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Developmental Psychology. The study of YOU from womb to tomb. We are going to study how we change physically, socially, cognitively and morally over our lifetimes. 77-82 Work centers on:. Nature/Nurture Continuity/Stages Stability/Change. Research Methods. Cross-Sectional Studies.

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Developmental psychology

Developmental Psychology

The study of YOU from womb to tomb.

We are going to study how we change physically, socially, cognitively and morally over our lifetimes.

77 82 work centers on
77-82Work centers on:

  • Nature/Nurture

  • Continuity/Stages

  • Stability/Change

Research methods
Research Methods

Cross-Sectional Studies

Longitudinal Studies

One group of people studied over a period of time.

  • Participants of different ages studied at the same time.

Prenatal development
Prenatal Development

  • Conception begins with the drop of an egg and the release of about 200 million sperm.

  • The sperm penetrates the eggs surface.

Genetics a review
Genetics (a review)

  • genotype

  • phenotype

  • what happens when genotype offers conflicting info?

    • Dominant gene will be displayed.

    • Recessive characteristic (ex: blue eyes) – both parents genotype is recessive

  • Sex chromosomes – recessive characteristics only seen in one gender

    • Occurs on 23rd chromosome – determines gender

The Zygote

  • Once the sperm penetrates the egg- we have a fertilized egg called……..

The first stage of prenatal development. Lasts about two weeks and consists of rapid cell division.


  • Less than half of all zygotes survive first 2 weeks.

  • About 10 days after conception, the zygote will attach itself to the uterine wall.

  • The outer part of the zygote becomes the placenta (which filters nutrients).

After two weeks the zygote develops into an
After two weeks, the zygote develops into an….


  • Lasts about 6 weeks (weeks 3-8).

  • Heart begins to beat and the organs begin to develop.

    • Amniotic sac – where embryo housed

    • Umbilical cord – attaches embryo/fetus to placenta

Fetus 3 months
Fetus-3 months +

  • The fetus by about the 6th month, the stomach and other organs have formed enough to survive outside of mother.

    • 3 months – fetus can move arms, legs, mouth, head

    • 4th month – mother experiences quickening

    • 5th month – distinct sleep-wake cycle

    • 6th month – brain activity similar to a newborn baby. Can hear.

    • 7 month on- growth slows, body systems active, body fat increases


  • Teratogens

    • Chemical agents that can harm the prenatal environment.

    • Alcohol (FAS)

    • Other STDs can harm the baby…..

    • HIV

    • Herpes

    • Genital Warts

    • up to 2:28

    Healthy newborns
    Healthy Newborns

    • Turn head towards voices .

    • See 8 to 12 inches from their faces.

    • Gaze longer at human like objects right from birth.

    • Reflexes

    • Inborn automatic responses.

    • Rooting/sucking

    • Grasping

    • Moro


    • Babinski


    The brain and infancy 82 86
    The Brain and Infancy 82-86

    • Born with all brain cells we’ll ever have at birth

      • Still need to form connections with outside world

      • Minutes after birth, babies will turn head towards mother’s voice

    • Although the brain does not develop many new cells, the existing cells begin to work more efficiently- forming more complex neural networks.

    Maturation memory
    Maturation & Memory

    • Physical growth, regardless of the environment.

    • Although the timing of our growth may be different, the sequence is almost always the same.

    • Memory – not fully developed until after 3 years because neural circuitry not connected yet.

      • “infantile amnesia” – ages 3 and before

      • Implicit skill memories and attachment

    Experience brain
    Experience & Brain

    • Nature vs Nurture

      • Baby rats in enriched vs impoverished environments- enriched had increased neural circuitry

      • Myelination – reinforced neural connections, “use it or lose it” principle

      • Infant Touch-faster growth

      • Experience nurtures nature

    • Plasticity

      • Brain is not hard-wired

      • Can regenerate/compensate after damage

      • Younger brain = more plastic


      • Hemispherectomy??

    Motor development
    Motor Development

    • Sequence is the same- but once again timing varies.

    • First learn to roll over, sit up unsupported, crawl, walk etc…