Infancy & Childhood 

From Zygote to Newborn - three periods

    The Germinal Period - From the moment of conception until 14 days later. The first 10 days 
constitute the most dangerous journey.

    The Period of the Embryo - From 14 days until 56 days after conception. During this time all major 
external and internal body structures begin to form.

    The Period of the Fetus - From the ninth week after conception until birth. Age of viability 
(about 22 weeks). During this period Amniocentesis can detect many genetic defects including 
Down syndrome.

    Teratology is the study of birth defects is a science of risk management. Teratogens are the agents & 
conditions that can impair prenatal development.

New  Teratogen affect is influenced by:

     1. The Timing of Exposure
         2. The Amount of Exposure
             3. Genetic Vulnerability

Specific Teratogens:

Major Diseases

    •  Rubella
       •  HIV

Medicinal drugs:

    •  Tetracycline
        •  anticoagulants
            •  bromides
                •  anticonvulsants
                    •  phenobarbital
                        •  retinoic acid
                            •  most hormones
                                •  nonprescription drugs such as aspirin, antacids, & diet pills

   New  Pregnant women should avoid any medication unless it is recommended by a doctor.

Drugs & Prenatal Development

Psychoactive Drugs:

    •  Alcohol can = FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)
    •  Tobacco
        •  Marijuana
            •  Heroin
                •  Methadone
                    •  Cocaine
                        •  Solvents

Newborn's Abilities

    Genetic developmental - Conception - The creation of life begins when the mother’s egg and 
father’s sperm fuse and eventually produce an embryo; however, before this can happen both 
egg and sperm (gametes) must be produced. The sperm and egg have 23 chromosomes each, 
a normal human cell has 46 chromosomes or 23 pairs of chromosomes.

    Brain growth - early brain growth is rapid & widespread, this phenomenal increase is called 
Transient Exuberance.

Sensory development:
    Vision - by 3 to 6 months an infant can visually recognize mom, by 3 to 4 years of age vision is 
at adult levels.


    One-month-old infants have a very keen sense of hearing and can discriminate small sound variations, 
such as the difference between bah & pah. By 6 months, infants can make all the sounds necessary to 
learn language.

    Otitis media is primarily caused by a malfunctioning eustachian tube. The eustachian tube connects the 
middle ear to the back of the internal nose structures. The eustachian tube equalizes air pressure between 
the middle ear and the environment. If the tubes are blocked (occurs in an infection) these protective functions 
cannot occur and bacteria are swept up through the eustachian tube as a result of the pressure difference.
    Touch - well developed in newborns. 

    Smell & Taste - well developed in newborns. 

    Depth perception - occurs at around six months - A novel piece of apparatus used to test for the falling 
affordance, is called the 'visual cliff'. It consists of a raised central platform with a horizontal sheet of plate 
glass on either side. Under the glass, on one side only, there is a large drop to the ground below - 
this is the 'cliff'. 

Motor development 
    * Cephalocaudal Principle of Development: The upper portion of the body develops quicker than the lower 
part of the body 

    * Proximodistal Principle of Development: The middle part of the body develops quicker than the outer part 
of the body. 

Emotional Development

   Temperament - The manner of thinking, behaving, or reacting characteristic of a specific person.

Kinds of temperament:

Easy babies (40%)
    Slow-to-warm-up babies (15%)
        Difficult babies (10%)
            No-single-category babies (35%)

Temperament & emotional interaction - Signposts:

Social smilingshim 4 to 6 weeks
  Anger, surprise, & sadness shim 3 to 4 months
   Fear shim 5 to 7 months
    Shame & shyness shim 6 to 8 months
     Contempt & guiltshim 24 months


    Attachment – an enduring emotional connection between people that produces a desire for continual 
contact as well as feelings of distress during separation. Used to describe the relationship between parents 
and older infants.

Secure vs. Insecure Attachment 

    Secure attachment – a caregiver-infant relationship that provides comfort and confidence. This is evidenced 
first by the infant’s attempts to be close to the caregiver and then by the infant’s readiness to explore.

Insecure Attachment 

    Insecure Attachment – a caregiver-infant relationship characterized by the child’s overdependence on, or lack 
of interest in, the caregiver. Characterized by a lack of confidence on the part of the child. 

Measuring Attachment

    Strange Situation – an experimental condition in which the infant’s behavior is observed in an unfamiliar room 
while the caregiver (mother) and a stranger move in and out of the room.

Types of Attachment

Type B: Secure Attachment (55-65%) 
        •  Exploration of Toys – a secure toddler plays happily. 
        •  Reaction to caregiver’s departure – may or may not show signs that caregiver is missed. 
        •  Reaction to the caregiver’s return – happy to see caregiver. 
   Benefits of Secure Attachment: aids both cognitive and social development. Securely attached infants are 
more curious, outgoing, and self-directed. 

