Biological Beginnings
Natural selection is the evolutionary process that favors individuals of a species that are
best adapted to survive. Genes are units of hereditary information composed of DNA.
Genes carry information and manufactures the proteins that maintain life. The nucleus of
each cell contains 46 chromosomes. DNA is a complex molecule that contains genetic
information. Mitosis is the process of cell division, which each chromosome is the cells
nucleus, duplicates itself. Meiosis is the process by which cells in 4eh reproductive
organs divide into gamates. A zygote is the single cell formed through fertilization.
There are dominant and recessive genes. Genotype is a person’s genetic heritage the
actual genetic material. Phenotype is the way the genotype is expressed in observed and
measurable characteristics. The reaction range is the range of possible phenotypes for
each genotype. Canalization is the process by which characteristics take a narrow path.
There are many chromosome and gene linked abnormalities. Down syndrome is an
example. Prenatal tests can be used to determine if a genetic abnormality exists.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a child after 12 months of regular
intercourse. Many couple use adoption or other methods to begin a family. Adoption is
the social and legal process by which a parent’s child relationship is established.
Heredity has been studied extensively. Intelligence is one aspect that has been studied.
Intelligence is thought to be influenced by heredity and environment. Researchers have
found that the environment plays a role on how intelligent a person is. There are heredity
environment correlations. They operate together to produce a person’s intelligence
temperament and other factors. The interaction of heredity and environment is extensive.
Prenatal Development and Birth
Prenatal development lasts about 266 days. It begins with fertilization and ends with
birth. The embryonic period occurs two to eight weeks after conception. The rate of cell
differentiation intensifies. Support systems for the cells form and organs appear. The
placenta is the life support system for the baby. Small blood vessels from the mother and
the baby intertwine. The umbilical cord is the life support system that connects the baby
to the placenta. The fetal period of development begins at two months after conception
and lasts for seven months. There are risks involved in pregnancy. A teragen is any
agent that causes a birth defect. The field of study that investigates the causes of birth
defects is called teratology. Drugs, alcohol, nicotine, illegal drugs, and incompatible
blood types are all teratogens. Many babies are affected by these substances resulting in
birth defects.
Environmental hazards can also effect the development of the infant. Stress maternal age
and nutrition also can affect the infant.
Prenatal care is needed to help a pregnancy progress without problems for the infant or
the mother. Cultural beliefs about pregnancy can determine how health care is provided.
Some cultures consider pregnancy to be natural and prenatal care is therefore not part of
the plan. These mothers give birth without any medical intervention.
Birth occurs in stages. A woman goes through a labor in order to deliver the baby. There
are many different childbirth settings all offering different options for childbirth. A
woman can have a natural childbirth without any use of anesthesia use of relaxation is
used during the birth. There are many prepared child bath methods now that woman use
to help through the birthing process. A low birth weight infant is one that weighs less
than five pounds at birth. Preterm infants are born three weeks or more before the
scheduled birth date. Small for date infants are below normal when they are considered
full term. Approximately 50% of all low birth weight children are enrolled in special
education. The Apgar score is used to assess infant’s health and responsiveness after
birth. There are many other evaluations that are used to assess infants and children. The
postpartum period is the period after childbirth when the mother adjusts to the process of
childbirth. This last for six weeks or until her body has adjusted and returned to a near
prepregnant state. Parents go through an adjustment stage to having a new baby.
Emotional and physical adjustments are made. Bonding is the process that occurs
between the baby and the caregiver.
Physical Development in Infancy
This chapter explores the aspects of the infant’s development physical growth, motor
development, and sensory development. Cephalocaudal pattern is the sequence in which
the greatest growth occurs at the top of the head. Proximodistal pattern is the sequence in
which growth starts at the center of the body and moves toward the extremities. The
brain develops synapses, which are the tiny gaps between neurons where connection take
place. The cerebral cortex is where perception, language and thinking takes place. The
frontal lobe is involved in movement and thinking, the occipital lobe is involved in
vision, the temporal lobe is involved in hearing, and the parietal lobe is involved in body
sensation. Lateralization is the specialization of function in one hemisphere of the
cerebral cortex. The infant’s brain is waiting for experiences to determine how
connections are made.
