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5. A Topical Approach to. LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT. Motor, Sensory, and Perceptual Development. John W. Santrock. Motor, Sensory, and Perceptual Development. Motor Development Sensory and Perceptual Development Perceptual-Motor Coupling. Motor Development. Dynamic Systems Theory.

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Life span development


A Topical Approach to


Motor, Sensory, and Perceptual Development

John W. Santrock

Motor sensory and perceptual development
Motor, Sensory, and Perceptual Development

  • Motor Development

  • Sensory and Perceptual Development

  • Perceptual-Motor Coupling

Dynamic systems theory

Motor Development

Dynamic Systems Theory

  • Seeks to explain how motor behaviors are assembled for perceiving and acting

    • Motivation leads to new motor behavior

      • Nervous system

      • Physical properties of body

    • Requires active efforts

Sample reflexes newborn reflexes

Motor Development


Sample ReflexesNewborn reflexes

Sucking reflex

Automatic sucking object placed in newborn’s mouth

Rooting reflex

Reaction when infant’s cheek is stroked or side of the mouth is touched

Moro reflex

Startle response in reaction to sudden, intense noise or movement

Grasping reflex

Occurs when something touches the infant’s palms; the infant responds by grasping tightly

Gross motor skills

Motor Development

Gross Motor Skills

  • Motor skills that involve large-muscle activities

    • Infancy - Learning to walk

    • Childhood - Improve running, jumping, climbing, learn sports skills

    • Adolescence - Skills continue to improve

    • Adulthood - Peak performance of most sports before 30. Slow declines with age.

Milestones in gross motor development

Motor Development

Milestones inGross Motor Development

Movement and aging

Motor Development

Movement and Aging

Fine motor skills

Motor Development

Fine Motor Skills

  • Involve more finely tuned movements, such as finger dexterity

    • Infancy - Reaching and grasping

    • Early Childhood - Pick up small objects, build towers

    • Childhood and adolescence - Writing and drawing skills emerge and improve. By 10-12, can do crafts, play musical instruments

    • Adulthood - speed may decline in middle and late adulthood, but most use compensation strategies

Origin and development of handedness

Motor Development

Origin and Development of Handedness

  • Genetic inheritance

  • Right-handedness dominant in all cultures

  • Hand preference possibly occurs in the womb

Handedness and other characteristics

Motor Development

Handedness and Other Characteristics

  • Left-handers more common among

    • Mathematicians

    • Musicians

    • Architects

    • Artists

What are sensation and perception

Sensory and Perceptual Development

What Are Sensation and Perception?

  • Sensation—occurs when information contacts sensory receptors

  • Perception—interpretation of sensation

The ecological view

Sensory and Perceptual Development

The Ecological View

  • People directly perceive information in the world around them

    • Perception brings people in contact with the environment to interact with it and adapt to it.

    • Affordances—opportunities for interaction offered by objects necessary to perform activities

Studying infant perception

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Studying Infant Perception

  • Visual preference method—developed by Fantz to determine whether infants can distinguish one stimulus from another

  • Habituation and Dishabituation

    • Habituation—decreased responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated presentations

    • Dishabituation—recovery of habituated response after change in stimulation

  • Tracking —use equipment to follow head and eye movements

Infants visual perception

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Infants’ Visual Perception

Perceptual constancy

  • Size constancyRecognition that object remains the same even though the retinal image changes

  • Shape constancyRecognition that object remains the same even though its orientation changes

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Perceptual Constancy

Vision in childhood

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Vision in Childhood

  • Improve at color detection, visual expectations, controlling eye movements (for reading)

  • Preschoolers may be farsighted

  • Signs of vision problems

    • Rubbing eyes, blinking, squinting

    • Irritability at games requiring distance vision

    • Closing one eye, tilting head to see, thrusting head forward to see

Aging vision

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Aging Vision

  • Loss of Accommodation - presbyopia

  • Decreased blood supply to eye - smaller visual field, bigger blind spot

  • Slower dark adaptation

  • Declining color vision - in green, blue, violet part of spectrum

  • Declining depth perception - problems with steps or curbs

Glare vision and aging

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Glare Vision and Aging

Diseases of the eye

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Diseases of the Eye

  • Cataracts—thickening eye lens that causes vision to become cloudy, opaque, and distorted

  • Glaucoma—damage to optic nerve because of pressure created by buildup of fluid in eye

  • Macular degeneration—involves deterioration of retina

Intermodal perception

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Intermodal Perception

  • Ability to relate and integrate information about two or more sensory modalities, such as vision and hearing

Perceptual motor coupling

Perceptual-Motor Coupling

Perceptual-Motor Coupling

  • Perceptual and doing had been considered separate processes

  • Experts now suggest they are linked

    • Perception guides action

    • Action educates perception