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Developmental Psychology. Part 1: Physical Development & Parenting. PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT. Zygote conception – 2 weeks period of rapid cell division. Embryo 2 weeks – 3 months cells attach to mother’s uterine wall & organs develop. Fetus 3 months - birth developing human organism.

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developmental psychology

Developmental Psychology

Part 1: Physical Development & Parenting

prenatal development


conception – 2 weeks

period of rapid cell division


2 weeks – 3 months

cells attach to mother’s uterine wall & organs develop


3 months - birth

developing human organism

prenatal development teratogen s
Prenatal Development - TERATOGENS
  • TERATOGENS: Agents that can reach the developing embryo or fetus and cause harm
      • Alcohol
      • Nicotine
      • Drugs (both prescription drugs & “street” drugs)
      • Viruses (the flu)
      • Toxoplasmosis (contact with cat feces)
      • Food poisoning
infant reflexes
  • Grasping
  • Startle (Moro Reflex)
  • Rooting

Play three movies


Biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior that are relatively unaffected by experience

  • Maturation sets the basic course of development; experience adjusts it.

Maturation Video

  • Emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation. It helps infants to rely on other people for survival.
  • Why do children become attached to mother and father?
harlow s theory of attachment
Harlow’s Theory of Attachment

Attachment is based on:

  • Body Contact (contact comfort)
  • Familiarity
  • Responsive Parenting
body contact
Body Contact
  • Infants become intensely attached to entities that provide comfortable body contact to them. Things like rocking, warmth, and feeding make attachment stronger.
  • IMPORTANCE: NOT nourishment that provides attachment as originally thought.

Harlow's experiment

Harlow's experiment - part 2

  • Also key in understanding attachment.
  • Critical Period:optimal period shortly after birth when certain events must take place to facilitate proper development. Ex: First moving object a duckling sees it will attach to as its mother…would follow person, moving ball, etc.
  • Imprinting:process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life. NOT FOR HUMANS. However do become attached to what they know.

the process by which animals form attachments during a limited critical period early in life

  • Owen the baby hippo & Mzee, the 130-year-old tortoise

Tink the dachsand & her piglet “puppy”, Pink.

responsive parenting
Responsive Parenting
  • Responsive Parenting leads to secure attachment.
  • Secure Attachment: in mother’s presence will explore new territories and play comfortably. When mother leaves will become distressed, when returns will seek contact with her.
  • Insecure Attachment: in mother’s presence are less likely to explore their surroundings; seem indifferent to their mother’s comings and goings.
consequences of insecure attachment
Consequences of Insecure Attachment
  • Under conditions of abuse and neglect, humans are often withdrawn, frightened, even speechless.
  • Harlow’s monkeys often incapable of mating or extremely abusive, neglectful, or murderous towards first-born.
  • Most abusers were abused; abused are more likely to abuse…even though the majority of them don’t.
parenting styles


rhymes with “Totalitarian”

“Because I said so.”

Authoritarian parents impose rules and expect obedience.


Permissive parents submit to their child’s desires, make few demands and use little punishment.



“Let’s talk about it.”

Authoritative parents encourage open discussion and allow for exceptions when enforcing rules.

parenting styles consequences
PARENTING STYLES - consequences


rhymes with “Totalitarian”

  • anxious, withdrawn, and unhappy disposition
  • poor reactions to frustration
    • (girls are particularly likely to give up & boys become especially hostile)
  • do well in school
    • (studies may show authoritative parenting is comparable)
  • not likely to engage in antisocial activities
parenting styles consequences1
PARENTING STYLES - consequences


-poor emotion regulation (under regulated)

-rebellious and defiant when desires are challenged.

-low persistence to challenging tasks

-antisocial behaviors

parenting styles consequences2
PARENTING STYLES - consequences


  • -lively and happy disposition, high self-esteem
  • -self-confident about ability to master tasks.
  • - Very achievement-oriented
  • -well developed emotion regulation
  • -developed social skills
what about day care
What about day-care?
  • - More than ½ of mothers work so there is an increasing number of young children in day-care. What does the research say about the effects of day-care on a child’s social development?
  • - Some children in day-care are more likely to be independent and share their toys better. They are more outgoing and confident.
  • - Others become more aggressive and less cooperative.
  • - Bottom line: Results are mixed. It depends on the quality of care and how much attention each child receives.