the infants most important
  • Watch an infants reaction when an interesting
    object disappears. If the infant searches for
    the object, it is inferred that the baby knows it
    continues to exist
  • A-not-B error is the term used to describe the
    tendency of infants to reach where an object was
    located earlier rather than where the object was
    last hidden

Sensorimotor Stage
  • Tertiary circular reactions
  • Stage 5 New means through active experimentation
  • Example Cabinet, water
  • Little scientist
  • Examples Beans, vacuum
  • Stage 6 Mental representations
  • Example Little cowboy, bandaid
  • Deferred imitation
  • Examples DVD, spanking
  • Make-believe play
  • Examples Dolls, trucks, Sip Bite

Learning, Remembering, and Conceptualizing
  • Infants can learn through operant conditioning
  • Examples Reading a book, building a castle,
    using signs
  • Attention is the focusing of mental resources on
    select information and improves cognitive
    processing on many tasks
  • Joint attention involves individuals focusing on
    the same object or event and involves
  • The ability to track anothers behavior
  • One person directing anothers attention
  • Reciprocal interaction

Learning, Remembering, and Conceptualizing
  • Meltzoff (2007) concludes that infants dont
    blindly imitate everything they see and often
    make creative errors
  • He argues that beginning at birth there is an
    interplay between learning by observing and
    learning by doing
  • Critics say the newborns simply engage in
    automatic responses to a stimulus

Learning, Remembering, and Conceptualizing
  • Memory involves the retention of information over
  • Some infants as young as 2 to 6 months can
    remember some experiences through 1½ to 2 years
    of age
  • Implicit memory refers to memory without
    conscious recollection
  • Explicit memory refers to conscious memory of
    facts and experiences
  • Infantile or childhood amnesia -- few memories
    before age 3

Language Development
  • Language -- a form of communicationwhether
    spoken, written, or signedthat is based on a
    system of symbols
  • All human languages have some common
  • Rules describe the way the language works
  • Infinite generativity -- the ability to produce
    an endless number of meaningful sentences using a
    finite set of words and rules
  • (Berko Gleason, 2009)

Key Milestones in Language Development
  • Babies' sounds and gestures go through this
    sequence during the first year
  • Crying can signal distress, but there are
    different types of cries that signal different
  • Cooing about 1 to 2 months, gurgling sounds
    that are made in the back of the throat and
    usually express pleasure during interaction with
    the caregiver
  • Babbling In the middle of the first year,
    babies babble -- strings of consonant-vowel
    combinations, such as ba, ba, ba, ba
  • Gestures Infants start using gestures, such as
    showing and pointing, at about 8 to 12 months of
  • Example simple signs (operant conditioning)

Recognizing Language Sounds
  • First words occur between 10 to 15 months
    (average is 13 months)
  • Overextension -- the tendency to apply a word to
    objects that are inappropriate for the words
  • Underextension -- the tendency to apply a word
    too narrowly
  • Examples Duck, Shoes, Train

Two-Word Utterances
  • Occurs by the time children are 18 to 24 months
    of age
  • Big ball
  • Where cat?
  • Telegraphic speech is the use of short, precise
    words without grammatical markers such as
    articles, auxiliary verbs, and other connectives
  • Mommy hold you
  • No mo monkey jump bed

Biological Influences
  • The ability to use language requires vocal
    apparatus as well as nervous system capabilities
  • Brain regions predisposed for language
  • Brocas area -- an area in the left frontal lobe
    of the brain involved in producing words
  • Wernickes area -- a region of the brains left
    hemisphere involved in language comprehension
  • Aphasia -- a loss or impairment of language
    processing as a result of damage to brain

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Biological Influences
  • Language Acquisition Device (LAD) -- Humans are
    biologically prewired to learn language at a
    certain time and in a certain way and to detect
    the various features and rules of language

Environmental Influences
  • Behaviorists opposed Chomsky's LAD hypothesis
  • Stated that language was nothing more than chains
    of responses acquired through reinforcement
  • The behavioral view is no longer considered a
    viable explanation of how children acquire
  • Example Not all imitation I runded
  • Language is not learned in a social vacuum
  • Most children learn at a very early age

Environmental Influences
  • Vocabulary development is linked to the familys
    socioeconomic status and the type of talk that
    parents direct to the child
  • Compared to professional parents, parents on
  • Talked much less to young children
  • Talked less about past events
  • Provided less elaboration
  • Child-directed speech is language spoken in a
    higher pitch than normal, using simple words and
  • Other strategies include recasting, expanding,