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Life Span Development. Prenatal and Childhood Development. The Beginnings of Life: Prenatal Development. Prenatal Development. Prenatal defined as “before birth” Prenatal stage begins at conception and ends with the birth of the child. Zygote. A newly fertilized egg

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prenatal development
Prenatal Development
  • Prenatal defined as “before birth”
  • Prenatal stage begins at conception and ends with the birth of the child.
  • A newly fertilized egg
  • The first two weeks are a period of rapid cell division.
  • Attaches to the mother’s uterine wall
  • At the end of 14 days becomes an embryo
  • Developing human from about 14 days until the end of the eight week
  • Most of the major organs are formed during this time.
  • At the end of the eight week the fetal period begins.
fetal period
Fetal Period
  • The period between the beginning of the ninth week until birth
  • A cushion of cells in the mother by which the fetus receives oxygen and nutrition
  • Acts as a filter to screen out substances that could harm the fetus
  • Substances that pass through the placenta’s screen and prevent the fetus from developing normally
  • Includes: radiation, toxic chemicals, viruses, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc.
fetal alcohol syndrome fas
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • A series of physical and cognitive abnormalities in children due to their mother drinking large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy
rooting reflex
Rooting Reflex
  • Infants’ tendency, when touched on the cheek, to move their face in the direction of the touch and open their mouth
  • Is an automatic, unlearned response
  • Child is looking for nourishment.
  • A person’s characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity
  • A child might be:
    • An “easy” or “difficult” baby
  • Temperament shown in infancy appears to carry through a person’s life.
infant toddler child
Infant, Toddler, Child
  • Infant: First year
  • Toddler: From about 1 year to 3 years of age
  • Child: Span between toddler and teen
  • Biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior
motor development
Motor Development
  • Includes all physical skills and muscular coordination
  • All the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, and remembering
  • Children think differently than adults do
jean piaget pee ah zhay
Jean Piaget (pee-ah-ZHAY)
  • Developmental psychologist who introduced a stage theory of cognitive development
  • Proposed a theory consisting of four stages of cognitive development
  • Concepts or mental frameworks that people use to organize and interpret information
  • Sometimes called schemes
  • A person’s “picture of the world”
  • Interpreting a new experience within the context of one’s existing schemas
  • The new experience is similar to other previous experiences
  • Interpreting a new experience by adapting or changing one’s existing schemas
  • The new experience is so novel the person’s schemata must be changed to accommodate it
piaget s stages of cognitive development

Typical Age



of Stage



Birth to nearly 2 years


Experiencing the world through

senses and actions (looking,

touching, mouthing)

