a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive and social change throughout the life span
How is our brain different then the rest of our body?
We start with a brain that is fundamentally different from how it will be later in life. We start with a brain that is actually "missing" many parts.
How does brain maturity limits on psychological ability?
visual system is not fully functional at birth
language system is not functional until much later
How does the Brain Develop?
From back to front
What parts of the brain are nearly fully organized and myelinated at birth?
the brain stem and spinal cord
What parts of the brain begin myelinating just after birth?
midbrain and cerebellum
What is the last part of the brain that matures?
the cerebral cortex matures (frontal lobe is not finished until the late teens)
How is the brain maturing?
it wires up
process of forming synapses with other neurons
what reflexes are infants born with?
Moro Reflex, Grasping Reflex, Babinski Reflex
What is rooting?
tendency to open mouth, and search for nipple when touched on the cheek
What is Babinski?
fanning and curling toes when foot is stroked
What is Moro?
throwing the arms out, arching the back and bringing the arms together as if to hold onto something (in response to loud noise or sudden change in position of the head)
Who is Jean Piaget?
Swiss psychologist who became leading theorist in 1930's
What did Piaget believe?
Piaget believed that "children are active thinkers, constantly trying to construct more advanced understandings of the world"
These "understandings" are in the form of structures he called schemas
What are schemas?
frameworks that develop to help organize knowledge
What is Assimilation?
process of taking new information or a new experience and fitting it into an already existing schema
What is Accomodation?
process by which existing schemas are changed or new schemas are created in order to fit new information
All mental growth involves major qualitative changes as the child passes through several mental stages
Sensorimotor Stage (birth - 2 yrs)
Information gained through senses and motor actions, Child perceives and manipulates but does not reason, Object permanence is acquired at around 6 months
What is object permanance?
The awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived
What is the Preoperational Stage (2-7 years)
Begin to represent world with language, mental imagery, and symbolic thought.
What is the concept of conservation
the principle that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms/shapes of objects
What is Egocentrism
unable to take another's point of view
What is the Concrete Operational Stage (7-12 years)
Less egocentric, Understand laws of conservation, Inability to reason abstractly or hypothetically
What is the Formal Operational Stage (age 12 - adulthood)
Acquires logical reasoning. Children can think deeply about concrete events and can reason abstractly and hypothetically
What are critiques of Piaget's theory?
Underestimates children's abilities
Lack of evidence for qualitatively different stages. In other words, development seems more continuous than stage-like.
What is a method for studying infants abilities?
What is Looking time?
Get infant's attention at key location
Present first stimulus
Record time until infant looks away
What is the Preferential Looking Method?
Will gaze at face-like pattern rather than similar non face-like pattern
newborns become bored with a repeated stimulus, but renew their attention to a slightly different stimulus
What is the theory of the mind?
people's ideas about their own and others' mental states- about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts and the behavior these might predict
Babies False Belief
awareness that what you know isn't necessarily what others will know, Includes knowing that what you think is not necessarily public knowledge