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PSYCH302A: Lifespan Development

Unit 2: Foundations of Development   This unit will focus on the biological foundations of life and the very first stage of human development: prenatal development, which takes place in the womb. Our understanding of prenatal development has grown a lot in recent years due to medical and technological innovations. Because much of our development in this stage is the result of physical transformations, these innovations have given us a much greater insight into the physical maturation of a fetus. However, there are a number of mental changes that the fetus undergoes (mostly due to brain growth). While this unit will focus primarily on the physical changes, it is important to recognize that these physical changes may play a role in the infant’s psychological development. 

The unit begins with an overview of genetic (nature) and environmental (nurture) influences on the beginnings of development and then presents the processes of prenatal development, with special focus on the brain. How do the processes of prenatal development enable the immediate survival of the newborn in the world? The unit concludes with a peek at the newborn’s critical sensory capacities and the newborn’s reflexive responses.  

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 7.75 hours to complete.

☐   Subunit 2.1: 1.75 hours

☐   Subunit 2.2: 1.75 hours

☐   Subunit 2.3: 2 hours

☐   Subunit 2.4: 2.25 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - explain the differences between the genotype and the phenotype; - explain the difference between genes and chromosomes; - distinguish between pleiotropy and polygenic inheritance; - describe the roles of genetic influences (nature), environmental influences (nurture), and their interaction on early development; - discuss the effect of maternal health on prenatal development; - describe teratogens and their possible impacts on prenatal development; - describe the early development of the brain; - describe common abnormalities of prenatal brain development; - identify and describe the three stages of prenatal development; - describe the basic developmental processes of the five major sensory systems; - explain the development of temperature regulation; and - describe and explain the importance of the major infant reflexes.

2.1 Genetic Influences on Development   2.1.1 Genotype versus Phenotype   - Reading: Connexions: Le Dinh Luong’s “Genetics in Classical Understanding” Link: Connexions: Le Dinh Luong’s “Genetics in Classical Understanding” (HTML, PDF, or ePub)

 Instructions: After clicking on the link above, read the webpage in
full. If you are already familiar with these concepts from courses
in biology, you may skim this page for a briefer period. You may
download the PDF or ePub version of this text by clicking on the
appropriate link under “Download” at the bottom of the webpage. Note
that this reading covers subunits 2.1.1-2.1.4.  

 This reading should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.   

 Terms of Use: This work is licensed by Professor Le Dinh Luong
under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 3.0).

2.1.2 Dominant/Recessive Gene Inheritance   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under subunit 2.1.1. Focus on the section entitled, “Lecture 29. Mendelian Discovery of Genes,” for information on this topic. 

2.1.3 Pleiotropy   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under subunit 2.1.1. Focus on the section entitled, “Lecture 31. Genetic Complex Traits,” for information on this topic.

2.1.4 Polygenic Inheritance   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under subunit 2.1.1. Focus on the section entitled, “Lecture 31. Genetic Complex Traits,” for information on this topic.

2.1.5 Chromosome-Based Risk Factors for Prenatal Development   - Reading: The March of Dimes’ Birth Defects: “Chromosomal Abnormalities” Link: The March of Dimes’ Birth Defects: “Chromosomal Abnormalities” (HTML)
 
Instructions: After clicking on the link above to access the March of Dimes website in your browser, read the entirety of this webpage for an overview of chromosomal and genetic risk factors.

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 Environmental Influences on Prenatal Development   2.2.1 Gene (Nature) – Environment Interactions   - Reading: Wikipedia’s “Gene-Environment Interaction” Link: Wikipedia’s “Gene-Environment Interaction” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In recent years, the nature versus nurture debate in developmental psychology has given way to a general acknowledgment that neither nature nor nurture can be wholly responsible for development and that development, in fact, occurs as a result of some interaction between the two. Just how these forces interact is still somewhat unknown, however. Click on the link above and read the webpage in its entirety, focusing especially on the examples relevant to early development in humans.

