Prenatal Development Theory

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"There is in every child at every stage a new miracle of vigorous unfolding." (Erik Erikson) Contrary to the outdated psychological models which promoted early childhood as the singular period of growth and change in an individual the influential developmental psychologist Eric Erikson’s "miracle" of "vigorous unfolding" quote provides a metaphor that can be understood as the potential for continued alteration of personality over a life time, however even from a life time development perspective childhood is a critically important phase of human life. In this essay I will analyse the 9 month old baby girl featured in the film “3 men and a baby” via the looking glass of developmental theory. Concepts discussed will include Piaget’s cognitive…show more content…
As early psychological development is tied to pre-natal development it is clear why developmental psychologists deem it relevant to their area of study. The prenatal stage of human development is comprised into the following three sequential stages, germinal, embryonic and fetal stage. The germinal stage occurs between conception and 14 days, the embryonic stage lasts from week 2 until week 8 and the fetal stage lasts from week 8 until the baby is born (K. Cherry "Stages of Prenatal Development"). A number of so called primitive reflexes are present and can be observed in infants. Primitive reflexes are understood to be those reflexes which are displayed by healthy infants but not neurologically normal adults. Rooting reflex, sucking reflex and palmar grasp reflex are all examples of primitive reflexes and in infants are an indicator of normal development. All three are displayed by the baby…show more content…
It proposes four distinct phases in the cognitive evolution of children (Berger, Kathleen Stassen, 2008) these are the Sensory Motor Stage, Pre operational stage, Concrete operations stage and the formal operations stage. As the baby is under one year old the only relevant stage to be discussed here is the sensory motor stage. Piaget’s concept of this first stage was based on the assumption that the in order to understand the world around them infants must create schemas, Schemas are subjective mental representations of the objective world around us. Infants will incrementally build up knowledge and insight of their surroundings via coordinating sensory experiences with physical interactions involving objects in their environment. A normal healthy infant will progress from instinctual reflex actions (palmer grasp, rooting) to informed voluntary actions as it acquires information about objects and the methods by which they may be manipulated (Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart). In the film the baby passes through the expected cognitive developmental milestones as demonstrated by several scenes where baby grasps the air in the direction of several desired items such as the milk bottle which showcases intentional grasping for a desired object. In other scenes the baby is observed to display curiosity about things as she is
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