Sleep is considered important to allow growth to occur. One-half of the infants sleep is
REM sleep.
Nutrition is important for energy needed for the infant to grow properly. Malnutrition
should be avoided by giving the infant proper nutrients and calories for proper growth.
Motor development has been studied extensively. A baby is dominated by reflexes in
early life. These reflexes provide a way of survival for the infant. These reflexes include
sucking, rooting, and grasping. As the infant grows it develops motor movements that
take the place of reflexes. Gross and fine motor skills develop. Gross motor skills are
the large muscle movements and fine motor skills and the small motor movements.
Sensations are the product of the interaction between information and the sensory
receptors, the eyes ears tongue and skin. Perception is the interpretation of what is
sensed. Other senses include depth perception, touch pain smell and taste. Intermodal
perception is the ability to relate and integrate information about two or more sensory
modalities. It is believed that motor development and sensory development occur
together and not is isolation.
Cognitive Development in Infancy
Piaget believed that the child passes through a series of stages of thought from infancy to
adolescence. Passage through these stages results from pressures to adapt to the
environment through assimilation and accommodation. Another important concept is
scheme which is a cognitive structure that helps individuals organize and understand their
experiences. Piaget’s first stage is the sensorimotor stage which last from infancy to
about two years. This stage has six sub stages.
1. Simple reflexes
2. First habits and primary circular reactions
3. Secondary circular reactions
4. Coordination of secondary circular reactions
5. Tertiary circular reactions novelty and curiosity
6. Internalization of schemes.
Object permanence is a term, which means that objects and events continue to exist even
when they cannot directly be seen, heard or touched.
Habituation is repeated presentation of the same stimulus, which causes reduced attention
to the stimulus. Dishabituation is an increase in responsiveness after a change is
Memory is a central feature of cognitive development pertaining to all situations is which
an individual retains information over time. It is believed that infants use memory after
about nine months.
Gesell Test has four categories of assessment motor language adaptive and personal
social. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development is a scale that assesses infant
development it has three components mental motor and behavior.
Language Development: Language is a form of communication. Infants go through a
series of language m9ilestones. Crying cooing babbling gestures are all ways infants get
attention. Infants need to pick out words from the nonstop stream of sounds that
comprise ordinary speech. Infants go through a sequence of learning one-word
utterances and then begin to use two word utterances. There is a difference between
receptive and expressive language. Infants begin to understand language before they are
able to express it. This is receptive language and expressive language. The ways adults
teach language to children is infant directed speech recasting echoing expanding and
labeling. Parents should talk to infants especially about what the baby is attending to.
The purpose of language is to convey meaning it should be natural not forced language.
Socioemotional Development in Infancy
An emotion is a feeling or affect that can involve physiological arousal conscious
experience and behavioral expression. Emotions are the first language with which
parents and infants communicate. Crying is the most important mechanism newborns
have for communicating. Smiling is another behavior that infants use to communicate.
Infants show fear in stranger anxiety. Another expression of infant fear is separation
protest. Which is distress over being separated from th3e caregiver. Social referencing
involves reading emotional cues in others to help determine how to act in a situation.
Emotional regulation is effectively managing arousal to adapt and reach a goal.
Caregivers play an important role in helping infants learn how to regulate their emotions
by attending to their distress and providing them with comfort.
Temperament is an individual
S behavioral style and characteristic way of emotionally responding. Researchers believe
that there are differences between children’s temperament. Parents realize a difference in
temperament when they have more than one child and realize that what worked for the
first child doesn’t work for the next child because of different temperament. There needs
to be respect for individuality in the children.
Personality development includes the development of trust. Infants and children learn
trust based on the environment they are in. Infants begin to develop the sense of self.
