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Developmental Psychology- Neuroscience

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Dawit Ayele

on 20 March 2014

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Transcript of Developmental Psychology- Neuroscience

Stage 1: Prenatal
Developmental Psychology-

Kajol, Dawit & Anna
Psy 2

Stage 2: Infancy
Stage 3: birth to 6 years Emotional Center (mid brain)
Executive center- the decision making center;planning, attention, understanding and interpreting emotions
The area continues developing till the mid-20s
Adolescents go through a major development
From the age of 13-35 a pruning and strengthening process
Least used brain cells and neural connections get pruned away and die off
Prefrontal Cortex- not fully developed therefore not able to register all the risks
Nucleus cortex- The area of the brain that seeks pleasure
synapses-myeline coats
Good idea to encourage children to do activities before reached adolescence

Study of Adolesence in more depth y the neuroscientist- Sarah Jayne Blakemore

Stage 4: 7-22 years Adolescence
Executive Center - (Higher brain - frontal lobes)
Early childhood & childhood
The first 3-5 years- dramatic growth spurt
90-95% of cells organize and create pathways for the brain to function
Emotional center- processes memory,emotions, response to stress
Development of voluntary movement, reasoning, perception, frontal lobes active in development of emotions, attachments, planning, working memory, and perception. A sense of self is developing and life experiences shape the emotional well being.
Caregivers need to provide nurturing environment and daily individualized communication. Negative or harsh treatment may come with emotional consequences in the future.
Waber(2007)- performed MRI study of normal brain development
Result- Age predicts performance, as children mature the speed of mental processing increases and is balanced by the age of 10-12
First Trimester (week 1-12)

• Brain development begins
• Most structural features of the brain
• Continued growth and development

1. Key event is formation of neural tube
2. 2 weeks after conception- neural plate (a layer of specialized cells in the embryo) begins to form into the spinal cord and then brain (4 weeks)
3. 7 weeks after conception- first neurons and synapses begin to develop in spinal cord

Second Trimester (week 13-24)

• Cerebral cortex grows in thickness and complexity
• Synapse formation in this area begins

Third Trimester (week 14-36)

• Transitional period- cerebral cortex begins to take over the tasks formerly carried out by brainstem (more primitive)

Eg, reflexes; fetal breathing and responses to external stimuli become more regular

• Cerebral cortex also supports early learning

Year One

• Remarkable abilities of newborn babies highlight the extent of prenatal brain development

Eg, vocal and facial recognition and preference over other objects, telling apart happy and sad expressions

• Continued development at fast rate- cerebellum triples in size
• Visual areas of the cortex grow- infant’s eye sight develops into full binocular vision
• Growth of hippocampus (~3 months after birth) and recognition improvement
• Language influences- circuits in frontal/temporal lobes become consolidated

Year Two
• Brain’s language areas develop more synapses, becoming further interconnected
• Sudden spike in children’s language abilities (“vocabulary explosion”)
• Higher-order cognitive abilities (eg, self-awareness) develop

Year Three

• Synaptic density in prefrontal cortex peaks
• Networks with other areas are created and strengthened
• Complex cognitive abilities improve
• More flexibility and understanding

• A child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses in the first 3 years as it will have in adulthood.
• At birth, it already has about all of the neurons it will ever have.
• Synapses are formed at a faster rate than at any other time.
• Extra connections are gradually eliminated throughout childhood/adolescence.

Stage 5: 23 to 65
Prefrontal cortex: The part of the brain responsible for planning, problem-solving and related tasks develops in two ways.
1.Myelination:insulation increases to increase efficiency
2.Synaptic pruning: reduction of number of overall synapses and neurons to leave way for more efficient synaptic configurations.
Furthermore connection between prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain develops so that planning and problem-solving get better.

Executive suite: Functions centered in prefrontal cortex, like calibration of risk and reward, prioritizing, thinking ahead, self-evaluation, longterm planning etc. get ''easier'' to perform because of the development of the prefrontal cortex which causes these tasks to be more likely to happen.

Brain is thought to reach peak power at age 22 and last for 25 years.
Functionality of executive control of prefrontal and temporal cortices worsens.
Memory recalling, processing speed and memory storage ability declines although learning new skills has proved to create new white matter and stimulate these functions.

Stage 6: 65+ years
Brain cells are lost in critical areas such as hippocampus which is responsible for processing memories.

Brain does not just deteriorate, it also matures.

Neurogenesis: Neurons are constantly formed from stem cells in the brain during adulthood. Hippocampus produces most.

Neuroplasticity:the brain's ability to rewire itself. All throughout adulthood the brain adjusts itself physically to diet, exercise, social environment, stress, and toxin intake.
Different parts of the brain have different functions and these parts are fully matured when reached a certain age
"An electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals. These signals between neurons occur via synapses, specialized connections with other cells. Neurons can connect to each other to form neural networks. They are the core components of the nervous system, which includes the brain, and spinal cord of the central nervous system."

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