Flashcards in Discuss the perspective that newborn infants are competent to deal with the world when they are born Deck (51):
In the past how were newborns characterised?
In the past, newborns were often characterised as fragile and helpless little organisms who were simply not prepared for life outside the wombe
Why was the view that newborn infants were fragile and helpless once highly adaptive?
Because it helped to ease parents' grief in earlier eras when medical procedures were primitive and a fair percentage of newborns died.
Even today, in cultures where many newbornsdie because of poor health and medical care...
parents often do not name their newborns until they are 3 months old and have passed the critical age for newborn death (Brazelton, 1979)
The surprising fact is that newborns are...
much better prepared for life than many doctors, parents, and developmentalists had initially assumed.
All of a newborn's X are in good working order, and they see and hear well enough to detect what is happening around them and respond adaptively to many of these sensations
Very young infants are also quite capable of...
learning and can even remember some of the particularly vivid experiences they have had.
Two other indications that neonates are quite well adapted for life are...
their repertoire of inborn reflexes and their predictable patterns, or cycles, of daily activity.
How would you structure an essay on the perspective of newborns being competent to deal with the world when they are born? (7 steps)
2. Introduce structure
3. Infant sensory capabilities (hearing; taste and smell; touch, temp and pain; vision)
4. Newborn reflexes (survival and primitive)
5. Infant states
Newborn infants X their environments better than was originally perceived
How well do infants hear in the first hours of life?
As well as an adult with a head cold
Neonates are capable of discriminating sounds that differ in...
loudness, duration, direction, and frequency (Bower, 1982).
As well as being able to discriminate sounds that differ in loudness, duration, direction, and frequency - what else can infants do in relation to sound?
Infants also impart meaning to sounds very early on.
Young infants also impart meaning to sounds very early on - what are they particularly attentive to?
Young infants are particularly attentive to voices, especially high-pitched feminine voices.
Young infants are particularly attentive to voices, especially high-pitched feminine voices - what did research by DeCasper and Fifer (1980) find?
That newborns suck faster on a nipple to hear a recording of their mother's voice than a recording of another woman.
DeCasper and Fifer (1980) found that newborns suck faster on a nipple to hear a recording of their mother's voice than a recording of another woman. Why might this special responsiveness to their mother's voice be adaptive?
This special responsiveness to their mother's voice after birth may be highly adaptive if it encourages a mother to talk to her infant and to provide the attention and affection that foster healthy social, emotional and intellectual development.
Are infants born with taste preference?
Infants are born with definite taste preferences - they prefer sweet tastes.
Infants are born with definite taste preferences: they prefer sweet taste - why is this adaptive?
This is adaptive as breast milk, the baby's nutrition of choice, has a high lactose content making it quite sweet.
Newborns are also capable of detecting a variety of odors, and can recognise the sell of their mother - how?
They can recognise the smell of their mother and her milk from the smell of others, by the smell of her breasts and underarms (Cernoch and Porter, 1985)
Receptors in the skin are sensitive to X, Y, and Z
touch, temperature and pain
How do newborns demonstrate considerable confidence in dealing with temperature? 2 things and one reference
They refuse to suck if the milk in their bottles is too hot, and they maintain their body heat by becoming more active should the temperature of a room suddenly drop (Pratt, 1954)
It was previously thought that infants were insensitive to pain; however, this is not the case - how do we know? Why is this adaptive?
1 day old infants cry loudly when pricked by a needle for a blood test; this adaptive pain response helps newborns to avoid harmful situations, and arouses the attention of the caregiver should one arise.
Which is the least mature of the newborn's sensory capabilities?
Do neonates see the world in colour?
Yes, but they have trouble discriminating blues, greens, and yellows from whites (Adam and Courage, 1998)
How good is neonates visual acuity?
Not good 20/600
what is visual accommodation?
the process by which the vertebrate eye changes optical power to maintain a clear image or focus on an object as its distance varies.
Do newborns have good visual accommodation?
Despite the fact that the newborn’s visual system is not operating at peak efficiency, they still show some adaptive visual functions that help to make them compotent at dealing with their visual world.
Give an example.
