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How does neurobiological development constrain cognitive development!

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Introduction

How does neurobiological development constrain cognitive development! Neurobiological and cognitive developments are both integral to the growth of the human being. Neurobiological development is to do with brain development from prenatal through to postnatal periods as well as visual, auditory and motor development during the same periods and beyond. Cognitive development on the other hand is concerned with intellectual growth from infancy to adulthood. However neurobiological development has a profound effect on cognitive development and can place constraints upon it. Most cognitive developmental stages, especially as outlined by Jean Piaget, are dependent to some extent on neurobiological developments and can therefore at times and under certain circumstances also be constrained by them. Schemas are patterns of behaviour of linked behaviour which a child can generalise and use in a variety of different situations. Newborns begin life with a limited range of in-built reactions such as sucking, swallowing and orienting responses. These sensory-motor responses are neurobiological and developed in the foetal stage of prenatal life. As an infant uses these biological reflexes they experience movement, sound, texture and so on. These experiences add to and alter the infants existing schemas. ...read more.

Middle

Neurobiological development of a certain region in the prefrontal cortex, just in front of the motor projection area (Gleitman. H. 1999), constrains cognitive development of object permanence and the search process. This is concluded by looking at the A-not -B effect, where an infant will continue to search at the place where they previously found the toy instead of where they have seen it being placed. Having previously reached for A a few times this response is primed and although the infant appears to be aware of the move of the toy to a different location (evident by the fact that they look to location B when reaching for A) they are unable to override this recently primed reaction. So it seems that the infant has seen the move but not been able to transform this information to their motor response of reaching for the correct location. This it is suggested is down to the maturation of the prefrontal cortex, which is behind the cognitive development of the infant. The infant has to wait for the neurobiological development of this area of the brain to catch up before it can coordinate what it sees with what it does in response. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, exposure to drugs or alcohol during the foetal stage results in 40% of exposed infants developing behavioural impairments. This is due to the abnormal development of the brain associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and can include the lack of a corpus callosum connecting the two hemispheres. The lack of neurobiological development can have sever effects on the infant's cognitive development, constraining its ability to form the necessary social skills to get on in life. This is also the case with some genetic disorders which also effect neurobiological development. For example, Down syndrome which results from a chromosomal abnormality. This results in abnormal formation of dendritic spines and behavioural dysfunctions. So in conclusion it can be seen that neurobiological development can have a profound constraint on cognitive development reasons. If neurobiological development is not progressing alongside cognitive development then this can cause constraints as the cognitive development is dependent on the neurobiological. This was seen with the development of the infants object permanence and abstract symbolic thought formation. Cognitive development is an outcome of various factors not one that stands alone. Certain aspects seem to be driven by physical maturation and others through interaction with the environment through sensory-motor capabilities developed in the womb. ...read more.

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