 Reading this resource should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: The article above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) (HTML). You can
find the original Wikipedia version of this article
[here](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene%E2%80%93environment_interaction)
(HTML).

2.2.2 The Effect of Maternal Health and Stress   - Reading: MedicineNet: WebMD, Inc.’s “Fetus to Mom: You’re Stressing Me Out!” Link: MedicineNet: WebMD, Inc.’s “Fetus to Mom: You’re Stressing Me Out!” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the above link, and then read all three pages of the article for an overview of how maternal health and stress can affect a fetus. To access each page of the article, click on “next” or the page number at the end of the text. Note that there are physical effects on both the mother and fetus due to maternal stress and the suggestions for how this should influence prenatal care. After you’ve read the article, return to page 1 and click on “Pregnancy Slideshow Pictures,” just under the title. Use the “next” button to click through all 23 pictures to review the stages of pregnancy and get a truly inside look at development inside the womb!

 Reading this resource and taking notes should take approximately 45
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.3 Teratogens   2.2.3.1 Substances Crossing the Placental Barrier   - Reading: Introduction to Psychology: “Conception and Prenatal Development” Link: Introduction to Psychology: “Conception and Prenatal Development” (HTML)
 
Instructions: After clicking on the link above, scroll down to and read the section entitled “How the Environment Can Affect the Vulnerable Fetus.”

 Reading this chapter should take less than 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: The textbook above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/)
(HTML) <span
style="color: rgb(35, 35, 35); font-family: Arial;">without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or
licensee.</span>

2.2.3.2 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders   - Reading: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDS) Link: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDS) (HTML)

 Instructions: Click on the link above to learn about one of the
most common teratogens affecting development in the womb. In the box
entitled “FASD Topics,” first click on “Basics.” Read the page in
full, minus the “Get Help” section. This part of the reading should
take about 15 minutes. Then scroll to the top of page, and click on
“Data & Statistics” in the box on the left. Read the brief section
at the top, “In the United States,” and then explore whatever
interests you on the remainder of the page.  

 Exploring this resource should take approximately 20 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.3 Stages of Prenatal Development   2.3.1 Germinal Stage of Development   - Reading: Healthline: Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health: Stephanie Dionne Sherk’s “Prenatal Development” Link: Healthline: Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health: Stephanie Dionne Sherk’s “Prenatal Development” (HTML)
 
Instructions: After clicking on the link above, read the article through the “fetal stage” (i.e., stop at the section entitled “Common Problems”). As you read, note the types of physical development that seem to come with each stage. With respect to the “germinal stage,” you should obtain a general understanding of the processes of fertilization, cleavage, and implantation. You may click on any embedded hyperlinks of interest to read associated content. Note that this reading covers the material you need to know for subunits 2.3.1-2.3.3.

 Exploring this resource and taking notes should take approximately
2 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.2 Embryonic Stage of Development   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.1. You should obtain a general understanding of the processes of gastrulation and differentiation that are part of embryonic development. You do not need to memorize the specific developments that occur each week, but you should be able to describe a few developments that occur during this period.

2.3.3 Fetal Stage of Development   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3.1. You should obtain a general understanding of the fetal stage of development as a time of rapid growth and finalization of the structures that emerged in the embryonic stage. You do not need to memorize the specific developments that occur each week, but you should be able to describe a few developments that occur during this period.

2.4 Maturation of the Central Nervous System and Autonomic Nervous System   2.4.1 Brain Development by Age   - Lecture: YouTube: UC San Diego: Joan Stiles’s Lecture “Brain Development” Link: YouTube: UC San Diego: Joan Stiles’s Lecture “Brain Development” (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
Mp3
 
Instructions: After clicking on the link above to access the video via YouTube, view this lecture in its entirety for an overview of early brain development. Note the physical changes in the brain before birth, through infancy, and after. Note that this lecture covers the material you need to know for subunits 2.4.1 and 2.4.2.

 Watching this video should take approximately 1 hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.4.2 Brain Lateralization: Specialization   Note: This subunit is covered by the lecture assigned beneath subunit 2.4.1. The process of lateralization, which leads to the two hemispheres of the brain becoming specialized for different functions, contributes greatly to humans’ efficiency in processing information. 