Johnson et al., 1991 have suggested why this is adaptive - outline their explanation
Newborn infants are more likely to track faces (or face like stimuli) than other patterns. It may be that babies display this preference as an adaptive reflex which serves to orient babies to their caregivers and promote social interactions (Johnson et al., 1991)
One of the newborn's greatest strengths is what?
A full set of useful reflexes
What is a reflex?
An involuntary and automatic response to a stimulus, as when the eye automatically blinks to a puff of air
What are the 2 categories of newborn reflexes?
survival and primitive
Why are survival reflexes so called?
Because they have clear adaptive value
What are 4 survival reflexes?
1. breathing reflex
2. eye-blink reflex
3. sucking and swallowing reflexes
4. rooting reflex
What is the rooting reflex?
A reflex whereby an infant who is touched on the cheek will orient in that direction and search for something to suck
Not only do survival reflexes offer some protection against aversive stimulation and enable an infant to satisfy very basic needs, but they may also have a positive impact on caregivers. Give 2 examples.
Mothers, for example, may feel quite gratified and competent as caregivers when their hungry babies immediately stop fussing and suck easily at the nipple; and few caregivers can resist the feeling that their baby enjoys being close when he/she grasps their finger tightly as his palm is touched (Palmer grasping reflex).
Indeed, such survival reflexes endearing infants to older companions who can protect them and attend to their needs is...
one of the strongest pieces of evidence that suggest infants are more ready for life at birth than they was previously thought.
It is notable that other, so called ‘primitive reflexes’ are not nearly as useful. What is believed about them?
That many are believed to be remnants of our evolutionary history that have outlived their original purpose.
Give an example of an evolutionary reflex that seems to have outlive its original purpose.
The babinski reflex - why would it be adaptive for infants to fan their toes when the bottom of their feet are stroked? We don't know
Other primitive reflexes may still have some adaptive value (Bowlby, 1969). Give 3 examples
The swimming reflex - may help keep an infant who is accidentally immersed in a pond or river afloat.
The grasping reflex - may help infants who are carried. in slings or on their mother's hips to hang on
Stepping reflex - might be a forerunner of useful voluntary behaviours such as crawling and walking that develops later in infancy (Helen, 1984)
Why do primitive reflexes normally disappear in the first few months of life?
Because they are controlled by the lower subcortical areas of the brain and are lost once the higher centres of the cerebral cortex mature and begin to guide voluntary behaviours.
How can primitive reflexes provide useful diagnostic tools?
If these reflexes are not present at birth, or if they last too long, then there is reason to suspect there is something wrong with the babies nervous system
In sum, a full complement of infant reflexes tells us that newborns are...
quite prepared to respond adaptively to a variety of life’s challenges.
Newborns also display [blank] that are predictable and foster healthy developmental outcomes.
organised patterns of daily activity
In a typical day, how many infant states or levels of arousal do neonates move in and out of?
How much of their time do neonates (1 month olds) spend sleeping?
70% (16-18 hours)
Infants spend 2-3 hours a day in what state?
The alert, inactive state when they are most receptive to external stimuli (Berg and Berg, 1987)
How long are a neonates sleep cycles?
Brief - 45 minutes to 2 hours
The fact that neonates pass through a predictable pattern of states during a typical day indicates what?
that their internal regulatory mechanisms are well organised, a further factor that highlights their readiness for life.
What kind of studies most highlight the neonate's ability to learn?
studies of infant hearing
DeCasper and colleagues conducted a study that might indicate infant familiarisation and learning - what was it?
Mothers were asked to recite a passage from a book during the last 6 weeks in their pregnancy; their newborns then sucked faster and harder to hear those particular passages than to hear other samples of their mother’s speech
DeCasper and Spence (1991) conducted a study where foetuses in their third trimester experienced changes in their heart rate between familiar and novel passages read by their mothers - what was this an indication of?
Why might this be adaptive?
a clear indication that the foetuses were learning sound patterns before birth.
This special responsiveness to their mothers voice after birth may be highly adaptive if it encourages a mother to talk to her infant and to provide the attention and affection that foster healthy social, emotional and intellectual development.