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Terms in this set (29)

Brain maturation involves synaptogenesis, synaptic pruning, and myelination.
Synaptogenesis - A process in brain development whereby many new synapses(connections) appear during the first few years of life.
Synaptic pruning - A process in brain development whereby many previously formed synapses wither away, especially if they have not been used frequently. --Neurons are then located to new places.
Myelination - The growth of a fatty sheath around neurons that allows them to transmit messages quickly. Around 3 years old: Synaptic pruning and myelination takes place.
Physical Development: motor skill (myelination - when a child gets hurt they have a delayed reaction, as you grow up older it speeds up the myelination) when the child has the experience of getting hurt they build a connection (synaptogenesis) perhaps they touched the stove, pre-injury the connection they may have formed was that the stove looked warm and inviting this connection may subsequently be pruned(Synaptic pruning). Recall that touching the stove causes pain will get faster as myelination increases. As developing the precursor skills all the way to walking new connections form.
Cognitive Development: before children develop a sense of self they harbor an idea that others think and feel the same way they themselves feel. Once they develop theory of mind a new connection this only connection may be pruned. sense of self.
Social-Emotional Development: emotional regulation when young children are taught techniques for emotional regulation they build connections or pathways (synaptogenesis) starting from the emotion and ending with appropriate expression. If these pathways are reinforced then initially developed pathways such as anger 》screaming will be pruned (synaptic pruning). The responses may be slow at first, the child may take time to go through the pathway simmering in anger a while before taking the deep breaths, and then expressing appropriately. As their brain matures and the pathway becomes more myelinated the child will move through the steps of regulating their emotions me quickly.
An example Jessica gave in the review session is that of maturation in regards to sense of self. In order to recognize yourself in the mirror is like a process. You have to have synaptogenesis in visual development, you have to have synaptogenesis in touching the mirror, you basically have to have a lot of cognitive development in order to then be able to recognize that it's you in the mirror. Also, in order to recognize yourself in the mirror you have to have to recognize that not everyone thinks what you're thinking (theory of mind).
Brain plasticity - capacity of the brain to be modified by experience. (brain's ability to change)
Important for development: brain is easily modified when you're younger. (brain has to change in order to learn: walk, concepts, gross motor movements).
Neurons can be lumped into two categories:
Experience Expectant: Prewired processes in the brain that need experience to develop. (Expecting language in environment)
Experience Dependent(Unique and flexible parts of our brain, not prewired). Processes in the brain that involve active formation of new synapses in response to individuals unique environment.
Texting: We use our thumbs a lot.
Example: Talking
-Experience Expectant: Babbling. Hearing: Prewired areas that are going to hear sounds. Have to have other people talking around you. Ability to use your tongue, mouth lips)
(university capacity for language)
-Experience Dependent: Language that you learn. (Bilingual, monolingual ect) People around you: Amount of words being used, amount of interaction
(specific language you learn - all babies will babble (same sounds), but they don't all speak the same language).


Being able to survive in your unique environment.
Being able to learn new languages. If your brain wasn't able to change, then you won't be able to learn the language.
Ex. Those who live in areas with a lot of snow/ice have more words for it than what we do in California. This helps those who live in the cold to survive in their environment-- be an experience dependent process.
A general example of brain plasticity-- those who have suffered from strokes are able to rehabilitate thanks to brain plasticity. The type of plasticity would be that of compensation.
Biological Theories - focus on the adaptive capacity of children's brains and bodies in supporting their survival, growth, and learning (Heredity (nature) as a principal driving force behind development). These emphasize the maturation of children's bodies, perceptual abilities, and motor skills.
Maria Montessori was one of these theorists.
Three key principles that a practitioner can take away from biological theories are; a) children's maturational levels impose limits on their abilities and interests; b) children's age-related motivations serve valuable functions for them,such as prompting exploration; c) individual children are born with unique dispositions that interact with environmental experiences to influence learning emotional expression, and interactions with other people.




Behaviorism and Social Learning Theories - developmental change is largely due to environmental influences (nurture).
B.F. Skinner is a big name in behaviorism.
Serious limitation of behaviorism is that it focuses exclusively on children's visible behaviors, with little consideration for how internal thought processes influence those actions. Another problem is that children can become overly focused on rewards and lose sight of their own interests in learning or behaving..
Social learning theories portray children's beliefs and goals as having crucial influences on their actions. In recent years social learning theory has increasingly incorporated thought processes into explanations of learning; accordingly, the succeeding framework is sometimes called social cognitive theory.


Psychodynamic theories - focus on the interaction between a person's internal conflicts and the demands of the environment. They focus on social and personality development and, often, on abnormal development.
Sigmund Freud earliest of these theorists. He focused on sexual and aggressive impulses.
Erik Erikson another of these theorists. He focused more on other parts of the developing personality, especially desires to feel competent and sure of one's values, commitments, and direction in life.
These theories highlight the significance of children's social-emotional needs.
A significant weakness of psychodynamic theories has been the difficulty of supporting claims with research data. Also, generalizations cannot necessarily be made from the studies that theorists conduct. Finally, research has refuted several ideas central to psychoanalytic perspectives.
Two things to be learned from psychoanalytic theories; first, children often have mixed and confusing emotions. Adults can help children by teaching them to express their feelings in ways that both honestly reflect their experience and are acceptable to other people. Second, children who have gotten off to a rough start in family relationships need extra support in child care and schol.
Cognitive-Developmental Theories - emphasize thinking processes and how they change, qualitatively, over time. Children play an active role in their development.
Jean Piaget.
Lawrence Kohlberg
Taking a developmental perspective means looking sympathetically at children and understanding the logic of their thinking. It is a mistake to hurry children beyond their current capacities.
Central criticism is that researchers rarely find that children's performance reflects clear-cut stages. Children often move back and forth between more and less advanced ways of thinking.
Important principle that emerges from cognitive-development theories is that teachers need to understand children as children.


Cognitive Process Theories - focus on basic thinking processes. Central concerns are how people interpret and remember what they see and hear and how these processes change during childhood
Robert Siegler.
These theories can easily overlook the larger issue of why children think as the do..




Sociocultural Theories - concentrate on the impact of social systems and cultural traditions. These theories portray development as the process of children becoming full participant in the society into which they were born.
Lev Vygotsky.
Limitation; describes children's thinking with less precision than have investigators working within cognitive process perspectives.
A key principle is that children learn valuable skills by being engaged in authentic tasks.




Developmental Systems Theories - help to clarify how multiple factors combine to promote children's development.
Urie Bronfenbrenner.
The power of developmental systems theories is that they capture it all - nature, nurture, and the child's developmental level, activity, and personal characteristics. Ironically, the integrative character of this type of framework generates its own weaknesses. It is difficult to make predictions about any single factor in development because the effects of each factor are inextricably intertwined with other elements.