They begin to realize that they are different from the caregiver. Not only does the infant
develop a sense of self but it also begins to develop independence. Infants need to
develop independence and need opportunities to do for themselves.
Attachment is a close emotional bond between an infant and a caregiver. It is thought
that attachment develops in a series of phases. Attachment in the first year of life is an
important foundation for psychological development later in life. There have been
numerous studies done to determine the correlation of attachment and temperament.
There are many different results.
People go through a change when they become parents and they learn how to adapt.
Reciprocal socialization is bi-directional children socialize parents just as parents
socialize children. The family can be thought of as a social system. Infants have
different roles with the father and the mother again many studies have been done.
Childcare centers have become an increasing influence on children. More children are in
daycare now than ever. Parents should seek high quality childcare if they need it.
Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood
The average child grows 2 inches in height and gains 5 to 7 pounds each year. By the
end of the preschool years a child has lost the top-heavy look and has evened out in
growth. The brain continues to grow during early childhood but not as rapidly as in
infancy. Myelination is the process in which the nerve cells are covered and insulated
with a layer of fat cells, which increases the speed at which information travels through
the nervous system.
Gross motor and fine motor skills continue to progress. Handedness emerges and should
be established by 7 years old.
Cognitive changes occur. Piaget’s preoperational stage: is from 2 to 7 years of age,
stable concepts are formed mental reasoning emerges. The child at this stage cannot
think something trough with out acting it out. The symbolic function sub stage is the first
sub stage of preoperational thought. The child gains the ability to mentally represent an
object that is not present. The intuitive thought stage occurs between 4 and 7 years. In
this sub stage the child begins to use primitive reasoning and want to know the answers to
Vygotsky’s Theory: The zone of proximal development is the term for tasks too difficult
for children to master alone but can be mastered with assistance. Scaffolding involves
changing the level of support. Language is used to plan and guide behavior, inner speech
or private speech.
Teaching strategies based on Vygotsky: use zone of proximal development, use
scaffolding, use more skilled peers as teachers, use private speech, asses the child’s APD
not IQ,
Information Processing: Attention and memory are two important cognitive processes.
Attention changes significantly during preschool ages. Memory is a central process in
development. Short-term memory is the memory component in which individuals retain
information for up to 30 seconds.
Children continue their growth of language. They begin to understand rule of language.
There knowledge of word meanings increases. Pragmatics is the biggest change during
these years.
Early childhood education there is many variations in the ways young children are
educated. Preschool is rapidly becoming the norm in early childhood education.
Preschool may be necessary when parents do not provide a stimulating environment.
Project head start is a government-funded program that is designed to provide children
the opportunity to acquire he skills and experiences important for school success.
Socioemotional Development in Early Childhood
Self-understanding is the child’s representation of self the substance and content of the
child’s self-conception. It is based on the various roles children have. One of the most
important changes in emotional development is early childhood is the increased use of
emotion language and the understanding if emotions. Moral development involves the
development of thoughts feelings and behaviors regarding rules about how people should
interact with each other. Heteronomous morality is the first stage of moral development
in Piaget’s theory. Rules are seen as unchangeable and not in control by people.
Autonomous morality is the second stage of moral development the child becomes aware
that rules are created by people.
Gender identity is the sense of being male or female. Gender role is a set of expectations
that prescribes how females and male should act. Children’s gender is influenced by
parents and by the people around them. Peers also influence gender. There are also
cognitive factors that play into gender.
Families: Parenting- Authoritarian parenting is restrictive places firm limits and controls
on the child. Authoritative parenting encourages children to be independent but still
places controls on their actions. Neglectful parenting is a style where parents are
uninvolved. Indulgent parenting is a style of parenting where parents are highly involved
but place little demands on the child. Punishment has not been widely studied. Most
psychologists recommend reasoning with the child. Explaining the consequences of the
child’s actions. Abuse and neglect are the highest in the U.S. The consequences of
child’s maltreatment include poor emotional regulation attachment problems problems in
peer relations and difficulty is school. Maltreated children are at risk for developing a
wide range of problems and disorders.
