Developmental Psychology Notes

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Development
Sex – sexual anatomy and sexual behaviour
Gender – perception of maleness or femaleness related to membership in a given society

Week 8
Growing brain
The brain grows at a faster rate than any other part of the body. By age 5, child’s brain weighs 90% of average adult brain weight, whereas total body weight is merely 30%. One reason is due to increase in the number of interconnections among cells. These interconnects allow for more complex communication between neurons, permit rapid growth of cognitive skills. Amount of myelin (protective insulation that surrounds parts of the neurons) increases, which speeds the transmission of electrical impulses along brain cells but also adds weight to the brain. Rapid brain growth not only allows for increased cognitive abilities, but also helps in the development of more sophisticated fine and gross motor skills. Children who are malnourished show delays in brain development.

Brain laterilization
Lateralization – process in which certain functions are located more in one hemisphere than the other, becomes more pronounced during preschool years. Right hemisphere – nonverbal areas i.e. comprehension, of spatial relationships, recognition of patterns and drawings, music, and emotional expression Left hemisphere – tasks that necessitate verbal competence, speaking, reading, thinking and reasoning

Although there is some specialization of hemispheres, in most respects they act in tandem. They are interdependent, and the differences between the two are minor. Also, the if one area of the human brain is damaged, the other hemisphere can take up the slack.

Gender differences – boys show greater lateralization of language in the left hemisphere, females – language is more evenly divided between two hemispheres. Why girls’ language development is more rapid during preschool years Differences in brain within gender v. controversial, still not known properly!! Explanation

1. genetic – females and male brains are predisposed to function in slightly different 2. girls are spoken and encouraged more than boys at a young age to speak 3. environmental factors

growth
sporatic growth in the brain may be due to myelination enabling the brain to grow rapidly, as is often associated with the improvement in memory during the presechool years.

Motor development
By age 3 children have mastered a variety of skills; jumping, running, skipping etc. 4-5 skills are more refined, have more control over muscles
5 – can ski down a hill, climb ladders

achievements may be related to brain development and myelination of neurons in areas of brain that control balance and co-ordination. Another reason is kids use them so much more during preschool years, i.e. during these years general level of activity is extraordinarily high. The activity level at age 3 is higher than any other age.

Boys are typically more strong younger, girls have more co-ordination (i.e. skipping, jump-rope)

PRESCHOOL YEARS

Piaget’s stage of preoperational thinking
Different stages
Preoperational stage – lasts from 2 years until around 7 years During this stage chidlren’s use of symbolic thinking grows, mental reasoning emerges and the use of concepts increases. Children become better at representing events internally, grow less dependent on the use of direct sensorimotor activity to understand the world around them. However!!! Still not capable of operations – organized, formal, logical mental processes that characterize school-age children. Only at the end of preoperational stage are children able to carry out operations. Piaget states a key preoperational thought is symbolic function – the ability to use a mental symbol, word or an object to stand for or represent something that is not physically present. Piaget states that language grows out of cognitive advances, rather than the other way around. Arguing that improvements during the earlier sensorimotor period are necessary...
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