Developmental Psychology and the Physical and Cognitive Term Paper

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Developmental Psychology and the Physical and Cognitive Development of Infants

The field of developmental psychology has made invaluable contributions in assessing the physical, cognitive, moral, social, and personality developments made by individuals. At the same time, developmental psychology might appear inadequate when applied to infants, who have not yet acquired a moral understanding of right and wrong or proper social behavior. Nevertheless, developmental psychology can nevertheless illuminate the physical and cognitive development of the infant child. Drawing from the professional theoretical perspectives of Kagan (2008) and Campos et al. (2008), this paper examines the particular ways in which principles and techniques of developmental psychology can be appropriately applied to infants between 3-12 months old.

One of the chief areas of focus when examining infants is the difference between motor development and motion development. Although there has historically been the tendency to conflate the two, the difference lies in that motion consists of the observable behavior exhibited by someone, while motor skills consist of the specific internal processes that inform the way in which people produce movement (Greenwood et al., 2002). Recognizing the difference between motor processes and motion is significant in that motor processes refer to the impact that one's cognitive faculties have in producing motion. In this regard, one must acknowledge that the actions people perform through movement do not exist in a vacuum but are instead related to one's mental state at a given time. Indeed, if a child is unable to produce the motion skills characteristic for someone their age, it would hint at the possibility of a broader developmental disorder. Developmental psychology is particularly useful in that it can provide ways of measuring and evaluating the progress of one's motion and motor functions in an effort to arrive at an understanding of their physical and mental acumen.

Infancy is an especially important period in developmental psychology.
Specifically, the first year of a child's life involves accelerated physical and mental growth, and one of the main tasks of developmental psychology lies in assessing where a child's growth is at relative to where they should be given their age. Additionally, developmental psychology is instrumental in measuring physical and cognitive development because it takes into consideration not only the physical but also the environmental and hereditary aspects of an infant's makeup. For example, if an infant's parents had physical disabilities, the infant may have physical limitations inherited through their genetic makeup. Additionally, the infant's cognitive development is heavily influenced by hereditary factors. An example of this tendency is that if an infant's family history contains many examples of social anxiety disorder, the infant may be at a greater propensity for impaired development in coexisting with others.

In addition to hereditary factors, there are also environmental factors that affect the infant's physical and cognitive development. If the infant is not allowed to move outside of a confined space, they are unlikely to develop at the pace necessary for their age. When a child is born, they have absolutely no ability to utilize their arms, legs, and chest with any intentionality, and so the infant's physical and cognitive progress is instrumental not only with regard to acquainting them with the world around them but also with their own bodies. In particular, months 3-12 of a child's life are crucial for aiding them in their movement and intentional use of their bodily functions. Although it may seem counterintuitive, it is generally the case that the older kids are, the slower the growth of their physical and cognitive faculties.

Developmental psychology is especially useful in assessing the infant's cognitive and physical growth because it acknowledges the dynamic state of the infant child. There is an enormous difference between a child….....

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