Siblings: birth order is a special interest of research. Other influences in child behavior
are spacing, sex of siblings, heredity and others. The U.S. has the highest percentage of
single parents families.
Other aspects also influence child emotional development. These include cultural,
ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and education.
Peer relations play and television: children are strongly influenced by these. Good peer
relations are necessary for normal social development. Play is important for children.
Play increases the child’s interactions with others and gives opportunities to practice life
roles. It is an excellent setting for cognitive growth. Researchers have studied many
types of play. These include practice play, symbolic play, social play, constructive play,
and games. Each play experiences provide opportunities for the child to practice
different skills.
Television: children spend many hours with television and it affects children behavior.
Television can have both positive and negative affects on children. There are many
educational programs that can be positive and there are many violent shows that can be
This chapter gave much information on emotional development of early childhood and
the factors that influence its development.
Physical And Cognitive Development in Middle and Late Childhood
Children continue to grow both in height and weight during these years. They become
much smoother in motor skills. Both gross and fine motor skills become more refined
They are able to do much more than in early years. It is important for children to
continue to get plenty of exercise. This can occur through sports. Participation in
sporting programs has positive effects. It can I improve self esteem and peer relations as
well as improve physical fitness
For the most part these years are a time of excellent health. Cancer is the leading cause
of death in this age group. Obesity is increasing in children. Inadequate exercise and
poor nutrition are linked to obesity.
Approximately ten percent of children receive special education due to some sort of
disability. A learning disability is that which involves having normal intelligence yet
having difficulty in academic areas. Dyslexia is a severe impairment in the ability to read
and spell. ADHD is a disability in which children consistently show inattention,
hyperactivity and impulsivity. Public law 94-142 requires education for all handicapped
children. This includes use of IEPs and being in the least restrictive environment.
Inclusion is educating a special needs child in a regular classroom.
Piaget believed that concrete operational thought characterizes children form 7 to 11
years. Piaget said that t children learn best by doing rather than just imitating the teacher.
Design situations that facilitate learning. Turn the classroom into a setting of exploration
and discovery. There have been challenges to his theory. Most develop mentalists agree
that children’s cognitive development is not stage like.
The changes in information processing involve memory and critical thinking. Attentions
improve greatly at this stage. Long-term memory increases with age during middle and
late childhood. Critical thinking involves thinking reflectively and productively as well
as evaluating the evidence. Deep understanding occurs when children are challenged to
rethink their prior ideas. Intelligence can be defined as problem solving skills and the
ability to learn from and adapt to the experiences of everyday life. There are many tests
and scales to measure intelligence. Intelligence can be looked at as different types of
abilities. Such as word ability number ability spatial relations and reasoning. Sternberg’s
triachic theory is analytical intelligence creative intelligence and practical intelligence.
Multiple intelligence has stimulated teachers to think more broadly about what and how
children learn. They have motivated teachers to provide multiple domains for learning.
Intelligence test are used to find indications of mental retardation. This is a condition of
limited mental ability
Language development continues at this stage. Reading is a continuing debate as to
which method is best. Phonetics is breaking apart word and learning rules of language.
The whole language approach is based on the idea that instruction should parallel
children’s natural language learning. Children benefit from both approaches.
Socioemotional Development in middle and Late
Elementary children define themselves with psychological and social characteristics
rather than physical characteristics. Self-esteem refers to the global evaluation of the
self. Self-esteem is also referred to as self worth or self-image. Self-concept is domain
specific evaluations of the self. Self-esteem can be improved by targeting areas they
perform competently and in areas that are important to them. Provide emotional support
and social approval. Help children to achieve. Help children to cope. Self-esteem often
increases when a child faces a problem and tries to cope with it rather than avoid it.
During elementary years children understand complex emotions as pride and shame.
Emotional intelligence involves developing emotional self-awareness, managing
emotions reading emotions and handling relationships. Children at this age are better at
handling stressful situations.