Type A: Insecure-avoidant (15-25%) - Characteristics: minimally interested in the caregiver, explores busily, 
show minimal distress at separation, ignores or avoids caregiver on reunion.

Type C: Insecure-resistant (10-15%) - Characteristics: preoccupied with caregiver, has difficulty settling down, 
both seeks & resists contact on reunion, may be angry or very passive.

Type D: Insecure-disorganized (10-20%)

    Remember: Attachment is more influenced by the child's temperament than by the caregiver.

Attachment for Adults - four categories:

•  Autonomous; value close relationships & regard them as influential. 
•  Dismissing; devalue the importance of attachments. 
•  Preoccupied; very involved with their childhood relationships. 
•  Unresolved; past relationships not yet reconciled with current ones.

Jean Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development:

    Children adapt old methods (assimilation) or change them (accommodation) to deal with new situations. 
Using these two processes, children go through a series of cognitive stages.

Piaget's cognitive stages:

1. Sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years):
    Concepts: Sensory experiences & motor actions - Object permanence
     During this time, Piaget said that a child's cognitive system is limited to motor reflexes at birth, but the 
child builds on these reflexes to develop more sophisticated procedures. They learn to generalize their 
activities to a wider range of situations and coordinate them into increasingly lengthy chains of behavior.
2. Preoperational stage (2 to 6 years):
    Concepts: Symbols - Conservation - Egocentric thinking
     At this age, according to Piaget, children acquire representational skills in the areas of mental imagery, 
and especially language. They are very self-oriented, and have an egocentric view; that is, preoperational 
children can use these representational skills only to view the world from their own perspective.
3. Concrete operations stage (7 to 11 years) :
    Concepts: Mental operations - Conservation & Classification
     As opposed to Preoperational children, children in the concrete operations stage are able to take 
another's point of view and take into account more than one perspective simultaneously. They can also 
represent transformations as well as static situations. Although they can understand concrete problems,
Piaget would argue that they cannot yet perform on abstract problems, and that they do not consider all of 
the logically possible outcomes.
4. Formal operations stage (12 to adult):
    Adult thinking & reasoning - Abstract ideas & hypothetical constructs
     Children who attain the formal operation stage are capable of thinking logically and abstractly. They can also 
reason theoretically. Piaget considered this the ultimate stage of development, and stated that although the children 
would still have to revise their knowledge base, their way of thinking was as powerful as it would get.

 Piaget's key ideas
    1. Children gradually & in a step-by-step fashion develop reasoning abilities through the active processes of 
assimilation & accommodation.
    2. Children are naturally curious & intrinsically motivated to explore their worlds, and in the process, develop 
cognitive skills.
    3. Children acquire different kinds of thinking and reasoning abilities as they go through different stages of 
cognitive development.

     It is now thought that not every child reaches the formal operation stage. Developmental psychologists also debate 
whether children do go through the stages in the way that Piaget postulated. Whether Piaget was correct or not, it is 
safe to say that his theory of cognitive development has had a tremendous influence on all modern 
developmental psychologists.

Psychoanalytic Theory 

    Emphasizes that human actions & thoughts originate from powerful impulses & conflicts that often are not part of our 
conscious awareness.

* Freud - Five Stages of Development

1. Oral - Focus is on the mouth, teeth, & gums. - Age: birth to 1.5 years  
2. Anal - Age: 1.5 to 3 years  
3. Phallic - Age: 3 to 6 years
4. Latency - Really not a stage but an interlude. - Age: 7- 11 years 
5. Genital - Age: from 12 on

* Erikson  

    In an extension of Freud's theory, Erik Erikson proposed eight successive stages of development from infancy 
through old age, each stage involving a crisis that must be solved.

1. Trust versus Mistrust (infant 0-1) - Hope is the virtue that develops upon successful resolution of this stage. 
2. Autonomy versus Shame & Doubt (toddler 2-3) - Will, Determination 
3. Initiative versus Guilt (preschooler 3-6) - Purpose, Courage 
4. Industry versus Inferiority (school age 7-12) - Competence 
5. Identity versus Role Confusion (adolescence, 12- 20) - Fidelity, Loyalty 
6. Intimacy versus Isolation (early adulthood, 20 - 40) - Love 
7. Generativity versus Stagnation (middle adulthood, 40 - 65) - Care 
8. Integrity versus Despair (late adulthood, 65 +) - Wisdom 

   Bandura's social cognitive theory emphasizes the social origins of behavior in addition to the cognitive thought 
processes that influence human behavior and functioning. Bandura's social-cognitive approach represents a break 
from traditional theories by proposing that cognitive factors are central to human functioning and that learning can 
occur in the absence of direct reinforcement. That is, learning can occur simply through observation of models & 
in the absence of reinforcement.

                 Topics in Psychology
                      Robert C. Gates