  • Object permanence
  • Stranger anxiety

About 2 to 6 years


Representing things

with words and images

but lacking logical reasoning

  • Pretend play
  • Egocentrism
  • Language development

About 7 to 11 years

Concrete operational

Thinking logically about concrete

events; grasping concrete analogies

and performing arithmetical operations

  • Conservation
  • Mathematical transformations

About 12 through


Formal operational

Abstract reasoning

  • Abstract logic
  • Potential for moral reasoning
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
sensorimotor stage
Sensorimotor Stage
  • Piaget’s first stage of cognitive development
  • From birth to about age two
  • Child gathers information about the world through senses and motor functions
  • Child learns object permanence
object permanence
Object Permanence
  • The awareness that things continue to exist even when they cannot be sensed
  • “Out of sight, out of mind”
preoperational stage
Preoperational Stage
  • Piaget’s second stage of cognitive development
  • From about age 2 to age 6 or 7
  • Children can understand language but not logic
  • The child’s inability to take another person’s point of view
  • Includes a child’s inability to understand that symbols can represent other objects
concrete operational stage
Concrete Operational Stage
  • Piaget’s third stage of cognitive development
  • From about age 7 to 11
  • Child learns to think logically and understands conservation
  • An understanding that certain properties remain constant despite changes in their form
  • The properties can include mass, volume, and numbers.
formal operational stage
Formal Operational Stage
  • Piaget’s fourth and last stage of cognitive development
  • Child can think logically and in the abstract
  • About age 12 on up
  • Can solve hypothetical problems (What if…. problems)
assessing piaget s theory
Assessing Piaget’s Theory
  • Piaget underestimated the child’s ability at various ages.
  • Piaget’s theory doesn’t take into account culture and social differences.
stranger anxiety
Stranger Anxiety
  • The fear of strangers an infant displays around 8 months of age
  • An emotional tie with another person resulting in seeking closeness
  • Children develop strong attachments to their parents and caregivers.
  • Body contact, familiarity, and responsiveness all contribute to attachment.
harry harlow
Harry Harlow
  • Did research with infant monkeys on how body contact relates to attachment
  • The monkeys had to chose between a cloth mother or a wire mother that provided food.
harry harlow54
Harry Harlow
  • The monkeys spent most of their time by the cloth mother.
  • Sense of contentment with that which is already known
  • Infants are familiar with their parents and caregivers.
imprinting and critical period
Imprinting and Critical Period
  • A process by which certain animals, early in life, form attachments
  • The imprinted behavior develops within a critical period--an optimal period when the organism’s exposure to certain stimuli produce the imprinted behavior.
  • Konrad Lorenz studied imprinting.
konrad lorenz
Konrad Lorenz
  • Studied imprinted behaviors
  • Goslings are imprinted to follow the first large moving object they see.
  • Responsive parents are aware of what their children are doing.
  • Unresponsive parents ignore their children--helping only when they want to.
securely or insecurely attached
Securely or Insecurely Attached
  • Securely attached – children will explore their environment when primary caregiver is present
  • Insecurely attached – children will appear distressed and cry when caregiver leaves. Will cling to them when they return
effects of attachment
Effects of Attachment
  • Secure attachment predicts social competence.
  • Deprivation of attachment is linked to negative outcome.
  • A responsive environment helps most infants recover from attachment disruption.
parental patterns
Parental Patterns
  • Daumrind’s three main parenting styles
    • Authoritarian parenting
    • Permissive parenting
    • Authoritative parenting
authoritarian parenting
Authoritarian Parenting
  • Low in warmth
  • Discipline is strict and sometimes physical.
  • Communication high from parent to child and low from child to parent
  • Maturity expectations are high.
permissive parenting
Permissive Parenting
  • High in warmth but rarely discipline
  • Communication is low from parent to child but high from child to parent.
  • Expectations of maturity are low.
authoritative parenting
Authoritative Parenting
  • High in warmth with moderate discipline
  • High in communication and negotiating
  • Parents set and explain rules.
  • Maturity expectations are moderate.
continuity and stages
Continuity and Stages
  • How much of behavior is continuous and how much follows a more stage like development?
stability and change
Stability and Change
  • What developmental traits remain stable over time, and which change?
nature and nurture
Nature and Nurture
  • How much of our behavior is due to nature and how much is due to nurture?
  • How do nature and nurture interact in development?
  • The period between childhood and adulthood
  • From puberty (the start of sexual maturation) to independence from parents
  • The period of sexual maturation where the person becomes capable of reproducing
  • Starts at approximately age 11 in females and age 13 in males
  • Major growth spurt
primary sex characteristics
Primary Sex Characteristics
  • The body structures that make sexual reproduction possible
  • Ovaries in females
  • Testes in males
secondary sex characteristics
Secondary Sex Characteristics
  • Nonreproductive sexual characteristics
  • Breasts and hips in females
  • Facial hair and voice changes in males
sexual orientation
Sexual Orientation
  • One’s attraction toward people of a particular gender
  • Usually heterosexual or homosexual; small minority bisexual
  • A sexual orientation in which a person is attracted to members of the opposite sex
  • “straight”
  • A sexual orientation in which a person is attracted to members of the same sex
  • Approximately 3-4% of the male population and 1-2% of the female population
formal operational stage88
Formal Operational Stage
  • Piaget’s fourth and final stage of cognitive development
  • The person can think logically, hypothetically, and in the abstract
  • Qualitative change over the thinking of a child
lawrence kohlberg
Lawrence Kohlberg
  • Author of a three-stage theory on how moral reasoning develops
1 preconventional moral reasoning
1. Preconventional Moral Reasoning
  • Characterized by the desire to avoid punishment or gain reward
  • Typically children under the age of 9
2 conventional moral reasoning
2. Conventional Moral Reasoning
  • Primary concern is to fit in and play the role of a good citizen
  • People have a strong desire to follow the rules and laws.
  • Typical of most adults
3 postconventional moral reasoning
3. Postconventional Moral Reasoning
  • Characterized by references to universal ethical principles that represent the rights or obligations of all people
  • Most adults do not reach this level.
kohlberg s moral ladder
Kohlberg’s Moral Ladder
  • As moral development progresses, the focus of concern moves from the self to the wider social world.