Kohl berg’s theory of moral development has three levels. Preconventional reasoning is
the lowest level. The individual shows no internalization of moral value. Conventional
reasoning is the second level, at this level internalization is intermediate. The third level
is post conventional reasoning. At this level all morality is internalized and is not based
on other’s standards.
Parent child issues: School related matters are especially important for families.
Discipline may become easier at this age, but again become harder by adolescence.
Stepfamilies have increased in today’s society and there are social and emotional issues
that occur because of this family blending. Another issue is latch key children from two
working parent households. These children face many challenges.
During middle to late childhood children spend much more time with friends.
Friendships serve purpose. They supply companionship, stimulation, support, social
comparison, and intimacy and affection. Children in this age recogonize peer statuses
such as popular, best friend and enemy. In this age children decode social cues, and
know more of a script for getting and maintaining friends.
Schools: Children spend greats amount of time in school and as members of this society
where tasks need to be completed, social skills are practiced and rules define behavior,
feelings and attitudes. School provides children with new concepts to shape their sense
of self. Children from low socioeconomic status suffer from poor schools and poor
Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence
Adolescence is the period of growth from childhood to adulthood. It is characterized by
physical changes such as growth in height and weight and the most important marker of
adolescence is puberty. Puberty is a period of rapid physical maturation involving
hormonal and bodily changes that occur during early adolescence. Hormone affects both
boys and girls in sexual changes. These changes may occur as early as 10 and as late as
13 or later. Preoccupation with one’s body image is strong throughout adolescence. In
recent studies it is felt that puberty is less dramatic than once thought.
Adolescence is a time of sexual exploration and experimentation. Adolescence is
learning how to manage sexual feelings. It has been studied and found that most
adolescence will become sexually active. Sexual activity is linked to risk factors such as
drinking, drug use, and delinquency. Although contraceptive use is increasing there is
still risks of sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy. In a recent study the U.S. had
the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy and childbearing in the world. This leads to
many other problems such as school dropout and low economic status.
Substance abuse, eating problems and disorders are potential problems of adolescence.
Alcohol abuse is a major adolescent problem. A special recent concern is the use of
ecstasy. Eating disorders have increased in adolescence with a substantial increase in the
percentage of adolescents who are overweight. Three leading causes of death are
accidents homicide and suicide. Parents, peers and social support are important roles in
preventing these problems. Currently a goal is to increase health-enhancing behaviors
such as eating right and wearing seatbelts.
Adolescent cognition: This age group is characterized by formal operational thought and
also thought full of possibilities. They are able to think more abstractly. Another
important change is egocentrism. This is the heightened self-consciousness of
adolescents. Adolescents also show a sense of invincibility believing that they will never
suffer the terrible experience that can happen to other people.
Two of the most important aspects of changes in information processing in adolescence
decision making and critical thinking. Among the changes that allow improved critical
thinking are increased speed, more content area, and increased ability to construct new
combinations of knowledge. When students move from elementary to middle school
they go from being top dog to being in the lowest position. Successful schools for young
adolescents take differences seriously show deep concern for what is know about early
adolescence and emphasize socioemotional as well as cognitive development.
Socioemotional Development in Adolescence
The fifth stage in Erikson’s stages of the life span is identity versus identity confusion.
Identity is a self-portrait composed of many pieces. Career and work, political identity,
religious, achievement, sexual identity, and physical identity. Identity development is a
lengthy process. A person who develops a healthy identity is flexible adaptive and open
to changes in relationships and other aspects of life. Parents are important figures in the
development of identity.
Among the most important aspects of family relationships in adolescence are those that
involve autonomy and attachment and parent-adolescent conflict. The adolescent has a
strong desire to achieve autonomy and parents want desperately to hold on to the child
and protect them. The adolescent needs opportunities to make decisions and to grow from
those decisions. Parents should help guide the child toward making good decisions when
necessary. Conflict is strong at this age. This rise may be due to puberty, cognitive
changes, and social changes. These relationships usually get better when the child leaves
home. Prolonged conflict is associated with a number of problems movement out of the
home, delinquency, pregnancy are a few. Parents need to show warmth and mutual
respect, interest in the child’s life, communicate high standards for conduct and
achievement and demonstrate constructive ways to deal with problems and conflict.
