What are the three areas of change that developmental

What are the three areas of change that developmental psychologists study?
Developmental psychologists study:
1. Physical (growth and development of skills)
2. Mental( intellect and cognitive skills)
3. and social (relationships and connections to others)
changes throughout the life cycle.
What are three major issues in developmental psychology?
Developmental Psychology
How do genetic inheritance
(our nature) and experience
(the nurture we receive)
influence our behavior?
Is developmental a gradual,
continuous process or a
sequence of separate stages?
Do our early personality
traits persist through life, or
do we become different
persons as we age.
Prenatal development
We don't often discuss prenatal physical development in psychology
courses, but I think that's really inexcusable.
Fetal Development
Length of
How does human conception occur?
A total of 200 million or more sperm
deposited during intercourse approach the egg
85,000 times their own
The few that make it to the egg release digestive enzymes
that eat away the egg’s protective coating, allowing a sperm
to penetrate.
The egg’s surface blocks out all others and within a half
day, the egg nucleus and the sperm nucleus fuse.
In the Womb – National Geographic http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/national-geographic-channel/allvideos/av-5243-5543/ngc-inside-the-womb.html
Female releases egg / OVA (HAVE 500 at birth) and meets with up to 2
million sperm (male begins producing at puberty) released during
A single sperm cell (male) penetrates the outer
coating of the egg (female) and fuse to form one
fertilized cell.
Lennart Nilsson/ Albert Bonniers Publishing Company
Lennart Nilsson/ Albert Bonniers Publishing Company
1. After sexual intercourse, sperm travels through the cervix and
uterus and into the Fallopian tubes.
2. Conception usually takes place in the outer third of the Fallopian
3. A single sperm penetrates that egg (up to 100 try) and a joining of
the genetic information occurs.
4. This resulting single cell is called a zygote: < ½ of all fertilized eggs
become a zygote.
5. Cells then differentiate to become intestine and brains, etc.
6. 10 days, attach to uterine wall for next 37 weeks = embryo
9 weeks - birth = fetus
Zygote (10
days) ---
Embryo (approx. 2-9 wks) ---
Fetus (2 - 37 weeks
Define zygote, embryo, and fetus, and explain how teratogens
can affect development.
OF Note - Fewer than half of fertilized eggs, called zygotes, survive.
1. In the first week, cell division produces a zygote of some 100 cells,
which are already beginning to differentiate, to specialize in structure
and function.
2. About 10 days after conception, the zygote’s outer part attaches to the
uterine wall and becomes the placenta through which nourishment
3. The inner cells become the embryo.
4. FETAL STAGE = by 9 weeks after
conception, the embryo looks
unmistakably human and is now a
5. During the sixth month, internal organs such as the stomach have
become sufficiently formed and functional to allow a prematurely born
fetus a chance of survival.
6. 25
weeks gestation
7. At each prenatal stage, genetic and environmental factors affect
8. Along with nutrients, teratogens ingested by the mother can reach the
developing child and place it at risk.
9. If the mother drinks heavily, the effects may be visible as fetal alcohol
syndrome (FAS).
10. AT each prenatal stage, genetic and environmental factors, germs and
virus’s, can slip through the placenta and affect development.
This is called TERATOGENS.
Teratogens is a medical term from the Greek, literally meaning
Teratogen - A drug or other substance capable of interfering with
the development of a fetus, causing birth defects.
Drinking during
pregnancy can lead to a
range of physical,
learning, and behavioral
effects in the developing
brain, the most serious
of which is a collection
of symptoms known as
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Children with FAS may have distinct facial
FAS infants also are markedly smaller than average.
Their brains have less volume (i.e., microencephaly). And they have fewer
numbers of brain cells (i.e., neurons) or fewer neurons that are able to function
correctly, leading to long–term problems in learning and behavior.
It is during this critical period of differentiation (most of the first trimester or threemonth period) that the growing fetus is most susceptible to damage from external
sources (teratogens) including viral infections such as rubella, x-rays and other
radiation, and poor nutrition.
Known teratogens: The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
recognizes the following teratogens.
 Smoking: fetus gets fewer nutrients leading to underweight babies
 Ionizing radiation: atomic weapons, radiation therapy
 Infections: herpes virus , , rubella virus (German measles), syphilis, Venezuelan
equine encephalitis virus
 Metabolic imbalance: diabetes, folic acid deficiency, hyperthermia, rheumatic disease
and congenital heart block
 FAS /Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (there is no known SAFE amout od alcohol known for
pregnant females)
 4 in 10 alcoholic mothers have an FAS child at birth
 As a result - 1: 750 will suffer: small mis proportioned head, lifelong brain
abnormalities, Leading cause of mental retardation
 Drugs and environmental chemicals: Accutane, androgenic hormones, busulfan, ACE
inhibitors, cocaine, lithium, organic mercury compounds, penicillamine, tetracyclines,
thalidomide, trimethadione, valproic acid.
 A child who has one developmental problem may have other problems that arose at
the same time: Kidney problems and hearing problems, for example, are often found
together because both kidneys and the inner ears develop at the same time.
Week 3 we see the formation of the heart, the beginning development of the brain and
spinal cord, and the beginning of the gastrointestinal tract.
