The brain produces cortisol and other hormones in response to stress. Early stress will lead to an atypical stress response in the brain later in life.
Over production of stress hormones.
Underproduction of stress hormones.
Brain functions that require certain basic common experiences, which almost all infants are “expected” to have. Thus, acquired easily/automatically (e.g., seeing, talking).
When development is most likely to happen or happens most readily.
Brain functions that “depend” on particular, variable experience and that therefore may or may not develop in a particular infant. Thus, acquired with effort (e.g., writing, playing the piano).
What should parents do for their infants to influence positive experiences?
Caressing a newborn, talking to a preverbal infant, and showing affection toward the small infant. These are essential to developing a person's full potential.
Cognition develops from the senses and motor skills. Infant brain development depends on sensory experiences and early movement.
Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale
Measures 28 behavioral and 18 reflex items of newborn behavior. This develops a "portrait" of strengths and vulnerabilities. Developmental tasks include: regulating breathing, temperature, and the rest of the autonomic system; infants strive to control their motor system, consciousness regulation, and interact socially.
What are the senses that function at birth?
Open eyes, sensitive ears, and responsive noses, tongues, and skin.
Eyes-hand-mouth exploratory system
How infants, until age 1, learn about their surroundings. They taste these objects.
Response to a sensory system (eyes, ears, skin, tongue, and nose) when it detects a stimulus.
The brains mental processing (organization/interpretation) of sensory information.
This sense is well-developed at birth. Sudden noises startle newborns, but rhythmic sounds soothe them and help them fall asleep.
This sense is the least mature at birth. Newborns are "legally blind" and can only see objects that are 4-30 feet away. Double vision is prior to binocular vision.
Seeing at 2 months
Infants look more intensely at faces and often smile.
Seeing at 3 months
Infants look more closely at eyes and mouth.
Read significance into random/vague stimuli.
Fusiform Face Area
Module of brain that controls face recognition. (Role of nature)
Babies are more accurate at differentiating faces from their own ethnic group. This is due to limited multi ethnic experiences. (Role of nurture)
Taste, smell, and touch
At birth, the senses of taste, smell and touch function and rapidly adapt to the social world. Babies become aware of their caregiver's smell and touch.
What two goals does early sensation have?
Social interaction (to respond to familiar caregivers) and comfort (to be soothed).