2.4.3 Abnormalities in the Developing Brain   - Reading: The National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s “Cephalic Disorders Information Page” Link: The National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s “Cephalic Disorders Information Page” (HTML)

 Instructions: After clicking on the link above, read the entirety
of this webpage for an overview of abnormal development of the
nervous system.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.5 Development of Senses   2.5.1 Vision   - Reading: Discovery Health: Rita Mullin’s “Senses in the Womb” Link: Discovery Health: Rita Mullin’s “Senses in the Womb (Adobe Flash)          
 
Instructions: After clicking on the link above, click “continue” on the webpage, and then click on each of the dots associated with the five senses, reading through the information that appears for an overview of how the senses develop and change in utero and in infancy. Note that this web media covers the material you need to know for subunits 2.5.1-2.5.5.

 Studying this resource should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.5.2 Hearing   Note: This subunit is covered by the web media assigned beneath subunit 2.5.1. In particular, on the Discovery Health website, click on the “dot” associated with the ears. Read the information that appears for an overview of how hearing develops and changes in utero and in infancy.

2.5.3 Taste   Note: This subunit is covered by the web media assigned beneath subunit 2.5.1. In particular, on the Discovery Health website, click on the “dot” associated with the mouth. Read the information that appears for an overview of how the sense of taste develops and changes in utero and in infancy.

2.5.4 Smell   Note: This subunit is covered by the web media assigned beneath subunit 2.5.1. In particular, on the Discovery Health website, click on the “dot” associated with the nose. Read the information that appears for an overview of how the sense of smell develops and changes in utero and in infancy.

2.5.5 Touch   Note: This subunit is covered by the web media assigned beneath subunit 2.5.1. In particular, on the Discovery Health website, click on the “dot” associated with the hands. Read the information that appears for an overview of how the sense of touch develops and changes in utero and in infancy.

2.5.6 Temperature Regulation   - Reading: The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh: “Warmth and Temperature Regulation” Link: The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s “Warmth and Temperature Regulation” (HTML)
 
Instructions: After clicking on the link above, read this webpage in its entirety for an overview of infant’s temperature regulation.

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.6 Reflexes: Sucking, Rooting, Moro, Galant, Stepping, Grasp   - Lecture: The University of Utah School of Medicine: “Pediatric Neurologic Examination Videos and Descriptions: A Neurodevelopmental Approach” Link: The University of Utah School of Medicine’s “Pediatric Neurologic Examination Videos and Descriptions: A Neurodevelopmental Approach” (QuickTime)
 
Also available in:
 
Primitive Reflexes—Suck, Root—YouTube
 
Primitive Reflexes—Moro—YouTube
 
Primitive Reflexes—Galant—YouTube
 
Primitive Reflexes—Stepping—YouTube
 
Primitive Reflexes—Grasp—YouTube
 
Instructions: The above link will bring you to a list of videos that document a pediatric neurologic exam. Scroll down the webpage, click on the five “Primitive Reflexes” links, and watch the associated videos (3:18 minutes total). Note that you can select to look at the “normal exam” as well as the “abnormal exam” for each reflex. After watching each normal exam, watch the corresponding abnormal exam to better understanding what each reflex should look like. You may view these videos directly on the University of Utah website using QuickTime, which may be downloaded here for free, or through the YouTube links above.

 Watching these resources should take approximately 15 minutes.   
    
 Terms of Use: Movies drawn from the PediNeuroLogic Exam and
PediNeuroLogic Exam websites are used by permission of Paul D.
Larsen, M.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center and Suzanne S.
Stensaas, Ph.D., University of Utah School of Medicine. Additional
materials were drawn from resources provided by Alejandro Stern,
Stern Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kathleen Digre, M.D.,
University of Utah; and Daniel Jacobson, M.D., Marshfield Clinic,
Wisconsin. The movies are licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution–Noncommerical–Share Alike 2.5
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/).