* Teratogens introduced during this period may cause severe problems such as the
absence of one or more limbs or a heart that is outside of the chest cavity at birth.
Drugs crossing the placenta: Thalidomide is a drug that was sold during the late 1950s
and 1960s as a sleeping aid and to pregnant women as an antiemetic to combat morning
sickness and other symptoms. Caused severe limb malformation or the absence of limbs
Weeks 4 and 5 --1/4 inch long; child is the size of a grain of rice
* Here we see the beginnings of the vertebra, the lower jaw, the larynx (voice box), and
the rudiments of the ear and eye.
* The heart, which is still outside body, now beats at a regular rhythm.
* Although arm and leg "buds" are visible with hand and foot "pads," the embryo still
has a tail and cannot be distinguished from pig, rabbit, elephant, or chick embryo.
* Teratogens may cause very serious problems involving the esophagus, vertebrae,
eyes. The baby could be born with severe facial clefts or missing hands or feet.
Week 6 -- 1/2 inch, 1/1000 of an ounce; child = the size of a tip of a q-tip
* We see the formation of the nose, jaw, palate, lung buds.
* The fingers and toes form, but may still be webbed.
* The tail is receding, and the heart is almost fully developed.
* Teratogens at this point may leave the baby with profound heart problems or a cleft
Week 7 -- 7/8 inch, 1/30 ounce; Circumference of an AA battery
This week, the eyes move forward on the face, and the eyelids and tongue begin to
* All essential organs have begun to form.
* Teratogens may cause heart and lung problems, a cleft palate, and ambiguous
genitalia (not quite male or female).
Week 8 --1 inch, 1/15 ounce; Pointer finger to knuckle
* The embryo now resembles a human being.
* The facial features continue to develop and the external ear appears.
* Also, we see the beginnings of external genitalia.
* By now, the circulation through the umbilical cord is well developed.
* The long bones begin to form and the muscles are able to contract.
* Teratogens may still cause heart problems and stunting of the fingers and toes.
The Fetus: At this point the embryo is developed enough to call a fetus. All organs and
structures found in a full-term newborn are present.
Weeks 9 to 12 -- 3 inches, 1 ounce: size = 4 fingers w/o thumb
* The head comprises nearly half of the fetus’ size and the face is well formed.
* The eyelids close now and will not reopen until about the 28th week.
* The tooth buds for the baby teeth appear.
* The genitalia are now clearly male or female.
Weeks 13 to 16 -- 6 inches; size = Average length of a pen
* These weeks mark the beginning of the second trimester.
* Although the skin of the fetus is almost transparent, fine hair develops on the head
called lanugo.
* The fetus makes active movements, including sucking, which leads to some
swallowing of the amniotic fluid.
* A thin dark substance called meconium is made in the intestinal tract.
* The heart beats120-150 beats per minute and brain waves detectable.
Weeks 17 to 20 -- 8 inches; size = Width of your PSI book
* Eyebrows and lashes appear and nails appear on fingers and toes.
* This is an exciting time for the parents: The can mother feel the fetus moving
("quickening") and the fetal heartbeat can be heard with a stethoscope.
Weeks 21 to 24 -- 11.2 inches, 1 lb. 10 oz; Length of a piece of paper
* All the eye components are developed, footprints and fingerprints are forming, and
the entire body covered in cream-cheese-like vernix caseosa.
* The fetus now has a startle reflex.
Weeks 25 to 28 -- 15 inches, 2 lbs. 11 oz.: Width of computer monitor / media center
* Now we are entering the third trimester.
* During these weeks, we see rapid brain development.
* The nervous system is developed enough to control some body functions, and the
eyelids open and close.
* A baby born at this time may survive, but the chances of complications and death
are high.
Weeks 29 to 32 -- 15 -17 inches, 4 lbs. 6 oz: Fingers to elbow
* These weeks see further development towards independent life:
* There is a rapid increase in the amount of body fat and the fetus begins storing its
own iron, calcium, and phosphorus.
* The bones are fully developed, but still soft and pliable.
* There are rhythmic breathing movements present, the fetal body temperature is
partially self-controlled, and there is increased central nervous system control over
body functions.
Weeks 33 to 36 -- 16 -19 inches, 5 lbs. 12 oz. to 6 lbs. 12 oz: Shoulder to hip
* The lanugo (body hair) begins to disappear.
* A baby born at 36 weeks has a high chance of survival.
Weeks 37 to 40 -- 19 - 21 inches 7 or 8 pounds
* At 38 weeks, the fetus is considered full term.
* It fills the entire uterus, and its head is the same size around as its shoulders.
* The mother supplies the fetus with the antibodies it needs to protect it against
Birth: Birth has nearly as many dangers as the embryonic stage, mostly from infections
and anoxia.
* Anoxia means "no oxygen," and can be due to a number of situations:
* If something prevents the exchange of blood from mother to child prior to the
baby breathing on its own, the lack of oxygen quickly begins to take its toll,
especially on the brain.
* This is called cord strangulation, and it can be caused by the cord being pressed
between the baby's head and the mother's pelvis.
* A breech birth, which involves the baby's buttocks going first instead of its head,
can slow the birth process.
* And premature separation of the placenta from the mother's uterus can cause
anoxia as well.