Lifespan Psychology

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Erin Marsters
Life Span Psychology
January 14, 2013

Exam II

1) Given the way the brain and nervous develop, what sort of sensory environment would probably be most conducive to healthy neural development in the infant? Why? Inadequate nutrition before birth and in the first years of life can seriously interfere with brain development and lead to such neurological and behavioral disorders as learning disabilities and mental retardation. There is considerable evidence showing that infants exposed to good nutrition, and adequate psychosocial stimulation had measurably better brain function at twelve years of age than those raised in a less stimulating environment. Early stress can affect brain function, learning, and memory adversely and permanently. New research provides a scientific basis for the obvious fact that children who experience extreme stress in their earliest years are at greater risk for developing a variety of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional difficulties later in life. How the brain develops hinges on a complex interplay between the genes that you are born with and the experiences you have. Early experiences have a decisive impact on the architecture of the brain, and on the nature and extent of adult capacities. Early interactions don’t just create a context, they directly affect the way the brain is ‘wired’. Brain development is non-linear; there are prime times for acquiring different kinds of knowledge and skills. By the time children reach age three, their brains are twice as active as those of adults. Activity levels drop during adolescence. What they need along with appropriate sensitive and responsive parenting: • Protection from physical danger

• Adequate nutrition
• Adequate health care, such as immunization, oral rehydration therapy and hygiene • Appropriate language stimulation
• Motor and sensory stimulation
• Caring interaction with family and other adults including age-appropriate play Children require protection from violence, trauma, and unsafe environments. Early Childhood Development is largely dependent on love, physical and verbal stimulation and play – often termed “psychosocial development”. In its broadest sense, the term psychosocial refers to the social, emotional, mental and motor domains. Practically, this means touching, talking, caring for and playing with children.[1] Babies use their senses to take in information about the world around them every waking moment. Although they can't interpret what they take in for the first few months, they are storing up knowledge to help them do this later. As young infants become capable of perceptual judgments involving distance, direction, shape and depth, they are soon able to organize their observations in their mind, which allows them to categorize objects and understand the differences between things that they see (e.g., people, animals, furniture). This helps them to understand the world around them. Around 6 months, they understand the concept of object permanence, which means that objects still exist even if they can't see or hear them. As babies become more mobile, they begin to develop problem-solving skills, such as how to get to the toy they want, and their growing banks of observation and memory help them understand cause and effect. Little ones learn about the world best through experience, and their "playtime" is actually curious exploration that helps them understand what things are and how they work.[2] Sensory environment for infants:

• Toys with lights
• Toys with music
• Toys that make noise
• Toys with colors
• An adult introducing these toys to the infant
• An adult that talks and interacts with the infant during play 2) Why is the emergence of a capacity for mental representation essential for the development of thought? How do mental representations of a blind infant...
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