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Links:      •  Self Test
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decorative star graphic  The Play Years:
Biosocial Development
- Brain Development -

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         Brain Development

age two - 75 % developed
age five - 90 % developed
age seven - 100 % developed

   Ψ  At about the age of 5, children show important gains as a result of growth in the corpus callosum, a band of nerve fibers connecting the right & left hemispheres of the brain. This development of connectiveness gives them the ability to read!

   Ψ  Lateralization:  a.k.a. "sidedness." Each hemisphere of the brain performs basically the same motor & sensory functions, but each hemisphere’s association area is specialized for different operations, a phenomenon known as lateralization.

   •  The left hemisphere shows superiority in tasks involving speech, language, reading, & writing.

   •  The right hemisphere functions better on tasks involving spatial construction, facial recognition, nonverbal imagery, sense of direction, musical recognition, & emotional states.

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

   Ψ  The Prefrontal Cortex is the seat of higher-order cognition, including planning & complex forms of goal-directed behavior. The "executive" of the brain. Benefits of maturation of this part of the brain (ages 2 - 6) follow.

   •  Temper tantrums subside.
    •  Sleep becomes more regular.
     •  Uncontrollable laughter or tears become less common.
      •  Emotions become more nuanced & responsive to specific stimuli.

   Ψ  Another function of the prefrontal cortex is to focus attention & thus curb impulsiveness.  Impulsiveness & perseverance ( to stick to just one thought or action - the opposite of impulsiveness) are behaviors caused by immaturity of the prefrontal cortex. During the preschool years, brain maturation (innate) & emotional regulation (learned) decrease both impulsiveness & perseverance.

   Ψ  The Limbic system is an area of the brain that is crucial in the expression & regulation of emotions. The three major parts of the limbic system follow.

   •  Amygdala: A tiny part of the brain that registers emotions, particularly fear & anxiety.
    •  Hippocampus: Part of the brain that is a central processor of memory, especially
        the memory of locations.
      •  Hypothalamus: A brain area that responds to the amygdala & hippocampus to
            produce hormones that activate other parts of the brain & body.

   •  The HPA Axis: involves the hypothalamus, pituitary, & adrenal glands. This complex system is responsible for effectively handling stress by regulating the production of cortisol, neurotransmitters & key hormones. When the HPA axis is not functioning correctly, a variety of neurological symptoms develop, such as anxiety, depression, intolerance to stress, suicidal ideation, sleep disturbance, & mood disorder.

Lifespan Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
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