PSY 201 Brain Development Discussion

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PSY 201 Brain Development Discussion

PSY 201 Brain Development Discussion


Development of the brain is influenced by nature and
nurture. Give two examples of how
“nurture” (experience, environmental influences) can impact brain development
in either a positive or adverse way.
Support your statements with findings from a scholarly research article
(s). Cite your reference(s).

DQ2 Critical

What is meant by the term, “critical period” as it refers to
development? Discuss how the concept
of critical periods applies to various aspects of physical, brain, and
perceptual development. In terms of
brain development, how have research findings on neuroplasticity changed our
views about the rigidity imposed by critical periods? Support your response with findings from
scholarly research. Cite your

Unit 3

DQ1 Theory

Compare and contrast Piaget’s theory of cognitive
development with the theories proposed by Vygotsky and Bandura. Use the following scenario: you are a second grade teacher and are writing
a lesson plan to teach math facts (addition and subtraction).

Based on Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, what
materials would you incorporate into your lesson plan? Be specific and explain
how your plan is driven by Piaget’s theory.

How would you change your lesson plan based on Vygotsky’s
theory? Based on Bandura’s theory?

DQ2 IQ and

It used to be thought that IQ was strictly determined by
genetics. After reading After the Bell
Curve, do you believe that IQ is solely influenced by genetics? Based on your readings, what advice would you
offer to parents/caregivers/and educators in order to maximize IQ?

Brain development has a protracted time course in humans beginning in the third week post conception and extending to the third decade of life. The brain develops in 7 well-defined phases that overlap and are repeated over the course of development. Neurodevelopmental disorders arise when processes engaged during construction of the brain go awry. Experiences of an individual play a fundamental role in producing a brain uniquely constructed to complement the environmental niche that individual occupies.

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Overall, experiences that change the epigenome early in life can have a powerful effect on an individual’s health and fitness (both physical and mental) for their lifetime! Even small environmental variations in utero can result in recognizable differences in cognitive functionality and in the structure of the postnatal brain. Physical, chemical, biological, and social environment changes that occur postnatally also profoundly affect developing brains. Such changes are epigenetically regulated. While epigenetics modifies the brain’s development to increase adaptability and resilience in preparation for future environmental challenges, the resulting developmental trajectory might not be ideal as it is impossible to predict future circumstances to precise levels. For example, adulthood might bring circumstances for which an epigenetic profile isn’t optimized, thereby rendering it ineffective in the face of new conditions. If the individual has developed in an ideal environment, they might be unprepared for an introduction into stressed or challenged conditions. On the other hand, development characterized by stress and adversity can also lead to adult individuals who are easily stressed and hypervigilant, even in relatively ideal conditions (e.g., prepared by epigenetics for potential starvation in an adult environment where food is plentiful and nutrients are ample) (Nugent & McCarthy, 2011). Luckily, epigenetic modifications are not permanent in the brain, meaning that individuals are still able to adapt to their environments as adults. There is also potential to change previous epigenetic modifications and, thus, reshape the plastic brain.

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