How do we learn language during a process of nurture after being “soft-wired” by nature?

Psychology homework help

Chapter 7: Developmental Psychology

Human life-span development occurs in several life stages: p. 287


Early, Middle and Late childhood

Early, Middle, and Late adolescence

Emerging, Early, Middle, and Late adulthood (Arnett)

Development occurs separately but simultaneously, includes:

Physical (gross and fine motor skills), social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual p. 287

There are four periods of prenatal development.

(book has little data and only shares three of four periods—follow lecture closely)

1. The germinal period is the first 14 or so days (weeks 1 and 2)

Zygote created in fallopian tubes (about three days to uterus)

Enters uterus as blastocyst

Blastocyst later becomes embryo

Trophoblast, which contains blastocyst attaches to uterine wall =


Endoderm, mesoderm, exoderm

Yolk sac/umbilical vesicle present pre-trophoblast development

The trophoblast (amnion, umbilical cord, and placenta) provides nutrition and support—starts providing after germinal period

2. The embryonic period lasts about 6 weeks (weeks 3-8)

Organogenesis takes place within the first two months; formation of body

(Santrock charts)

There are three life support systems, called the trophoblast, for the embryo

Placenta: disk shaped group of tissues which connects embryo to mother.

The placenta implants itself to the uterine wall

Extracts nutrition from mother’s blood

Filters teratogens to a point

Produces hormones

Umbilical cord connects baby to placenta and is two arteries and a vein.

Oxygen, water, salt, and food go to baby

Excretion and carbon dioxide come from baby

The amnion is a sac and liquid and within it floats the embryo then fetus.

This is the same design as the human brain.

3. Fetal period starts at two months into gestation and lasts seven months (on average).

(Last two weeks are not considered fetal—last two weeks are called full term)

Eyes (open about 18 weeks to establish blinking), limbs (movement during fourth month), mouth (sucking thumb as early as 11 weeks; swallowing in womb about 26 weeks)

The amnion carries strong food odors and tastes to assist fetus with sense action pre-birth

Fetal life is not typically viable if born before 24 weeks of gestation (some survive at 22) (Santrock)

Alveoli in lungs not open in amnion; “breathes” amnion fluid to strengthen lungs

Last two months is for organ action and fatty build up—extremely important period for safe development

4. Full term: weeks 36 through 38

Average American baby is 7.5 lbs and is 21 inches long at birth

Teratogens are agents/substances that cause birth defects (Canvas)

Not just observable defects (physical—embryonic) at birth but may be seen later in life as well (emotional and cognitive—fetal).

Three parts to a teratogen being effective: dose, exposure, and genetic susceptibility

Nature and nurture interactions can be seen easily with effects on development (nature) by teratogens (nurture) (previous text)

Human infants are born with instincts (Canvas)

Blinking and scent marking are the only permanent instincts


Language: combining symbols from spoken, written, and gestured information to communicate infinite meaning

“language allows people. . .to represent their own internal mental activity” (Ciccarelli, 2015, p. 294)

The human brain is called “the language brain”—soft-wired for language

Receptive Language at about 4 months

Ability to comprehend speech happens by 4 months

Infant can discern phonemes of unlimited languages

Infant stops listening to “strange” language noises about 8 months of age

Productive Language at about 12 months

Examples on pp. 280-281

How do we learn language during a process of nurture after being “soft-wired” by nature?

Skinner: Operant Learning

Nurture: Organisms learn language through: association, consequences, and imitation of observed behavior

Chomsky: Inborn Universal Grammar

Nature: Disagreed with Skinner based on rapid acquisition of language. All languages have similar development (nouns first) and grammatical structure (nouns, verbs, subject, and object)

“Moral development involves thoughts, feelings, and actions regarding rules and conventions about what people should do in their interactions with other people” (Santrock, J.).

Piaget’s theory: moral development begins around the age of four

Heteronomous morality is seeing justice and rules as unchangeable: black and white (4-7)

Involves the idea of imminent justice, which is the idea that bad actions will be punished.

Autonomous morality includes individuals and intentions: shades of gray along with black and white (transition between about 7-10 into this stage) (Kantian contribution is evident here)

Imminent justice is not consistent, and child learns that punishment is not inevitable.

Kohlberg’s stages (pp. 313-314)

Attachment (pp. 315-318 +Canvas)

Harlows and Bowlby (lab work) and Ainsworth (field research)

“All you need is love” by the Beatles was written in response to this research

Affectional bond, 76% adult match to infant type, not outgrown, made through quality of interaction with primary CG(s), template for human interaction

There are four types of attachment: book labels incorrectly for infants

Secure, Avoidant, Anxious-Resistant (Ambivalent), Disorganized

Baumrind’s three styles of parenting (warmth and structure are the main variables) pp. 318-319

Authoritative: democratically led, option-based, demanding but responsive, higher warmth than structure most of the time

Authoritarian: parent led, imposes, inflexible, parental authority enforced, higher structure than warmth most of the time

Permissive: child in charge, indulgent

Rejecting/neglectful: nobody in charge, needs not met, worst outcomes for children appear to be here

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