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Human Lifespan Development

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1. What changes in brain development occur during infancy and toddler hood?

2. Describe the general course of development during the first two years.

3. What are the central features of psychoanalytic, social learning, and cognitive developmental approaches to moral development?

The more information the better, so I can get the just of these questions, and have enough information for my final responses. References please.

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Solution Summary

This solutions explores the changes in brain development occur during infancy and toddler hood and describes the general course of development during the first two years. It then discusses the central features of psychoanalytic, social learning, and cognitive developmental approaches to moral development. References are provided.

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Let's take a closer look at some research findings which you can draw on for your final responses.


1. What changes in brain development occur during infancy and toddler hood?

Brain Development

During this period, brain growth is huge, as it grows to be of adult size. The brain experiences the development of billions of neurons (100-200 Billion neurons). As well, the synapses (junctions) are constantly making connections. However, stimulation is essential for neuron survival. "Synaptic pruning is a process by which seldom-stimulated neurons are returned to an uncommitted state so they can support the development of future skills." (http://education.gsu.edu/spehar/FOCUS/EdPsy/cw/aps/chapter5.htm)

Development of the Cerebral cortex

The cortex develops, which is the area of consciousness / frontal lobes. Here we have two hemispheres separated by the corpus callousum. When lateralization occurs the different hemispheres specialize in different functions, with the right hemisphere specializing in spatial abilities and negative emotions and the left hemisphere specializing in verbal abilities and positive emotions (such as joy). This lateralization process begins at birth. It takes some time, so the brain can reorganize itself to meet challenges. The brain is shapeable (referred to as plasticity) that "is the ability of another part over the functions of a damaged region-which is less likely if the brain has already lateralized" (http://education.gsu.edu/spehar/FOCUS/EdPsy/cw/aps/chapter5.htm) .

Sensitive Periods in Brain Development.

a. Stimulation of the brain is necessary when it is developing most rapidly

b. No stimulation - Poor or no development. For example, when a 1 month old kitten is placed in the dark and kept there for two months, they found damage to the visual centers of the brain is permanent. This provided evidence of a sensitive period in brain development.

c. Brain growth spurts occur during this period.

? Discontinuous Development - Researchers believe that the massive production of synapses may underlie brain growth spurts during the first 2 years. This points to the need to provide the appropriate stimulation, which is key.

Brain develop occurs in rich and stimulating environment. However, impoverished environments results in poor physical and cognitive growth e.g. Romanian orphans. Adopted before 6 months - can catch-up. Hpwever, if adopted after 6 months - mental deficits remain.

This period also sees changing in the states of arousal occurring, such as the organization of sleep patterns into long periods of continual sleep. For example, a 2 year old still requires about 12-13 hours of sleep. (http://education.gsu.edu/spehar/FOCUS/EdPsy/cw/aps/chapter5.htm)

2. Describe the general course of development during the first two years.

The child grows physically, with her or his motor control refining and the child experiences the emergence of emotional responses, which are both linked to the brain maturation. This evidence provides a valuable window into early psychological and emotional growth of a child. During this period, the extent of the body growth is the more than any other stage of development. The child experiences learning through the senses and through interacting with the environment.

Now, let's look closer at each of these areas of growth in the first two years (much of the next section is verbatim from the sources listed, so you will need to referecne appropraitely using quotation marks for any direct quotes you use for your final response).

A. Body Growth - Changes in body size

This is the time of most rapid physical development after birth occurs during the first two years of life and changes in proportion.


There are changes in muscle-Fat makeup. Early rise in the amount of body fat, which helps in temperature regulation. The child start to slim down in 2nd year. Girls have a higher amount of body fat than boys. Early skeletal growth is used to estimate a child's maturity--measure of development of development of the bones in the body. Skeletal age determined by extent of the epiphysis and degree of fusion and girls are ahead of boys. Other organs more developed, experience fewer developmental problems. (http://education.gsu.edu/spehar/FOCUS/EdPsy/cw/aps/chapter5.htm)

B. Learning Capabilities

1. Reflexes - Newborns are ready to learn - reflexes

2. Classical Conditioning ...

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