Adolescents spend huge amounts of time with peers much more than in childhood.
Adolescents say they depend on friends much more than parents to satisfy their needs for
companionship. There is great pressure to peer conformity. There is a need to be
accepted. Dating and romantic relationships start at this age. Dating scripts are the
cognitive models that guide individuals dating interactions.
There are many problems associated with adolescents. Juvenile delinquency is an
adolescent who breaks the law or engages in behavior that is considered illegal. Youth
violence is an other concern Depression and suicide is more likely to occur in
adolescence than in childhood. Females are more likely to be depressed than males.
Suicide can be a result of feeling hopeless, low self-esteem and high self-blame.
Successful programs that are in place to help prevent these problems will include
intensive individual attention. Counseling is available for individuals. Collaborative
approaches, which coordinate community resources, are also important. Early
identification is also important.
Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Adulthood
The period of early adulthood occurs in the late teens or early twenties.
Criteria to determine when a person has entered adulthood is not clear-cut.
This is due to factors such as schooling. This is the age where some
individuals leave school and work full time or they may continue on to
college. The transition to college can be stressful for most young adults.
There are many decisions to be made and considered.
Physical development reaches a peak and for most begins to decline for
young adults. This often occurs between 19 and 26 years old. Health of
young adults is characterized by decrease physical fitness and obesity. The
body is going through metabolic changes and the result for many is obesity.
Diet and exercise become important in early adulthood and for those who
have gone years without good habits this is very difficult to accomplish.
This is an age for many where they experience weight gain and the need to
control eating and exercise for the first time ever. Alcohol and drug use can
become problems for many at this age. Some early adults begin smoking or
other addictive habits at this age.
Sexuality in young adulthood is widely studied. An individual’s sexual
preference is likely a result of a combination of genetic, hormonal cognitive
and environmental factors. Sexually transmitted diseases are receiving
attentions in the last several decades. AIDS is a virus that destroys the
body’s immune system. There are good ways to help prevent against STD’s
by using protection, knowing your partner and obtaining medical
Cognitive Development: Piaget said that adults are quantitatively more
knowledgeable than adolescents but that adults do not enter a new stage of
cognitive development. Choosing an occupation, earning a living and
establishing a career is important themes of early adulthood.
Socioemotional Development in Early Adulthood
The social emotional stage that many young adults face is love and intimacy.
Finding a mate and true love become an important task at this stage of
development. What attacks people to each other and how people find love
has been studied immensely. Most people strive for intimacy and not
isolation. Young adults have the important task of forming healthy
friendships and intimate relationships in order to avoid isolation. These
young adults are also struggling with a strong interest in independence and
freedom. Friendship is also an important role in early adulthood. Friend is
people who we need for trust, respect, understanding and companionship.
Adult friends usually come from the same age group just as with children.
Individuals without friends are vulnerable to loneliness. It is suggested that
people participate in activities that can be done with other people. Modern
technology has possibly caused people to isolate themselves and has caused
increased loneliness.
Another aspect of early adulthood is life and family cycle. Will the adult
marry? Launching is the process in which youth move into adulthood and
exit their family of origin. With options of starting a family, getting
married, or remaining single as options. At this stage young adults may find
themselves becoming parents as they start having children. More adults are
remaining single for longer time. Marriage is lasting for shorter times now
than in the past. Unhappily married couples express unrealistic expectations
about marriage. Their romantic ideal is not possible is what couples find
out. There is much research on what is a healthy marriage and what is the
benefit of a healthy marriage.
Today, adult lifestyles are diverse. There are single adults, cohabitating
adults, and married adults, cohabiting adults, and divorced adults, gay and
lesbian adults. Each group experiences different life styles and can lead very
different lives.
Related flashcards


12 cards

Create Flashcards