Morality of abstract

principles: to affirm

agreed-upon rights and

personal ethical principles





Morality of law and

social rules: to gain

approval or avoid




Morality of self-interest:

to avoid punishment

or gain concrete rewards

erik erikson
Erik Erikson
  • Constructed an 8-stage theory of social development
  • Each stage has its own psychosocial, developmental task.
  • A strong, consistent sense of who and what a person is
  • Identity search includes the following characteristics:
    • Experimentation
    • Rebellion
    • “Self”-ishness
    • Optimism and energy
  • A close, sharing, emotional, and honest relationship with other people
  • To Erikson this is the primary task of early adulthood
  • Not necessarily one’s spouse or a sexual relationship
1 continuity and stages
1. Continuity and Stages
  • How much of behavior is continuous and how much follows a more stage like development?
2 stability and change
2. Stability and Change
  • Which developmental traits remain stable over time, and which change?
3 nature and nurture
3. Nature and Nurture
  • How much of our behavior is due to nature and how much is due to nurture?
  • How do nature and nurture interact in development?
social clock
Social Clock
  • The culturally (society’s) preferred timing of social events such as marriage, parenthood, and retirement
  • The “best” timing for certain life events
  • The timing varies from culture to culture.
emerging adulthood
Emerging Adulthood
  • Developmental period between adolescence and adulthood
  • The time of natural cessation of menstruation
  • Referred to as the biological changes a woman experiences as her ability to reproduce declines
  • Usually occurs between age 45 and 55
  • Does not usually lead to depression
alzheimer s disease
Alzheimer’s Disease
  • A progressive and irreversible brain disorder characterized by gradual deterioration of memory, reasoning, language, and physical functioning
senile dementia
Senile Dementia
  • The mental disintegration that accompanies alcoholism, tumor, stroke, aging, or Alzheimer's disease
fluid intelligence
Fluid Intelligence
  • One’s ability to reason speedily and abstractly
  • Can be used to solve novel logic problems
  • Declines as people get older
crystallized intelligence
Crystallized Intelligence
  • One’s accumulated knowledge and verbal skills
  • Tends to increase with age
erik erikson132
Erik Erikson
  • Constructed an 8-stage theory of social development
  • Each stage has its own psychosocial developmental task.
  • The last 4 stages deal with Adolescence through late adulthood.
  • Erikson’s term for being productive and supporting future generations
commitment to work
Commitment to Work
  • Most high school/college students aren’t sure of their career goals.
  • Happiness seems to be correlated with work that is challenging, provides a sense of accomplishment, and is interesting.
commitment to love
Commitment to Love
  • An important factor in adult happiness
  • Lasting love includes:
    • Intimate self-disclosure
    • Shared emotional and material support
    • Similar interests and values
commitment to marriage
Commitment to Marriage
  • 90% of the population gets married
  • 50% divorce rate
  • 75% of those who have divorced remarry
commitment to children
Commitment to Children
  • Children result in a change in the marital relationship
  • Potential disagreement on the division of labor with children
empty nest
Empty Nest
  • The change married couples go through as a result of their children leaving home
  • Not necessarily a negative event for couples
overall life satisfaction
Overall Life Satisfaction
  • Most studies show the elderly as happy and satisfied with life.
  • People tend to mellow with age.
  • Most regrets focus on what the person didn’t do rather than mistakes they have made in life.
reactions to death
Reactions to Death
  • Reactions to death are different from culture to culture.
  • Attitudes toward death and dying are changing in the United States. --more openness --facing death with dignity; hospice helps